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Raising aspirations for your future

We would like to invite your school, college or community group to participate in our exciting Step into Success programme.

Step into Success gives learners in years 5 to 13 the chance to access a great variety of activities, events and competitions, designed to instil a passion for learning and to raise their aspirations for the future.

Solent believes every young person with the ability to succeed should be able to take advantage of the benefits of higher education, whatever their social background.

Step into Success gives young people from disadvantaged backgrounds a chance to see the opportunities a university education can open up for them.

The aim is to enable learners to integrate themes around careers, progression and higher education with the maths, science and English curriculum. We have on- and off-campus delivery options (subject to availability) which serve to demonstrate the links between education and future life choices.

Take a look below  at the activities and events we have available for your learners and email us should you have any queries.

Activities for your learners

Play, Pause Participate

The Play, Pause, Participate approach is Solent's way to ensure we continue to offer our partners schools the fun and engaging workshops you're used to. Video content streamed online means that widening participation activity can still take place in the classroom in a safe and interactive way.

How it works
Choose your preferred workshop for your learners from the Step into Success activity menu and agree a time with your Step into Success contact for the activity to take place. Let us know if you would like the workshop to be delivered totally pre-recorded or as a combination of pre-recorded and live content. Our team are happy to be available virtually for Q&As during the workshop if you have collaborative working software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom available.

Once we know your preferred method of delivery we will send you a video file which can be easily played in the classroom. No fancy tech is needed apart from a PC or laptop, access to the internet,and the ability to project onto a screen.

Our videos include pause points for learners to participate in activities supported by worksheets that can be pre-posted or downloaded.

If you have opted to have our team ‘present’ virtually alongside the video content, we will provide a live one way link allowing us to introduce the workshop and join the end of the lesson for a plenary and question and answer.

In both instances the teacher within the classroom will be able to control the pace of the lesson by determining the length of the time the video is paused and learners have to complete activities.

More information on how we adhere to safeguarding rules, technical requirements and maximum class sizes for delivery can be found here.

We offer a number of engaging activities for young learners. Find out what's currently available.

XLR8 to Success

When considering the tumultuous few months your learners are likely to have faced recently, we have developed XLR8 to Success, a holistic online programme for learners aged 13-16.

With teaching content and delivery contributed by Solent University academics from our Faculty of Sport, Health and Social Sciences, the programme supports learners in developing skills to tackle challenges and when facing adversity. The programme’s overall aim is to enable them to consider their own mental health and wellbeing in relation to their studies and help them utilise the tools and strategies learned to accelerate to academic success.

XLR8 offers support in three key areas

  • Health - Improving diet and nutrition and physical activity
  • Wellbeing - Introducing mindfulness
  • Challenging times - Dealing with adversity and employing resilience skills

With permission, at the end of the programme we are happy to share with you the names of participating learners from your school. This could prove useful, should you wish to use their learning from the programme as a launch pad for further discussion in PSHE lessons.

How it works
This is an independent study programme - during the half term break your learners will be able to access the online content, complete the activities provided, and will receive certification from the Solent Widening Participation team.

Our team will provide you with physical/downloadable promotional postcards that you can disseminate to your learners in years 9, 10 and 11. These posters will detail information about the programme and contain a link your learners can use to complete the online registration form. Once they have registered learners will receive a login to access the online programme.

Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7, 8
Available to: All secondary schools
Time of year: Autumn
Format: Online

Year 5

Career Detectives

A 1-hour workshop exploring different career journeys, including an interactive game and discussions to spark inspiration.
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Autumn
Format: Physical

Wow Assembly

Delivered by a current Solent academic, our 20-minute Wow assemblies aim to excite and enthuse your learners while giving them a taste of student life by a positive role model. It will chart one student's educational journey from transitioning to secondary school, to degree-level study, and beyond.
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Autumn
Format: Physical or online

Year 6

My Solent Story

Delivered by a current Solent student, this 20-minute assembly aims to excite and enthuse learners and give them a taste of student life by a positive role model. It will chart one student's educational journey from transitioning to secondary school, to degree-level study, and beyond.
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online

