Some schools have very few students in their upper school who come from less-advantaged backgrounds. For others it may be the majority of their students who are in receipt of Free School Meals or who would be the first in their family to apply to university. There are no schools, however, with zero pupils in the pupil premium category. That means that every school, really every school in the country, stands to benefit from reading this new Widening Access toolkit.
Destination University is full of hints and advice about how to support applications to high-tariff universities for young people who are less-advantaged or face significant barriers to higher education.
The online resource (3.94 MB) first published in March 2022 has been nearly 12 months in the making and it comes as a result of genuine and extensive collaboration of schools, colleges, universities and third sector organisations.
The online booklet will be helpful for Headteachers, Deputy Headteachers, Heads of Sixth Form, Heads of Careers and those who support the UCAS process. Many of the tips included will be common sense for those who have spent a number of years working to encourage less-advantaged young people to apply to university, but it is often a relatively junior member of staff who is the Head of Year 10 or the Head of Careers and, as such, who plays a massive role in guiding pupils and laying the groundwork for the university application which may follow in Year 13.
What makes this collaboration stand out from the crowd is that it is a truly cross-sector partnership. The 30 contributors are state school headteachers, CEOs of social mobility charities, three universities, six current university students and a handful of independent school headteachers have written too.
Twenty-first century school leaders across the entire education sector believe in the value of an excellent education for all. They often see themselves as agents of social mobility for their pupils, and they are prepared to work together for the good of their pupils. Destination University is a great example of many people working together for the good of our whole society. It contains practical hints and tips which will be helpful whatever setting we work in.
Sarah Atkinson (CEO of the Social Mobility Foundation)