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Improving life chances for students Improving access to University Brunel rising to the Challenge Professor Valsa Koshy

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Presentation on theme: "Improving life chances for students Improving access to University Brunel rising to the Challenge Professor Valsa Koshy"— Presentation transcript:

1 Improving life chances for students Improving access to University Brunel rising to the Challenge Professor Valsa Koshy

2 Background Local Authority - concern for the waste of potential and the need for interventions in 1999 Excellence in Cities Excellence in Cities - Gifted and Talented programme, targeting UK cities - Urban Local Authorities, creation of 5 to 10% Gifted and Talented cohorts and enhanced provision Widening Participation Widening Participation Aimhigher Initiatives Aimhigher Initiatives

3 The intervention Specific objectives Design and evaluate a 4-year intervention programme to raise students’ academic achievement and aspirations, taking into account the on- going gathering of data. Construct a model for wider use, which could be replicated by practitioners in different settings. The proposed model could directly impact on policy and practice.

4 Our beliefs We believe that submerged talent exists in areas in urban areas. Our teaching experience and findings from previous projects had shown that potential was present but had not fully developed. Central to our belief in setting up of this project was the perspective of schools in these areas were not being intellectual deserts. Aspects of pop culture, suppressive peer-group pressure as well as capped aspirations seemed to be preventing youngsters from achieving their full potential.

5 What did we do? 20 then 60 students (12 years old - for 4 years) 20 then 60 students (12 years old - for 4 years) Recruited from state schools - lower income, potential to achieve Recruited from state schools - lower income, potential to achieve Saturdays on the Brunel University campus Saturdays on the Brunel University campus Expansion of student numbers and LAs Expansion of student numbers and LAs First cohort -

6 Expansion of programme Participating Local Authorities and schools 33 schools from 9 LAs (600 students)

7 Selection Criteria Ability or Potential to embark on University studies. An entitlement to free school meals including students who have recently been removed from this category. Parents not having had opportunities for higher education. A flair for one or more dispositions; analytical thinking, creative and imaginative responses often evident as the ability to solve problems. A street-wise maturity, which may not necessarily manifest in academic performance, but may be strengthened by being supported by the programme.

8 A first attempt at programme design

9 Issues affecting academic underachievement Inappropriate curricular experiences Absence of opportunity to develop appropriate school workhabits School environment peers – not cool to be smart Home environment – lack of self-regulation and discipline Inconsistent role models Minimal parental support and guidance Research from the USA (Reis et al) Refinement of programme

10 Realistic plans for the future Strong sense of self- efficacy Supportive adults: teachers, mentors and coaches Self-Belief and resilience Parental expectations and academic guidance Academically challenging sessions Some principles of the re-designed intervention

11 Messages Education is at the core of an enlightened and fulfilling life There is room at the top for you There is no need to accept mediocrity

12 Programme components Development of Critical Thinking Undergraduate mentors Subject-specific teaching Problem solving Family and Families days Career advice and CV’s Personal research projects Outside speakers

13 Involvement of users Comparator group set up All components evaluated External scrutiny A Design research approach and set up as a research-site

14 Questionnaires Interviews Tutor observations and logs Parents ’ questionnaires Written evaluations National tests results Student trajectories Interviews with school co-ordinators Data sources

15 Outcomes Enhanced confidence University entrance numbers Role of mentors University Campus influence Changes in academic results Change in the perception that ‘ University is not for us ’ ! Importance of making parents as active partners and providing parental support The need to establish a parent – teacher – University and businesses quartet The need for longer, sustained programmes

16 Impact on Policy Media Research conferences in the USA, Europe and the UK Publications of Urban Scholars Toolkit A teaching and curriculum model Impact and Acknowledgements

17 So, We will continue to create a level playing field – reducing the humps and removing the ditches into which many of our children tend to fall. With extended numbers With younger scholars and their parents With a larger network of schools and Universities


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