What is the Explore University project?

Explore University is a collaborative partnership in the North West Midlands between four Higher Education Institutions: Harper Adams, Wolverhampton, Keele and Staffordshire. The partnership aims to widen participation in higher education and raise the aspiration and attainment of younger learners identified through working in partnership with eight identified primary schools in the first instance.

Who is involved in the project?

Each University will choose two local schools to work with and will be part of a collaborative partnership involving students in Years 5 and 6 at the eight targeted schools, identified as widening participation (through the percentage of free school meals in school, the index of multiple deprivation and their POLAR 4 data.)

The first 5 year long project has now been completed, with huge success and we are now moving on to the second stage of the project (Starting December 2019), with new partner schools, which have already been identified. In the meantime, schools not directly involved in this project can still benefit from outreach and widening participation initiatives delivered by their local university. Please visit the contact us page to contact a member of the team directly with any questions.

What does the school need to do?

The school will need to nominate one or two key members of staff to be able to liaise with the key contact at their local university. They will need to be able to arrange four dates in the academic diary at certain points over the two years (see timeline) both in and out of school. Schools will be asked to help to identify students who are specifically at risk of not fully considering Higher Education because of their circumstances, for example no family background of participation in HE, disability, looked after background or low perceptions.

We will also ask the schools to help to evaluate the success of Explore University through a number of ways including:

  • Initial written and verbal feedback from students about an activity
  • Teacher feedback on perceived success of individual activities
  • Submission of accurate information on student participant
  • Support for on-going longitudinal evaluation and the tracking progression destinations of participants.

"The activities were practical and have helped to develop an understanding of subjects such as forensics and Raspberry Pi - after the Road Show the children were thinking much more about the idea of university."

Elizabeth Hector
Teacher at Harpfield Primary Academy
Attended Explore University Year 6 Road Show at Staffordshire University