LiNCHigher, a collaborative outreach programme led by educational providers across Lincolnshire, has been praised in a professional evaluation by the research and insight body Cosmos for its positive, dramatic and meaningful impact on young people in the county. LiNCHigher brings together Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU), the University of Lincoln and 45 schools, colleges and other local organisations to understand how to best create tailored activities and events that give inspiration, increase aspiration and support young people in years 9-13 to plan their future education. The evaluation focussed on 10 key projects run by LiNCHigher, including the Lincolnshire Traveller Initiative and the Lincolnshire World of Work Festival. Key findings from the evaluation highlighted that LiNCHigher has had a positive impact on students’ confidence, through their development of an array of new skills after completion of projects. This includes new study skills, techniques and ways of revising, which ensures students can retain information and be more successful in exams. Students also felt more confident in planning ahead – from finances to studying and revision. This included the ability to make decisions about their future, with students feeling as though they were now better informed to make a decision about their educational future. Of the 10 projects covered in the review Cosmos highlighted the Lincolnshire Travellers Initiative, funded by LiNCHigher, for having an especially dramatic and meaningful impact on the community. Case-studies illustrate its efficacy; the programme changed the students’ and parents’ perceptions towards education, gave the learners the opportunity to gain qualifications, increased employability skills, improved students’ confidence, raised the community’s knowledge on health issues, and revealed options and possibilities that were previously perceived as unviable. Given the prevalence of word of mouth recommendations in this culture, the intervention is predicted to have a lasting effect on the community as a whole. Speaking on behalf of LiNCHigher, Senior Project Officer Jessica Darnell, praised the efforts of the county’s educational providers to help the project succeed: “Higher Education should be open to anyone and it is exciting to be working alongside engaged, and enthusiastic providers to help those who would normally face barriers in participating in education. Thanks to the evaluation by the team at Cosmos we have been able to review the focus of the project and can now work with our partners to ensure its positive impact continues as it enters its next phase.” The next phase of the LiNCHigher will see the programme run until at least July 2021. If you are a Lincolnshire student or learning provider and would like to get involved in the LiNCHigher project please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. About Cosmos: Cosmos was selected for their expertise and experience in delivering complex research and evaluation projects within the education sector. They also deliver targeted outreach activities through their flagship Marginal Gains programme. Cosmos worked in close collaboration with LiNCHigher when carrying out the evaluation, which was key in successfully accessing ‘hard to reach’ groups and students.
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