New website launched to support schools and colleges in widening access to higher education

HEON is the Higher Education Outreach Network, part of the Uni Connect Programme funded by the Office for Students.

It offers opportunities to help students in school and college explore different career pathways whilst helping widen access into higher education.

Recently, the network has launched a new service, the HEON Outreach Hub. The Hub provides a wide range of educational and informative resources, case-studies and guidance in accessing outreach provision in the local area.

Supporting students’ next steps

Before the summer, HEON designed a range of resources to help students which were focused on transitioning into either higher education or further education. These were created as the team recognised a gap in provision as these students would be progressing to their next educational step.

HEON designed a series of weekly resources on different topics such as how to develop effective study skills, advice on applying for an apprenticeship and interview tips, as well as providing guidance on how to manage your finances and look after your mental health whilst studying. These have become a great asset to its website and are available to help support students going forward.

HEON currently works with several educational partners to deliver outreach activities in Surrey and North East Hampshire

Virtual experiences

Like many organisations, HEON has been innovative in the way it delivers content.

Previously, HEON has delivered a residential summer school on a university campus, which involves subject taster sessions from student ambassadors, tutors and staff from across the 13 HEON partner institutions.

However, as a result of Covid-19, it had to consider how best it could deliver this activity to the students. It added a new portal where students can login and access a host of activities which were delivered online in a mixture of live and pre-recorded content throughout the week.

Hosting the event online meant that HEON was able to expand the reach of the event to even more students in its target schools. This resulted in a fantastic attendance of over 80 students across the week’s programme of activities.

One of the students reflected: “Being able to do virtual tours of universities was really useful for me because I could look at which universities do the subjects I am interested in and whether I may be interested in studying there.”

Looking forward

Planning ahead for the coming academic year, HEON will be expanding its coverage of higher education and careers support to more schools and colleges from across Surrey and North East Hampshire.

HEON is developing a wide range of adaptable workshops, programmes and initiatives. It is aware that requirements will vary between each school/college and is looking forward to working with each one to find out how best it can support them.

To find out about the different opportunities available, visit heon.org.uk. The team is also very happy to answer any questions you may have, so do get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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