With Christmas and New Year over, it can only mean one thing – the release of the Outreach and Widening Participation team’s Annual Report! Last year was the first time we produced this and we’re happy to share with you all again how the last year went for us. This time round we wanted to focus on the different types of outreach we offer, and the impact these programmes can have on young people from widening participation (WP) backgrounds.
What’s been happening?
Let’s start with the programmes we invite young people to apply to, some run over the course of one year (Pre-16 US in Schools Mentoring), others over two (Post-16 Discover Programme), some over three (Pre-16 Discover US). We run these programmes because evidence shows engagement with WP students over a long period of time has the greatest impact on their aspirations and attainment.
They kick off with welcome events, where students come along with their families and are introduced to the programmes . Our Discover programmes offer a summer school and all programmes finish off with a graduation style evening to celebrate all the hard work students have put in.
We also recognise the benefits of specialist programmes, so we offer primary school students the Cool to be Clever Club; and care experienced young people the Building Learning Power Club. Both programmes focus on providing activities throughout the school year to those involved. This year, C2BCC participants went to see Fantastic Mr Fox at the Lyceum theatre, this cultural experience along with other activities aimed to build confidence and encourage independence.
Why does it matter?
We’ve been able to shout about the impact of our Discover Programmes this year, as we have seen some great examples of where Pre-16 DiscoverUS participants have been accepted to the Post-16 Discover programme.
We’ve also ‘discovered’ that a significant number of our Post-16 Discover participants ended up enrolling at universities, including the University of Sheffield, in 2017.
It’s important we track students we work with where we can, because we want to see what impact the activities have had on their journey through education and where we can improve to increase impact – with the aim of contributing to the theory that #OutreachWorks.
Keeping communication with teachers and prospective students open is what makes outreach work possible, without the engagement with our offer we’d struggle to inform and engage interested schools, colleges and students. We’ve revamped our web-pages (www.sheffield.ac.uk/outreach) and you can download our Annual Report at this webpage.
Vicky Peace, Outreach Officer (Data & Communications)