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2018 Innovation and Best Practice Awards

HELOA is pleased to continue the ‘Innovation and Best Practice Awards’. We would like to recognise some of the excellent work that is taking place every day amongst our membership. Voting for a winner took place during the conference.

If you have any questions, please contact training@heloa.ac.uk

Congratulations to the 2018 winner, Loughborough University

Loughborough University

The issue of low attainment among White British children in receipt of free school meals was identified in Ofsted’s report Unseen Children (2013). Since then, the issue has also been identified in HE by the BIS and others and is a key concern for universities.

Loughborough University has sought to attack the issue head on with a range of practically focused interventions aimed at engaging with, and raising the aspirations of young people from white working class, low participation neighbourhoods. Supported by a raft of additional material, support packs for teachers and additional activities, the Loughborough team have been piloting a unique, interactive and low- cost approach to engagement that has had amazing results across a range of subject disciplines and is capable of being rolled out country wide.

Subject in a Box is a unique tool that can be used as a stand-alone activity in schools or at events to encourage participation and team work with a clear subject focus. The emphasis is on fun learning with a clear link to curriculum subjects. Free to schools with subject options across the board and more subjects coming on board each quarter, Subject in a Box is a simple idea with a powerful impact.

Other entries 

University of Leicester and University of Nottingham – A Journey to Medicine and Healthcare

The project was initiated as a result of a Medical Schools Council’s (MSC) initiative to support Medical Schools across the country to deliver collaborative Teacher and Advisor conferences in ‘cold spots’ for Medicine outreach.

The University of Leicester and University of Nottingham decided to host one of these collaborative Teacher and Advisor Conferences to engage with the identified ‘cold spot’ of Lincolnshire. Lincolnshire was identified not only as a cold spot for Medicine outreach and recruitment but also for graduate-retention, as currently 68 out of 428 GP posts are unfilled in the county.

We wanted to contribute to one of the long term solution to this issue by increasing the knowledge, understanding and interest of the Medicine and Healthcare profession in Lincolnshire by working with teachers and sixth form students from areas where few people go on to study for healthcare careers and degrees and in areas of deprivation.

Our project included delivering firstly a conference aimed at teachers and advisors to increase their understanding of admissions processes onto healthcare courses and to support teachers who can in turn assist their students with accessing healthcare courses at university. The first significant difference of the conference we planned to that of the other conferences in the MSC’s initiative, was that our conference was to be held in the ‘cold spot’ itself and at one of the target schools itself. This created a strong and lasting collaborative partnership with the target school approached – North Kesteven Academy. The second significance difference was that the teacher and advisor conference was intended as a call to action for a student conference, rather than a stand-alone event.

Our second phase of the project included running a conference for Year 12 students to increase their understanding of studying medicine at university. The conference gave the students the opportunity to discuss the course and career with students from Leicester and Nottingham, Admissions staff, a representative from the Medical Schools Council and a graduate doctor who is currently practicing in Lincolnshire.

The project was the first of its kind to be run collaboratively with a target Widening Participation school and an external organisation – the Medical Schools Council.

University of Dundee – gifted and talented programme

The city of Dundee is successfully reinventing itself as a key destination for 2018, and beyond, with a £1 billion Waterfront regeneration. The University of Dundee has been pivotal to the change however, despite the growing media buzz, the recruitment team remained concerned that students, particularly in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were still largely unaware of Dundee as a destination.

The purpose of the project was to raise awareness of the University of Dundee and to increase recruitment from high-achieving RUK (rest of UK) students and UK-based international students, thus further developing relationships with target schools. The nature of the activity was to collaborate with Gifted and Talented Co-Ordinators at key schools to identify students who would apply and be selected for this on-campus conference. The outcome of the activity was hoped to result in more applications and conversions from unregulated fee paying markets, and to attract a higher calibre of applicant while increasing the awareness of Dundee.

King’s College London – The King’s Scholars Programme

The King’s Scholars Programme is King’s College London Widening Participation Department’s flagship pre-16 outreach initiative.

There is now an extensive evidence base that argues that effective widening participation work starts early. Accordingly, the King’s Scholars Programme was founded by King’s in July 2015 to ensure that we provide high quality, evidence-based and rigorously evaluated outreach to a younger audience.

Initially, the programme worked with 13 local schools in Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster, engaging over 900 year 7-9 learners in an intensive long-term scheme designed to enhance their chances of progressing to a highly selective university.

In 2017 the programme has expanded with the establishment of 2 associate projects: Gameplan.ac.uk and Parent Power. The former is a gamified online resource that provides engaging IAG to 10-14 year olds, the latter an innovative community organising parental engagement scheme designed to engage, train and mobilise local King’s Scholar parents.