The National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) was developed in 2016 by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) – since merged to the Office for Students (OfS). This was in response to the Government’s ambition to double the proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering Higher Education (HE) by 2020. The programme also aims to increase by 20% the number of young people from ethnic minority groups entering HE and to address the under-representation of young white men from disadvantaged backgrounds accessing HE.
NCOP funding targets disadvantaged students in Years 9 – 13 living in identified ward areas where progression into HE is lower than expected based on GCSE attainment figures. The overall aim of NCOP is to close the gap and increase the number of learners (by a third nationally), residing in these ward areas into higher education. SLN:COP is one of 29 successful consortia funded to support intensive outreach across the whole of Sussex and is a collaborative partnership consisting of:
- HE providers
- Independent training providers
- Local Authorities
- Other organisations such as employers, third sector bodies and local enterprise partnerships.
Through NCOP funding, the consortium will seek to:
- Gain a better understanding of vulnerable groups and the barriers that they face in accessing, and remaining in higher level learning
- Provide a flexible and responsive offer, which can be tailored and offer a broad-range of activities dependent on learner need, and their families/carers/communities to enable progression into Level 4+ learning
- Offer a mixed methodology of delivery of outreach and study, with some taking place online, at school, in the community, at FE/HE, in a work environment
- Support attainment raising and skills development in young people to support and enable
- Provide access to funds to overcome practical barriers, such as transport and subsistence
- Develop sustained and progressive programmes which can reach out to young people and
support their journey through education
- Monitor and evaluate what is meaningful and effective through impact research
The SLN:COP is currently funded until July 2019.