New campaign launched to encourage students to aim Higher

A new scheme to encourage parents and young people to set their sights on Higher Education has been launched today (Monday).

Pathways is a partnership funded by the Office for Students as part of their Uni Connect Programme. The University of Leicester leads this collaboration which includes Loughborough University, DMU, Leicester College and Loughborough College.

The campaign seeks to inform and encourage the parents and carers of children that are typically less likely to continue in education past the age of 18, despite achieving the grades to do so.

It de-bunks common myths about Higher Education being unaffordable, or not important. The regional campaign features real quotes and voices from parents and carers who changed their mind about their child continuing their education post-18 once they had more information and their questions were answered.

Dr Elizabeth Jones, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education at the University of Leicester, said:

“This is a fantastic and much-needed campaign – too many talented young people miss out on the opportunity to continue into Higher Education because of common misconceptions and a lack of information.

“The University of Leicester continuously strives to widen participation and improve access to Higher Education – this is more important than ever in our Centenary year.

“We look forward to working with our partners to ensure that those students that wish to come to University can do so.”

Nationally, only 18% of all graduates were the first in their family to complete higher education. Drop-out rates amongst students who are the first in their family to go into higher education are much higher than for students who have a parent that achieved HE.

Mark Clayton, 60, is father to two sons who have now completed university studies, and is a parent ambassador for the scheme. He said:

“I was extremely lucky because I worked for a time at a university before my two sons started in Higher Education, so knew how student finance worked. However, many parents don’t and it can be scary.

“That is one of the reasons I wanted to become a parent ambassador to break down the myths and make sure all parents know exactly how student finance works so they can help their children make decisions based on fact.

“Another big worry for us as parents was whether our sons would make friends and fit in with others. Trust me, that worry is soon replaced by whether they have enough time with all their socialising to do the work needed to get a degree!”

The University of Leicester also provides academic and digital learning support for new students through the HeadStart programme. Resources designed by the University’s Digital Learning Innovation Team, with contribution from the Academic Skills Centre, provide informal opportunities for new students to learn about University study.

HeadStart resources are available online and accessible to students for the duration of their studies.

To find out more about the Pathways campaign, visit pathwaystohe.ac.uk/guardians.

For more information on HeadStart, visit le.ac.uk/study/headstart.