Page 54


BREAKING DOWN THE BARRIERS How an education charity is paving the way into university for children of all backgrounds Nana, Mentee IntoUniversity Hammersmith

Sam, Mentee IntoUniversity Hammersmith

Interview with Lizzie Boyce, Corporate Partnerships Officer at IntoUniversity. Feature sponsored by DMH Stallard What does IntoUniversity do?

most effective ways to increase young people’s

became an independent charity. Now we have

Lizzie Boyce (LB): IntoUniversity is an

aspirations is through early intervention. We

21 centres in seven cities, and we’re working

education charity which runs a network of

take the children to universities when they’re

towards a goal of 33 centres in ten UK cities.

local learning centres based in underprivileged

in primary school, helping them to learn about

communities. Through the centres we support

different careers, what careers you would need

disadvantaged young people to reach their full

a degree for, what careers you would not, so

potential and raise their aspirations. We do

that at a really early age they are starting to

that through our innovative programme, which

understand what university is and why people

gaps in attainment between schools and many

consists of three strands: academic support,

go. Going to a university allows them see it for

students we work might not speak English at

mentoring and the FOCUS programme that we

themselves, and they can see that it’s actually

home. Just living in a home where there is no

run closely with local partner schools.

just a normal place where anyone can go if they

knowledge of university can be a barrier; a lot

want to study for a degree. It normalises that

of the young people we work with don’t know

aspiration for them.

anybody, apart from their teacher and their

As your name suggests, is the target to get young people into university? LB: We recognise that in the United Kingdom

How did it start? LB: We have two founders, Dr Rachel Carr and

What are the main barriers to inclusion? LB: It’s a mixture of things. There are big

doctor, who’ve been to university. They might not know anyone particularly close to them who actually works. In a more middle-class

going to university opens a lot of doors for

Dr Hugh Rayment-Pickard; in 2002 Rachel and

family the parents are talking to children about

people and we believe this opportunity should

Hugh were both involved in a local community

university and about what they do for their

be available to everyone who has the ability to

project in North Kensington, an area of social

careers from a young age.

succeed in Higher Education, whatever their

and economic extremes. They noticed that there

background. Our centres support students to

were a lot of wealthy people with skills and

learn about what university is, why someone

professional expertise, and there were children

would go and what the benefits are. If they

living on that side of the street whose future

decide to not go to university, we want it to

outcomes looked completely different to those

the most unlikely to reach their full potential,

be because they decide that it’s not the right

growing up on the other side of the street. They

and we do that through working with young

choice for them, and not because they think

put the two together and ran a homework club at

people who meet certain criteria. If a student

that it’s an option that is not available to them.

The Clement James Centre, where the students

is on free school meals or they’re living in

from the local estate could come and receive

council housing, that gives an indicator of the

support, and it spiralled from there. In 2007 we

income of the family. Our other main criteria

We start working with students at the age of seven. There is evidence showing one of the


How do you decide which pupils need help? LB: We target students in the UK who are


The widest-read business publication in the South East. Covering International Trade, Legal Issues, Accountancy, Wealth Management, Business...