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Increase in applications shows the impact of the University’s widening participation work

12 Feb 2020 2:00PM

Applications to University of Suffolk at the 15 January UCAS deadline, from target schools in Suffolk, have gone up by 12%.

The increase has been attributed to the impact of the work of the Suffolk team of a project called Take Your Place which is run by the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach partnership (neaco). The project aims to help young people from East Anglia with little or no experience of university to explore the world of higher education. Neaco works with students in years 9-13 who live in areas identified by the Government with low rates of progression to higher education. 

Higher Education Champions, who are based in schools and colleges across the region, run activities and are on hand to advise students about going to university.

Miles Cole who oversees neaco for the University of Suffolk, said “We are really pleased to see the impact Take Your Place has had. We know anecdotally that many of the students we work with were planning to apply to University, and to the University of Suffolk, so it is good to see this being the case in the latest figures. The University of Suffolk is a community impact university and its aim is to raise aspirations and encourage participation in higher education. This mirrors the aims and ambitions of neaco. Through our work, we are increasing the number of first-generation students and helping them to explore options they may have otherwise thought weren’t possible for them.”

The Suffolk team of Take Your Place consists of 11 Higher Education Champions. Up to July 2019 the team delivered 3,500 activities and worked with 24,500 students from 50 schools and colleges with each student participating in more than 4 activities

In November, Higher Education Champions Daniella and Aimee teamed up with the South West Ipswich and South Suffolk Partnership (SWISS) group to deliver a collaborative conference held at the University of Suffolk. More than 120 students from 12 Suffolk schools and academies attended the ‘Making Good Choices’ conference, which was a day focused around creating positive relationships and inspiring young people to think about how decisions they make now can affect their futures.

Looking ahead to April, the team will once again host a ‘Liberate and Educate: Inspirational Women’ conference. In 2019 the day focused on encouraging and empowering young women to undertake careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

To find out more about neaco and Take Your Place please visit


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