SLN:COP Innovation Funding is a new approach to developing partnerships between university academics, community organisations and a wider network of further education stakeholders to develop a series of  outreach programmes based in community and alternative settings that seek to address and tackle barriers of progression into higher level learning.

This funding stream invited applications to address ways for partnerships to bring together community knowledge with academic perspectives to support targeted young people to explore and address:

  • their aspirations for the future
  • their views of post 18 study programmes and,
  • the challenges and barriers associated with engaging with these

We were looking for projects to develop activities in two main strands:

  1. New Evidence – gather new insights, evidence and information
  2. New Approaches – activities and interventions that put new ideas about supporting young people with their aspirations and barriers into practice.

We are pleased to announce the following eight projects have been awarded funds of up to a maximum of £8000 per project.  The projects began in February and will run until September 2018:

Beyond the school gates

University of Sussex, University of Portsmouth, West Sussex Parent Carer Forum

The project supports students who have been excluded from or refuse to attend secondary education and their parents by drawing on the lived experiences of former students and their parents who experienced similar issues but successfully re-engaged their education.  This project does not replace home schooling or provide alternative provision. Instead, following DfE (2016) recommendations, the project recognises the central role that parents play in students’ educational engagement by working closely within family and community systems – providing mentoring using a capabilities approach (White et al, 2016) that works at the interface between family, schools and organisations.

Care Leavers reaching university

University of Brighton, The Bridge, Brighton & Hove City Council

The project aims to identify strategies that can be implemented by Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) and its partners to increase the number of Brighton and Hove care leavers attending and remaining at university for the duration of their course. The project will therefore inform practice with Children in Care (years 9-12) and Care Leavers (years 12-13) up to the age of 19.

Graffiti – a new approach for year 12 learners

University of Chichester, Outside In

This project offers a new approach to raising aspirations among learners at Year 12 by engaging them with a range of non-traditional (and specifically popular) visual cultural sources. Its core activity is to introduce 20 learners from three schools to the world of popular visual culture as studied in Higher Education today, namely, graffiti, comics and untrained art. The project team want to test whether using non-traditional visual sources motivates and captures the imagination of the participants and therefore supports application to tertiary level study. On project conclusion: 20 learners will have engaged with a university ‘visual popular culture’ workshop programme (co-delivered at University of Chichester in partnership with the arts charity, Outside In, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester) and the project team will gain evaluative data on the outcomes of that process

Growing STEM

University of Chichester, West Sussex County Council

The project’s aim is to give young parents the skills and tools to facilitate learning outside and at home with their children with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) and the fundamentals around growing your own food and healthy eating. Working across five centres in Chichester, Selsey, Midhurst, Littlehampton and Bognor Regis the project will engage parents and their toddlers over two workshops where the families will have the chance to take part in practical activities both in the centres and in the green space around the centres. Working alongside Dr Debs Wilkinson in Education the two sessions will combine play and exploration for both parent and child in order to achieve our aim.

LGBTQ Youth and access to HE

University of Brighton, University of Sussex, Allsorts Youth Project

This project seeks to gain a youth perspective on the challenges young LGBTQ people face in accessing HE in the UK. There is a need for a better understanding of the challenges and barriers associated with entering into HE for LGBTQ youth in the UK.  Working in collaboration, three organisations will deliver a project that foregrounds the young peoples voice and empowers young LGBTQ individuals via:  1) a set of advocacy films produced by young people aimed at peer audiences to be published online and 2) a research report based on the workshop materials which explore young people’s experiences and perceptions, interviews with current HE students, and interviews with stakeholders that influence young people’s career choices and education.

Moving through HE (aspirations and expectations of refugee background students)

University of Sussex, Sanctuary on Sea, Hummingbird Project

The aims of the project are to: Foreground the experiences of RBS and their families in order to identify new ideas and new approaches for supporting progression to HE; Produce an online resource that will support teachers and staff in schools and colleges better understand the perceptions and needs of this group; Work with peer researchers provide role models to RBS in schools.The project will work with 3 or 4 RBS who are currently in HE. The peer researchers will recruit and interview 20 RBS (primarily in years 9-13) on their experiences of arriving in, and moving through the education system; the research will seek to identify their aspirations, how these are being met and their perceptions of the interventions and challenges faced in moving through the system.

Raising educational aspirations through participatory action

GB Met, Audioactive, University of Brighton

This project aims to provide a bridging opportunity linking non-formal with formal education. Over 5 days up to 15 young people from the target demographic will write and record an EP. Using ‘Identity’ as a theme the participants will work with AudioActive’s tutors to explore lyric writing and beat making using a range of production equipment.  This will be based at GB MET and supported by the Course Leader and students on the Creative Music Production Foundation Degree.  Embedded into the project will be information sessions on education pathways and HE IAG. The group will also visit Northbrook MET and have a tour of the state of the art music performance and production facilities. Following the weeklong intervention, participants will be offered follow-up one-to-one mentoring from GB MET’s Widening Participation team to support individuals to access suitable FE/HE courses and other progression opportunities.   This will form part of an Action Research project supported by a lead academic at the University to identify attitudinal shifts to education and tracking the participants to monitor and evaluate the impact of the interventions.

Sussex Writes

University of Sussex, Little Green Pig, Beacon Academy

This project connects the School of English with local schools via an undergraduate and postgraduate student-led creative writing workshop in local classrooms to provide support and development for students in Years 9-11 who are working towards the writing assessment in GCSE examinations. Sussex Writes and Little Green Pig (LGP) have established a joint mission: to provide fun, creative and excellent learning experiences for everyone – whether a young person, a customer, a volunteer, a teacher or a parent; we also share the same core values: a belief that all young people can be writers and that it supports their learning and development; that volunteers are a core part of our joint project; that target schools, teachers and families are our essential partners; that our activities are inclusive, accessible, inspiring and delivered by those with enthusiasm, talent and commitment.

For further information about any of these initiatives, please email our Mentoring Programme Manager Debra Vice-Holt