University of Portsmouth and Higbury College pledge to help more deprived young people with 'seamless' partnership

THE University of Portsmouth and Highbury College have pledged to ‘transform’ the opportunities available to the city’s deprived young people.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 4:55 am
Pictured: Penny Wycherley, principal of Highbury College signing the official papers at Highbury College, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

They have now forged a new partnership to provide a ‘seamless’ transition to higher education for people in Portsmotuh.

Both institutions pledged to provide more opportunities for the city’s young people, focusing on those in the most deprived areas.

They will work together on new curricula for further education courses, ensuring college students are well placed to take up a place at university.

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Pictured: Penny Wycherley, principal of Highbury College with Graham Galbraith, Chief Academic Officer of Portsmouth University with Higbury College students. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Staff and students from the university will also visit the college so that students can have a better understanding of university life and the opportunities available to them.

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Highbury College currently has more than 500 students studying for an Access To Higher Education Diploma, with one third of its intake from PO postcodes.

Principal Penny Wycherley said she would be ‘absolutely thrilled’ if every diploma student was from the Portsmouth area.

Pictured: Vice-chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith of Portsmouth University signing the official papers at Highbury College, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

While the partnership has no formal goals at present, the college’s headteacher said: ‘We serve the local community first.

‘It will transform Portsmouth. It will give a lot more hope to people coming from deprived families that have not been in work for years, from some of our more deprived areas.’

The university’s vice-chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith called on the entire city to rally behind its young people and beat a ‘negative’ culture that often stifled the city’s opportunities.

Graham said: ‘The percentage of young people in our city going on to higher education is very, very low compared to other cities.

‘I think there needs to be a general culture of aspiration, because sometimes I think the city can be a bit negative and hesitant about itself and what its capable of.

‘A much more positive attitude about what we can be and what our young people can be is so important.

‘Everyone can play their part.’

Navigating the paths beyond college-level learning could often be ‘overwhelming’, according to Highbury College computing student Jordan Roberts, who attended the launch of the partnership.

The 22-year-old said: ‘I think it’s badly needed. There is a lack of understanding about the right pathways to take.

‘It’s very overwhelming to figure out the best next step.’

Earlier this year, The News threw its weight behind Shaping Portsmouth’s campaign to support young people outside of education.

The city-wide 100 in 100 campaign working with businesses to secure more than 250 placements for young people.

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