The Office for Students (OfS) published their first annual NCOP report on 31st May.  The report showcases how 29 consortia – funded by the OfS – are working collaboratively with local schools, colleges, universities and businesses to creatively develop outreach opportunities for young people in specific areas where higher education participation has been identified as lower than expected given the GCSE results of the young people living there.

Chris Millward, Director for Fair Access and Participation at OfS, said:

“We know that sustained and targeted outreach is key to reducing the gaps in higher education participation between different groups of students, and that universities need to work closely with schools, colleges, charities and local agencies to achieve this. So I am very pleased to see the progress made by the OfS-funded NCOP, which enables exactly this kind of outreach in an effective and efficient way.

“In its first year of operation, NCOP is already showing signs of success. It has enabled a range of organisations who are best placed to identify and address local barriers to take a more joined-up approach. It has reached significant numbers of schools, colleges and young people and looks set to increase its reach even further in the next year. And the early signs are that NCOP activities are contributing to improved information, advice and guidance for young people at key milestones in their education.

“NCOP is a great example of the kind of outreach activity we need – evidence-based, targeted, robustly evaluated, bringing local partners together and harnessing university resources and expertise to meet the needs of schools and teachers, students and their families. The OfS will ensure that this learning drives improvements to higher education outreach in the future.”

The report aimed to represent all consortia and SLN:COP was pleased to have its’ pilot Parental Ambassador programme highlighted as an effective and successful model.  Participation figures are currently highest across the South East with a national target of engaging 20% of the ‘NCOP’ population. As a consortia, we are far exceeding the target and have engaged with over 40% of our cohort.

The Year One report coincides with the national NCOP week of action (4–8 June) that will shine a spotlight on outreach activities going on across England, from motivational talks and role model sessions to live social media FAQs. Follow #WeAreNCOP on Twitter to learn more and of course, our own Twitter to hear about all the exciting work that is going on locally! #SLNCOP

You can find out more about SLN:COP Projects running in the region here