Social Mobility & Social Justice

What is Uni Outreach and Why Do Schools Need It?

What is Uni Outreach and Why Do Schools Need It?

Monday 3rd June 2019

Outreach vs spending on bursaries.

I'm not an expert in funding but I'm wondering what effect the Augar review will have on the amount of support that universities give to schools to deliver their CEIAG.

As you can see the review calls for universities to gather evidence on the efficacy of its outreach programmes . At present schools are the beneficiaries of a huge range of activities to support their CEIAG offer. This is vital for many schools as there is usually a very small budget for careers activities and time is short for planning. University outreach activities are often a godsend to careers leaders as they are pre planned, free and need minimal input from staff.

What does outreach activity look like?

  • Training and CPD events for teachers - termly CEIAG networking meetings; conferences and webinars.
  • Mentoring of pupils by undergrads or uni staff
  • HE & UCAS shows and conferences
  • Taster events & campus visits.
  • HE experience days
  • Study skills development support
  • Subject specific support 'What's it like studying X at uni?' e.g. campus visits, presentations,
  • Presentations on a wide variety of topics to do with HE and planning.
  • Downloadable resources & presentations for school staff to use in lessons
  • Some universities also offer the use of qualified careers advisers to schools to deliver careers advice sessions to pupils.

Why is outreach so important?

As I wrote previously, many schools are on a tight budget and the input that unis have to school CEIAG programmes is often the largest single input. If that input was curtailed, it would most likely have a negative effect on schools programmes. This in turn would affect schools ability to attain Gatsby Benchmark 1 - a stable programme. The knock on effect would be more strain put on school staff in an already overworked system.

Don't the unis evaluate the work they do already?

Yes they do, I don't think I've ever gone to a uni outreach event an not been asked to fill in an evaluation form, so I'm pretty sure that unis already know what their most effective methods of outreach are. The question is what are they evaluating for?

  • How many students who benefit from their outreach join their university as undergrads
  • How many students who benefit from their outreach go on to apply to university and take up a place
  • How many students who benefit from their outreach feel more able to make plans for their future career?

Our could it be something totally different such as

  • How much does this method of outreach cost per student recruited?

I'm still pondering the answer to that one, it rather depends on the level of micromanaging by economists, politicians etc that have a hand in the proceedings methinks.