Blackburn College has hosted a launch event to mark the start of the partnership with the East Lancashire Scholars’ programme.
The evening event was held on September 29th in the lecture theatre in the University Centre at Blackburn College.
Around 60 students in Year 10 and Year 12 from the College and partner schools, identified as academically gifted, are taking part in a mentoring and residential programme run by Lancaster University and Villiers Park Educational Trust.
The East Lancashire Scholars Programme is the sixth to be launched and the organisers are working with six other schools across the borough to provide support to the talented and academically gifted students.
East Lancashire is considered to be one of the top 10 most deprived areas of the UK and this initiative will provide students from seven schools and colleges across the borough with targeted support.
The programme helps students to achieve the confidence, key skills and examination results needed to gain access to a top university, to thrive once there and to embark on a successful career. The students are paired with mentors from Lancaster University who regularly visit and work with the students to help them excel academically.
David Jones from Blackburn College said: “East Lancashire has a rich socio-economic mix and we are dedicated to offering the best education and support for students from all backgrounds. The East Lancashire Scholarship Programme helps to further breakdown these barriers to Higher Education and allow students to excel in their chosen field.”
Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are 2.5 times less likely to enter higher education than those from the most advantaged backgrounds. This ratio jumps at highly selective universities – with the most disadvantaged 6.8 times less likely to enter these institutions. It is crucial that closing these gaps remains a priority.
A spokesperson from Lancaster University said: “We understand that some students face a number of barriers and obstacles when considering university and are dedicated to ensuring that these students are given the right opportunities to progress into Higher Education.
“Through one-to-one mentoring, residential visits to Lancaster and Villiers Park and academic masterclasses, the Scholars Programme will provide some of the area’s most able students with the help and guidance required to ensure they are able to reach their potential and to encourage them to aspire to a top 10 university such as Lancaster.”