Pounds 2m Higher Education Push

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Byline: JOANNE ATKINSON

MORE people from Wales are to be encouraged to go to university with a pounds 2m boost from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wa

es The HEFCW will use the additional pounds 2m to establish four partnerships across Wales under the banner ``Reaching Higher - Reaching Wider.''

Every higher education institution in Wales will be involved in a partnership that will bring together groupings of higher and further education institutions to work closely with schools and community and voluntary groups.

They will focus their efforts on some of the most deprived communities in Wales.

The partnerships will pioneer new and exciting developments and build on current activities such as summer university programmes to give 17 and 18-year-olds the confidence and extra push to see them into higher education, backed up by continuing support during the school or college year.

They will be engaging in a variety of activities, not just with GCSE students, but also to raise standards and attainment at Key Stage 3 and earlier.

The partnerships are also looking to involve students and parents to show that learning is fun and to plant the idea that going to university is a perfectly normal thing to do.

Jane Davidson, Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning, said, ``I am delighted with these responses for the additional pounds 2m which the Welsh Assembly Government has made available to support widening participation in higher education.

``Making higher education accessible to everybody in Wales who has the potential to benefit is one of the cornerstones of our vision for Wales.

``We need people to use their skills, knowledge, drive and creativity at full capacity to make Wales a prosperous and confident nation.'' Higher education institutions in Wales already have a consistent track record in outperforming UK averages in attracting a wide social mix of students and of working with groups and communities which are under-represented in higher education.

This track record was highlighted by the recently-published UK performance indicators which showed that 91% of young full-time students at Welsh higher education institutions attended state schools or colleges compared to a UK average of 86%. …