Findings from Reaching London & Reaching East: Engaging Learners in Higher Education

By Karina Berzins, Research Fellow, Continuum, University of East London

Earlier this year we completed the Reaching East and Reaching London projects which were funded under the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCO) scheme established by the HEFCE with the explicit aim of encouraging more young people into higher education. The projects were financially supported by the University of East London, the University of Greenwich, and University College London.

The Reaching East and Reaching London research mapping projects have been run concurrently to establish the levels of outreach activity in London and the East London area. Reaching East considered the East London boroughs and parts of Essex – a geographical area with low HE participation rates, which we are calling the “eastern arc of low participation”. Reaching London built on this work and looked at the remaining London boroughs for comparison. This will be the first time that a true snapshot of outreach activity in this area has been established. We mapped this activity for the 2014/15 academic year.

(A few of the) headline findings: 

  • We found there is a strong positive correlation with numbers of outreach events at school level when correlated with HE participation for that school at London level (r= 0.654, p= < 0.0001), as well as at the level of East London and Essex (r=0.623, p= < 0.0001).
  • The type of establishment that most learners are studying at are Academy Converters, with 44% of learners between the ages of 11 and 19 inclusive studying at this type of institution. This breaks down to 39% in the East London boroughs and Essex, and 49% for the other areas of London.
  • The ethnicity of learners show differences between East London, Essex and the rest of London. On average 39% of learners from the East London boroughs are white or white other, while 41% are white or white other for the remaining London boroughs. The inner boroughs show more ethnic diversity than the outer boroughs, with the Essex regions being particularly white (82% white and white other).

To read the full blog and all the team’s findings, head over to the Continuum blog.

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