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October 2021

New Scottish educations centres to support young people officially launches in Glasgow and Edinburgh

New learning centres officially open in Glasgow and Edinburgh this week and are set to empower thousands of young people to achieve their academic and career ambitions.

The centres in Govan and Craigmillar are a ground-breaking collaboration between the University of Glasgow, the University of Edinburgh and education charity IntoUniversity to provide additional educational support to those aged 7-18.

The collaboration will connect young people, who may never have dreamed of going to university, with two of the world’s leading Higher Education Institutions, providing exceptional opportunities to support their learning and nurture their ambitions, whatever those might be.

IntoUniversity Govan, which officially launches on Tuesday 5 October 2021, is the first of three local education centres to open in Scotland and is based at The Pearce Institute in Govan, Glasgow. A further centre – IntoUniversity Craigmillar – based in The White House, Craigmillar, Edinburgh will also be officially launching Thursday 7th October 2021 and a third centre in Maryhill, Glasgow will be launched in Spring 2022. The new centres in Craigmillar, Govan and Maryhill are the charity’s first in Scotland.

Both universities will be involved in all three centres in the years to come, motivated by a shared concern for children growing up experiencing poverty and a belief in the power of education to transform young people’s lives. 71% of school leavers who attended existing IntoUniversity centres in 2020 went on to progress to university, compared with 26% of students from similar backgrounds.

Working closely with local schools and other agencies including Glasgow and Edinburgh city councils, the centres offer ground-breaking support to young people, including after-school academic support, mentoring with university students and local professionals, in-school aspiration-raising workshops and enrichment and work experience opportunities.

The Govan and Craigmillar centres opened to young people in April and once established, each centre will support over 1000 students per year.

The new Scottish centres are inclusive of all academic abilities and help young people to achieve a university/college place or another positive destination.

Attending the event will be around 15 students aged 7-18, along with their parents and guardians, who are set to benefit from the centre for the next academic year and beyond, with some of them delivering speeches.

Leo, age 9 and in P5 at Niddrie Mill Primary School in Edinburgh said: “I have been coming here for three months now, since the school holidays, and it has given me a lot of education like Computer Science and Maths as well as fun activities. It has helped me think about what I want to do when I leave school and the job I want to do, to be a police officer like my grandpa, and I would need to go to university for that.”

Yasnitha, age 13, who is in S3 at Notre Dame in Glasgow, said: “I really like coming to the centre – it is very relaxing and calming and I get to do my homework and lots of other educational activities. Everyone that works here are so nice and they have helped me with passing my tests – I used to get Cs and now it is all As, which I am very proud about.

“I want to go to university to become a primary school teacher – we get to talk about university and learn what qualifications I need.”

At the official opening of the Govan and Craigmillar centres, primary school students will be taking part in a variety of activities replicating the type of activities they will be engaging with in the year ahead during after-school academic support sessions. 

Secondary school students will be coming up with questions to survey attending guests,and revealing the results during the event.

Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said: “The IntoUniversity centres are a critical element to the approach we are taking to widening participation looking at every part of the student journey.

“The centres are already demonstrating how they can help to nurture talent, aspiration and potential in communities, expanding educational opportunities for young people and their families and supporting them to access higher education wherever it is right for them.”

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor University of Glasgow, said: “As an anchor institution in our city, the University of Glasgow has a civic duty to support and empower young people across our communities to reach their full potential.

“We are delighted to be working with the University of Edinburgh and IntoUniversity on this new partnership, which contributes to Glasgow’s ongoing commitment to Widening Access to students from all backgrounds. I am also deeply grateful to all our supporters and alumni who have given so generously to bring the vision for the centres to fruition. We believe that these new centres will help prepare children from an early age to raise their aspirations and give them the confidence to see that going to university is a real, viable option for them.

"This initiative forms part of the University of Glasgow’s wider commitment to civic engagement in the city and beyond, and is an extension of our work with the community of Govan to support inclusive growth and regeneration efforts through the Glasgow Riverside Innovation District.”

Dr. Rachel Carr, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of IntoUniversity, said “We are delighted to have opened three new learning centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh in collaboration with the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate the success of students so far, as well as looking forward to what they will achieve in the future.”


July 2021

New learning centre to create opportunities for thousands of young people in Newcastle

A new learning centre designed to support more young people to fulfil their potential and achieve a place at university will be launched in Newcastle.

The new IntoUniversity centre in Newcastle is a partnership between Newcastle and Northumbria Universities and IntoUniversity - the UK’s largest university-access charity – and will be based at Monkchester Community Centre. Supporting young people aged between 7-18 in Newcastle, the centre will open in October and provide invaluable academic support, soft-skill development and experience of the world of work to enable young people to achieve a university place or another chosen aspiration.

Funded by the two universities, together with the Buffini Chao Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation and other philanthropic backers, the new centre will benefit over 1,000 students a year, delivering free after-school Academic Support sessions to Primary and Secondary school children, providing aspiration-building workshops and a Mentoring programme with current university students and professionals.

Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University, Professor Chris Day said: “As someone born and raised in Newcastle, this initiative is close to my heart as we will be providing opportunities for young people to experience university learning and break down barriers.  This venture is part of our ongoing commitment to improve access to Higher Education for all young people, regardless of their background, and particularly here in the North East which has some of the lowest levels of applications to University in the country. Working with IntoUniversity, bringing them into the heart of our community with a model which we know works to improve achievement and aspiration, is truly heartening.”

Northumbria University's Director of Strategic Planning, Dan Monnery said: “Northumbria University has an excellent track record for attracting students from all backgrounds and supporting them to succeed at university. IntoUniversity demonstrates our commitment to enabling young people to engage with higher education. It will open doors to underrepresented groups, and help deliver life-changing outcomes. We are extremely excited to be part of this collaboration.”

Students will be able to access the centre for Academic Support after school Monday to Thursday during term time, and workshops with partner schools will run during the daytime throughout the week. The centre will operate alongside the community projects that already take place in the community centre.

Hugh Rayment-Pickard, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder of IntoUniversity, said: “We're delighted to be partnering with Newcastle University and Northumbria University to work with schools to provide high-quality support to enable young people to succeed.  This work is especially important to provide a boost to many young people who may have lost out on learning during lockdown and because of self-isolation.”

Five full-time members of staff are being recruited and trained to deliver the free after-school sessions to school children, as well as workshops with partner schools that will run during the daytime throughout the week. The centre will operate alongside the community projects that already take place in the community centre.

IntoUniversity centres are based in the heart of local communities and support young people from 7 to 18, working closely with schools and families to sow the seeds of aspiration at a young age. The centre will be IntoUniversity’s first centre in Newcastle and, once established, will benefit over 1,000 students a year. It will also form part a keystone of the Collaborative Newcastle Universities Agreement.

In 2019-20, IntoUniversity supported more than 35,000 students across 31 centres and projects in 13 towns and cities, through a mixture of virtual and face-to-face support. In 2020, 71% of students who attended IntoUniversity centres gained a place at university, compared with 26% of students from similar backgrounds nationally.

July 2021

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 explore our relationship to our local communities across the UK and, as we continue to grow, how we ensure that our work is still anchored in each local community.

Click here to read aspire.

December 2020

Student Voices

We interviewed students from across our network about their future goals and how IntoUniversity is helping them to achieve. Please note that in each section of the film where multiple students feature together, these students are siblings, meaning that social distancing of the students was not required.


December 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 look at how IntoUniversity has adapted our support since reopening our centres in September as well as the impact we have had on our students over lockdown. We also talk with current university students and supporters who have the same alma mater about the differences between their two university experiences as well as looking ahead to 2021 and the opening of our new education centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Click here to read aspire.


October 2020

IntoUniversity to open two new education centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh

We're delighted to announce that in March 2021, two new learning centres will open in Govan and Craigmillar to provide additional educational support to young people aged 7-18. Working closely with local schools, colleges and other agencies, the centres will provide after-school academic tuition, mentoring, and programmes to enable young people to achieve their ambitions.

The project is a ground-breaking collaboration between the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh and IntoUniversity. The partnership is based upon a shared concern for children growing up experiencing poverty and a belief in the power of education to transform young people’s lives. The new centres will provide invaluable long-term support with young people’s educational outcomes and their journey into employment and a positive destination.

IntoUniversity has carried out detailed feasibility work and consultation to ensure that the new centres will play a valuable role alongside other services for young people. The centres will complement extensive work that both universities already do to widen access to higher education, by providing community-based support to young people on their doorstep. Through activities at the universities young people will develop their understanding of university life and awareness of the opportunities that higher education has to offer.

£2.7 million has been raised to fund the first two centres for a pilot period of 5 years. Further fundraising is underway to allow a third centre to open in Maryhill in Autumn 2021.

“We are delighted that this new partnership with the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh is enabling IntoUniversity to serve young people in Scotland. Three new learning centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh will use the power of education to lift young people out of poverty, opening up new worlds of possibility. We look forward to working in partnership with local schools, colleges, third sector organisations, businesses and councils, along with the Universities, to bring this project to fruition.” Dr Rachel Carr OBE, Co-Founder and Chief Executive IntoUniversity

“The University of Glasgow is a proudly international institution, but we have never forgotten that our first duty is to the city we serve.  A key part of that is ensuring opportunities are available to talented young people across Glasgow, regardless of their background.  For the university and the city to thrive, we need to be able to empower people across our communities to meet their full potential and this ground-breaking collaboration – delivered in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and IntoUniversity – represents the next step in realising that ambition, with the potential to transform the lives of some of our most disadvantaged young people.” Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor University of Glasgow

“At the University of Edinburgh, we support all efforts to ensure that access to higher education is equitable and fair. Young people need to know more about the choices available to them, including but not limited to access to universities. In an important collaboration with IntoUniversity, the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, supported by philanthropic funding from both of our communities, are proud to be part of this ambitious and important project. It is a major milestone in helping us unlock and nurture the potential of young people, regardless of their background. The impact will create a wider benefit not only for the individuals, but also for their families and communities, the universities or colleges they might attend, and for society as a whole.” Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor University of Edinburgh


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...