Project information

Junior University

Young people living in Burnley are less likely to aspire to higher education than their peers in the North West of England and are in danger of missing out on the benefits it can provide. Social, cultural and financial pressures are an issue and Junior University aims to redress that balance.

Started October 2010 and ongoing

Charity information: University of Central Lancashire

University of Central Lancashire logo
  • Need


    Burnley is one of the most socially deprived local authority areas in the North West and has some of the lowest qualifications and skill levels in the UK. NVQ Level 4 skills are well below the national average and fewer than 25% of the town’s young people embarked on university courses in 2006/7, 5% less than their peers in other areas of the North West. In parts of the town there is a belief that 'people like us' don't go to university citing background, expense and culture as the barriers.


    Junior University aims to raise the aspiration, motivation and prospects of young people living in Burnley by either helping them to progress into higher education when they leave school, or by raising awareness of the opportunity it provides as an option to follow later in life. The initiative will offer a range of interventions designed to improve educational attainment, develop life skills and improve employability. It will also provide practical help in respect of course choice and finance

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To instil a culture of achievement amongst the young people of Burnley and inspire them to enter HE


    » Improve educational attainment with revision and study skills modules and helping students match their course to their future career.
    » Improve business skills,CV writing, interview skills,working with careers advisers,employer events, affordability and finance
    » Improve social skills, outdoor education events, sports and coaching skills, social activities, campus visits, graduation event on completion

    What success will look like

    Graduation ceremony attended by parents, teachers, employers and stakeholders designed to recognise achievement and show the distance travelled by the students and final evaluation

    Aim 2

    To provide awareness of the opportunities that a university education can bring to the individual


    » Preparation for university, identifying universities’ requirement, overcoming fears about finance, subject taster sessions, campus visits

    What success will look like

    Feedback sessions and focus groups with students, teachers and parents with results and case studies included in annual report and final evaluation

    Aim 3

    Overcoming the cultural and social misgivings of parents about university education


    » Provision of parental advice sessions on opportunities, how to access and finance studies, employment after graduation, parent to parent mentoring

    What success will look like

    Feedback sessions and focus groups with students, teachers and parents with results and case studies included in annual report and final evaluation

  • Impact


    A cultural shift in certain areas of the town where it is said, "People like us don't go to university". An increase in the number of young people indicating that university is the preferred option to develop their future career. We will utilise the research acquired in the feedback sessions and focus groups as well as formal discussions with the local authority, employers and other stakeholders. These will inform the post project evaluation and annual report.


    The major risk to the project is a lack of participants however we have engaged local schools and Aimhigher and we have received employer, local and regional government support. Pennine Lancashire have included the activity in the education strategy for the area but sadly no funding. A further risk is the increase in student fees in an area where cost is already perceived as a barrier. We hope to overcome this through awareness sessions within the activity relating to financing HE.


    Donors will have full access to the project and attended the November launch event. Donor support in its development is welcomed and we have received excellent support from the Trust for Education. We will meet individual reporting requests and produce an annual report to donors and stakeholders

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £157,607

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      Amount Heading Description
      £41,421 Events Induction/graduation/residential/parents seminars/Social and team building activities
      £57,826 Staffing costs Project management and administration
      £22,940 Sessional educators Revision class leaders
      £8,920 Support Student Ambassadors, Youth work, Masterclasses
      £26,500 Non recurring costs Marketing, Accommodation, Travel, Recruitment, branding/website, evaluation

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Trust for Education £35,000 Guaranteed
    Garfield Weston Foundation £10,000 Guaranteed
    Duchy of Lancaster £5,000 Guaranteed
    AF Foundation £1,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Burnley is one of the most socially deprived towns in the North West with a small economy, low productivity, a weak labour market, unemployment at 10% and some of the lowest skills/qualifications in the UK. Only 21% have NVQ 4,fewer than 25% go onto university, 5+ GCSEs attainment is the lowest in the country, 21% of its secondary school pupils live in the most deprived wards. In one deprived ward 80% of children have English as their second language. NEET is above average. Crime rates are high


    The project is targeting young people aged 14-18 who may be dissuaded in continuing their education to higher levels by cultural, social and financial pressures. The vision is to raise aspiration and create an environment where progression into Higher Education is seen as a normal activity. It will enhance activities and interventions already supported through other programmes and the initiative will engage local 14-19 Learner Entitlement, Action and Delivery groups and other similar networks

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The university is co-located with Burnley College in the centre of the town and has a history good relationships with the agencies able to identify potential participants eg schools, colleges, the local authority, employers, Aimhigher etc. It also has an excellent record of engaging with the agencies to promoting the widening participation agenda to young people and their parents/guardians.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Heather Booth

    Project Manager with 8 years experience in widening participation. Will be responsible for all aspects of management of the Junior University.

    Louise Oldfield

    Project Coordinator with 9 years experience in schools liaison/widening participation. Responsible for delivery and coordination of Junior University.