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UEA and The Brilliant Club host conference on HE access

Key education thinkers and school teachers from across the East of England region are coming together next Tuesday, 10th May for a half-day conference on improving the chances for local pupils to progress to the UK’s leading universities.

The free conference has been organised by the University of East Anglia and educational access charity The Brilliant Club, in order to build on the work they are doing to increase opportunities for young people in the region. Local teachers and headteachers, charities, policy makers and local authority members are all expected to attend to join the conversation, addressing the question of how we encourage our bright young people to go on to further education. The aim of the event, which is entitled ‘Widening access to selective universities: An East Region perspective’, is to promote organisations working together to solve the issue of unequal access to university.

Currently, whilst around 48% of privately educated children go on to study at a highly-selective university, only 18% of state school children do, and this drops to just 2% for pupils eligible for free school meals.  In the East region, university attendance for young people ranges from 26% in Thurrock to 45% in Hertfordshire. This compares to 61% in Greater London.

Over the course of the afternoon, delegates will hear the thoughts of high profile speakers including Prof David Richardson, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Tom Levinson, the Head of Widening Participation at the University of Cambridge, and Andrew Cook, Ofsted’s Regional Director for the East of England. Sessions will focus on the challenges and solutions possible to assist more children from the East of England in applying for and attending selective universities. These include the difficulties faced by rural and coastal schools, useful methods for encouraging a passion for learning in children, and discussion of what has worked well in schools in the past. Steph Hamilton, The Brilliant Club’s East of England Regional Director, said, ‘I am really looking forward to the opportunity to discuss these important issues with the key widening access practitioners in the region, and to think about the ways that we can raise the numbers of pupils in the East of England going on to the UK’s most selective higher education institutions.’

The conference takes place on 10th May from 3-5.30pm, at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, with refreshments and registration at 2.30pm.