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National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007

Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 1: Aimhigher school/college award

This award is for the school or college which has demonstrated strongest engagement with an Aimhigher activity or programme of activities.

Winning Entry:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: South East Name of Entry: Maths Residential Weekends at Brakenhale School Rationale: When Agnes Bailey arrived as Head of Mathematics at Brakenhale School (Bracknell) in 2002, only 12.6% of students were achieving GCSE Grade C or better in Maths. This figure increased to 29.6% (2003) and 22.3% (2004), but a major stumbling block remained: the Data Handling coursework. Agnes investigated taking the students on a residential weekend to work on this module, but costs would have to come from the students, which would have been prohibitive for many. Brakenhale is a key Aimhigher target school. 69% of pupils live in the most educationally deprived wards, and the percentage of pupils achieving 5 A-C grades at GCSE was 22% in both 2004 and 2005. Given the above, a colleague suggested contacting Aimhigher, so Agnes met with Jon Bramley (Aimhigher Berkshire) in May 2004. Jon immediately recognized the potential in Agnes' idea, and the first event was scheduled for September. Preparation was key: it was made very clear to the students what was required from them. Posters with exemplar material were produced, evening snacks/entertainment organised, and transport arranged. Meanwhile Jon organised a suitable venue at the University of Reading as well as some undergraduate student mentors to help out during the event. The first event ended with every student on an A or an A* for this module. In 2006, 44% of this same cohort went on to gain Maths GCSE Grade C or above: a fantastic increase in attainment. As for the students' aspirations, prior to the weekend, only two students were considering higher education but many have since been heard to say "when I go to uni ......" This project continues to be improved and refined and the event has since been offered to a further seven target schools in Berkshire. Three of these schools have now benefited from residential events in 2007. As for Brakenhale, the GCSE Maths results for 2007 confirmed continued improvement: 51% of the Year 11 cohort gained an A*-C grade an excellent result. Speaking of this project, Agnes Bailey said: "We are very grateful to Aimhigher for providing our students with an opportunity they could not get any other way and I really do feel that we have started something very special."

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National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 1: Aimhigher school/college award

This award is for the school or college which has demonstrated strongest engagement with an Aimhigher activity or programme of activities.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: London North Name of Entry: East Barnet School Technology College Rationale: East Barnet School Technology College has made an extensive contribution to the London North Aimhigher Partnership since the Partnership's inception in 2003. The Deputy Head and, until September of 2006, the Aimhigher Coordinator, both remained active members of the Area Steering Group (ASG), contributing, not only to the business of the ASG but also on various focus groups and Activity Management Groups that have periodically been set up for particular tasks. The school regularly hosts meetings and representatives have been available to attend presentations and conferences, where appropriate. A major contribution to the Partnership by the School has been the design, development and implementation of the Mobile Construction Workshop (MCW), now a recognized flagship programme of the London North Partnership. The MCW has been operating in schools/colleges to Years 9/10 for the Aimhigher London North Partnership since January 2005 with East Barnet School Technology College as the service provider. The MCW runs a taster course and also offers a two year BTEC First Certificate in Construction (Level 2) which requires additional lessons run by the schools involved, in close collaboration with the mobile facility. 208 learners participated in 2006-07. The Project is seen to link very effectively with appropriate Level 3 qualifications, Foundation Degrees and Specialized Diplomas (the Partnership, through Haringey borough, was successful in category 1 for Construction and the built environment for 2008 delivery). The stud wall project is the main practical activity for the taster course. This is undertaken over one term with each cohort. It has proved to be popular with schools and has been recognised for addressing a wide range of trades. These include: Carpentry, bricklaying, plumbing, painting, tiling and decorating. The success levels achieved by the students have consistently remained high (a minimum threshold of 60%) with regular attendance. Significant numbers of participants have gone on to courses in construction at local FE Colleges, with additional numbers intending to do so at age 16. All participating schools extended their commitment to next year, or requested to increase their allocation. To accommodate this East Barnet School have invested in a second vehicle and recruited an additional Construction tutor with the financial support of the Barnet Local Strategic Partnership. Mid 2006, East Barnet School took over the management of the project from the private company who previously managed it and employed the Project Coordinator on a full-time teacher contract, thus stabilising his employment situation/career development.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 1: Aimhigher school/college award

This award is for the school or college which has demonstrated strongest engagement with an Aimhigher activity or programme of activities.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Greater Manchester Name of Entry: Bedford High School, Leigh Rationale: `I have recently become involved in "Perform!" an Aimhigher funded Opera programme which has several of us being taught by a professional opera teacher before we perform in Carmen at the Royal Northern College of Music' This quote, from a student's application to become `Head Boy' at Bedford High School, illustrates just one of the wide range of Aimhigher activities with which the Leigh school is involving itself. Bedford has approximately 1200 pupils. It is described in its OFSTED report for 2004 as having most pupils coming from socially disadvantaged homes. Each year approximately thirty students from the Widening Participation cohort in Years 9 and 10 are selected to take part in Aimhigher projects. The OFSTED subject report for Citizenship (May 2007) noted that `there are good opportunities for pupils to engage in active citizenship through the Aimhigher Open Minds project'. The Business, Music, Art, Drama and Dance departments have all benefited from this involvement. The Head of Art at the school gave the following data for Art students after being involved with the Aimhigher Arts Roadshow: Impact Measure for Year 10's Art students Number with grade improved Number with grade the same Number with grade down Improvement from teacher prediction to actual GCSE grade (for the 2004/5) 14 3 increased to A* 3 0 Improved teacher grade prediction (for 2005/6) 19 0 0 Improved teacher grade prediction (for 2006/7) 20 0 0 Business students at the schools have also raised their predicted grades this year. Five Year 10 Business students attended sessions every Friday evening over a ten week period at Leigh Centurions Rugby League Club. They learned about the club as a business and organised the commercial activities for the game against Halifax. Their Business teacher says: `The Aimhigher project has been superb in both building student confidence and also contributing valuable practical experience which is of direct relevance to their school curriculum. I have no doubt that the students will perform better in their business examinations next year'. The school managers and staff have taken full advantage of the Aimhigher opportunities offered. They have been hugely supportive in encouraging pupils to take part in the Aimhigher programme of activities. This has helped to improve academic performance and has produced a year on year increase in student GCSE performance. (Please see email from [email protected] for formatted table)

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 1: Aimhigher school/college award

This award is for the school or college which has demonstrated strongest engagement with an Aimhigher activity or programme of activities.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: North West Name of Entry: Park High School, Liverpool Rationale: Two years prior to Aimhigher becoming a DFES national programme, Park High School was a pilot school with Tricia Jenkins MBE and her Widening Participation Team at The University of Liverpool. During this time, and right up to the present day, Aimhigher has been given the highest profile in the school. It has been led by the same co-ordinator, which demonstrates the true value and importance that Park High dedicates to Aimhigher. Aimhigher is part of the everyday vocabulary amongst Park High`s students and staff, and there is a very proactive approach each year to raise its profile further in the school, amongst the community and with all its stakeholders. An annual newsletter is produced, which highlights some of the many activities which take place to raise aspirations, break down barriers to learning and educate students to the many opportunities available to them in Further and Higher Education. A 2006 Ofsted Inspection reported that in Park High "Activities to raise aspirations and broaden horizons are comprehensive, well-planned and are a strength of the school". An independent evaluation of the University of Liverpool's links with schools in 2005 stated that in Park High "It was good to see that Aimhigher is so valued and that everyone is so positive about raising aspirations". Park High prides itself on the links it has created with the four Higher Education Institutions in Greater Merseyside. It has also forged excellent relationships with universities further afield, including Lancaster, Manchester, Oxford and Cambridge universities. Following a recent Year 7 visit to The University of Liverpool, the Widening Participation Officer wrote saying "A number of our more experienced Student Advocates who worked on your three day visits informed me that these had been the best they had ever worked on". Park High School has several examples of good practice on the Greater Merseyside Aimhigher website. The appointment of a Graduate Mentor in September 2003 was held up as such an example of good practice that the Local Authority followed suit. This enabled Park High to fully immerse and engage students, from all years, in Aimhigher activities in the classroom. The huge impact that Aimhigher makes is invaluable to the students and staff of Park High School and I am certain that Aimhigher contributed to the school's best ever GCSE results for 2007, a leap of 15 % achieving 5A* - C (31% in 2006 to 46% in 2007)

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 1: Aimhigher school/college award

This award is for the school or college which has demonstrated strongest engagement with an Aimhigher activity or programme of activities.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Essex Name of Entry: Plume School, Maldon Rationale: The Plume school was the first school to become involved in the nationally funded scheme `Raising Achievement and Aspirations through Football'. This was extremely successful and when it finished Plume carried on with its own mini-version but still working in conjunction with Ipswich Town F.C. Since then the school has enthusiastically participated in the Essex Aimhigher programme. Plume is part of the Central Essex Partnership, together with four other schools, and two colleges. Links with the other schools have improved; the Aimhigher cohort mixing and working alongside other students, and staff sharing ideas and experiences. In addition to being very active in the partnership Plume also has an extensive programme of activities for its Aimhigher cohort: Launch event in year 10 with parents, past Aimhigher students and undergraduates Visits to universities/HEIs (including parents and carers) Outward bound/ Outdoor activity events Visits to businesses for Vocational and Aimhigher students Mentoring by local business people and undergraduates Study skills days Revision sessions Homework clubs Participation in Summer Schools, including an archaeological one led by the University of Cambridge. As well as the programme of activities the school has enjoyed enormous support from the head-teacher who has identified two members of staff, providing them with time to manage the Aimhigher cohort and activities. -The football scheme continues in the school with 30 year 10 and 11 `football mad' boys who, in exchange for regular attendance at a homework club, enjoy regular visits to Ipswich Town football club. The club supplies educational activities, football coaching and meetings with key personnel. Successful activities like a motivational speaker who worked with students have been followed up by staff training with the same speaker to enable the school to sustain the activity in future years. It is the belief of the headteacher that Aimhigher has played a significant role in the greatly increased 6th Form numbers, and interest in Higher Education, and that it has had a very positive impact on students attitudes and aspirations. Aimhigher will have the most impact in schools where the ethos and aims of the programme are encompassed by the school and are not an `add on' to the normal curriculum. If all schools could embed the philosophies of Aimhigher in the same way Plume School has done then the culture of aspiring high would surely change the Higher Education landscape.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 1: Aimhigher school/college award

