The Inspiring Minds (the University’s flagship outreach programme) has won the prestigious NEON Widening Access Initiative (Outreach) Award 2022. Inspiring Minds is a sustained engagement STEM Outreach programme that has been conceived and delivered out of a deep partnership between the School and College Engagement Team and LASAR. The programme is an innovative researched-informed and research-engaged approach to outreach activity grounded in an epistemic insight approach to STEM education and a commitment to broadening pathways to STEM at HE.
Built around informal science learning and aimed at filling a skills and gender gap in STEM, the programme has also been used as evidence in a government report to show how outreach interventions raise aspirations and develop confidence in students and enable a true levelling-up agenda.
Data collected shows how the initiative is having demonstrable success and a significant positive impact on the aspiration and attainment of students participating.
Following the programme:
- participants were 26% more likely to achieve a 9 to 4 pass in Maths (64%) than the non-participant group (38%)
- 7% more likely to achieve a 9 to 4 pass in Science (32%) than the non-participant group (24%)
- 13% more likely to achieve a 9-4 pass in English and Maths (45%) than the non-participant group (32%)
- 64% agreed that the activities left them feeling motivated to study STEM post 16
- 68% agreed that taking part encouraged them to explore Higher Education (HE)
- 75% felt the projects helped them understand the links between science and other subjects.
“This pioneering programme show how outreach interventions can raise aspirations and develop confidence in students. The success of this project has only been possible because of the collaboration between outstanding academics and dedicated colleagues and student ambassadors who work with our local schools and colleges, and we look forward to working with many more, especially as we are now expanding Inspiring Minds to work with more year groups.”Stefan Colley, Canterbury Christ Church University KaMCOP Project Manager
Congratulations to Finley Lawson and the LASAR Centre and Stefan Colley and the Christ Church KaMCOP team who have designed, delivered, and researched the impact of this programme over the last four years. The NEON Awards celebrate the transformative power that HE can have and recognises key achievements in widening access to higher education, raising attainment, and enabling social mobility. This award recognises the impact of cross-department collaboration, and that the successes for the participating pupils and the programme would not have been possible without the expertise of both teams.
The Awards ceremony was held on Wednesday 11 May at Portcullis House, Westminster and Finley and Stefan accepted the award on behalf of the University.
Follow the team on Twitter @LASARcentre / @SCE_CCCU / @KMPFederation