Latest News

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August 2020

Fair Access Coalition and the Fair Education Alliance Statement regarding A-level grade allocations

IntoUniversity, along with other leading educational access charities and not-for profit organisations, is calling for the government to take action to ensure that young people from less advantaged backgrounds do not face additional barriers in accessing further study, training and employment opportunities, following the allocation of A-level grades this year.

We recognise that the circumstances surrounding this year’s A-levels made any ideal outcome impossible, but it is clear that – in a significant number of cases – individual students have been left with their future plans in disarray. What’s more concerning is that many of these students are from the least advantaged backgrounds. These are the young people who already face the biggest barriers in accessing higher education; barriers that have been compounded during lockdown. Every hour, we are encountering more young people whose plans for university, apprenticeships or jobs have been seriously affected because they were statistical exceptions.

We note that Ofqual's Technical Report details that the A/A* attainment gap between FSM and non-FSM students increased from 6.1% in 2019 to 7.1% in 2020, reversing progress made the prior year. Furthermore, independent schools saw a 4.7 percentage point increase in A/A* grades compared to just 0.3pp at Sixth Form/FE/Tertiary colleges.

As coalitions, working collaboratively to tackle educational inequality, our priority is to focus on how we, and the government, can best support young people. We call upon the government to ensure that no student, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, has their opportunity of work, training or study compromised by being graded unfairly by an algorithm.

We urge the government to do this by:

  • Replacing calculated grades with centre assessment grades (CAGs) for all students where it doesn't result in a decrease in grade awarded. This removes the bias that currently favours those in small subject cohorts, who already receive an unadjusted CAG. If calculated grades are not replaced with CAGs, we recommend publishing CAGs alongside the grades awarded. To allow universities and employers to better interpret the grades awarded, a flag should show if their awarded grade was based on a CAG (due to small cohort size) or calculated grade.
  • Waiving appeal fees and developing a fast-track appeals process, so that young people can get a quick and smooth resolution to their grade concerns. This includes making sure that appeals can be made easily by those who no longer have the support of an assessment centre.
  • Providing young people who choose to take autumn examinations with access to the academic support needed to succeed. Protecting young people from financial challenges during this time, by ensuring that they can access full social security benefits, at least until the exam results are published.
  • Removing the university student number cap, which is a structural barrier to less-advantaged applicants, and has hindered the flexibility of higher education institutions in recent days. Government should support the use of contextualised admissions processes which have played a vital role in fair treatment of the most impacted students.


The Fair Access Coalition:

Nathan Samson, CEO, The Access Project

Anne-Marie Canning MBE, CEO, The Brilliant Club

Laura Gray, CEO, Brightside

Sam Holmes, CEO, Causeway Education

Maria Neophytou, Interim CEO, Impetus-PEF

Rachel Carr OBE, CEO, IntoUniversity

Johnny Rich, CEO, Push

John Craven, CEO, upReach

Rae Tooth, CEO, Villiers Park Education Trust


Sam Butters and Gina Cicerone, Co-CEOs, Fair Education Alliance



July 2020

New edition of aspire out now

We're delighted to announce that the latest edition of our aspire newsletter is now available.

In this ‘Learning Recovery’ edition of aspire, we investigate the need for Learning Recovery programmes by interviewing teachers from partner schools and talking to our own students and parents. We look at IntoUniversity’s plans to help students catch up academically and regain essential soft skills and also at how we are planning on funding the support needed in the next academic year, through our ambitious Staying Focused Campaign.

Click here to read aspire.


July 2020

David Lammy officially launches The Khadija Saye IntoArts programme

A new public art project, Breath is Invisible, featuring the prints of IntoUniversity student, Khadija Saye, was unveiled in Notting Hill on 7th July 2020. Khadija Saye was a Gambian-British artist who tragically died in the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017, aged just 24. She had already achieved recognition as a hugely talented artist.

The event officially launched The Khadija Saye IntoArts programme at IntoUniversity, established in her memory, to provide opportunities for young people from disadvantaged communities across the UK to explore the Arts. David Lammy officially launched the programme and former IntoUniversity student and friend of Khadija, Lady, (pictured) also attended to talk about the importance of the IntoArts programme.