This award is for the school or college which has demonstrated strongest engagement with an Aimhigher activity or programme of activities.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Greater Manchester Name of Entry: Xaverian College, Manchester Rationale: When Tony Andrews retired as Principal of Xaverian Sixth Form College in July 2007 the glowing tributes from Aimhigher colleagues, in part, reflected the college's reputation as an Aimhigher beacon ­ a status cemented in 2006-07 through another year of coherent activity and significant achievement. Xaverian is no ordinary college It is located close to some of the most deprived wards in Manchester and indeed in the country. The college's intake reflects its location. Over 80% of students are on EMAs or other support and are eligible for inclusion in the Aimhigher cohort. The College caters for a wide range of learners with a broad span of points score (some very low). The Aimhigher approach is not an add-on or an optional extra. It informs everything that the College does. For example, in 2006-07: A comprehensive induction programme for HE was offered to the whole college. The programme involved visiting lecturers, returning student ambassadors, personal statement and APPLY workshops, an HE Day, and a parents' HE evening. The college's VLE, developed in collaboration with Aimhigher GM's Headstart project, saw a 20.3% increase in log-ins ­ up from 13,850 in March 2006. Students benefited from differentiated study skills materials and extension activities and engaged for the first time in online assessment. The college's detailed profiling and monitoring systems, developed through Aimhigher seedcorn money, continued to impact upon value added which Ofsted inspectors noted, `places the college very highly when compared to other institutions'. This whole college approach has paid rich dividends. 2006-07 saw: improved retention on all courses ­ a 5% increase across the board (Level 3 increasing from 87 % in 2006 to 92% in 2007); higher levels of achievement: pass rates of 99.5% at A2 (74% at high grades); and 89% at AS (60% at high grades); significant increases in students going to Russell group universities (33%, up from 27% the previous year) and other `top' universities; 73% of successful HE applicants coming from widening participation backgrounds (up from (65% in 2005). The success of the college's large Aimhigher cohort is not just reflected in such aggregated figures. Countless individual stories - like the learner who initially entered the college on a level 1 programme and became a successful university entrant in 2006-07 ­ also provide a vivid illustration of the impressive legacy that the new Principal will inherit.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 2: Most effective communications practice

This category recognises the Aimhigher partnership that has demonstrated the most effective means of communicating its activities to either an internal or external audience.

Winning Entry:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: West Yorkshire Name of Entry: Wakefield Aimhigher Parent Guide to FE and HE Rationale: Parental support has been widely researched and publicised to be an influential element of whether young people stay on into further and higher education. However, barriers still exist for parents to see the `real' benefits of their children staying on post-16. A group of parents from an area of traditionally poor take-up of FE/HE got together to write a guide for other parents to explain using their `voice' their thoughts, feelings and ideas around these barriers and suggested solutions. The parents have children of school age and all have little background of FE/HE themselves. The group designed both the visual and verbal elements, so as to ensure that their key messages were communication for others parents in the best possible language. A jargon buster, clear financial illustrations and case studies of local people all with different stories to tell were all part of the verbal element. Images showing vocational as well as academic, young people from the district and enough space to write notes were all key features of the visual element. The guide is presented in an A5 folder into which further pages of information can be added. Since its publication in June 07, the guide has been distributed to over 500 parents across the Wakefield district, a further 500 will be distributed in September 07 and more copies are being planned for all Wakefield schools. There is even talk of expanding distribution outside the district. Initial feedback direct from parents has been excellent, with such comments as "We wish we could have had something like this to explain things to my Mum and Dad, we might have had more choice when we left school", "The money side of things doesn't seem so daunting when it is written so that I can understand it" and "It's nice to hear how other parents feel, without someone telling us how we should feel" The secondary success of writing the guide has been in the raising of aspirations and self-esteem within the group itself. The parents are very proud that they have had the confidence to speak at two recent conferences. One parent is now studying to become a teacher and several others are considering some form of FE course in September 07. Taking the guide forward, it is hoped that these `Parent Champions' can now be utilised to distribute the guide and build parental groups to raise aspirations within their respective communities.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 2: Most effective communications practice

This category recognises the Aimhigher partnership that has demonstrated the most effective means of communicating its activities to either an internal or external audience.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Humberside and North Lincolnshire Name of Entry: Eco-friendly, strategic message bags Rationale: The eco-friendly, strategic message bags were commissioned by Helen Taylor, Aimhigher Humber Projects Officer Aimhigher Humber has been part of a variety of local, regional and national events over 06-07 and has strived to increase awareness about the Aimhigher agenda and principle messages. The partnership has successfully generated a variety of information publications which are disseminated at every possible opportunity. It soon became apparent that there was a `carrying' issue as interested parties readily grabbed up the literature but then needed a mechanism to hang on to their reading matter. Helen Taylor, Projects Officer within Aimhigher Humber, came up with a very environmentally friendly option and placed an order for Hessian bags, bearing the Aimhigher Humber logo and web-address as well as a progression equation which is being developed within different Aimhigher partnerships and which Action on Access are also interested in as they are trying to model progression frameworks. The progression equation states that progression is a combination of learner aspiration, attainment / achievement and awareness about progression opportunities. It reminds partners that Aimhigher is about a package tailored towards individual learners and not in place just to support schools in reaching attainment targets or just for HE providers to raise aspirations amongst learners regardless of whether they are aware of all their progression opportunities. Helen made the acquisition of the bags prior to a great media frenzy around Anya Hindmarsh's `I'm not a plastic bag' Hessian bag and prior to all the star-studded photos of celebrities carrying Hindmarsh bags. This may have added to their incredible popularity. The price of the Aimhigher Humber bags was very competitive, given the lifespan of the merchandise and they are used on a regular basis by all sorts of people associated or targeted through Aimhigher interventions. Demand for the eco-friendly carriers has been so great that it would be impossible to ever commission a plastic alternative. Even celebrities have been snapped up getting their hands on the Aimhigher Humber bags ­ Diane Louise Jordan, former Blue Peter presenter has set the trend!

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 2: Most effective communications practice

This category recognises the Aimhigher partnership that has demonstrated the most effective means of communicating its activities to either an internal or external audience.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: West Yorkshire Name of Entry: Student Radio Interviews Rationale: This DVD developed in partnership with Radio Barnsley was made in response to a request from schools in our district for something to help promote Summer Schools to their Aimhigher Year 11 cohorts. It is aimed at both students and parents and involves 11 young people from the district who had attended a range of West Yorkshire Summer Schools in the previous summer. The students take part in mock radio interviews where they answer questions about their summer school experience. School co-ordinators received a copy to use with students and it was also shown at events organised by the Aimhigher district team and for students and their parents to enable them to find out more about Summer Schools. As such this DVD, created using limited resources, is a real and innovative example of using the student voice to inspire others to take part in activity. It helped to ensure that applications to Summer School from students in our district exceeded places allocated.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 2: Most effective communications practice

This category recognises the Aimhigher partnership that has demonstrated the most effective means of communicating its activities to either an internal or external audience.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Black Country Name of Entry: UoW Summer School 2007 Communication Rationale: Parents Evening, Newsletters, postcards and DVD creation Parents and pupils were invited to the University of Wolverhampton (UoW) for a Parents evening about the Year 6 Summer School summer 2007. On the night, learners were taken to the Students' Union to play `animal bingo' so that they could get to know each other prior to spending a week together at the Summer School. Parents were able to meet staff and were given a presentation of key things they needed to know including being shown a short video of the journey to the campus along the main route to familiarise them. The evening was a great success and received very positive feedback from both parents and learners. Newsletters were designed and sent to students two weeks before they arrived at Summer School. These were a learner-friendly form of communication and were more effective than the normal letters. It allowed the University to introduce the Olympic theme which the Summer School activities were based on. We used the opportunity to launch a competition to prompt learners to think about this theme in advance and help them feel part of the Summer School for longer than the week they were actually with us. This also helped `break the ice' with learners on the first day as the entries provided an instant talking point. Pupils were introduced to websites that they would be using in some of the sessions and this encouraged the learners to think about how they could get involved in the 2012 Olympics even if they were `not sporty'. The design was colourful, factual but not lengthy and was very well received by pupils, who arrived with their competition entries. A week before learners were due to attend they received a postcard reminding them to bring lots of `energy' and that they did not have to wear their School Uniform. The postcard was designed by a randomly selected learner who was due to attend the Summer School. During the two weeks of Activity, University media students filmed all activities and have created a DVD. This DVD will be provided to each Head Teacher of Schools who participated and will be used to promote next year's Summer School. In addition to activity footage contains interviews with both staff and learners which demonstrates the positive feedback and the enjoyment that was had by all.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 3: Outstanding individual contribution to Aimhigher

This award is for the individual that has excelled in representing the Aimhigher programme on a regional or area basis.

