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UniTracks: The Warwick Young Achievers' Programme


About the programme

UniTracks is unique to Warwick.

This national outreach programme for highly able students aims to:

  • break down any perceived barriers your students may have about accessing Higher Education (HE)
  • encourage your students to apply for, and be successful in gaining, a place at a leading research intensive university
  • inspire your students to access different learning opportunities at leading research intensive universities


Catherine McNicholl

Outreach Officer (UniTracks)

Phone: 02476 524773


Key Information

How UniTracks works:

Each year, teachers in the UniTracks partner schools nominate five Year 10 pupils who have been identified as being 'most able' and who meet our other eligibility criteria (see section below) to join this national cohort. We then work with them through their GCSE years, into sixth form/college, and right up until the start of their post schooling lives.

Participants join our programme to learn all about university life, the benefits of pursuing university studies, and how to make an application to the best universities in the country. UniTracks members are supported in this work through events and workshops designed to build their skills, confidence, and academic attainment.

Our aim is that, by the end of their commitment to the programme, UniTracks participants will be in a position to make informed choices about their future and have the necessary qualifications, skills, and attributes to achieve the next step in their journey.

UniTracks is designed for students who meet the following criteria:
    Academic Criteria
    Students identified as most able, i.e. one or more from the following:
    • Top 5% of year group
    • Achieved at least an average of 5.2 at KS2
    • Has the potential to achieve 8/9 at GCSE and A/A* at A level or equivalent
      Social Criteria
      Students must meet at least two of the following criteria:
      • First in their immediate family to go to university (excluding siblings)
      • From an area in which there is traditionally low participation in Higher Education
      • In receipt of, or has within the last six years been eligible for, free school meals
      • In receipt of or entitled to Pupil Premium
      • Parents/Guardians/Carers in non-professional occupations
      • Where a student is, or has ever been, in the care of the local authority, they need only meet the academic criteria.
      Years 10 and 11 of UniTracks focus on Aspiration and Attainment.
        •Aspiration – during Year 10, the group projects and challenges give your pupils the chance to develop their skills such as team work and communication. These projects also provide an experience of a subject outside what they are normally familiar with.
          •Attainment – we understand how important Year 11 is for your students, therefore the main activity we offer is a 3-day residential revision ‘Bootcamp’ during the Easter holidays. We are also looking into offering e-mentoring support following the Bootcamp to the start of their exams.
          Your students remain a part of the UniTracks programme, even if they move to a different school or college for their post-16 education.
            •Year 12 provides several opportunities for our UniTracks participants, including online mentoring with a current Warwick student; information, advice and guidance on UCAS applications; invitations to the Post-16 events run by the Outreach team, and a chance to undertake a piece of academic writing with a Warwick researcher.
              •Year 13 will start with a Celebration Event for all of Warwick’s Post-16 programme students. We will then offer attainment support through the A level Revision sessions during Easter.
              “Our invaluable relationship with the University of Warwick through the UniTracks Programme has offered our high achievers (from low socio-economic backgrounds) a comprehensive and personalised support package to take them through those demanding 4 years of secondary school and onto pursuing university courses at leading institutions.This programme has been a life changing experience for Year 10-13 students and I recommend it unreservedly”
                Mr Moloney, Head of Sixth Form
                Barking Abbey School “Joining the UniTracks programme was one of the best choices I could have made for my future. Now, 5 years on, I can still see the positive influence the programme has made in my life. Not only did I get academic guidance but I gained the confidence to believe in myself and my potential. I developed skills that have stayed with me and the programme gave me the knowledge that I could do anything I set my mind to”
                  Christiana, Biodmedical Science Graduate
                  •Why has my son/daughter been selected?
                  Your son/daughter has been selected to be a part of UniTracks because we feel that they will benefit greatly from the opportunities available. All the young people involved have the ability and potential to gain a place at one of the UK’s leading universities.
                  Participants will be encouraged to choose the best university course for their interests and abilities. Former UniTracks participants have gone on study at universities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Leicester, University College London and Warwick!
                  We recognise, however, that university might not be the right option for your son/daughter. By working with them over four years, we hope that we will have given them the confidence in themselves and all the information possible to make the right decision for their future.
                    •What does this mean for me?
                    We ask that you support your son/daughter’s participation in the various opportunities open to them as a member of UniTracks. This could include attending the initial launch event; giving consent to them taking part in a group challenge or participating in other activities such as a residential event, and talking with your son/daughter about their decisions for their future.
                      What does the programme involve and how often will my son/daughter have to come to Warwick?
                      Please download the Student and Parents' Guide for full details of the programme.
                      We hold our main events on Saturdays or sometime during school holidays in order that the participants are not missing out on school. During their first year on the programme, depending on the activity your son/daughter gets involved in, they can expect to come onto campus three to four times. In subsequent years they will visit campus once or twice a year.
                        •What are the costs involved?
                        There are no costs involved to participating in this programme. We will reimburse parents/guardians/carers for costs relating to bringing your son/daughter to one of our events.
                          •Will they have to wear school uniform when attending events?
                          Most UniTracks events have a casual dress-code so no uniform necessary!
                            •Is transport to and from Warwick provided? What about other resources?
                            Transport should never be a barrier to a participant attending a UniTracks event. We will offer support either through reimbursing mileage or public transport costs, or by arranging travel with a coach or minibus.
                            Regarding resources, unless specified otherwise, we would provide these for the participants. However, there are no specific resources required to be a participant in UniTracks.
                            All UniTracks events are catered and we can cater for special dietary requirements, provided we know in advance.
                              •Who will be supervising my son/daughter at these events?
                              Events are supervised by staff from the University of Warwick’s Outreach team and academic departments, and current undergraduates who work as Student Ambassadors. All staff and students who will be working with the UniTracks participants in an unsupervised capacity undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check in line with current regulations.
                                • My son/daughter has decided they would like to attend Warwick?
                                UniTracks participants who are planning to apply to Warwick for their undergraduate studies may be eligible to apply for our Warwick Scholars access programme and if offered a place will be expected to complete the UniTracks programme as well as participating in Warwick Scholars. Further details about Warwick Scholars can be found here Warwick Scholars

                                Key Stage 5 UniTracks participants who live outside the Midlands area covered by the Warwick Scholars access programme (i.e. within a 30 mile radius of the University) are still eligible for a reduced offer if they apply to Warwick and would join Warwick Scholars as an undergraduate when they enrol at the university after completing UniTracks. More information about the Warwick Scholars undergraduate programme can be found here Warwick Scholars Undergraduate Programme

                                UniTracks Guides