Discover University Day (Introduction to University, Create Your Own University, Ask the VC)

A day at our East Park Terrace Campus where learners will take part in creative and interactive activities which introduces them to the concept of university and raises aspirations. 
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Summer
Format: Physical

Wow Assembly

Delivered by a current Solent academic, our 20-minute Wow assemblies aim to excite and enthuse your learners while giving them a taste of student life by a positive role model. It will chart one student's educational journey from transitioning to secondary school, to degree-level study, and beyond.
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Autumn
Format: Physical or online

Year 7

Introduction to University (assembly)

A 20-minute assembly which introduces the concept of university and raises aspirations.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 7
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Autumn
Format: Physical or online

Careers Day / Evening / Fair Attendance

Our stand is available to attend your careers event to support learners in making informed choices about their career pathways.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Available to: All Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire secondary schools
Time of year: All year
Format: Physical

Year 8

My Solent Story (assembly)

Delivered by a current Solent student, this 20-minute assembly aims to excite and enthuse learners and give them a taste of student life by a positive role model. It will chart one student's career pathway from choosing GCSE options, to degree-level study, and beyond.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 4, 7
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online

Making the Right Choice (assembly)

A 20-minute assembly which introduces the concept of Level 1 and 2 qualifications (bespoke to school programme) to support learners making informed choices during the options process.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 7
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online

Campus visit: Step into Solent/Future Choice (My Solent Story/Employable You/Extended Campus Tour)

A day at our East Park Terrace campus where learners will visit a variety of academic faculties exploring the options available at university.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Summer
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

Careers Day / Evening / Fair Attendance

Our stand is available to attend your careers event to support learners in making informed choices about their career pathways.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Available to: All Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire secondary schools
Time of year: All year
Format: Physical

Options Evening

Our stand is available to attend your options evening to support learners in making informed choices about their career pathways.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Available to: Southampton partner schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical

Year 9

Presenting Your Future

A two-hour workshop that enables learners to become familiar with routes to careers. This session encourages learners to investigate links to current study, explore levels, qualifications and labour market trends.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7
Available to: Southampton partner schools
Time of year: Summer
Format: Physical

Making the Right Choice (assembly)

A 20-minute assembly which introduces the concept of Level 1 and 2 qualifications (bespoke to school programme) to support learners making informed choices during the options process.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 7
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online

Campus visit: Step into Solent/Future Choice (My Solent Story/Employable You/Extended Campus Tour)

A day at our East Park Terrace campus where learners will visit a variety of academic faculties exploring the options available at university.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Summer
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

Careers Day / Evening / Fair Attendance

Our stand is available to attend your careers event to support learners in making informed choices about their career pathways.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Available to: All Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire secondary schools
Time of year: All year
Format: Physical

Options Evening

Our stand is available to attend your options evening to support learners in making informed choices about their career pathways.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Available to: Southampton partner schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical

Year 10

Why GCSEs Matter

A 20-minute assembly which highlights the importance of obtaining good GCSE results and progression pathways beyond GCSE exams.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Autumn
Format: Physical or online

Exam Preparation and Revision Skills

A one-hour workshop that supports learners in managing revision, applying exam techniques and using research skills.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Available to: Southampton partner schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical

Be The Boss

A two-hour workshop where learners familiarise themselves with employability skills, the importance of a CV, and take part in personal skills action planning.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Summer
Format: Physical

From GCSE to Business Industries (workshop)

Delivered by our academics, this workshop supports GCSE business learners in understanding key skills required for success within real-world industries.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
Available to: Southampton partner schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical

Campus Visit: From GCSE to Creative Industries (Subject Taster/Personal Branding/Cha-Ching/Campus Tour)

A day at our East Park Terrace campus where learners will take part in an interactive academic taster focusing on careers and higher education pathways, while considering how to build a personal brand and learning about student finance.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

Campus Visit: From GCSE to STEM Industries 

(Subject Taster/Personal Branding/Cha-Ching/Campus Tour)

