University leads on £3.5m programme to increase higher education participation

A new programme to increase participation in higher education on Merseyside is to be led by the University of Liverpool following a successful bid.

The Merseyside Collaborative Outreach Programme (MCOP) will bring together 12 Higher Education providers, and relevant third party stakeholders from across the Merseyside region to provide activities, advice and guidance to students from Year 9 upwards from 25 electoral wards that have been identified as having lower than expected progression to university.

Nationally the programme, which has been funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), aims to double the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education (HE) by 2020; increase by 20 per cent the number of students in HE from ethnic minority groups and address the under-representation of young men from disadvantaged backgrounds in Higher Education.

Underrepresented groups

The MCOP has received £3.5M funding for two years of activities, with a review to take place before a possible two year extension. The activities proposed will engage learner multiple times during their school lives, and also offer bespoke support to particularly underrepresented groups.

Gavin Brown, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, University of Liverpool, and Chair of the newly formed Board of Governors said: “We are delighted to be leading on this important initiative to improve education advice and outcomes in the most disadvantaged areas of the Liverpool City Region.

“Working with our partners we hope to be able to build a successful relationship with over 65 additional schools over the next two years.”

Improving life chances

HEFCE Director of Policy Chris Millward, said: ”NCOP represents a significant investment by HEFCE in improving the life chances of young people in some of our most disadvantaged communities. Our evidence has shown that there are young people in these areas who are achieving the qualifications they need to benefit from higher education, but are not currently doing so.

“The programme will ensure that they are better equipped to make the right choice for them by exposing the range of higher education options available and the careers they make possible.”

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