The School’s mission is to ‘alleviate poverty through making people employable’. The School has a unique history of community engagement through its umbrella body Stockwell Green Community Services (SGCS), and we therefore have a powerful role to play in widening participation in Higher Education. SGCS as a third sector organisation, has a better understanding of the needs of the disadvantaged, greater outreach capacity, is able to dedicated resources to widening participation.
The School Strategic Plan 2011-2015, states the value placed on community and partnership working. A key element of widening participation therefore is working with the local community, local schools and colleges, the wider sector to support the mission and drive aspiration to higher education within wider society. The School aims to encourage individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to aspire to and succeed in Higher Education (HE). For purposes of widening participation, such individuals should be 14-30 years of age, and can fall into the following categories; from low income family; from a school or college with a low record of entry to HE; or little or no family history of HE.
The School has been active in this area but will seek to promote this more, and identify further partnerships and initiatives. Below are some of the examples of widening participation initiatives.
The School through Stockwell Green Community Services (SGCS) is the lead educational delivery partner helping ex-offenders to re-renter education and study Level 3 qualifications, enter employment, or run their own enterprises. Other partners include local authorities, the London Probation Service, Home Office, and the Metropolitan Police.
The School has developed the TWEET (Tackling Worklessness through Employability Enhancement Training) programme together with the London Borough of Lambeth as the launch partner. This a £150,000 scholarship fund for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This offers an alternative, fast track route to higher education. In addition to TWEET, College has a well-established system of delivering scholarships to students from deprived regions to enable them to study in Higher Education and graduate with degrees from UK Universities.
The SEED (Support for Employability Development) pioneered by SGCS between 2004 and 2008, addressed economic disadvantage in London Boroughs. This provided training to a range of learners including young people, women, adults, unemployed, etc.