Helping talented students from all backgrounds to fulfil their potential

Mon, 22 Mar 2021 10:18:00 GMT

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, IntoUniversity Manchester North is marking another successful year in partnership with our University, improving young people’s attainment and raising aspirations.

IntoUniversity offers an innovative programme that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain either a university place or another chosen aspiration.

The programme includes a variety of courses, workshops and trips for schoolchildren from primary level to Year 13. It also offers mentoring that not only helps youngsters, it gives our students and staff the chance to improve their skills and gain confidence through volunteering.

IntoUniversity Manchester North is funded by our University as part of our Widening Participation work to help talented students from all backgrounds to fulfil their potential.

According to its latest annual report, it worked with 918 local students over the 2019-20 academic year – 349 primary schoolchildren, 569 secondary school students. It has worked with 1,369 students in the two years since our funding partnership began.

The impact is clear – the students’ progression rate to Higher Education was 88% compared to 28% for the North Manchester local average.

It’s also shown in testimonials from children, parents, teachers and our University volunteers.

One Year 6 teacher praised the “meticulously planned sessions [by] amazing staff” and added: “Some of our children were unaware that university existed, believed it was out of their reach or didn’t know that their particular interest was a subject that could be studied. But they now know that they all have the potential to study at university, how to apply, where they can study and what going to university would be like.

“After the sessions with IntoUniversity, the children were excited by their options and by what their future could hold.”

Luwam-Elias, mother of Rufta and Peniel, said: “They learn a lot, in addition to what they learn at school, have new experiences and make friends. IntoUniversity has definitely helped my children gain greater confidence in their abilities.”

And mentor Han, one of our Physics students, said: “It’s fun, I feel better in myself and have learned new skills. I know one day my mentee will become a really great scientist and I will know I was his mentor.”

Like many organisations, IntoUniversity had to temporarily close its centres following the national lockdown in March 2020.

However it immediately offered bespoke remote support to its Academic Support students – the core student body that it supports week after week and, for many students, have worked with for many years. Its strong relationships with the students placed staff in a unique position to offer individualised support during school closure periods with an approach that ensured that the students were able to receive support regardless of their level of access to digital devices and the internet.