Ambitious £9m drive to encourage disadvantaged young people into university revealed

green walls feature - Mike Page aerial picture of the University of East Anglia campus, Norwich.UEA

green walls feature - Mike Page aerial picture of the University of East Anglia campus, Norwich.UEA - Credit: Archant

An ambitious multi-million pound drive to push up the number of disadvantaged young people into higher education has today been revealed.

The government has committed £9m to the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (NEACO) scheme, which will pull together the University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), Anglia Ruskin University and both the Universities of Suffolk and Cambridge.

From January, work by NEACO - part of the national Network for Collaborative Outreach Programme - will begin to encourage more disadvantaged young people into higher education (HE). Its goals include:

• To double the proportion of disadvantaged young people in HE by 2020

• To increase the number of students from ethnic minority groups in HE by 20pc

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• To address the lack of young men from disadvantaged backgrounds in HE

The project will initially run until December 2018, though further funding to extend it until 2020 is a possibility.

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Tom Levinson, interim NEACO project manager and head of widening participation at the University of Cambridge, which will lead the scheme, said: 'This programme provides an unprecedented opportunity to widen participation to higher education and improve social mobility in East Anglia.

'The funding which the government has allocated to East Anglia recognises the fact that we have thousands of bright young people in the region with huge potential, and the ability to take their education further.'

Advisory groups in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being set up, with dozens of schools and colleges set to be included.

The programme will target and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in years nine to 13 - ages 13 to 18.

• What do you think of the project? Email

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