The centre is a collaboration between Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and national education charity IntoUniversity to provide long-term educational support to young people facing disadvantage and who are typically underrepresented in higher education. This is the second partnership between IntoUniversity and ARU, who already jointly run a centre in Clacton-on-Sea.
Working closely with local schools, businesses and universities, the centre offers long-term support to young people aged 7-18, helping them to discover their focus, build their capabilities and ultimately have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Support offered at the centre includes after-school academic help, mentoring with local university students and professionals, in-school aspiration-raising workshops and enrichment and work experience opportunities. Once established, the centre will support over 1000 students per year.
The centre, located in Norman Road close to several schools, is in an IMD (index of multiple deprivation) decile 2 area making it among the bottom 20% areas in the country in terms of relative deprivation. The local progression rate among young people to higher education is just 30%. This compares to a national average progression rate of 62% for the most advantaged students in England. In 2020/21, 47% of children were living in poverty in Peterborough, equating to over 13,200 young people.
IntoUniversity has a proven track record of improving attainment into further education for students facing disadvantage, and currently supports over 46,000 young people each year at their 39 centres nationwide.
Of the students who attend IntoUniversity centres, 66% go on to progress to university, compared with 26.6% of students from similar backgrounds nationally, meaning students are almost three times more likely to enter higher education through attending.
Around 30 of the students who are set to benefit from the centre during the next academic year and beyond, along with their parents and guardians, will be attending the launch event with some of them delivering speeches.
Students will take part in a variety of activities during the event replicating the type of activities they will be engaging with in the year ahead during after-school academic support sessions.
Dale Gregory, leading the project for Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said: “We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with IntoUniversity. Peterborough has an exciting future and nothing embodies that more than its new university, ARU Peterborough, which opened in September right in the heart of the city.
“It is vital that all young people in Peterborough have equal access to the opportunities provided by the growing city, and our work with IntoUniversity is aimed at levelling the playing field and encouraging young people to aim high.”
Dr Rachel Carr, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of IntoUniversity, said: “The young people in Peterborough are full of talent and capability and have so much to offer. We’re so pleased to be opening up this centre, and are excited to work with many of these young people to help them discover their focus and build their capabilities so that they can make the most of this wonderful potential. We look forward to working with schools and other partners in the local area, and we’re so grateful to Anglia Ruskin University for making this new centre a reality.”