New £1.2m education hub to boost access to higher education in Birmingham


A landmark new partnership will see the opening of a £1.2 million education hub in the north of Birmingham, aimed at supporting more young people into higher education.

Birmingham City University has joined forces with education charity IntoUniversity, to launch the new centre in the Kingstanding area, which is expected to welcome over 1,000 students through its doors each year, once established. The funding will see the Maryvale Community Centre undergo a renovation process to house the centre, which will be equipped with teaching facilities, and deliver community-based education programmes to children in the local area.

Five full-time members of staff will be recruited to the centre to deliver daily after-school Academic Support sessions to primary and secondary school children, aspiration-building workshops in partnership with local schools, and a mentoring programme with university students and corporate professionals.

Currently, in parts of Kingstanding, only 13.5 per cent of schoolchildren go on to study at university compared with 78% of young people in parts of Sutton Coldfield. The project aims to have a transformative effect on the community by increasing access to higher education and enhancing employment levels.

The Birmingham centre will have a focus on the arts, the first IntoUniversity centre to do so, and will stimulate children’s understanding and enthusiasm for a wide range of subjects. The classes will be taught by trained Education Workers, preparing young people for life in Higher Education and their future careers.

Professor Clare Mackie, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “This new partnership is a real milestone for us. Providing increased access to education can make a real difference to the lives of thousands of young people in our city. We are proud that the centre, which will be based in the heart of the community in Kingstanding, will allow access to free services and create opportunities which IntoUniversity have had such great success providing in other parts of the country. This centre is the perfect focus for us to take our creativity and expertise out to our community.”

The new centre, which is the first of its kind to be opened in Birmingham, will deliver services through a mixture of one-to-one and group tuition, as well as hands-on educational experiences. The centre is set to open its doors this autumn and work to convert Maryvale Community Centre is currently underway, which will see it equipped with new technology paving the way for services to begin.

Students will be able to access the centre between Monday and Thursday for after school Academic Support, which will be geared towards Primary students on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Secondary students on Mondays and Thursdays. Workshops with partner schools will run during the daytime throughout the week.

Rachel Carr, Chief Executive of IntoUniversity, said: “We are delighted to be opening our first centre in Birmingham in partnership with Birmingham City University. We are looking forward to working closely with families and schools in Kingstanding to support young people with their learning and future options.”

IntoUniversity was founded in 2002 to improve access to Higher Education in parts of the country where people are least likely to go to university. IntoUniversity centres are based in the heart of local communities and support young people from 7 to 18 and beyond, working closely with schools and families to sow the seeds of aspiration at a young age.

The charity forms partnerships with universities to provide after-school Academic Support, mentoring and aspiration-building workshops and trips, working closely with local partner schools to boost students understanding of key topics or subject areas as well as their future options.

Birmingham will be the 31st IntoUniversity centre to open in the UK, following the launch of centres in communities in areas such as Brixton, Leeds, Manchester and Coventry.

Significantly more students attending IntoUniversity centres progress to Higher Education than the national average, as well as being more likely to go on to further education, apprenticeships or employment.

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