Winning Entry:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Name of Entry: Karyn Buck Rationale: Karyn brought the idea of Mentoring for Progression for adults to the project in 2004. This is a one to one mentoring intervention which leads to Progression Plans for all mentees. Target groups were initially young people and adults in large employers (public sector and private sector), SMEs and training providers. The scheme has now been rolled out to young offenders, probationers, the armed forces, school pupils and FE college staff and students. Karyn has developed and driven the project to deliver hundreds of Progression Plans for mentees and to train dozens of established in-house mentors (precise figures can be supplied). The scheme offers individuals: Individual attention Support for confidence building Access to the right information for them A personalised plan for progression to HE Karyn has built in sustainability and embedding. Phase 1 was to offer a mentoring service. Phase 2 included the development of a Mentees network, and a scheme to train mentees as mentors. In Phase 3 currently, the scheme is embedded in in-house training schemes e.g. Oxfordshire County Council where it is available to approximately 18000 employees. In 2007/8 Karyn organised our first Mentoring for Progression Awards ceremony to celebrate the success of the mentors and mentees. In Phase 4 in 2007/8, work will be consolidated in existing participating organisations and extended to new target groups. Karyn has ensured close targeting of work, and close monitoring and evaluation. Participants are used as case studies and role models for future learners. Karyn is a one women ball of enthusiasm, who has been key to the success of this initiative. She never gives up. For example, she has supported one soon to be ex-offender in his application to study at University in September 2007, including negotiating housing accommodation for him, and ensuring he can get a bank account in time to receive funding. Karyn has also presented at our Area Steering Group, local and regional conferences, in support of dissemination of the excellent best practice she has developed. You could not wish for a more enthusiastic, committed, hard working and entrepreneurial member of the team. Karyn is also now undertaking top up study herself towards a full Honours degree, and is using the experience she has obtained in the project as a basis for academic study.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 3: Outstanding individual contribution to Aimhigher

This award is for the individual that has excelled in representing the Aimhigher programme on a regional or area basis.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Nottinghamshire Name of Entry: Dean Penford Rationale: The MP for Nottingham North, Graham Allen, sums up why Dean truly deserves the accolade of this award: "Dean is fantastic. He's our local hero; his work has transformed the life chances of hundreds of young people in Nottingham North" About Dean As a mature student and single parent, Dean is very aware of potential barriers to progression and adopts a practical, hands-on approach to encourage involvement in masterclasses, residentials and HEI visits. His strengths are tenacity, patience, a down-to-earth attitude and a great sense of humour. Dean's role In 2003 Dean took on the challenge of fighting the cause in the parliamentary constituency with the unenviable record of having the lowest higher education participation rate in the country. Since then he has worked tirelessly with a whole range of partners: schools, colleges, universities and community organisations, providing strategic direction and practical support in an area that suffers from significant deprivation. The breadth and variety of his work includes: raising the profile of Aimhigher and ensuring that the widening participation agenda is included in local strategies contributing to the HEFCE-commissioned research project that explored some of the issues around the lack of progression to higher education developing a project interviewing individual students from Nottingham North who have progressed to further and higher education, producing over 70 case studies that provide positive role models to learners from local schools and colleges acting as a single point of contact and encouraging take-up of widening participation activities. This can range from sending out an e-bulletin to turning up at a school in person to get a teacher to sign up for a specific event! responding to numerous requests to deliver assemblies, give finance talks, support parents and options events drawing upon his guidance background, he will go that extra mile to support an individual learner, often involving a home visit so he can talk with the parents or carers. Thanks to his direct intervention in organising transport, there was a significant increase in attendance at family supper events hosted by local HEIs. The results speak for themselves Dean, the education providers and support agencies can take collective credit for the very encouraging improvement in UCAS applications for 2006-07, with a notable increase of 19.1% in the number of young accepted applicants from Nottingham North between 2005/06 and 2006/07, despite the overall decrease in the city and county.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 3: Outstanding individual contribution to Aimhigher

This award is for the individual that has excelled in representing the Aimhigher programme on a regional or area basis.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: ASPIRE (South East) Name of Entry: Joe Baden Rationale: Joe Baden is the Co-ordinator of the Open Book Project funded by Goldsmiths College, University of London and Aspire and based at Goldsmiths College. Open Book provides a support network for offenders, people with mental health issues and substance abusers to access further and higher education, and as Joe himself says, he once fitted into all those categories. Open Book now has 116 people at different colleges and universities. Four of the 15 departmental student awards at Goldsmiths went to Open Book students. The key to the project's success is its avoidance of patronising paternalism. Joe makes no apologies for being is a working class man from Bermondsey and says `We came at widening participation from a very working class perspective. There's been a raft of work that's been done and yet it doesn't seem to be changing much. I remember participating in that sort of research when I was on probation, and really playing along with it. 'Deprivation and all that stuff, you wouldn't believe the poverty'. We, at Open Book, deconstructed the whole thing and started again.' The result is a project that involves talks in prisons and addiction agencies and a six week taster course of university life as well as dropin sessions where students can support each other. This work is immensely important but it is not for this that we nominate Joe, it is for his total commitment to widening participation for all and his willingness to try new activities to achieve this. These activities, so far, include; regular participation in a programme run by Bexley Princes Trust to encourage young people aged 16 ­ 23 to re-engage with society and their education; speaking at a six week, innovative programme for young carers and those at risk, which encouraged them to think about their futures; visiting PRU's in Greenwich and Lewisham and not only speaking to their students but also becoming involved with teaching programmes; working with Lewisham Youth Services to get into youth clubs on some of the toughest estates in London and becoming part of our new Youth Offending programme. `There's so much we're trying to do, it's incredible,' says Joe. `I think we're trying to change the world, really. People have become so evangelistic about it. It's almost becoming a political movement' There's a real belief among the project that the only way you're ever going to achieve social change is through education.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 3: Outstanding individual contribution to Aimhigher

This award is for the individual that has excelled in representing the Aimhigher programme on a regional or area basis.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: North Yorkshire Name of Entry: Professor Stuart Billingham Rationale: We would like to nominate Professor Stuart Billingham for the outstanding individual contribution award. Stuart has shown exceptional commitment and enthusiasm in representing the Aimhigher programme not only on an area and regional basis but also nationally. Stuart has worked in further and higher education for over 25 years. His research and professional practice has focused on identifying ways to deliver equality (and challenge inequality) of opportunity in post-compulsory education. Since the mid-nineties Stuart's work has focused on promoting the better strategic integration of institutional policies related to widening participation (which he defines in broad terms) and their closer connectivity with regional and national educational and economic development strategies. Stuart argues that better internal integration and greater external connectivity of key university strategies is fundamental if we are to deliver the necessary sustained attack on structural inequalities in participation in higher education. This twin-track approach is a key feature of his remit as Pro Vice-Chancellor at York St John University. Stuart is Chair of the Yorkshire & the Humber Aimhigher Regional Forum and the North Yorkshire Aimhigher Area Steering Group. He is a member of the national Aimhigher Evidence Group which is developing strategies and practices for enhanced impact measures for widening access initiatives. He was a member of the national Task Group which advised the Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further & Higher Education on how to target under-represented groups more effectively through widening participation policy and practice. This led to the publication of new national guidance for Aimhigher partnerships and HEIs. Stuart is a member of the City of York Lifelong Learning Partnership Board, helping to establish the City's first Adult Learning and Skills Strategy. He is also a member of the North Yorkshire Learning Partnership Executive and of the Higher York Lifelong Learning Network Executive. Stuart is Editor of the European Access Network (EAN) e-newsletter which has a worldwide circulation. Stuart initiated and was instrumental in ensuring the success of a Regional Aimhigher project which culminated in a National Reception held at the Houses of Parliament on 24th April 2007, hosted by Barry Sheerman MP. This event showcased the impact of the Aimhigher Yorkshire and Humber Programme to a national audience. The reception was a great success in demonstrating the positive outcomes of our activities and the very significant contribution and impact that Aimhigher makes to wider education, skills and economic development. Anyone who heard Stuart speak at this event would be in no doubt about his passionate commitment to widening participation and equality of opportunity.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

AIMHIGHER INDUCTION PACK

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Category 3: Outstanding individual contribution to Aimhigher

This award is for the individual that has excelled in representing the Aimhigher programme on a regional or area basis.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Kent and Medway Name of Entry: Rachel Hammond Rationale: Rachel Hammond, FE Project Officer at Thanet College, is nominated for this award primarily for her work for young people leaving care but also for her passion and commitment to Aimhigher. Rachel conceived, developed and runs the Aimhigher Kent and Medway project for young care leavers (YCLs). Working with local authorities and Rainer 16plus, Rachel developed the 'Designated Member of Staff' scheme involving all twelve HE and FE institutions in the Area, which ensures that trained members of university and college staff are available to offer thorough support to YCLs. Rachel instigated the staff training (including producing a training manual), and designed the promotional posters and bookmarks for the scheme. Not only has Rachel's 'Guide to FE and HE for Young People Leaving Care in Kent and Medway' been extremely successful, but she also leads in the organisation and running of residential HE summer schools for YCLs. Her work has received national attention, with four partnerships from across the country taking the lead from her project. Rachel has been equally active in the development and delivery of another project, the AHKM Link Mentoring Programme which has proved successful in motivating students and particularly boys, who would not otherwise have considered progression to FE or HE. The programme has been adopted in Hampshire and Surrey and their modifications to the programme have informed Rachel's own work including developing a `cascading' version of the model within Thanet College. This is true sharing of good practice and working in a wider partnership context, something at which Rachel excels. Rachel presented a workshop on this to the national Action on Access conference in spring 2007 and as a result has been invited to assist London Aimhigher to implement the scheme. Rachel understands the need for Aimhigher to affect a shift in culture in such an isolated area as Thanet, and Rachel has made it her mission to encourage the young people with whom she works to aspire farther in geographical terms. She has ensured that the Aimhigher Roadshow has regularly visited Thanet College, and has worked hard to introduce Aimhigher students to opportunities beyond Thanet. Rachel's colleague at Thanet College said, "Rachel has a fantastic empathy with the young care leavers she works with; she is always most supportive and very understanding without question. She enables them to have complete confidence in themselves; she raises their self esteem and their delight in planning for the future."

