Inspire2INVOLVE launched in Thurrock and Plymouth

Published: 10 Nov 2017

In the first week of November, students, parents and teachers met to celebrate the launch of Inspire2INVOLVE – two new partnerships between Villiers Park Educational Trust and Emmanuel College, Cambridge and Downing College, Cambridge. The launch events were a great success, each introducing these exciting new programmes designed to help improve social mobility in South Essex and Plymouth.

Inspire2INVOLVE is a three year project that will work with less advantaged students from four local schools in South Essex and eight local schools in Plymouth, helping them to develop key personal and academic skills such as confidence, resilience, teamwork and communication.

With over 50 years of experience, Villiers Park has seen great results in improving the aspirations and higher education destinations of young people. Alongside Emmanuel College and Downing College, the new partnerships will help to empower students and improve social mobility in Thurrock and Plymouth respectively[1].

Richard Gould, Chief Executive, Villiers Park Educational Trust, outlines the importance of these new partnerships, “The UK has one of the lowest rates of social mobility of any advanced economy. The outcome is unfulfilled potential which is a tragedy for each individual, their family and their community, as well as a social and economic disaster for the nation. We are delighted to be in partnership with Emmanuel College and Downing College, to work together to transform the life outcomes of young people in these areas.”

Dr Robert Henderson, Senior Tutor of Emmanuel College, looks forward to partnering with Villiers Park in this joint venture, “We have a long history of working with schools in Essex, which is one of the areas of the country covered by Emmanuel as part of the University’s ‘Area Links Scheme’.  We are delighted to establish this new link with Villiers Park, which aims to help students from low income backgrounds to achieve their academic potential in a way that fits with their talents. Villiers Park courses have a record of enhancing these students’ chances of obtaining places at high-ranking universities – the next step on the pathway to realising their potential”.

Dr Guy Williams, Senior Tutor of Downing College, also welcomes this new partnership in aiding social mobility in the region, “Downing has been engaging with schools and colleges in the South West region since 1999, and our relationship with Villiers Park Educational Trust brings a welcome new dimension to our work in widening participation and access.”

The participating schools will have access to two of Villiers Park’s highly successful initiatives. The first, the Inspiring Excellence Programme, is a series of challenging, transformational residential courses for bright young people from across the UK which develop their passion for learning and provide an insight into the knowledge and skills needed to become an expert in a particular field.

The second is INVOLVE which challenges students to develop Skills4Success – key employability and personal skills, including leadership, confidence and project management. Participants are able to work towards achieving UCAS recognised awards through an online portal.

[1] Only 22.6% of students in Thurrock progress to higher education compared with the national average of 35% according to the Higher Education Funding Council Polar 3 Report, 2010-2011.

In 2017 only 22.5% of students living in Plymouth Moor View have applied for university.  For the wider area Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, the application rate is 27.3%. (UCAS).