IntoUniversity’s mission is to raise the aspirations of young people from the poorest homes across the UK. Statistically, these students underperform at school, they are less likely to go to university, and have little chance of breaking the cycle of poverty.
Warwick in partnership with IntoUniversity aims to challenge this in Coventry.
The benefit of experience
One of the first to register for the IntoUniversity Coventry Centre’s Academic Support Programme was Fadhi.
Fadhi, like many in Coventry, speaks English as an additional language and this has impacted her performance at school. Since she’s considering becoming a midwife, and that requires at least a grade 5 in Science, Fadhi turned to the Centre for help.
As part of the programme, Fadhi was paired with Warwick Mathematics student Renee – a former pupil at the London-based Centre. Having a mentor like Renee was one of the best experiences of IntoUniversity for Fadhi.
The impact of the pandemic
Stacey, a quiet Year 9 student, began Academic Support prior to the pandemic. But as lockdown began, Stacey and her twin sister continued to access support and even received an additional laptop so they could both access online schooling.
On returning to school in person, Stacey said:
“It’s a bit overwhelming, but I found my way quite quickly. It was nice to see friends again and ease back into a sort of normality. We did Academic Support during the pandemic and that helped with my education and learning and, kind of, filling the gaps and getting us prepared to go back to school.
“If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I would have progressed further with Maths, Science, and other subjects I was struggling with. But lockdown was also a chance for me to revise in different ways and learn by myself. Now I revise with my mentor, and in Academic Support I have time to myself to do my homework and finish off what I need to.”
A mentor’s perspective
Warwick Psychology student Milena heard about IntoUniversity through a friend and, as she wants to work with children when she graduates, she took the opportunity to gain experience.
On building a bond, Milena said:
“My favourite memory was when my mentee and I were getting to know one another. We were doing some drawing and she was becoming more comfortable with me; it felt like we were creating a good relationship.
“At university I only interact with people my own age, so it’s been great to be able to work with someone younger and see how she responds to things. I have particularly enjoyed the Science revision work we’ve been doing. My mentee was lacking in confidence with some answers but now she knows more, she is more confident to answer questions she isn’t sure about.”
On her personal development, she said:
“I think I have developed two skills through volunteering with IntoUniversity: organisation and leadership. I have planned and led all of the sessions, directing our activities in each meeting.”
50% of children in the wards around this Centre are living in poverty. With the help of IntoUniversity, 59% of them have progressed into Higher Education and 60% have had their confidence raised.
On the impact of mentoring, Milena said:
“I volunteer because a little action can make a big change. I was mentored in Years 10–13 through The Access Project. At the start, I didn’t think it was making much of a difference, but when I sat my exams, I would recall things I covered in mentoring meetings, which was really helpful. It convinced me of the impact of mentoring.”
Learn more about IntoUniversity Coventry