July practitioner bulletin (final – 19 July 2010) Main News UCAS announces applicants’ increase for 2010-11 UCAS has published its 2010-11 applicant figures, which has seen an 11.6% rise. So far this year, 660,953 people have applied to start full-time undergraduate courses this autumn, compared to 592,312 last year. Other key points include a 12.4% increase of female applicants and applications from all age groups being up on 2009 figures. To view the press release in full, plus associated data tables, visit the UCAS website. In addition to the UCAS figures, The Sutton Trust has published the results of its annual Young People Omnibus survey of students, which found that a record number of secondary school pupils in England and Wales want to go to university. To download a copy of the report, please visit the Sutton Trust’s website. Government implements immediate freeze on marketing activity The Chancellor has set out plans to reduce expenditure across all central Government departments, agencies and non-Departmental Public Bodies, following the Emergency Budget. As a result, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has implemented a freeze on all new government advertising and marketing spend, which comes into immediate effect. HEFCE has written to Area and Communications Leads (ACLs) to explain how the freeze will impact Aimhigher partnerships. If you have any queries, please speak to your local ACL or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Update from the NCRT As a consequence of the advertising and marketing freeze, Grayling’s contract with HEFCE to provide a National Communications Resource Team (NCRT) will end with effect from 31 July 2010. Grayling is working closely with HEFCE to manage the implications of this and consider how activities and support may be available to partnerships in future. More information will be made available to partnerships in due course. Changes to the National Aimhigher Awards As many practitioners will be aware, unfortunately, as a result of the marketing freeze, it is no longer possible to hold a ceremony to celebrate the National Aimhigher Awards this year. Following internal and partnership consultation, the difficult decision was taken not to shortlist or judge entries to the scheme, and instead will award all nominees with a certificate to recognise their achievements. Further details will be made available via ACLs. HEFCE acknowledges and values the hard work that has gone into the scheme to date and would like to take this opportunity to thank partnerships again for their involvement. Aimhigher Associates Conference report available The Aimhigher Associates Scheme held its Annual Conference on 18 and 19 May, which was attended by more than 100 delegates from 39 area partnerships. The plenary sessions included speeches by Professor Steve Smith, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter, Andrew Olsson, Head teacher and Aimhigher supporter, John Storan, Director of Action on Access, and a dramatic presentation by St James School, Exeter. Click here to download a copy of the conference report and read the transcripts of the presentations and workshops. First ‘Universities Week’ hailed a success Universities UK led a campaign ‘What’s the big idea?’ between 14-20 June. This was part of the inaugural Universities Week which highlighted the important role of UK universities and their impact on the economy, culture, society and the environment. More than 300 events and activities took place across the country. To coincide with the launch, HEFCE published the results of the latest Higher Education-Business and Communication Interaction (HE-BCI) survey, which reported an increase in HE income from services provided to businesses and society. Visit the HEFCE website for more details. Aimhigher partnerships across the country took part in the campaign, including Aimhigher Sussex, who took part by hosting a Taster Sensation Day and a TakePart Day, the latter focusing on sports and leisure courses and training. For more information on the campaign and related events taking place throughout the summer, practitioners can visit the Universities Week website or sign up to the Facebook page to show support. Westminster Briefing event on widening participation Aimhigher WECAN Director Graeme Atherton will be giving a presentation on Aimhigher at Westminster Briefing’s ‘Participation in Higher Education: Protecting and Improving the Drive for Fairer and Wider Access’ conference on 25 November, following publication of the Browne Review. Graeme is among a line- up of key sector representatives, including Lord Browne of Madingley, author of an independent review of higher education funding and student finance. For more details, please visit the Westminster Briefing website. New resources to support practitioners’ work with disabled students Student Finance England has updated its ‘Bridging the Gap’ publication, which provides information for disabled students on applying for Disabled Student Allowances (DSAs). To order a copy, please call the publication line on 0800 731 9133 quoting reference SFE/BTGB/V10 or download a copy from the Direct Gov website (scroll down to the Disabled Students' Allowances section). The organisation has also launched a new monthly bulletin to provide the latest news about the services they offer for disabled students, including details of open days, seminars and an update about the process of DSA applications. Click here to download the latest copy. For additional information or to download future copies of the bulletin, please visit their website. BrightsideUNIAID launches following merger of The Brightside Trust and the UNIAID Foundation The Brightside Trust and The UNIAID Foundation have merged to form the new educational charity BrightsideUNIAID. Their work to support young people aged 14-25 years old will build upon previous partnership projects completed since they first joined forces in 2008, through e-mentoring, online tools and teaching resources. Visit the BrightsideUNIAID website for more details. Latest from the Funders HEFCE sets out HE funding allocations in the wake of Budget announcement HEFCE has written to vice chancellors and principles to outline decisions made in response to the revised grant letter published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, following the Emergency Budget. In the letter, HEFCE details how the £200 million in savings to be contributed by the sector will be delivered. Visit HEFCE’s website for more details. Business Secretary makes first speech regarding higher education Vince Cable MP set out his views on universities and the wider higher education sector in his first speech as Business Secretary, on Wednesday 15 July. Mr Cable discussed how the government is looking for ways of turning the recent funding crisis into an opportunity for universities and the feasibility of changing the system of financing student tuition. To read the speech in full, please visit the BIS website. Details of NFER research report The latest report from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) is likely to be published later this year. The report is an evaluation of Aimhigher learner attainment and progression, and provides evidence of the impact of the Aimhigher programme together with the benefits of partnership. It will be available to view on the HEFCE website towards the end of summer. HEFCE asks universities to publish employability statements Higher education institutions and HEFCE-funded further education colleges have been requested by the Council to publish their employability statements on the help they provide to students to improve their job prospects and transition into work; the information will be published on the Unistats website by 31 August. Further information is also available on the HEFCE website. Government outlines priorities for Skills Funding Agency Business Secretary Vince Cable has written to the Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency setting out how government funding for 2010-11 should be spent. Priorities include increasing the number of apprenticeships places; reducing the number of 18-24 year olds not in employment, education or training; and encouraging more people to participate in adult and community learning. Click here to view a copy of the letter. Spotlight on… Aimhigher Kent & Medway team up with X-Factor star Aimhigher Kent & Medway has teamed up with 2008’s X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke to give local learners a taste of stardom. The partnership joined forces with the New Line Learning Academy to give students the chance to perform with the star in front of 60,000 rugby fans at Twickenham. After auditioning, 400 pupils were selected to take part in the dance performance, including 73 learners from Aimhigher schools. For more information, please contact Kent and Medway’s ACL and Communications and Materials Officer, Linda Bishopp. Aimhigher Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire launch ‘Access to the Professions’ project Aimhigher Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has launched their Access to the Professions programme, which focuses on access to medicine, law and journalism, three professions that were highlighted in last year’s Alan Milburn report as particularly challenging for young people from under-represented backgrounds to enter. A group of Year 12 gifted and talented pupils who attended the launch event will have the opportunity to be mentored by professionals, visit universities, undertake work experience placements and enter a summer internship competition. For more details, please contact Judith Robinson. Communications Tip The NCRT has developed a new set of template press releases to help practitioners to promote partnership activities. To download the templates, visit the Communications section of the practitioner website.
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