Project Overview
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Project Overview

About Advancing Access

Advancing Access is a partnership between 24 leading universities working with schools and colleges to support students' progression to leading universities. We do this by providing free high-quality resources, online and offline CPD conferences, CPD sessions delivered in schools and colleges and a regularly updated blog. We support teachers and careers advisers to guide young people who are making their key stage 4, key stage 5 and university choices. 

We want to help more learners, particularly those from under-represented groups, to go on to study at leading universities. We aim to do this by providing teachers and advisers with information and support to improve their understanding of what these universities are looking for and how the admission process works. Through our online offering, our coverage extends to every corner of the UK and we especially target those in more remote areas such as rural or coastal regions and parts of the country with limited access to the outreach activities offered by our Russell Group university partners. 

We want to build on this existing provision by providing an easy-to-access, free online platform that will enable school and college staff to obtain information and advice whenever they need it.

Background to Advancing Access

Advancing Access was established as part of the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCO) scheme which was an initiative of what was then called the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). This aimed to encourage more young people into higher education.

The project was set up to complement and add value to the work of NNCO by identifying a particular issue – progression to leading universities. We therefore aim to provide specific support to schools and colleges with lower levels of progression to the highly selective universities. Advancing Access was launched as a pilot under the NNCO scheme in September 2016. 

While developing Advancing Access, we visited schools and colleges to find out more about what continuing professional development (CPD) is available, where the gaps in information are, and what extra support we could offer. 

In particular, we wanted to understand how those currently providing information and guidance (IAG) relating to key stage 4, key stage 5 and post-18 decision-making are supported by professional development.

The CPD strands we have developed are a direct result of these conversations.

The NNCO scheme ended in December 2016 and our university partners now fund the Advancing Access programme directly. The pilot phase ended at the point of the project's full launch in May 2017.