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KMPF receives NEON Partnership Award Commendation

KMPF were delighted to receive a commendation from the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) in the Widening Access Partnership Award category from Lord Watson of Invergowrie at the Houses of Parliament this week.

This recognition belongs to all of our partners: Canterbury Christ Church University, University for the Creative Arts, University of KentKMPF schools and our newest KaMCOP partners: Canterbury College, EKC Group, HEAT, Laser Learning Awards, MidKent College, University of Greenwich, Switch Youth Cafe and KaMCOP partner schools.

We are so grateful to have such wonderful partners, all of whom are committed to increasing opportunities and widening access to higher education for so many students disadvantaged by circumstance across Kent and Medway.

Working in partnership has been a key aspect of widening access in the UK. This award recognises organisations that have effectively worked together and supported each other to widen access.

Nominations in this category were required to demonstrate:

  • Sustained partnership over a prolonged period of time (one year or more) working to widen access.
  • Clear evidence of a true partnership approach to widening access.
  • Evidence of the value that has been added to the work by working in partnership.

KMPF promotes partnership at all levels. Operationally, a twice yearly Partnership Summit brings together school and university colleagues who work directly with students, to assess outreach activities; share best practice; take part in interactive workshops and, importantly critique together our collaborative work to ensure that we are always improving through collaborative consultation.

Termly Management and Data Groups ensure that managers and data specialists can ensure complementarity, data sharing and coverage across our area. The KMPF Directorate brings together senior managers from schools, HE providers and local authorities to provide strategic direction. This ensures that key decisions are made in consultation. 

KMPF offers collaborative planning sessions to schools, where HE partners work together in one session with individual schools to create a progression framework of activities from across the Federation to meet each school’s particular needs and priorities. The Federation affirms its collaborative approach through a monthly e-newsletter containing news from all partners, alongside a website and bespoke Activity Portal where schools can search for activities from all partners in one place.

We know that this collaborative approach to outreach makes a difference. Shared data collected from baseline questionnaires conducted by partner schools with students (over 30,000 to date), enable partner universities to attach outreach activities to a shared student record, facilitating the tracking of students across their education journey.

Many of those tracked students are disadvantaged by circumstance: 56% from POLAR3 quintiles one or two, 45% have either three or four out of four indicators of deprivation (IMD, EST, IDACI, POLAR3) and 85% self-reported as first generation higher education. Against this backdrop of deprivation, 36% of outreach participants progressed to higher education. Nationally, the progression rate of those from POLAR3 quintiles one and two is only 25%, yet KMPF has improved progression rate for those who we have worked with from this group to 30%.

In support of KMPF's nomination, Nicki Hodges, Associate Headteacher from Swale Academies Trust, commented: 

“I have been privileged to work in partnership with KMPF for a number of years. Their commitment to the support of enhancing the lives of young people, and working in partnership with providers of education is second to none. The work they do is meticulously reviewed and evaluated to ensure that it is impactful and supports the needs of young people to best effect."

"Their communication and bespoke advice and support for each school enables sustainability, adaptability and a true package of excellence that drives forward the commitment to cultural capital, social mobility and widening access for disadvantaged students in Kent and Medway.”

KMPF would like to thank Nicki and all of the headteachers and school staff who have worked with us - this award commendation would not have been possible without your support and hard work.

You can read all about the other awards and the fantastic work that is happening all across the UK in an effort to widen access to higher education for those disadvantaged by circumstance, on NEON's website.

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