Unlocking potential

April 16th, 2012

An ambitious new programme will help some of the most deprived young people in the East Midlands to reach university.

Nottingham Potential represents a major investment in the future of the primary and secondary-age school pupils – a multimillion pound commitment to help break down the barriers to higher education.

Delivered by the University in partnership with charity IntoUniversity, Nottingham Potential will create community-based learning centres to support pupils aged 7-18 years, including one-to-one support with homework, literacy and numeracy, coursework, exams, GCSE options and A-levels, careers advice and university applications.

Nottingham Potential has been made possible by a £2.1m donation from the David Ross Foundation, a national charity which has a breadth of experience in working with schools and with initiatives that aim to increase young people’s aspirations. Its chairman, David Ross is an alumnus and is the co-founder of the Carphone Warehouse.

The donation enhances the University’s own substantial financial commitment and is the biggest single gift the University has ever received from one of its graduates.

Pupils attended the launch of IntoUniversity Nottingham West, the first learning centre and based at The Hope Centre, Broxtowe, on 27 February.

The programme builds on the University’s successful work over the past decade within disadvantaged communities, and aims to provide earlier, broader interventions for young people to raise attainment and encourage progression to university. It will increase outreach significantly.

Professor Sarah O’Hara, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Access and Community Relations, said: “Despite changes in funding and fee structures for the higher education sector, the University is clear about the direction and commitment needed to improve access for those who aspire, and have the ability, to pursue higher education.

“Nottingham Potential represents a step-change in our work with young people in Nottinghamshire. Working in partnership with major donors, such as the David Ross Foundation, we can ensure that philanthropic donations support some of the most deprived young people in the region, identifying and supporting their talent and providing a pathway to success. This is an opportunity to transform lives, to transform the region and, through a pioneering partnership approach, to become a beacon of best practice – a model that can inform policy to benefit those beyond our region.”

Mr Ross said: “The David Ross Foundation’s partnerships with schools in deprived areas has shown us that in order to raise young people’s aspirations then the earlier we start, the better. Our focus is on working with children at an early age to show them that a university education is a door very much open to them.

“Talent and ability is abundant in these schools, and in many different fields – academic, artistic, sporting and many more. However, without the right kind of encouragement and support young people may not appreciate the opportunities that they can seize.

“Given what we have learned through our partnerships with schools, working with a leading university was the obvious next step for the Foundation. Nottingham Potential is a hugely exciting, ambitious and, above all, important programme and one that I believe is genuinely pioneering.”

The University has launched Nottingham Potential alongside a significant increase in bursaries for low-income students. Together these developments represent a doubling of the University’s investment in widening participation, from £8m to £16m a year by 2015-16. Nottingham Potential forms one project within the Nurturing Talent theme of Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, the University’s biggest ever fundraising campaign. Mr Ross is co-chair of the Campaign Board.

Visit: www.nottingham.ac.uk/NottinghamPotential.


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