Raising Aspirations in Bedfordshire

A ground breaking scheme has been set up to support students in Bedfordshire aspiring to be accepted into Oxbridge and Russell Group universities.

The Connolly Foundation are giving annual grants of up £3,000 to schools to help year 12 and 13 pupils improve their chances of being accepted by the country’s leading universities as well as those aspiring to take top degree apprenticeship places.

Wadham College Oxford and Pembroke College Cambridge are part of the project, giving the chance for young people to attend two of the most prestigious seats of learning in the country. The three Bedfordshire based universities, Cranfield, Milton Keynes and the University of Bedfordshire have joined as academic partners supporting students.

They also assist with staff training and development.

Twelve secondary schools are currently signed up to the project: Wootton, Van Dyke, Harlington, Biddenham, Redborne, Stratton, Samuel Whitbread, Queensbury, Sharnbrook and Mark Rutherford, Cedars Upper School and Sandy Upper School. The funding supports the employment of experienced teachers to manage the school aspects of the project, support the students and arrange attendance at events organised by the academic partners.

Headteacher of Biddenham International School, David Bailey, said: “The importance of ensuring our students have all the skills and capabilities at the highest level cannot be overstressed.”

A successful meeting, hosted by the University of Bedfordshire and chaired by Nick Martin, Principal of Samuel Whitbread Academy, was held recently, with the participating head teachers and leaders of 6th forms to officially open the project and design support packages for each school.

Prof Lee Hubbard of Samuel Whitbread Academy, Best Trust, will be leading the project including developing support of the initial teacher training programme to help new teaching staff in working with high attaining students. Yvonne Ashby, from the Wootton trust will be using her considerable experience leading support for Degree Apprenticeships.

The project is ready to start in September.


Note to editors:

Caption:  Professor Lee Hubbard addressing the meeting.

For further information contact Michele Smith on 07921 927 881.