Hamstead Hall Academy

Hamstead Hall Academy
Part of the Hamstead Hall Academy Trust Hamstead Hall Sixth Form

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BCU Accelerate Launch

Encouraging more students from lower income families to enrol at university will enrich lives and have a long-lasting impact on UK society, says Birmingham City University’s Vice-Chancellor.

Marking the launch of BCU’s new Accelerate programme, designed to make the University more accessible to young people from all backgrounds, Professor David MBA said it is vital higher education institutions are not just the domain of the rich and middle-class. 

“It’s imperative that universities like BCU promote inclusive education and social mobility,” he said. “These students are our students - and we want them to have the best chance of success. 

“I understand, from my own personal experience, that university can be a great leveller, providing opportunities young people might not ordinarily get. But it’s more than just offering a good education. It’s also about providing these young people with the skills to succeed in life.” 

BCU held the official launch of its new Accelerate programme at Hamstead Hall Academy, one of its key partner schools across the city

The programme will provide pupils from lower-income households and other partner schools in Birmingham with the opportunity to enrol at BCU with lower grades than usually required. 

There is also the incentive of a scholarship to help make university more affordable. 

Carla Tranter, Headteacher of Hamstead Hall Academy, said: "The BCU Accelerate Programme is transformational for our students. It not only helps to address and ameliorate disparities in attainment gaps in early life between different groups of pupils but raises pupil aspirations and delivers real social mobility through fairer access to Higher Education. 

“We are proud to be in partnership with BCU and look forward to the exciting journey ahead.” 

BCU is already working hard to make university more accessible. It has more than 30,000 students on a mix of undergraduate, postgraduate and other higher education courses. Of those: 

  • 69% commute from within the West Midlands; 
  • 54% are from non-white ethnicities; 
  • And 45% originate from IMD quartile 1 (most deprived areas). 

The launch at Hamstead Hall Academy, in Handsworth Wood, featured inspirational talks from Professor Mba and Vivean Pomell, a Hamstead Hall and BCU alumna with more than 30 years working in the education sector. 

Vivean said: “I am grateful that BCU and Hamstead Hall provided me with the platform to share a part of my story and I was privileged to share it with Professor David Mba.”  

Those attending the event, which featured a Q&A session with Professor Mba and Vivean, also learnt more about the hugely positive impact BCU’s partnership with Hamstead Hall is already having on hundreds of pupils. 

“We are proud to have this special relationship with BCU and delighted that the BCU Accelerate programme will build upon our innovative partnership, helping students to access higher education at BCU,” said Jonathan Mortimer, the CEO of Hamstead Hall Academy Trust. 

“BCU shares the values and ambitions of Hamstead Hall Academy, to help more students go on to higher education. This is a wonderful long-term commitment from BCU.”