See coverage of the event on ITV London and in the Guardian and Evening Standard.


June 2020

IntoUniversity Virtual Conference

On Tuesday 9th June, we hosted a virtual conference, exploring the role of place-based working in tackling educational disadvantage. Focusing on long-term relationships and localised needs, place-based work will play a significant role in the future of the education and non-profit sectors.

We were delighted to welcome Emma Hardy, Shadow Minister for Further Education and Universities, as our Keynote Speaker, as well as expert panellists from across the HE and Non-Profit sector.

Watch the full conference on our YouTube here.


May 2020

Staying Focused Campaign


We have launched our Staying Focused Fundraising Campaign to ensure that, at a time when our students need us most, we can be there for them.
To sustain our network of vital learning centres and reach new communities where young people need our support, IntoUniversity is launching an ambitious fundraising plan to raise £3m by 31st August 2021.
To find out more about about the Staying Focused Campaign, watch our short film, read our brochure here or contact our fundraising team.


April 2020

New edition of aspire out now

We're delighted to announce that the latest edition of our aspire newsletter is now available.

In this, our latest edition of aspire, we talk about how IntoUniversity students and their families are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether through a lack of access to online learning or a suitable study space, and how IntoUniversity staff are working to support and safeguard them. We also hear from Alex, our Head of Data and Impact, about how we’ve adjusted our impact measurement, and from John, our Head of Development, about this new funding challenge.

Click here to read aspire.


March 2020

Sir Lenny Henry launches IntoUniversity Birmingham North

On 3rd March 2020, we launched our 31st centre and extension project, IntoUniversity Birmingham North, with special guest Sir Lenny Henry. The new centre, in partnership with Birmingham City University, is also IntoUniversity’s first arts-themed centre. It will stimulate children’s understanding and enthusiasm for a wide range of subjects to ensure more young people in the area go on to study at university.

Sir Lenny Henry, Chancellor of Birmingham City University, formally launched the centre at the special event in where students spoke about their IntoUniversity experience so far as well as their hopes for the future, and Dr. Rachel Carr thanked local schools and families for welcoming the centre into the community.

Read local coverage of the event here.


January 2020

The Impact Map

IntoUniversity has commissioned the UK's leading data visualisation company, Furthr, to construct an innovative data visualisation microsite: The Impact Map. The Impact Map displays our impact in a clear, engaging way, that allows stakeholders to interact with, and interrogate, our data and find out more about the students and communities we support.


Press enquiries

Please contact Dr Hugh Rayment-Pickard at our Head Office on 020 7243 0242 or by email on

IntoUniversity in the news

Coventry Observer article on a Primary FOCUS graduation at the University of Warwick celebrating the first anniversary of IntoUniversity Coventry, January 2020

Centre Manager Rebecca Ward said: “We know from research that it is never too early to introduce young learners to the idea of university. FOCUS week is one of the most intense parts of the work we do with primary school pupils. They learn about one topic in depth, as you would at university, and present their findings to their peers. They even prepare an academic-style poster to show what they have discovered.

“Being based in Hillfields we’re in the heart of the community – we hope to be the bridge between the community and the university, encouraging young people to aspire to university and giving them the support they need to achieve a place.”

Read the full article here.

The Oxford Magazine article by Treasurer of Christ Church, Oxford, James Lawrie, October 2019

The success of the Blackbird Leys Centre is tangible. Over the past 5 years 68% of school leavers applying from the centre have secured a university place, principally at Oxford Brookes, Coventry and Birmingham. Moreover, more than 3,000 young people have been supported in some way by the centre and 1,370 have visited an Oxford college or the University for a range of events.

Birmingham Press article on the anouncement of our first centre in Birmingham, August 2019

Professor Clare Mackie, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “This new partnership is a real milestone for us. Providing increased access to education can make a real difference to the lives of thousands of young people in our city. We are proud that the centre, which will be based in the heart of the community in Kingstanding, will allow access to free services and create opportunities which IntoUniversity have had such great success providing in other parts of the country. This centre is the perfect focus for us to take our creativity and expertise out to our community.”

Read the full article here.

