Home Business and economy New Kirkby education centre to provide opportunities for thousands of local young people
A group of people holding a blue and red ribbon that is to be cut to mark the official opening of the new education centre. Primary ages children stand at the front.

New Kirkby education centre to provide opportunities for thousands of local young people

by Jonathan Kearney

Young people facing disadvantage from Kirkby and the surrounding areas will have a significantly enhanced opportunity to attend higher education, thanks to a new children’s education centre in the heart of the town.

On the pitch, they represent fierce local rivals, but off the pitch, LFC Foundation and Everton in the Community have joined forces to invest in the future of young people facing disadvantage in Kirkby.

The new education facility, which is jointly-funded by education charity IntoUniversity, the University of Liverpool, LFC Foundation, Everton in the Community and The Steve Morgan Foundation, celebrated an opening event at its centre in Kirkby, joined by special guests former Everton player and club ambassador Ian Snodin, and former Liverpool and England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.

Jonathan Jones, Executive Director (Children’s Services) at Knowsley Council, said: “Promoting educational excellence is a priority for Knowsley Council, and it’s fantastic news that IntoUniversity are now working in the borough to support our work to help local children and young people to achieve their potential.

“IntoUniversity has a proven track record, and this new education centre will give local young people access to additional support and mentoring which help enable and inspire them to consider further study, opening up a world of opportunities for their future.”

Attending the event were around 25 students aged 7-18 who are set to benefit from the centre for the next academic year and beyond, with some of them delivering speeches.

Primary school students took part in a variety of activities during the event replicating the type of activities they will be engaging with in the year ahead during after-school academic support sessions. Secondary school students posed questions about future study and careers to survey attending guests.

The local progression rate into higher education in Kirkby is just 26.9%, compared to 44% of students nationally, making the area a prime location for an IntoUniversity centre.

The centre employs four full-time members of staff and will be used to offer after-school academic support, mentoring with local university students and professionals, in-school aspiration-raising workshops and enrichment and work experience opportunities.

IntoUniversity has a proven track record of improving attainment into higher education for students facing disadvantage, and currently supports over 50,000 young people each year at their 41 centres nationwide.

61% of students who attend IntoUniversity centres go on to progress to university, compared with 28% of students from similar backgrounds nationally.

The centre is a joint venture between IntoUniversity, the University of Liverpool, LFC Foundation, Everton in the Community and The Steve Morgan Foundation, and is also supported by a number of philanthropic and corporate partners.