A pioneering outreach programme run by Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) has been nominated for a NEON Widening Access Initiative (Outreach) Award.

The Inspiring Minds project, which is now entering its sixth year, has now become the flagship outreach programme at CCCU and has been hailed as an example of good practice in outreach by government reports.

Working with local schools with a high proportion of UniConnect students, Inspiring Minds was designed to raise aspirations and demystify higher education (HE), as well as build awareness and develop an interest in STEM, increase GCSE attainment and give confidence to students in their ability to progress to HE and aspire to a high achieving career.

Data collected as part of the project shows a significant shift in attitudes towards HE and STEM and improved KS4 attainment, especially in English, Maths and Science. Nearly 70% of participants agreed that taking part encouraged them to explore HE.

Inspiring Minds – aimed at Year 10 students – is funded by the Kent and Medway Collaborative Outreach Programme (KaMCOP), part of the national UniConnect project.

Teachers have described it as “an excellent project for introducing students to higher-level thinking and empowering them to be able to access material they wouldn’t have normally thought they could”.

The NEON Awards celebrate success in widening access to higher education (HE) work. The Awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday 11th May from 2 pm to 4 pm.

Lucy King

27 Apr 2022

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