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 3: Outstanding individual contribution to Aimhigher

This award is for the individual that has excelled in representing the Aimhigher programme on a regional or area basis.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Humberside and North Lincolnshire Name of Entry: Richard Lawson Rationale: Richard Lawson has been in the unenviable position of being the Aimhigher School Co-ordinator for David Lister East (formerly Isaac Newton School) as it has been undergoing closure. Understandably, the head and other staff resigned but Richard remained working incredibly hard to support his named Aimhigher cohort and keep them focused on aiming higher. Richard has ensured the David Lister East's plan of Aimhigher activity was appropriate for his named cohort and he has accessed numerous centrally funded Aimhigher Humber activities for his learners. Richard knows his cohort members individually so he can ensure they receive personalised support and he makes the most of WP activities to support the learners. For example, during one WP session Richard discovered a learner who was taking a selection of GCSEs which didn't really interest her as she had her heart set on following a career in an area not offered on the school curriculum. Richard was able to put her in touch with some out of school provision, which will probably help make her dreams a reality. A similar scenario arose during an ACE day, where Richard discovered a learner had developed a dream to go into nursing. He immediately set about contacting the relevant people within Connexions and the NHS and finding out sources of information that would be beneficial for the learner concerned. Richard accompanied a number of colleagues from regional Aimhigher on a lobbying trip to Westminster. Richard was the only representative across Yorkshire and Humber who had been able to arrange for two Aimhigher cohort learners to join us. The learners were both delighted and nervous ­ one had never been on a train before and the other had but so long ago they couldn't remember the experience. The three hour journey from Hull to London and then tube ride was enough to broaden their horizons, not to mention their interfacing with MPs and members of the Education Select Committee. The following week Richard returned to London with more members of the school's Aimhigher cohort. There are numerous examples of how Richard Lawson has excelled in the responsibilities and commitments he has made to Aimhigher and to the learners he has been supporting as they face all sorts of challenges to progression.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 4: Most innovative Aimhigher practice

This award is for the Aimhigher activity or programme of activities that demonstrates the freshest, most innovative approach to widening participation.

Winning Entry:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Nottinghamshire Name of Entry: Support for vocational progression Rationale: Aimhigher Awards: most innovative Aimhigher practice ­ support for vocational learners Aimhigher Nottinghamshire One of Aimhigher Nottinghamshire's strategic aims is to promote progression into further and higher education through vocational and work-based learning. Through research, we identified that few learners take the opportunity to achieve higher level skills via these routes, and developed a comprehensive package of measures to raise awareness and aspirations for this target group. The interventions (which all include reference to FE or HE opportunities) provide a progressive framework that can be accessed by learners at different stages. The package includes: apprenticeship workshops for young people in full-time education, using interactive technology to raise awareness of the opportunity to earn and learn. Over 600 young people accessed these workshops last year a non-residential apprenticeship summer school delivered by a local FE college with HE and work-based provision taster days and longer-term programmes linked to centres of vocational excellence, offering practical activities linked to real career opportunities. Feedback from participants highlighted such positive outcomes as: 73% stated they'd developed a range of new skills; 54% were more sure about their plans for the future; 89% had a better understanding of work in the occupational area a dedicated careers guidance specialist providing information and advice to apprentices Timescale: ongoing training to raise awareness of progression routes available to learners for practitioners/ work-based assessors a menu of opportunities for advanced apprentices, including aspiration-raising workshops, e-mentoring and visits to level 4 providers. Earlier this year 15 advanced hairdressing apprentices spent a day at Derby University's Buxton campus, where they offer a foundation degree in hairdressing. Bite-sized learning opportunities through partnership with the University of Derby's Learning Through Work programme. `Beginning Professional Learning' is a 30credit certificate of achievement to prepare learners for and give them an experience of higher education study. Two success stories include: an individual who undertook this degree level mode of study to demonstrate to management his potential for progression; and a former temporary administrator who, through this programme, has become PA to the board of a regional development agency. Bespoke resources including case studies of apprentices that have progressed to higher education and a Higher Education Guide for Apprentices All of the above are underpinned by partnership arrangements with Nottinghamshire Training Network, education and training providers. This innovative approach helps embed Aimhigher within the 14-19 curriculum and provides a base to establish a productive relationship with the local lifelong learning network.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 4: Most innovative Aimhigher practice

This award is for the Aimhigher activity or programme of activities that demonstrates the freshest, most innovative approach to widening participation.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Humberside and North Lincolnshire Name of Entry: 'Aim for the Stars . . .' Rationale: NE Lincolnshire's `Aim for the Stars . . .' event has been used as a case study of good practice at a national conference focused on `Widening Participation in Higher Education: The Next Steps' as the main component of a seminar focused on `A Curriculum Based Approach to Widening Participation'. The event has also been highlighted as good practice on the national Aimhigher website, a national G&T website and within the `Aimhigher East Midlands Boys into HE' Project. The event has also recently won a regional award for the promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. The event is part of a wider strategy to widen participation in subjects currently under-represented in HE. Students are able to access a number of activities over several Key Stages of their education aimed at raising aspirations and attainment in STEM subjects. Additional activities include visits to HEIs, workshops with experts in the field and careers events. This type of work is particularly important in NE Lincolnshire given the reliance of the wide range of Humber Bank industries on attracting a workforce well qualified in STEM subjects. The event is run over two days within the local authority and offered to all secondary and primary schools from within the Grimsby Excellence Cluster and two FE institutions. Daytime activities are delivered by Starchasers educational outreach team, which have been designed to complement the National Curriculum. Key learning points of the experience include space related material Timescale: August 06 - July 07 science, chemistry, geology, atoms and molecules. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with Starchasers Rocket staff, who are personally involved with the research and development of Britain's only manned spaceflight project. Daytime activities will include viewing Starchasers current research project that centres upon the construction and launch of a reusable liquid propellant sounding rocket called Skybolt. Students experience an interactive Cosmic Chemistry show consisting of demonstrations, videos and activities on the theme of spaced related chemistry and geology. Students will make their own comet, produce water, and create a home made Aurora Borealis. Students drawn from the G&T cohort will also experience the Stardome, an inflatable planetarium provided by the National Space Centre. Year 6 Gifted and Talented students have the opportunity to build and launch their own rockets. Year 11 and 12 students, parents and staff are invited to attend an evening event with a STEM careers focus incorporating workshops and an interactive careers fair.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 4: Most innovative Aimhigher practice

This award is for the Aimhigher activity or programme of activities that demonstrates the freshest, most innovative approach to widening participation.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Staffordshire and Stoke Name of Entry: Integrated IAG Programme Rationale: Aimhigher Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent has produced an integrated programme of innovative resources and events to support quality IAG for years 9-11, in particular promoting vocational progression routes. 1. The Guide The Guide is a teaching resource to enable students to learn more about career pathways and progression routes. The pack includes suggested lesson plans to help tutors/teachers. The booklets are designed to be short, punchy and "waffle-free" and cover 11 different sectors ­ including Business and Professional, Creative and Media and Construction. 2. LMI ­ Let's Make It easy Let's Make It easy is another resource pack to be used alongside The Guide booklets. It makes Labour Market Information more accessible and understandable to students. The pack contains general information on what LMI is, how to make sense of it and how it could help, along with lesson plans, a board game and worksheets. Sectors focused on include Business and Professional, Construction, Healthcare and Social Care. 3. SPECS Careers and Progression Event SPECS is an interactive careers and progression event, held twice a year at Staffordshire University. The two-day events offer students the chance to speak to FE, HE, WBL providers and employers and have a go at activities from first aid to filming. Schools from Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire attend. Supported by HE Students Ambassadors, pupils are guided through Timescale: September 1st 2006 - August 31st 2007 coloured zones which represent a sector area, so that they can experience the full range of opportunities available. Impact This package fills a huge gap in resources supporting the Careers Education programme within local schools, which have made use of these resources with students gaining valuable insights into important but sometimes tricky areas like LMI. As an added bonus all the content is local. Feedback from teachers and pupils is very positive: "We use The Guide and the LMI pack in class ­ they are good for giving the students an understandable grasp on careers, expanding or contracting job areas, their future opportunities and how to get there. This knowledge is then underlined at the SPECS event when they get to ask the experts, see some of the aspects of the job they may be interested in and find out about progression routes." School Careers Coordinator. "SPECS really opened my eyes to all the different jobs I could choose." "I think that SPECS was really good and has made me feel more confident about going onto Higher Education." Student Comments.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

AIMHIGHER INDUCTION PACK

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Category 4: Most innovative Aimhigher practice