Financial Times article in special report 'Architects of Meritocracy', December 2016

“We have to start early, it has to be relentless and for the long term,” says Hugh Rayment-Pickard, chief development officer at IntoUniversity, a social-mobility NGO that started in a deprived corner of west London in 2002 and has spread across seven British cities, helping 25,000 school pupils a year, many as young as seven. It has just opened its 22nd learning centre, in London’s Finsbury Park, an area with the third-highest level of child poverty in England.

Read the full article here.

Daily Telegraph article by Head Master of Westminster School and IntoUniversity Trustee Patrick Derham, October 2016

'Middle-class children are likely to get help and support from adults outside school, and aspire to higher education as a matter of course. When it comes to such “soft help”, many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds suffer by comparison. But there are charities, organisations such as IntoUniversity, which step in to bridge this gap in soft help. IntoUniversity’s innovative programme involves academic support and structured mentoring in the heart of communities where their work is most needed. This is having a real impact, and the Government would do well to heed its lessons.'

Read the full article here.

Daily Telegraph article on HM the Queen's visit to Lister Community School, March 2016

'Today the Queen was given a flavour of what the money will be used for when she met representatives of some of the charities chosen to benefit when she visited a school in east London. They include Teach First, which encourages top-achieving graduates to go into teaching before considering careers in industry; IntoUniversity, which gives children from deprived areas extra help in reaching further education, and the Prince’s Trust.'

Read the full article here.

Mail Online article on IntoUniversity supporter Nick Wheeler, January 2016

'Nick Wheeler is raising money for the charity IntoUniversity, which helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds attain a place at university.'

Read the full article here.

Mail Online article on new fundraising platform Pledgit, December 2015

'Businessman Nick Wheeler, founder of shirt company Charles Tyrwhitt is also using the platform and will be personally matching up to £10,000 in donations for Into University, which helps children from disadvantaged backgrounds go on to higher education.'

Read the full article here.

Article on The Student Room website, August 2014, on Options 2014

'Options 2014, in students’ own words, helps us identify how the UK can better help young people in making the right decisions about higher education.'

Read the full article here.

The Observer editorial, 10th August 2013

'There is much more room for innovation and evaluation. More universities should be looking at how they can engage primary schools, given the importance of starting young: for example, the charity IntoUniversity provides academic support and mentoring to primary school children and takes them into universities to undertake projects and lessons.'

Read the full article here. 

Feature in Times Higher Education on our work with primary school students, June 2013

'At this age, childern have not created any negative conceptions of themselves ... We've had great success by working with them so early on because they are incredibly receptive to new ideas.'

Read the full article here

Feature in Times Higher Education on the lack of students awareness of university cost-benefit analysis, May 2013

'Hugh Rayment-Pickard, co-founder of IntoUniversity, a charity that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in accessing university places, said it was vital to ensure that secondary pupils understood the long-term benefits of obtaining degrees.'

Read the full story here

Our Bristol Expansion Manager, Matilda Wallis, was interviewed on BBC Radio Bristol ahead of the centre's launch. April 2013

The full interview can be listened to here at 2:20:30.

Feature on Europe1 Radio's Les carnets du monde, April 2013

Our French speaking supporters may be interested in this piece, which can be listened to here just after 1hr 2min. 

Article in The Guardian on using impact measurement to boost effectiveness, March 2013

'When an organisation builds impact measurement into job descriptions and includes the issue in staff inductions, there is a better chance that it will operate more effectively. This is the case at IntoUniversity, an award-winning London education charity that supports disadvantaged students to achieve their aspirations.'

Click here to read on...

Feature in Corporate Financier on our work with Impetus Trust, March 2013

''With the new tranche of funding, and with no shortage of children in need of their service, the size of the operation is set to double.' 

Read the full story here...

Article in The Guardian on Communicating Impact, 31st August 2012

'One charity that has grappled successfully with impact communication is IntoUniversity, which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain a university place.'

Read the full story here...

Article in The Guardian in response to the Royal Wedding Gift Fund, 28th April 2011

'The [Royal] couple have asked wedding guests and members of the public to dip into their pockets to support 26 organisations that comprise the couple's charitable gift fund, covering a range of impeccably liberal causes such as mentally ill ex-servicemen, young offenders, former gang members, bullied youngsters, refugee students, homeless people, teenage drug addicts and children in care.'

Read the news story here...