He said that he did not really want to do anything when he left school. However, after attending IntoUniversity for a few months, Kansan’s attitude to his GCSEs improved markedly. He became much more focused during sessions, sitting away from his friends in order to get his work done.
So, who is IntoUniversity?
IntoUniversity North Liverpool, in partnership with the University of Liverpool, aims to accelerate aspiration and achievement for young people in Anfield aged 7-18. Each young person receives tailored support, including after-school academic support, focused workshops, and personal mentoring to achieve a university place or similar. The project addresses the wide educational and social achievement gap in the UK.
Only 1 in 40 children from the poorest families will progress to a top university, compared to 1 in 4 from the wealthiest families. Compounded with low levels of educational attainment, children from disadvantaged backgrounds are five times more likely to live in poverty throughout their lives.
By offering academic support to young people, IntoUniversity hopes to encourage young people to consider university as an option that is open to them. The value of academic support is particularly crucial as the children enter secondary school. The Liverpool ONE Foundation have supported IntoUniversity with a four year grant to support young people to achieve their potential.
Moving forward with a positive attitude
As a result of Kasan’s attendance at IntoUniversity, one of his teaching assistants at school commented that he had observed a turnaround in Kansan’s attitude in school. Kansan has started to think more about his future. Recently, his P.E. teacher has gave him information on apprenticeships for physiotherapy for when he finishes Sixth Form. He is now aiming to get a placement at LFC or another football club. Kansan also wants to do performing arts at Sixth Form and is working hard to gain a distinction. One of the most exciting moments for him since being involved with IntoUniversity is getting a part in the school play.
“My life’s completely changed. I used to go out with friends all the time. Now I’m revising a lot, going over things and recapping them. The thing I’m most proud of is getting a part in Grease…People have been really supportive. In half term, I’m going to revision and rehearsals.” Kansan.
Kansan is not the only one to benefit from the IntoUniversity North Liverpool programme. Over the past year, they have supported 1,114 students via its various programmes, including 138 students who benefited from regular academic support. Of those students engaging with IntoUniversity North, 82% reported that they were working better at school as a result of Academic Support and 74% saw improved school grades. 73% were more likely to go to university as a result of activities at the centre, and 76% were more likely to achieve their career goals as a result.
Challenges around Covid-19
During 2020 IntoUniversity had to close their Anfield centre due to Covid-19, and transfer their support online. They started primarily focusing on pastoral support before moving to more structured academic support calls. Most support was focused on the telephone so as not to rely on internet access, which not all young people have. For primary school students, the focus was on completing mini learning challenges, fun games and arts-based activities. For secondary school students independent learning and thinking was encouraged by directing students toward learning resources and helping to plan homework and structure their time. Mentoring continued and Future Readiness challenges (something that normally took place at the centre) were issued each week. For Year 12 & 13 student support was put in place for personal statement writing, UCAS guidance, and mock interview practice for students applying and preparing for University.
“Thank you for phoning us, I feel really lucky to be in this country, to be in this community, I feel that we are not alone, I really appreciate your support, that you are still open, working hard, touching in with other families.” Parent.
“I am so grateful that IntoUniversity is here to offer us support even when schools have shut. It makes an enormous difference to our lives, and has helped to maintain a routine for my child.” Parent.
Liverpool ONE Foundation awards grants to community groups and charities who work to support young people’s mental health. The Foundation is managed by CFLM. Find out more here.