Take Your Place event aims at understanding barriers to higher education

In the week that David Lammy MP highlighted the failure of one university to attract a fair number of Black Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) students, Suffolk parents are being asked to contribute their ideas to how access to higher education can be improved.

The Ipswich & Suffolk Council for Racial Equality ISCRE has been commissioned by University of Suffolk’s Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (NEACO) project to widen participation of children from less privileged backgrounds in higher education.

Earlier this year ISCRE conducted some initial fieldwork research with parents from these backgrounds about the barriers they and their children face – with the findings incorporated into a report called It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.

The report highlighted a number of key issues including parental attitudes about the responsibility of teachers, the costs associated with higher education and institutionalised racism within parts of the education system.

ISCRE is now hosting Take Your Place on 2 June – an event aimed at openly discussing the barriers and possible solutions to ensuring fair and equal access for all regardless of age, gender, ethnic background, disabilities or sexual orientation.

This event will share the report’s findings in more detail, but it is also to get the attendees to discuss potential solutions.

Phanuel Mutumburi, ISCRE’s Business & Operations Director, said “unequal access to higher education dismisses our society as a whole and wastes the talents of thousands of individuals across the country. We would urge as many people as possible to participate in this event, so that we can better identify practical ways in which these barriers to higher education can be dismantled.

“Based on both the report and what comes out of the Take Your Place event, we hope to create a manifesto listing the actions that need to be taken – and by whom – to improve access. This will be distributed to all of Suffolk’s higher learning institutions as a catalyst to shape our future working with them.”

The Take Your Place event takes place on Saturday 2 June from 11am to 1pm at the Ipswich International Church, Burlington Road, Ipswich IP1 2ES. For further information, please contact: phanuel@iscre.or.uk