A day at our East Park Terrace campus where learners will take part in an interactive academic taster focusing on careers and higher education pathways, while considering how to build a personal brand and learning about student finance.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

Careers Day / Evening / Fair Attendance

Our stand is available to attend your careers event to support learners in making informed choices about their career pathways.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Available to: All Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire secondary schools
Time of year: All year
Format: Physical

Mock Interview Panel Support

Where schedule allows our staff and graduate interns are available to attend your mock interview event to support learners in making informed choices about their career pathways. We can offer up to two days for your school per academic year in staff time.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
Available to: Southampton partner schools
Time of year: All year
Format: Physical

Parents / Carers Talk

A bespoke 45-minute talk providing parents / carers with information to support learners' career pathways and progression to higher education.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Available to: Partner schools and Southampton schools
Time of year: All year
Format: Physical or online

Year 11

Why GCSEs Matter

A 20-minute assembly which highlights the importance of obtaining good GCSE results and progression pathways beyond GCSE exams.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Autumn
Format: Physical or online

Exam Preparation and Revision Skills

A one-hour workshop that supports learners in managing revision, applying exam techniques and using research skills.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Available to: Southampton partner schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical

Campus Visit: From GCSE to Creative Industries (Subject Taster/Personal Branding/Cha-Ching/Campus Tour)

A day at our East Park Terrace campus where learners will take part in an interactive academic taster focusing on careers and higher education pathways, while considering how to build a personal brand and learning about student finance.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

Campus Visit: From GCSE to STEM Industries 

(Subject Taster/Personal Branding/Cha-Ching/Campus Tour)

A day at our East Park Terrace campus where learners will take part in an interactive academic taster focusing on careers and higher education pathways, while considering how to build a personal brand and learning about student finance.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
Available to: Partner schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

Campus Visit: GCSE Subject Revision Day

A day at our East Park Terrace campus where learners will work with specialist teachers to prepare for GCSE exams (generic content across all exam boards with subject TBC). 
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7
Available to: Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire secondary schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

Careers Day / Evening / Fair Attendance

Our stand is available to attend your careers event to support learners in making informed choices about their career pathways.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Available to: All Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire secondary schools
Time of year: All year
Format: Physical

Mock Interview Panel Support

Where schedule allows our staff and graduate interns are available to attend your mock interview event to support learners in making informed choices about their career pathways. We can offer up to two days for your school per academic year in staff time.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
Available to: Southampton partner schools
Time of year: All year
Format: Physical

Parents / Carers Talk

A bespoke 45-minute talk providing parents / carers with information to support learners' career pathways and progression to higher education.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Available to: Partner schools and Southampton schools
Time of year: All year
Format: Physical or online

Year 12

Head Start Mentoring Programme

Working with a small cohort of learners over a sustained period (six months), our CEIAG qualified staff (Level 6) will provide one-to-one mentoring surrounding making the next steps to higher education. Our student ambassadors will support activities talking about their experience from a role model's perspective.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online

Workshop: Finding your Future (Benefits of HE/Application Process Detailed)

A bespoke 45-minute interactive workshop providing an overview of the benefits of higher education, what university is like and how to take the first steps towards application.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online

Workshop: What More Can I Get from University (Solent Students' Union)

A bespoke 30-minute talk from our Student Union providing an oversight from a student's perspective about extra opportunities at university (studying abroad, clubs, societies and sport) and the self-development and social benefits.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online

Campus Visit: Solent Sport Experience (Finding Your Future/Specialist Facilities Tour/Sports Course Overview/Varsity Fixture)

A day at our East Park Terrace campus where learners take part in a sports academic taster session and experience the competitive spirit of a Varsity fixture and activities of the Students' Union.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4,7
Time of year: Summer
Format: Physical

Campus Visit: GCSE Subject Revision Day (Re-take)

A day at our East Park Terrace campus where learners will work with specialist teachers to prepare for GCSE exams (generic content across all exam boards with subject TBC). 
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7
Available to: Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire secondary schools
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