This award is for the Aimhigher activity or programme of activities that demonstrates the freshest, most innovative approach to widening participation.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Tyne and Wear Name of Entry: Primary School Aspirations Project Rationale: The primary school aspirations project is an innovative support package for students, parents/carers and school staff which aims to build a disposition towards learning and Higher Education. The project is funded by Aim Higher, led by Connexions Tyne and Wear and involves a range of partners from across the local Higher/Further Education and work based training sectors. Support includes a series of high-impact, kinaesthetic workshops by employers which aim to provide positive role models for young people (especially important to male students) and to communicate what is expected from school-leavers later in life. Curriculum materials and software resources are provided to enhance careers education in Year 6, as well as tackling literacy, numeracy and confidence issues. Aim Higher (Tyne and Wear) provide links to their Apprentice Students on Campus (ASC) programme, with students, staff and parents from the selected schools visiting the Newcastle University campus for a day of interactive tasks which conclude with a special graduation ceremony. Four schools are selected (per year) against a clear set of criteria which includes the percentage of students receiving free school meals, not achieving Level 4 in Key Stage 2 tests and their location in priority (deprivation/vitality data used here) neighbourhood areas. The project also sets out to challenge gender stereotypes and has used male health workers and female scientists to enthuse students, helping them to link the relevance of their school subjects to Higher Education and employment. All Timescale: October 2006 - February2007 facilitators use positive thinking techniques to engender a 'can do' approach among young learners. The project delivers to approximately 130 Year 6 students per year, including 76 workshops upon 8 subject themes over a teaching time of 38 hours. Up to 15 school staff are trained (per year) in using the new curriculum materials. Many students mention university and graduate level careers after participating in the programme, while proving that they can demonstrate the transferable skills applicable to Higher Education analysis, communication and problem-solving. This project is truly innovative because it provides a sustainable curriculum model for building aspirations among students who are educated in areas that are grossly underrepresented in Higher Education. It is underpinned by a unique partnership between Aim Higher, Connexions, Education Business Links Service and colleagues in the FE and HE sectors. Finally, it raises the profile of Aim Higher among tutors, parents/carers and students during a formative life-stage a wealth of evidence showing that students' attitudes towards learning are relatively fixed by the end of Year 6. Feedback continues to be excellent and a large bank of evidence written testimonies, images, local press coverage - exists to support the statements above.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

AIMHIGHER INDUCTION PACK

14

Category 4: Most innovative Aimhigher practice

This award is for the Aimhigher activity or programme of activities that demonstrates the freshest, most innovative approach to widening participation.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Greater Merseyside Name of Entry: Superstars project Rationale: The Aimhigher Greater Merseyside funded Superstars project - now in its fourth year works directly with young people in public care/looked after children (LAC). Superstars originated from a pilot project devised by Knowsley's Aimhigher and Looked after children's co-ordinators. Aware that little direct intervention was taking place to raise the aspirations of young people in public care. The project is designed in recognition that, coupled with an often disrupted education, these young people often do not get the support and guidance that they need in order to reach their full potential. Indeed, although improving, educational outcomes for the Looked After cohort are still unacceptably poor, a fact highlighted by the recently published Handle with Care Report. The project works with young people in Year 10/11as they approach their GCSE exams and then continues to offer bespoke support and guidance in further years up to Year 13 and, where requested, beyond. Since its inception, Superstars has worked in partnership with the Looked After Children's education teams (LACES) in all 6 Greater Merseyside Boroughs. The project has been cited as evidence of good practice in Ofsted and Joint Area Reviews within these authorities. This partnership is integral to the programme's success as it is integrated into the overall ECM targets for the boroughs. Members of the Superstars programme have benefited from study support and mentoring as well as motivational and aspirational activities. This year, sees three of the first cohort enter into higher education. Of the programme one Timescale: Started in 2004 and continues of the Superstar's comments: "While visiting this university it has given me much more confidence for my future in Higher Education. Overall this has motivated me to improve my GCSE's" Members of Superstars also submitted a response to the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) Care Matters Green Paper A recent research project concluded the following about the programme: Superstars can be judged to have been a success for the case study young people because it raised their self-esteem and stimulated and then confirmed their own belief that they had the ability to succeed in education if they wanted to. More information about this research can be obtained from either Colin McCaig or Tamsin Bowers-Brown at CRE [email protected]

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 4: Most innovative Aimhigher practice

This award is for the Aimhigher activity or programme of activities that demonstrates the freshest, most innovative approach to widening participation.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: North West Name of Entry: TIGeR ­ the Teachers' Information & Guidance Timescale: Started 2005 - ongoing Rationale: TIGeR ­ the Teachers' Information & Guidance e-Resource www.tiger-nw.org.uk (An Aimhigher North West funded project) TIGeR is a free and accessible website containing bite sized information about progression to Higher Education. This website has primarily been developed to support teachers who do not have a specific careers guidance remit within their school but who find themselves in the position of often giving guidance to young people about progression to Higher Education. The website was developed as a result of research commissioned by Aimhigher North West and carried out by Edge Hill University. This research showed that more than three quarters of teachers surveyed were consulted about progression to Higher Education by their pupils. 98% of teachers identified their own direct experience of HE as their main source of knowledge. Just over a third of teachers said that they attempted to keep their knowledge about HE up to date via educational press and other news media. Almost two thirds said that they did not update their knowledge of HE. A large majority of respondents said they would welcome update information about HE which did not involve much additional time or work. The website has been developed by Connexions Greater Merseyside staff in association with an advisory committee and regular consultation with teachers and IAG professionals. Much effort has gone into publicising the website to ensure that teachers are aware of how it can support their role. The project coordinator has spent a great deal of time at conferences and meetings around the region to this end. Analysis of recent website activity shows that usage has grown from 1600 visits in May 2007 to 2700 in July. The website includes pages on applying to HE, choices at 18, graduate employment, qualifications and student finance. Information for parents has also been recently added. Case studies, subject specific leaflets and lesson plans can be downloaded. The Aimhigher North West partnership is grateful to Connexions Greater Merseyside for creating a professional and user friendly website which supports the work of teachers and other people advising young people across the North West. The project team has responded to the research findings and has provided the region with a first class resource which will continue to be updated and developed to meet changing needs.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 4: Most innovative Aimhigher practice

This award is for the Aimhigher activity or programme of activities that demonstrates the freshest, most innovative approach to widening participation.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Name of Entry: University...What's it really like? Rationale: University...What's it's really like? is a partnership project conceived by Aimhigher Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, the Telford & Wrekin Education Improvement Partnership, the Telford & Wrekin 14-19 Strategy Manager and Cornerhouse, Manchester. This group wanted to: explore the correlation of Aimhigher and Gifted and Talented cohorts add value to the local strategy in managing transition from primary to secondary school encourage peer mentoring embed the five outcomes of Every Child Matters in Aimhigher activities tackle the low HE participation rates in Telford and Wrekin engage learners through creative technologies Seven schools from across Telford & Wrekin were invited to nominate two year 9 learners from their school to become involved in the project. The schools involved were: Abraham Darby Specialist School for Performing Arts Ercall Wood Technology College Lord Silkin School Madeley Court School Orleton Park School Phoenix School Sutherland School Learners were from the Aimhigher gifted and talented cohort. No learners involved in the project had a direct family history of Timescale: June 2006 - ongoing participation in Higher Education. The first stage of the project was to write, film and produce a short film aimed at primary school learners. The year 9 pupils, trained and supported by Cornerhouse, interviewed the national Aimhigher Roadshow, the local MP and pupils from Sutherland School and produced a short film. These pupils now act as local ambassadors for Aimhigher. The group benefited from a presentation skills training course delivered by the Aimhigher team to prepare their primary school presentation. The project in primary schools across Telford and Wrekin is delivered in three stages: 1. University...What's it really like? Telford and Wrekin school ambassadors present their film and a short session on Higher Education to primary school learners 2. The Telford and Wrekin Activity Worker delivers a Professor Fluffy session in school 3. Telford and Wrekin primary school learners are invited to participate in the Telford and Wrekin Children's University managed by Paul Wiseman of Telford and Wrekin Council. Early evaluations show that the activities have had a positive impact on the University...What's it really like? Ambassadors as well as the primary school learners. The year 9 learners themselves commented that this had been a particularly valuable learning experience as they had full autonomy in the film-making process. The partnership approach which underpins the project has been particularly effective, not only in terms of integrating Aimhigher into local children's and young people's strategies, but also the delivery method ensures that there is sustainability built in to the project which will ensure its future beyond the timescale of the Aimhigher initiative.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 5: Aimhigher partnership of the year

This award is for the partnership that has shown particular ingenuity and effectiveness in widening participation in their region / area.

Winning Entry:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Lancashire Name of Entry: Aimhigher Lancashire - Working in Partnership Rationale: Aimhigher activities in Lancashire were initially delivered through schools targeted by the Excellence Clusters or universities. A review of its structures and delivery mechanisms led to the innovative step of aligning Aimhigher Lancashire with the national and local 14-19 Strategy for Learning, and to channel much of the funding through the new 14-19 Partnerships/Learner Entitlement, Action and Delivery (LEAD) Groups which have been set up in each of Lancashire's eight `Travel to Learn Areas' (TTLAs). This integrated model of delivery means that Aimhigher Lancashire: has a voice on the 14-19 Partnerships/LEAD groups through the HE representative is involved in the emerging Lifelong Learning Network across Lancashire and therefore takes a major role in the `Progression' and `Transition' agendas is in a position to influence the debate ensuring that progression at 18/19+ is embedded with the new 14-19 Diplomas The key achievements so far in the first year of this new model are: we are now able to work with a targeted cohort of named pupils in every high school in Lancashire we have aligned ourselves with a greater number of partnerships we have embedded Aimhigher Lancashire's strategic plan into the 14-19 agenda in Lancashire and into the local 14-19 Partnership/LEAD groups' plans membership of our ASG and the 5 Strategic Groups includes sector representation from pre-16, post-16, FE, WBL and HEI, Connexions, Lancashire Education Business Partnership, Chamber of Commerce, Open University, and the LSC we delivered activities to a greater number of participants, increasing from 45,000 people in 05-06 to 80,190 in this first year of the new model we worked successfully with the 3 Local Authorities who each work in different ways through targeting we have allocated 75% of our funding direct to the Local Authorities which, although providing challenges, has ensured that the right young people are having access to the activities that will have the most impact upon them we have raised the profile of progression from WBL to HE through funded projects and through links with the Lancashire WBL Executive Forum who have produced literature for Apprentices, students and parents. By adopting this new model, funding is now targeted and based on strict criteria, there is a coherent programme of activities that produce the outcomes required for that cohort, and a partnership of relevant stakeholders and agencies has been developed to ensure value for money.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 5: Aimhigher partnership of the year

