Education is an important driver of social mobility and Derby has a strong track record in widening participation in Higher Education. Nearly 20% of our full-time first degree undergraduates are from the lowest Higher Education participation neighbourhoods and are often the first member of their family to go to university. UK-domiciled black and minority ethnic (BME) students make up 19.6% of our undergraduate body and 97% of our undergraduates are from state school backgrounds.
Social mobility was identified by the Department for Education as a local priority for Derby and the city was designated as an Opportunity Area in October. Professor Kathryn Mitchell chairs the local Opportunity Area board and is working with schools and organisations across the city to help young people reach their potential. We work closely with local schools and deliver a range of activities, presentations and workshops through our Outreach and Widening Participation teams. This academic year, we have held 571 events and have engaged with 22,724 young people.
The Equality and Social Mobility Unit (ESMU) was set up in June to provide a strategic focus for all our widening participation activity at the University. Through this executive-led group, our aim is to become established as one of the leading organisations in the region for aiding social mobility.
Giving back to local people
Through our Community Fund we awarded almost £17,000 in grants to 21 locally-run projects across Derbyshire in 2016/17. An estimated 1,900 people directly benefited from the funding, which was used to support a diverse range of projects including a LGBT+ youth support network, an initiative to get girls interested in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, and an exhibition celebrating the vital work of unpaid carers.
Family Fun Day
Record numbers attended our annual Family Fun Day this year, which once again proved to be a popular local attraction. Around 5,000 people attended the free pirate-themed event.
Each year our academic teams organise fun activities for all the family, which this year included: a robotics challenge, forensic crime scene investigation, 3D printing, telescope building and map making. There were also a range of sports activities on offer such as archery, cricket, football, rock climbing and trampolining, as well as local food and drink outlets, and stalls from partner organisations including Derby County Football Club and Rolls-Royce.