Partnership with IntoUniversity
Our first IntoUniversity centre opened its doors in autumn 2018 in Blackley, North Manchester.
Since opening, the team at IntoUniversity Manchester North (IUMN) has supported more than 1,300 students with their academic work, thinking about their futures, and showing them that through hard work and motivation, they can reach their chosen aspiration.
IntoUniversity is a charity that provides local learning centres in disadvantaged communities, supporting young people from the least privileged families to gain a university place or another chosen aspiration. The Manchester North centre is one of 27 centres in 12 locations across the UK. The impact of IntoUniversity’s work is clear with 71% of its students progressing to university compared with 43% of students from similar backgrounds nationally.
71% of IntoUniversity students progress to university compared with 43% of students from similar backgrounds nationally.
In the 2018-19, IntoUniversity supported over 42,000 children and young people across its network of centres, this is an increase of 120% from 2017-18.
The Manchester North centre is funded by University of Manchester donors and works intensively with schools who are geographically very close to the centre, supporting primary, secondary and post-16 learners.
The centre has four members of full time staff, employed by IntoUniversity and offers a programme of activities for schools and individual young people in the local area. The programmes include:
- Academic Support: Students receive help with homework, coursework, revision and university applications, and the sessions are designed to raise aspirations, encourage young people to become active, independent learners and help them to develop effective study skills.
- Primary FOCUS: Structured programmes that support and enhance national curriculum and inspire students to think about their future education and the world of work, while promoting essential skills such as team work and communication.
- Secondary FOCUS: A series of workshops and trips that support learning and increase students’ knowledge of higher education, career opportunities and education pathways. The programme aims to increase motivation, strengthen aspirations and develop transferable skills.
- Mentoring: Students are matched with university student volunteers, providing them with positive role models and the opportunity to develop their social skills, explore future options and improve academic attainment.
In the academic year 2019-2020, IntoUniversity Manchester North worked with more than 900 students; 349 primary students and 569 secondary students, through many different programmes of activities:
- 127 students have been supported through Academic Support;
- 291 students attended a Primary FOCUS session;
- 513 students attended a Secondary FOCUS session;
- 53 students benefitted from mentoring.
In March 2020, when the closure of schools and the national lockdown was announced, IntoUniversity were aware that their students were highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of the lockdown; from living in crowded accommodation and having no outside space, to the immediate risk of food poverty due to the loss of jobs and difficulty accessing Free School Meals. Also to having access to fewer resources to stimulate or engage them, and many having parents that couldn’t provide educational support to their children, due to their own educational poverty.
IUMN offered bespoke remote support to their students by having weekly phone tutorials, sending email resources, and setting work via an online learning platform; Seesaw. This approach ensured that all students were able to receive support, regardless of their level of access to digital devices and the internet. Phone calls were primarily pastoral but also provided support to students in working through the work set by their schools and to catch up on their progress with the IU-set work.
The IUMN centre re-opened fully in October 2020 and has put a number of measures in place to follow the national guidelines. Academic Support, Primary FOCUS and the Secondary FOCUS programmes have been able to start again face-to-face, and the mentoring programme will continue via Microsoft Teams for the foreseeable future.