This award is for the partnership that has shown particular ingenuity and effectiveness in widening participation in their region / area.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Central London Name of Entry: Aimhigher Central London Partnership Rationale: I would like to nominate the Aimhigher Central London Partnership (CLP) for this award on the basis of its innovative approach to delivering Aimhigher work, its impact relative to its resources and a contribution to the overall Aimhigher mission far outweighing its size. Background The (CLP) is the areas of Islington, Camden, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster. It has more HEIs (11) than any other in the country, extreme deprivation next to extreme wealth. One of the lowest amount of central funds of any partnership in the country (41st out of 47). An innovative approach ­ the Aimhigher CLP model In contrast to other partnerships there is no `separation of powers' in the CLP between the `centre'/the partnership manager and the local authority co-ordinators. The CLP manager and the co-ordinators are equal, working as a `central team' to run the partnership. Cross-sector partnership is embedded in the everyday work of Aimhigher through devolving power and shared decision making. Impact relative to the resources The central team model is the driving force behind the partnerships high level of impact. Despite its low level of resources it worked with over 13,000 learners at central and local authority level in 2006-07, up from 5000 in 04-05 involved in over 60 different activities. Analysis of UCAS data from UCAS shows that there has been an increase in HE participation from 2002 to 2006 of 27%. This is significantly higher than the London wide all institution increase for the same period, which is 22%. One of only two area partnerships to secure DIUS `Gateway to Professions' funding to produce learning materials in 8 occupational areas working with 600 year 9s. This has been achieved with no project officers and a total central team including administration of 3 FTE staff. Contribution to the overall Aimhigher mission From 2006 mid 2007 CLP led a national Aimhigher project `UNIAID Interactive' which has produced suite of 30 online student finance learning activities. This project has reached over 1000 learners and 600 staff nationwide. CLP also initiated and helped produce a series of 3 x 15 minute programmes for Teachers TV on Aimhigher, CLP's work appeared on Channel 4 news in a piece about Aimhigher in June 2007

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 5: Aimhigher partnership of the year

This award is for the partnership that has shown particular ingenuity and effectiveness in widening participation in their region / area.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: East Midlands Name of Entry: Aimhigher East Midlands Rationale: In 2006/07 Aimhigher East Midlands have developed a number of innovative projects, securing additional funding for many of them. These include: East Midlands Science and Technology Awards (EMSTAs) - 200 scholarships of £1000 per year for 3 years for WP students from the East Midlands doing STEM subjects at East Mids HEIs (we secured funding of over £650k from EMDA for this. Boys into Higher Education Project research and innovation in approaches to raising progression among working class boys. National dissemination planned and a section on EM website is a repository for national work in this area. Boys into Healthcare Sciences - a successful application to the then DfES Gateways to the Professions Fund for a project targeting 750 boys working with Healthcare Science Ambassadors. Progression Pathways Resource development of a website providing information on progression opportunities and sector information, case studies, etc (we are awaiting confirmation of funding of £420k from the regional development agency). Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Database - we are rolling out a database shared across all five Areas in the East Midlands to record participant data. In addition, we continue to provide support to area partnerships through research and data reports to support evidence and targeting. All is in addition to the usual Summer School, Healthcare, marketing and staff development functions, etc.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 5: Aimhigher partnership of the year

This award is for the partnership that has shown particular ingenuity and effectiveness in widening participation in their region / area.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Greater Manchester Name of Entry: Aimhigher Greater Manchester Rationale: Aimhigher Greater Manchester is the largest Aimhigher area partnership with 162 maintained secondary schools, 25 colleges and 6 higher education institutions. Nonetheless the partnership has a very high level of engagement from all sectors and from all ten local authorities. The Aimhigher brand is widely recognised and Aimhigher is now commonly asked to provide information and data on progression to higher education for local authority Joint Area Reviews, for partner institutions and recently provided such data for the Government Office Northwest submission for the Manchester Challenge. When Aimhigher integrated the activities of Excellence Challenge into an area-wide approach, the confidence in the partnership approach made this a positive process. The outcome has been a remarkable level of: cooperation between ten local authority districts who rarely work together in other ways the development of jointly planned activities which draw funding from each borough achieve economies of scale. The Aimhigher Greater Manchester partnership is led by an Area Steering Group which regularly sees high levels of attendance and engagement from all partners and which benefits from an able and independent chair. Building on the strengths of the partnership and recognising the overarching issues involved, Aimhigher Greater Manchester has established a forum across the area for progression to HE from 14-19 diplomas which draws in 14-19 specialists from the local authorities and faculty and admissions staff in the HEIs. Aimhigher has also set up a forum for progression work with Looked After Children involving Aimhigher members and those who represent the corporate parent bodies of Children's' Services. Both these initiatives extend the reach of the partnership by drawing in different kinds of expertise. This is seen too in some activities for young people. For example, we have two key projects which work closely with museums and with art galleries across the area, thus bringing resources from other funding streams to add value to the work of Aimhigher ­ and vice versa. Listen to what our partners say: "Aimhigher GM has managed to bring together Aimhigher, LA 14-19 teams, HE institutions, Connexions and GMSA to address the issues of progression to HE. Just to have brought these together is an achievement, but the group looks as though it will be making real progress on some intractable issues, such as information and awareness raising with tutors and specific progression issues from Diplomas to HE, and acting as a pathfinder for other areas of the country" "All ten boroughs collectively have direct access to key HEI personnel through the 14-19 Progression to HE forum in addition to dialogues through the full ASG. The ASG is the major driver of coherent planning, sharing, evaluation and development for the fundamental concepts and principles underpinning the national Aimhigher programme. It is a model of collaborative working." `From a university perspective Aimhigher in Greater Manchester has had a significant impact on young learners within the region. School and College leavers are now far more aware of the HE opportunities open to them and Aimhigher projects have appreciably raised learner aspirations and created clear progression opportunities. Key to the success enjoyed by Aimhigher in the region has been the creation of effective partnerships. There is cohesiveness between the work done within local boroughs and centrally funded projects, so that greater impact is achieved and good practices shared."

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 5: Aimhigher partnership of the year

This award is for the partnership that has shown particular ingenuity and effectiveness in widening participation in their region / area.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Greater Merseyside Name of Entry: Aimhigher Greater Merseyside Rationale: AHGTM works within Merseyside which is an objective one area. The IMD (2004) indicates that almost 40% of the population of Greater Merseyside are identified in the top 10% most deprived areas in England. Within this context AHGTM works with the 148 secondary schools, 10 FE colleges and 4 higher educational institutions to, as our vision says, 'to ensure that every one person from Greater Merseyside who wishes to take up higher education will have the opportunity to do so.' AHGTM have Worked very closely with partners to achieve a steady increase in HE participation from across the 6 boroughs. Although there is still a long way to go with wards still have less that 16% HE participation the overall Aimhigher message is continuing to influence policy and practice within LEAs. this is evidence in the excellent working relations with the new leads for the 14 - 19 diplomas. AHGTM have worked with LEAs to provide awareness events for staff within HEIs regarding both the level 2 and 3 diplomas. One of the AHGTM programmes will work specifically with pupils to support the transition to the diplomas looking at progression routes and also supporting the extended study unit. AHGTM have also led the way on equality, with a designated BME and DYP officer the partnership is able to access quality advice and support to ensure inclusion is achieved. AHGTM have been funding and supporting work with Looked after children since 2002. One of the partnership's key principle's is 'diversity, equality and the promotions of social justice are cross cutting themes that underpin all AHGTM activities. With a dedicated Monitoring and evaluation officer, AHGTM has led the way in developing methods of capturing quality work as well as evidencing value for money and impact. Partners, including schools and colleges have welcomed the evaluation toolkits and other resources to support their work and this is evidenced not only in the annual report for HEFCE but also in local and regional reporting fora. AHGTM have also led the way in The BTEC level 4 qualification for Widening Participation in Education & Training, accredited by Edexcel a brand new and unique qualification offering practitioners from ALL organisations and institutions involved in widening participation a chance to formalise the practical and enhance their knowledge of theoretical aspects of the social inclusion and widening participation agenda. For further information about the partnership please visit our very comprehensive and user friendly website www.ahgtm.ac.uk

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 5: Aimhigher partnership of the year

This award is for the partnership that has shown particular ingenuity and effectiveness in widening participation in their region / area.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Humberside and North Lincolnshire Name of Entry: Aimhigher Humber Rationale: Aimhigher Humber, which is a sub-regional/area level partnership, made considerable progress towards developing a far more targeted widening participation approach across its four Local Authority Areas during 06-07. One of the ingenious methods used was further development of an on-line system which has two different client groups; firstly, Aimhigher co-ordinators from schools and colleges and secondly all the sub-regional project leaders. Schools and colleges use the system to register their named `Aimhigher cohort against the national guidance for cohort identification. They then submit plans of how they will spend their funding against those targeted learners. The majority of schools and colleges were able to do this quite early after September 06 and have been completing on-line monitoring against their planned activities ever since. Members of the Area Steering Group agreed to release the flow of Aimhigher funding in tranches against the identification of Aimhigher cohorts, submission of plans of activity and spend and periodic monitoring. Schools, colleges and Local Authorities throughout the four local Authority areas signed up to this approach, which is an indication of the strength of the partnership and recognition of the importance of integrating the Aimhigher agenda into school and college planning, processes. Projects have been required to be registered on-line and complete monitoring at regular intervals, regulating delivery against spend and periodic reporting. The more rigorous monitoring system has been a significant contributing factor towards projects coming in on budget and preventing last minute evaluations, accounting and under spends. Using the on-line system for project monitoring has enabled us to move to a far more dynamic PRINCE2 style of project management for future delivery periods. The on-line system has been developed through considerable good will and respect for different Aimhigher, school, college and project needs across the partnership. The communications network developed through the partnership has also been paramount to successful operations. The on-line system has been presented to and attracted interest from the East and West Midlands, HEFCE, DfES (now DIUS), Action on Access as well as our regional partners. Should funding permit post 08, Aimhigher Humber and Aimhigher West Yorkshire are already looking at making a system that would be more fitting with the new Aimhigher guidance and across a much broader geographical coverage. The new system should be of great interest to any Aimhigher partnership adhering to the new guidance.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 5: Aimhigher partnership of the year

