Boosting support for teachers working with pupils on their university applications could significantly increase their chance of attending a leading university, a new analysis of a widening participation programme involving the University of Sheffield, UK, has suggested.
An evaluation report found that teachers using free resources provided by the Advancing Access initiative recorded increased confidence in their ability to help pupils through the university application process.
Led by the 24 members of the Russell Group of universities—representing 24 leading UK universities which are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience and unrivalled links with business and the public sector—the Advancing Access initiative provides targeted assistance for teachers to help ensure that students with talent, potential and ability are fully informed on their higher education options.
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The initiative aims to improve work in this area. Resources have been developed in partnership with teachers in schools with low progression to university and include guidebooks, information sheets, presentations, student resources and video case studies. Of the teachers who used the resources provided online at the Advancing Access website, 93% said that the material improved their ability to help students write personal statements, with 69% of respondents reporting that it had made a significant difference. Also, 93% of teachers said they would write better academic references as a result of having used Advancing Access resources. And 89% said that the website would improve their ability to help pupils prepare for interviews.
More than one-third of teachers said they were more likely to encourage their students to apply to a leading university after using the materials or participating in an Advancing Access digital conference. On June 9, the University of Sheffield will host a conference for teachers, managers and advisers, who have the responsibility for supporting students applying to the university.