University wins praise from regulator after showcasing its student support partnerships

Image Credit: Office for Students

The University of Leicester has been praised for how it works with educational partners to provide opportunities and support to students. 

John Blake, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students, visited the University to see its partnerships in action. He spoke to those leading the projects and was presented with a series of interactive examples to demonstrate first-hand how the work is supporting and inspiring young people.

Staff from New College Leicester spoke about the Students in Classrooms project – a scheme where university students work with young people in local schools to motivate pupils and help them to realise their full potential. The project continued throughout lockdown and students at both the University and College said they benefitted from the experience. Mr Blake also spoke to those involved with the UniConnect partnership in Leicester, which encourages parents and young people to set their sights on Higher Education, before hearing about the University’s holisitic approach to engaging young people through its partnership with The Mead Educational Trust.

Dr Frank Neumann, Associate Professor in Mathematics and Nick Cave from FSO, delivered a talk on the University’s STEM Progression Programme and Dr Suzie Imber, Associate Professor in Space Physics, demonstrated the Open Space Physics KS2 Kits and the developing outreach relationship with Space Park Leicester. This included a practical experiment to launch a bottle rocket from the Fielding Johnson Building lawn.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Vice-President and Chancellor, said: 

“I was delighted to welcome John to the University campus to show him some of the vitally important projects that are supporting students into and through higher education and to listen to his plans for the Office for Students. I also want to thank our partners at New College Leicester for engaging in the discussions with John. It is crucial that universities and schools work collaboratively to support young people in our city and I am proud of the work that is being achieved through these partnerships.”

The visit provided an opportunity to discuss the University of Leicester’s long-standing commitment to outreach and widening participation, making education accessible to all, which has been recognised by numerous awards. The most recent example of this is the University’s nomination in the Outreach and Widening Participation category at the 2022 Whatuni Student Choice Awards.

On his return to London, John Blake tweeted:

“This was a fantastic visit. Many thanks to all the colleagues, from the university, from UniConnect and from partner schools, for sharing their enthusiasm and expertise. Great stuff.”