This award is for the partnership that has shown particular ingenuity and effectiveness in widening participation in their region / area.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: London North Name of Entry: London North Aimhigher Rationale: The London North Aimhigher Partnership has developed considerable expertise over the last 3 years through their work with the following learner groups: - Learners with disabilities (see below) - `Hard to Reach' groups: The Partnership is recognised for its awareness/aspiration raising activities with adults (out of education, employment and training), young parents, adults recovering from mental health difficulties and is now developing a Care Leavers programme - Support groups and aspiration/awareness activities with speakers of other languages with English language needs - The Mobile Construction Workshop (MCW) - a programme for Years 9/10) offering either a taster course or a two year BTEC First Certificate in Construction (Level 2). The stud wall project is the main practical activity for the taster course. This is undertaken over one term with each cohort of students. It has proved to be popular with schools and has been recognised for addressing a wide range of trades. These include: carpentry, bricklaying, plumbing, painting, tiling and decorating. - Other programmes that we feel have been particularly effective or have shown particular ingenuity have been: a series of masterclasses and taster session in Waltham Forest delivered on Saturday mornings through local HEIs', programme with Years 6-8 students, programmes with bi-lingual learners, Somali and Turkish-speaking learners The London North Aimhigher Disability Programme is an innovative widening participation programme targeting learners with any disability aged 14-30. Since July 2006 the project has reached approximately 300 students and 300 parent/carers. The programme delivers 3-day non-residential HE IAG Transition Schools for disabled students (the school for students with Asperger Syndrome was the first of its kind. It is one of the first Aimhigher programmes to actively recruit its own team of disabled Student Ambassadors (currently 30 from 12 London Universities), providing aspiration/attainment raising activities in schools/colleges and offering staff/students disability awareness training. This September these Ambassadors are receiving training to facilitate PersonCentred Annual Reviews for the Statemented students they work with. There is close liaison with local authorities/voluntary sector and parents/carers of disabled students, with free, disability specific resources for families, including the nationally acclaimed "Guide for the Successful Transition into University for Students with Asperger Syndrome and Autism." The majority of students have successfully applied to colleges and universities (75% of students attending the recent Transitions School were accepted on to HE courses) The Programme was a winner at the London Education Partnership Awards and shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Awards 2007.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 5: Aimhigher partnership of the year

This award is for the partnership that has shown particular ingenuity and effectiveness in widening participation in their region / area.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Nottinghamshire Name of Entry: Aimhigher Nottinghamshire Rationale: Why does Aimhigher Nottinghamshire deserve to win this category, when there are so many examples of high quality, innovative delivery amongst partnerships countrywide? The two main aspects of our work we would wish to celebrate are `distance travelled' and the nature of the partnerships we have developed. The challenge Aimhigher Nottinghamshire faced some challenging issues, including: severe deprivation in the city and the former coalfields low levels of educational attainment lack of culture of progression to HE, with some of the lowest participation rates in the country no history of collaborative working. In the early stages the partnership was described as `dysfunctional'! Our achievements It's taken several years to achieve the following: all key stakeholders engaged on our ASG all partner organisations making practical contributions to mutuallybeneficial projects such as jointly-produced resources, seconded staff contributing specialist expertise and collaborative initiatives such as the Advantage Nottinghamshire scheme involving all local universities development and successful delivery of flagship projects such as: * the `What Next?' opportunities fair, attended by over 7,000 students, parents and practitioners o the Aimhigher personal adviser project, where 60% of the target cohort progressed to HE * Finance workshops and resources Working in Partnership Above all, Aimhigher Nottinghamshire is recognised as the honest broker and a catalyst for genuine collaboration. We've translated our experiences into an informative practitioner resource, facilitating the production of `A rough guide to partnership', a publication that illustrates the approaches and skills required to bring a diverse range of individuals, organisations and agencies together. Impact and outcomes The achievement of learners from the most disadvantaged areas in the county is the ultimate outcome of the efforts of the core team and the investment of our partners, and early indications reflect a good news story.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 5: Aimhigher partnership of the year

This award is for the partnership that has shown particular ingenuity and effectiveness in widening participation in their region / area.

Shortlisted Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Name of Entry: Aimhigher Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Rationale: The Aimhigher Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Partnership may not have the largest delivery team in the Aimhigher world, but it certainly packs a punch! The 2006-08 planning period presented the Partnership with an opportunity to create an innovative, effective and integrative approach to the delivery of the Aimhigher initiative. Following an extensive consultation exercise with all stakeholders in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, through which the Partnership discovered that key stakeholders required a single, meaningful relationship with Aimhigher, the Partnership took the decision to restructure the delivery arm of the programme. The result was the newly created role of Aimhigher Activity Worker, offering each local authority a `one-stop shop' for all Aimhigher activities in their area, paving the way for even closer partnership working. An Aimhigher Activity Worker was recruited from each local authority area adding an ambassadorial element to the role. The role of the Activity Worker has meant that the work of our Partnership is fully integrated with the wider 14-19 agenda, with a dedicated Activity Worker for each local authority area contributing to areas such as: Specialised diplomas Online area prospectus 14-19 strategies Local cluster arrangements Connexions 4 Youth and Connexions Shropshire Looked After Children plans Practitioner development The Aimhigher Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin team delivers activities to primary schools, secondary schools, special schools, colleges, training providers, parents and carers, adults, practitioners and local communities. The restructuring of the delivery team has proved to be extremely successful with the initial outcomes since 1st August 2006: All schools, colleges and training providers in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin are now engaged in Aimhigher Greater partnership working with the Looked After Children and Care Leaver teams in both local authorities ensures these groups have access to the full suite of Aimhigher activities A regular practitioner e-bulletin for Information, Advice and Guidance staff, 14-19 teams, LAC and Care Leaver teams ensures that all practitioners are kept up to date with the latest Aimhigher developments The inclusion of special schools within the Aimhigher programme, including vocational activities and the Theatre In Education (TIE) tour The small, central team approach ensures the majority of funding is concentrated on front-end learner services

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 6: Most inspirational student success story

Recognising the efforts of an individual who has shown exceptionally strong personal engagement in an Aimhigher activity, and has seen significant success as a result.

All Winning Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: ASPIRE (South East) Name of Entry: Adam Brett Rationale: Adam is an Aspire student ambassador based at the University of Greenwich and in January 2006 he joined a project called The RAG (Raising Achievement Group) Girls at a local girl's comprehensive. This project aims to improve the grades of girls capable of achieving 5 A-C's at GCSE but who, for some reason, are disengaged with education. Adam, who is himself dyslexic and the first in his family to attend university, started as one of a team of ambassadors. However, it quickly became clear that he was going to be the lead and by the next academic year he was co-ordinating the project. As co-ordinator he works closely with a member of the school senior management team to allocate the ambassadors, oversee their timetables and manage the learning of the girls. He was also there when the girls got their results in order to help them make decisions about their future. This involved much research into what is available at local schools and colleges. As well as making a measurable difference to the GCSE results of these girls, 83% showed an improvement in at least one subject, their approach to learning has also changed. This was borne out at a recent conference when one of the girls spoke about the effect on her "Before the ambassadors came my behaviour wasn't great...When a teacher would try to get me to listen...it would turn into an argument and on some occasions walking out of the lesson. But now I've got that extra push from the ambassadors and I've seen what I can achieve". This student attained 10 GCSE's at A* - C including English, Maths and Science. In addition to this work Adam has qualified as a Sports Ambassador and works very closely with another local school on growing and developing their athletics programme to the extent where the school are taking part in County and Regional competitions. Finally, Adam has initiated a new project which we are planning to run in 2007/8 with Bexley Youth Offending Team. This will include using sport as a means of involving young offenders with their education and their futures. Within Aspire we feel that Adam has shown exceptional commitment to not only the Aimhigher aims and objectives but also to all the young people with whom he works and that he is a very real example of what young people can achieve.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 6: Most inspirational student success story

Recognising the efforts of an individual who has shown exceptionally strong personal engagement in an Aimhigher activity, and has seen significant success as a result.

All Winning Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Humberside and North Lincolnshire Name of Entry: Ian Bennett Rationale: Ian Bennett is an excellent example of a student who has both contributed to the Aimhigher programme and benefited from it. Ian began his involvement with the Aimhigher programme whilst studying at Hereford Technology School, part of the Grimsby Excellence Cluster. Ian was involved with numerous Aimhigher activities whilst at school, including the Regional Aimhigher Summer School. Ian found it such a positive experience he then assisted the Aimhigher NE Lincolnshire team to raise awareness of the summer schools amongst other students by speaking in different school assemblies and to selected groups of students. Ian prepared a presentation of images from his time on summer school and spoke passionately about the impact the experience had had on him. Ian began studying for his AS levels at Franklin College and applied to be part of an Aimhigher Student Mentor programme. He has been a peer mentor in his old school for a year now, providing advice, guidance and support to small groups of students. Ian enjoyed his experience so much, that he has offered to help out at this year's Mentor Training sessions for new Mentors, to pass on his experiences within school. Aimhigher in conjunction with the G&T strand ran a Lights, Camera, Action Key Stage 3 transition summer school aimed at increasing students' attainment and motivation to succeed particularly in English and Humanities subjects. Student advisors drawn from both FE and HE worked with small groups of students over the week to help them to work towards their final product, a film based around the topic of the issues facing students in Higher Education. Ian worked very hard to inspire a particularly challenging group of students that week, keeping them on task and motivated during filming at the University of Hull, and during their tour of the BBC Open centre. All of the work that Ian has done with students has certainly had an impact on his long term career goals, as he now intends to apply for a teaching degree later this year. The mentoring work Ian has done has certainly stood him in good stead as he now has numerous offers of references for his teaching application. Having worked with Ian over a number of years, I would certainly highly recommend him for this award as he has put in an incredible amount of extra effort to get to where he is today.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 6: Most inspirational student success story

Recognising the efforts of an individual who has shown exceptionally strong personal engagement in an Aimhigher activity, and has seen significant success as a result.

