Bedford schools sign up to project to help get students into top universities

Partners include the University of Bedfordshire along with Oxford and Cambridge

Bedford schools have signed up to a project to help more of their students gain university places.

The project, Raising Sixth Form Aspirations, aims to increase the number of young people from across the county securing places at some of the country’s leading universities and improve the chances of students going to both traditional and modern universities, as well as gaining places on top medical and veterinary science courses and higher-level degree apprenticeship schemes.

And among the 12 schools to have signed up are: Mark Rutherford School, Bedford; Wootton Upper School and Kimberley College, Biddenham International School and Sports College and Redborne Upper School and Community College, Ampthill.

Students throw their caps in the air ahead of their graduation ceremony. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The three-year project is the brainchild of Professor Lee Hubbard, Head of Academia at Samuel Whitbread Academy in Clifton, which is part of the Bedfordshire Schools Trust (BEST).

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The schools will get grants of £3,000 per year from sponsor the Connolly Foundation – and partner institutions include the University of Bedfordshire, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Cranfield University and Cranfield’s MK:U platform. Further support and resources will be provided by BEST and the Meridian Trust.

Professor Hubbard will be leading the project alongside Yvonne Ashby, Head of Careers at the Wootton Academy Trust, and Nigel Croft, Education Consultant and formerly Head Teacher of Redborne Upper School.

Professor Hubbard said: “The aim is to help to raise the aspirations of our young people, improve their personal statements and interview skills, as well as their communication, organisation and problem-solving techniques.”

The project was officially launched at a special event held at the University of Bedfordshire earlier this month, attended by head teachers and sixth form leaders from participating schools. Work will get under way in earnest in the new academic year in September.

David Seaton, Assistant Director of Student Recruitment & Admissions at the University of Bedfordshire, said: “We’re extremely proud to be supporting our local schools and colleges through this collaboration. It will give prospective students the opportunity to access higher education in their home region and inform them of the variety of learning and apprenticeship paths they can choose to experience, which will all help towards their future careers.”

The University has committed to working closely with schools to ensure students have a clear route to attending the institution.