YEP Says: Why Leeds University’s bid to help pupils is of great merit

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LEEDS UNIVERSITY’S success in reaching its £60m fundraising target with 15,000 donations from around the world is to be applauded.

The money will help the university tackle major global challenges and, importantly, to attract young people into higher education who may otherwise decide academia is not for them.

It means the university can strengthen its work with local schools and encourage pupils from all backgrounds to aim high.

This is important at a time when student fees may discourage youngsters from less privileged families from spending years studying for a degree.

After-school classes at the IntoUniversity learning centres in Harehills and Beeston are working with hundreds of children to raise attainment in these inner-city suburbs. At present, 12 per cent of Leeds children who are entitled to free school meals go on to university, but when children from these same backgrounds have gone through IntoUniversity programmes at centres in London and the south, the figure rises to 71 per cent.

A second scheme, Reach for Excellence, helps 16 to 18-year-olds stay on track with studies through advice and mentoring.

Both schemes sound like they will be money well spent.

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