University of Exeter staff have been nominated for prestigious national awards for their work with thousands of young people around the country to boost social mobility.
The organisation is a finalist in the Leadership of the Year and University of the Year categories in the UK Social Mobility Awards.
This is in recognition of supporting sustained improvements in widening access to higher education and helping pupils to realise their potential regardless of background.
This includes new University of Exeter initiatives to improve access to higher education as well as support to help mitigate the negative impact of the cost of living crisis for students.
The UK Social Mobility Awards recognise and celebrate UK organisations that are making strides and creating initiatives to advance social mobility within their own workforce or beyond it. Organised by societal change charity, Making The Leap, the SOMOs were the first national awards dedicated to social mobility.
Nicola Sinclair, Head of Access, Participation and Outreach and Director (Practice) of the Centre for Social Mobility, said: “It’s wonderful to have recognition of the considerable support we provide to schools and colleges around the country, and our commitment to widening participation and boosting social mobility. We would like to thank all those involved in our programmes, and the dedicated teachers in schools and colleges who make them possible.”
Tim Quine, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Education and Student Experience, said: “The pursuit of equality of opportunity lies at the heart of the University’s 2030 strategy and our commitment to ‘Success for All’. This has captured the imagination and passion of colleagues across the University and all will be delighted by this independent recognition”.
The new South West Social Mobility Commission has brought together employers, politicians and experts to build strategies for tackling systemic disadvantage and influencing organisational decision-making across the region. This includes a in-school literacy tutoring programme involving undergraduate students working to support Year 8 students in Exeter.
The University of Exeter’s Mature Access Pathway has been set up to bridge the gap to higher education for mature college students and support them as they think about their next steps. The programme, run collaboratively with Exeter College, involves talks, workshops, online content and on campus experiences.
This year around 1,000 children have taken part in the University of Exeter’s fair access schemes including Exeter Scholars, Realising Opportunities and Pathways to Law, which are designed to give them the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to progress to higher education.
In addition staff and academics have worked with a further 4,500 learners in teaching enrichment workshops, subject conferences and skills sessions in schools. A total of 2,500 students from 154 schools have taken part in the University of Exeter’s open access online outreach platform, Discover University.
The Exeter Cares scheme offers practical, financial and wellbeing support for mature, care experienced and estranged students, asylum seekers and student carers.
The Success for All programme aims to address inequities at each stage of the student journey, from pupil attainment and accessing higher education.
Measures to minimise the impact of the cost of living crisis for University of Exeter students includes an increase in student financial support, cheap meals and groceries in university outlets, free sanitary products, low cost and free extra-curricular and sporting activities, and community larders.The winners of this year’s UK Social Mobility Awards will be determined by an independent judging panel, made up of leading figures from business, charity, and the public sector. The judging panel is chaired by the HM Lord Lieutenant of London, Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE. Winners will be announced at an in-person awards gala at on Thursday 12th October 2023.