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University joins nationwide initiative to help students into higher education

Swansea University has signed up to be part of a new online initiative aimed at supporting students disadvantaged by the coronavirus pandemic to enter higher education.

The University is one of 50 organisations from across the UK HE sector that have teamed up to create online hub Uni4Me which offers more than 250 online activities for school pupils.

Led by the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) and funded by the participating organisations, the hub will act as central portal where learners, parents and teachers can access free activities to help them progress to higher education.

The free resources include virtual courses in a range of subjects led by academics, online tuition and support in core GCSE/A-level subjects, live events involving leading academics, students and specialist HE advisors plus information sessions for parents/carers and virtual campus tours.

Swansea University’s contribution to the initiative has been organised by the Reaching Wider Partnership and Step Up to Swansea University teams which are both dedicated to working with communities to engage with and encourage pupils who might not have previously considered or had access to higher education.

However, Reaching Wider Partnership manager Alice Davies said departments from across the University had contributed resources to the website.

She said: “At Swansea we welcome applications from people from all backgrounds but we also recognise that not everyone has the same access to information, advice and guidance about the huge range of opportunities on offer.

"We also think it’s never too early or too late to start aiming for a university education and so the activities and resources available are designed for primary school children through to Year 13 students and adults.”

The resources provided by the University include hands-on science experiments from the S4 team, taster lectures in a range of subjects and study tips and support from the Reaching Wider team.

She added: “There will be lots more resources uploaded in the coming months so keep your eyes peeled for more exciting activities.”

At this week’s launch of Uni4Me, Chair of NEON, Professor Sir Les Ebdon said: “Going to university transformed my life from a kid off a corporation estate to a knight of the realm. In recent years many universities and charities have provided great programmes to overcome disadvantage but the Covid-19 lockdown threatens these efforts.

“Uni4Me is a great opportunity to showcase the many online programmes now available which will be so important to providing fairer opportunities for all.”

Research by NEON indicates that more than 80 per cent of HE providers do not expect to be able to work in schools before January 2021 due to the impact of Covid-19.

Participation in the Uni4Me hub will be tracked to enable schools, colleges and universities ensure that those who most need it are able to benefiting from the resources on offer. The aim is to expand the activities on offer from Uni4Me over the next year and work with more partners from across educational sectors.

Find out more about Uni4Me and what it can offer.

You can also access Swansea University’s coronavirus Q&A section on its website which includes a section aimed at prospective students and parents and a link to available resources.

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