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Norfolk students encouraged to aim high in higher education

25 November 2020

158 of Norfolk’s most academically-gifted students will be offered a unique opportunity to experience life and learning at the University of Cambridge as part of a new innovative partnership with Norfolk County Council.

Historically, too few Norfolk young people, and in particular state-educated young people, have aspired to apply to the most competitive universities.

Norfolk is linked to Gonville & Caius College, and over the past four years, the college and the County Council have worked to improve confidence in applying to university, and more specifically to Cambridge.

The new Norfolk and Cambridge Higher Aspirations Scheme aims to not only increase progression to top universities but also to raise attainment through subject-specific sessions, giving these students the best tools to make competitive applications to universities such as Cambridge.

Cllr John Fisher, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We are hugely excited about the launch of this exciting new venture. The invitation was sent to all Year 12 students across Norfolk and we’re delighted students from a wide range of schools and colleges across the county have been offered the opportunity to take part. It is our priority to encourage more young people to aspire to enter higher education and for those that are already considering it, to aim for Cambridge.”

Over the past 5 years, the number of young people in Norfolk heading to top universities has slowly risen. In 2020, 58 reportedly gained places at Cambridge and Oxford, up by nearly 20% on 2019 but there are still many who many who may never even consider applying.

Katy Lewis, Schools Liaison Officer at Caius, said, “It’s fantastic to be a part of this very exciting scheme running for the first time in an area which is significantly under-represented at Cambridge, despite its geographical proximity. I’m thrilled we are able to offer the students tailored support in developing their subject interest and applying to University.”

The programme was launched on 25 November, when students met members of the Gonville & Caius College admissions team, heard an overview of studying at Cambridge, took part in a panel discussion with current students there and got the change to meet their allocated academic supervisor who will guide them throughout the next year.

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