All Winning Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Kent and Medway Name of Entry: Jamie Baker Rationale: Jamie Baker is a young care leaver who has achieved so much. Having spent three years in care, he has grown into a bright, ambitious young man with a shining future ahead of him. After leaving school prematurely, Jamie enrolled at Thanet College in 2002 on a course designed for people who have been out of education for some time. He then progressed to an NVQ Level 1 course in Retail. It was whilst on this course that Jamie felt confident enough to pursue his interest in the Performing Arts, and he went on to complete the BTEC First Diploma in Performing Arts. Jamie then progressed to the BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts where he was told that he had the ability to succeed at HE, and that there was financial assistance for him. For someone who had initially come to the College with the hope of perhaps gaining some GCSEs, this revelation was a testament to Jamie's hard work and determination. In October 2006 Jamie first became aware of the Aimhigher Designated Contact for Young Care Leavers (YCL) project at the College. As an Out of County Care Leaver, Jamie had very little support or encouragement, with no family to help him through the university application process. Both the Young Care Leavers team and the Student Services team began working with Jamie to assist him in applying to university and identifying what support he was entitled to from London Social Services. Jamie has praised the support that he received from the College, particularly the `open door' policy, especially as he receives very minimal support from his Social Worker. In July 07, Jamie attended an Aimhigher Summer School specifically for YCLs where he was able to share his experiences. Jamie said that the event was "very refreshing to his confidence" and that "there are a lot of things that have gone right for me that other YCLs are still trying to achieve, encouraging me to reflect and be pleased with what I have achieved so far". Jamie is about to begin the first year of a degree in Performance Management at Winchester University. Whilst at university, Jamie plans to share his experiences as a YCL with others in the same situation, as he feels that this is what every young person has the right to achieve.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 6: Most inspirational student success story

Recognising the efforts of an individual who has shown exceptionally strong personal engagement in an Aimhigher activity, and has seen significant success as a result.

All Winning Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Greater Manchester Name of Entry: Melissa Blair Steenson Rationale: Melissa was nominated by the Salford Aimhigher borough partnership as their winner of the Aimhigher Greater Manchester Y11 award winner and has been selected by Aimhigher Greater Manchester for this award because of her striking determination to succeed. Melissa was, until June 2007, a pupil at the Albion High School in Salford, a school which has a very high proportion of pupils from disadvantaged communities in the city and which faces major challenges to raise overall levels of attainment. Diane Wood, Deputy Head at the Albion says: "Melissa has been part of the Aimhigher cohort for two years. She has a mentor through Aimhigher who she describes as invaluable. Melissa's peer group are less motivated and less able and so Melissa has had to work hard to keep face with friends whilst keeping up with work and striving to achieve. It has not been easy for her but, partly due to Melissa and partly due to her Aimhigher mentor, she will succeed." In her DVD interview for the Greater Manchester awards evening, Melissa said: "A lot of my friends are on part-time timetables and get thrown out a lot. When my mates are saying `what are you doing your work for?' I've still got on with it." Melissa is described as a typical teenager but she is intelligent and wants to better herself. At home, she often cares for her younger sibling. She can be stubborn and her family do not always have the experience to know how best to help her. Occasionally Melissa takes herself off to stay with friends or her gran. Melissa achieved 5 Grade B, 5 Grade C and two D Grades in her GCSE exams, well above the average for the school. She moved onto Salford College to take a nursing cadet course but is considering transferring to take A levels. Here is Melissa's advice to other students: "Get your course work done early then concentrate on your exams and don't care what other people think, because at the end of the day you're gonna be the one that goes on to college and does well for yourself." Aimhigher Greater Manchester wishes Melissa all the luck in the world and is delighted to nominate her for a national award on behalf of all young people who have the courage to plough their own furrow.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 6: Most inspirational student success story

Recognising the efforts of an individual who has shown exceptionally strong personal engagement in an Aimhigher activity, and has seen significant success as a result.

All Winning Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Name of Entry: Nathan Cottrell Rationale: Nathan had a disruptive upbringing which contributed to a history of drugs and theft. This eventually led to Nathan being convicted and sent to HMP Grendon. Nathan arrived at Grendon with no qualifications and no aims or aspirations. Nathan was initially inspired by someone on his wing and started collecting prospectuses. He started by looking at his areas of interest. He was never interested in sport but did enjoy fishing and watching birds ­ he loved animals so made this his starting point. He started to get mentored by someone at Springhill but this did not achieve anything so when he was offered an Aimhigher MKOB mentor, he thought he'd give it a go. The process of accessing education wasn't easy to say the least. However, Nathan didn't give up and overcome the many barriers he was confronted with. After many knock backs, Plumpton College showed an interest as they do not base admittance on just the forms and paperwork, they like to interview students. This was obviously difficult for Nathan as he was in Prison so a telephone interview with the course manager was arranged. This lasted for over an hour. Plumpton's only concern was his lack of knowledge of Science. It was agreed that he should get and understand a text book to help him. They agreed that he would be welcome at their college to study a Foundation Degree in Animal Science. The next hurdle for Nathan was accommodation. He was initially told he would be able to have accommodation at the University and the pack would be sent out to him; however, instead of receiving the pack he received a letter to say the case was being reviewed. Nathan panicked and thought all his hard work had been wasted. After many phone calls and discussions with various people, Nathan was offered his accommodation. Nathan then had a problem regarding his student finance as he didn't have a bank account. 15 letters were sent out on Nathan's behalf to banks to try and set up a bank account for someone without seeing them, however, they received very little response. Eventually a bank was sourced and they would accept a letter from the prison as part of his ID. Throughout the process, Nathan remained optimistic and determined. Many people in Nathan's situation would have admitted defeat and given up. Nathan remained positive when most people would have crumbled and his persistence paid off.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 6: Most inspirational student success story

Recognising the efforts of an individual who has shown exceptionally strong personal engagement in an Aimhigher activity, and has seen significant success as a result.

All Winning Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Leicestershire Name of Entry: Phillip Leader Rationale: The Designated Teacher at Leicester College Sally Webster and myself, The Team Leader at RALAC, Raising Achievement of Looked After Children would like to nominate Phillip Leader as a candidate for the "most inspirational success story" award. Phillip came into the care system whilst at primary school and has spent most of his time in care in children's homes. Phillip had a very difficult time coping and was excluded from school and a range of alternative settings. Phillip has attended various courses and schemes over the past four years through Aim Higher RALAC and Leicester College. I believe that due to these activities it has helped, inspired and guided him to be successful in completing both level one and level two full time qualifications. He is about to start on a level three programme this academic year. Through Aimhigher activities he has grown in confidence and has built up a good relationship with staff and peers. Although there have sometimes been difficult circumstances in Phillip's life he has stuck to his educational goals. Here is a sample of a progress report from Phillip's last year: "There has been a marked improvement in Phillips general attitude since the end of the first term which has resulted in much better relations with all involved with him. His attendance and punctuality continue to be good for all study areas and I see no reason for him not passing the course. Regards Pete Phillip is by no means an angel and it has taken a lot of negotiating and team work to keep him in education but he has listened to advice, realises that education is important and deep down likes to attend college. Through his efforts last year he was also awarded a college bursary for the points listed below: Good attendance A positive attitude in the classroom, towards tutors and peers Good progression in class and course work Taking responsibility Since year ten Phillip has joined in many "Way Ahead" activities such as cookery evening sessions, half term college taster days and an evening briefing for the university summer school. This year I have discussed university with Phillip and we are in the process of sorting out mentoring and shadowing activities with the Widening Participation Officer at De Montfort University Leicester. Without the support of Aimhigher the role of Designated Teacher would not have been developed in FE. I believe this role has "championed" Phillip to enable him to engage in college and hopefully through Phillips efforts we will see him realise his full educational potential."

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

Category 6: Most inspirational student success story

Recognising the efforts of an individual who has shown exceptionally strong personal engagement in an Aimhigher activity, and has seen significant success as a result.

All Winning Entries:

Name of Aimhigher Partnership: Western Partnership Name of Entry: Richard Amos: National Star College Rationale: Richard has shown so much courage and determination to make this happen, and has not let his disabilities stand in the way of his ambition of going to university to fulfil his tremendous potential. Any of these visits needed input from Richard himself and he has shown a great deal of character and organisational skills to cater and prepare for all his needs. Richard is confined to a wheelchair as he has cerebral palsy, is quadriplegic and suffers from scoliosis, so therefore needs hoisting in and out of bed and needs support for all his personal care by staff and needs certain aids and adaptations. He is also epileptic and needs regular medication, and if he suffers a fit he needs care from senior medical staff and still Richard is happy to go and take himself out of his safety and comfort zone. Richard is an inspiration to us all and above everything he is always very positive and happy, and is always smiling.

National Aimhigher Awards Scheme 2007 Winning and Shortlisted Entries

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Aimhigher A4 booklet

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