Linking London | News | 10 May 2016: Event Report - Linking London NNCO One Year On: Working collaboratively to support learner progression to HE

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Linking London NNCO One Year On: Working collaboratively to support learner progression to HE

This event celebrated a year since Linking London officially started its Network of Collaborative Outreach (NCO) as part of the HEFCE funded NNCO scheme. Over the afternoon collaborative projects from the past year were highlighted, and delegates were encouraged to discuss ways of continuing the network’s joint efforts after the scheme ends this December.


The first presentation of the afternoon came from HEFCE’s Gemma Cadogan and Leyla Bagherti , who discussed the history of the NNCO scheme, and provided details of the mapping work HEFCE have carried out. Challenges and positive outcomes of the project nationally were discussed. The newHEFCE NCOP project was also explored, and the more target nature of the newly announced scheme was emphasised. Delegates queried what impact the new Degree Apprenticeships would have on HEFCE’S participation mapping, HEFCE responded that the impact will depend on the extent to which Apprenticeships transform the HE sector going forward.

Karina Berzins from Continuum followed with an introduction to the work of the ‘Reaching Out’ projects, and an exploration of how outreach activities impact HE Progression. Karina focused on the data mapping work from the survey results of the research project, which aims to chart the type and frequency of outreach in London and examine the data for patterns.  Findings included the discovery that the bulk of outreach focuses on years 12 and 13 and that campus visits and ‘gifted & talented’ programmes are the most popular type of outreach activity. Karina then showed delegates the interactive maps that have been produced and asked for feedback on which data would be of most use to practitioners when looking up school and college profiles

After a short break Debi Hayes and Yvonne Beauchamp talked about GSM London’s strengths-based education project, which aims to support learners by highlighting the natural talents of each student, then strengthening them over the course of their educational journey. The project started last October and has been embedded into the institution’s curriculum with the aim of improving retention and future employability. GSM are offering training on the strengths-based approach to the network and highlighted the importance of qualitative feedback in their ongoing evaluation of the project.

Next, delegates heard from Kiran Rami and Judith O’Neil on how Uxbridge College supports vocational learners, and how network partnerships have aided their student progression. After an introduction to the college, Kiran highlighted the importance of parental support – Uxbridge produce a progression factsheet for parents, and offer one-to-one IAG sessions for parents, enabling them to be better informed, and to aid their child in their progression. Judith discussed the Uxbridge to Brunel Programme, which is designed to smooth the transition from FE to HE, and Kiran detailed the NNCO project launching with Kingston university to help transition to HE for BTEC Engineering students.

Sharon Perera then spoke to attendees about two online resources that Greenwich University has developed to support learners. GetAhead is aimed at work based learners and offers advice on progression via a mobile-friendly platform. ‘Planning my Future’ is targeted at Level 3 learners, and consists of both an online resource and an electronic workbook, which is designed to assist students with course choices based on their career ambitions. Sharon invited delegates to participate in the pilot of both projects, and encouraged attendees to register their interest or contact her with any feedback.

Emily Harber (Linking London NNCO Project Officer) drew attendees attention to the newly launched adviser website HECAIL (Higher Education College Advisers in London) and reminded delegates of the upcoming NNCO Conference on 23rd June. Emily also reported to attendees on Linking London NNCO’s student ambassador scheme, as well as the online personal statement checking service which was piloted with City of Westminster College in the winter term of this academic year. Simon Blackmore (City of Westminster College) informed delegates on the success of the personal statement support, which received very positive feedback from staff and students. Emily invited HEIs to get involved in the service – explaining that their input would add value to the support scheme. A portal is being created on the HECAIL site which should improve the service further, and interested FECs were asked to contact Emily.

Andrew Jones (Deputy Director, Linking London) closed the event by relaying details of additional projects Linking London are working on, and the promise that attendee contact details would be shared to encourage future collaborative outreach.

Thank you to everyone that attended and contributed to the event. We look forward to continuing this work into the coming months ahead.

Presentations from the day:

Gemma Cadogan, HEFCE

Leyla Bagherli, HEFCE

Karina Berzins, Continuum the Centre for Widening Participation Policy Studies

Debi Hayes and Yvonne Beauchamp, GSM London

Kiran Rami and Judith O’Neil, Uxbridge College

Simon Blackmore, City of Westminster College


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