Widening participation programme wins award

Realising Opportunities, a scheme to widen access to higher education involving Leeds and 11 other research-intensive universities, has received national recognition at an awards ceremony.


The Times Higher Awards recognise the achievements of the university sector across the country and this year's winners were announced on 24 November.

The prize for 'Widening Participation Initiative of the Year' went to the Realising Opportunities programme, a collaboration of 12 leading universities, including Leeds, committed to increasing the recruitment of bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds

The programme provides summer schools, academic tutors, online study skills classes and e-mentoring by current undergraduate students to encourage teenagers who are "most able, least likely" to apply to university.

Over 500 year 12 and 13 students targeted from educationally and socially disadvantaged backgrounds have been supported so far through the Realising Opportunities programme.

Presenting the prize the judges at the Times Higher Awards said: "This is an innovative national partnership showing evidence of real impact and great potential. The use of e-mentoring by current students provides a real link with prospective students and has resulted in increased application rates to targeted courses. The obvious success of the project for all concerned indicates that the partnership will be developed in the future."

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