SCHOOLCHILDREN are being offered a way to improve their chances of going to university.

An education centre is running free tuition and mentoring to students from schools in Brighton and Hove.

The University of Sussex is contributing £500,000 to the centre, which is run by the charity IntoUniversity.

The money is being used to equip the centre, based at St Andrew’s church hall in Hillside, Moulsecoomb and keep it staffed and resourced for five years.

After-school sessions will give pupils help with homework, coursework and revision, and primary school children are also helped with reading and numbers.

Social skills, team-working and listening are also taught.

University pro-vice chancellor, Clare Mackie, said “We are very excited by this new partnership.

“At Sussex about half our students who come in every year are first-generation scholars.

“It is important to us to work with IntoUniversity to ensure there are no barriers to coming to university.”

The University spends about £8.5million a year on outreach programmes to local schools and on supporting students whose parents have not been to university or who are from under-represented groups.

The children are taught by IntoUniversity staff, undergraduates from the university and volunteers.

Each child gets regular one-to-one sessions to help them build confidence and social skills.

Primary school children from Years two to six joined an official opening ceremony for the centre earlier this week, which was attended by Brighton and Hove mayor Brian Fitch.

They were split into small groups with tutors and kept busy with fun exercises to raise their awareness about different university courses and career options.

Second year university politics student, Lewis Cockle, is mentoring an 11-year-old in his first year at Brighton Aldridge Community Academy.

He said: “I am like a big brother to him. I am in a different position to a parent or a teacher. I am 20 years old so I am more like a peer.

“I talk to him about what he wants to achieve and what is going on in his life.”

Primary school children are offered sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings each week and secondary school students’ sessions are on Mondays and Thursdays.

Year 13 pupils are also given their own mentor to help them with the transition to university.


IntoUniversity operates 18 centres nationally and plans to have 33 centres open within five years.

Nearly 80% of students who attend the centres end up winning university places – well ahead of the national average of 36% of pupils from state schools who make it.

The organisation was founded when three friends, Hugh Rayment-Pickard, Clare Richards and Rachel Carr, were involved in a local community project in North Kensington, a borough of social and economic extremes.

Shocked by the scale of underachievement among Britain’s poorest families, the social entrepreneurs set up IntoUniversity.

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