Campus Visit: Head Start Residential (Academic Tasters/Careers Guidance/Support at Solent/Campus Tour/Cha-Ching/Application Process/Team Building)

A two-day (one overnight) visit to our East Park Terrace campus where learners will explore the campus, attend taster lectures, experience aspects of student life and gain enhanced knowledge surrounding the UCAS application process. Our student ambassadors/Students' Union will support activities talking about their experience from a role model's perspective.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7, 8
Time of year: Summer
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

Parents / Carers Talk

A bespoke 45-minute talk providing parents / carers with information to support learners' career pathways and progression to higher education.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Time of year: All year
Format: Physical or online

Year 13

Campus Visit: Arts Portfolio Preparation Day (Academic Faculty Presentation/Specialist Facilities Tour/Portfolio Tips Workshop)

A day at our East Park Terrace campus where students will gain an understanding of how to develop an arts portfolio to support their application.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Time of year: Autumn
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

Campus Visit: Transition Morning (Pre-Application) (Finding Your Future/Support at Solent)

A digital event where learners will learn about the UCAS application process and how to make the next step to higher education. Our student ambassadors will join us supporting the day and talking about their experience from a role models’ perspective.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 7
Time of year: Autumn
Format: Online

Campus Visit: Solent Sport Experience (Finding Your Future/Specialist Facilities Tour/Sports Course Overview/Varsity Fixture)

A day at our East Park Terrace campus where learners take part in a sports academic taster session and experience the competitive spirit of a Varsity fixture and activities of the Students' Union.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4,7
Time of year: Summer
Format: Physical

Workshop: What More Can I Get from University (Solent Students' Union)

A bespoke 30-minute talk from our Student Union providing an oversight from a student's perspective about extra opportunities at university (studying abroad, clubs, societies and sport) and the self-development and social benefits.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online

Campus Visit: Transition Day (Post-Application) (VC Welcome/Enrolment Process/Transition to University/Campus Tour/Student Q&A)

A day at our East Park Terrace campus where Solent applicants will develop resilience skills and knowledge of the University's services (including the Student Hub) ahead of enrolment. Our student ambassadors/ Students' Union will support activities and talk about their experience from a role model's perspective.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 7
Time of year: Summer
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

Parents / Carers Talk

A bespoke 45-minute talk providing parents / carers with information to support learners' career pathways and progression to higher education.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 7
Time of year: All year
Format: Physical or online

Other

Campus Visit: Looked After Children/Vulnerable Children (Support at Solent/Extended Campus Tour/Finding Your Future)

Learners will visit our East Park Terrace Campus, and working in small groups they will learn about the UCAS application process, student life and the support services available. Personal advisers/social workers/designated teachers welcome to attend.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7
Year groups: 11, 12 or 13
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

Campus Visit: Looked After Children (Introduction to University/Finding Your Future/Support at Solent/Cha-Ching/Extended Campus Tour)

In partnership with virtual schools, learners and parents/carers will visit our East Park Terrace campus, and working in small groups they will take part in creative and interactive activities which introduce them to the concept of university and raises aspirations (all working in small, age group bespoke groups). Personal advisers/social workers/designated teachers welcome to attend.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7
Year groups: 6, 9 or 10
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

Campus Visit: Community Groups (Academic Taster/My Solent Story/Extended Campus Tour)

A day at our East Park Terrace Campus, where learners will visit a variety of academic schools exploring the options available at university.
Gatsby benchmark: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7
Year groups: 14 years and over
Time of year: Summer
Format: Physical or online (activity will be available as individual workshops if campus visits cannot take place)

CPD: Teachers/Careers Advisers/Foster Carers/Local Authorities/Governors/Virtual Schools and Colleges/Community Groups

Bespoke CPD for professionals who support disadvantaged learners entering higher education. A variety of content can be covered including how our student services team can support learner, this can be hosted at your venue or at the university.
Time of year: All year
Format: Physical or online

Community Higher Education Talk

A bespoke 45-minute talk in a community setting providing parents/carers/adult learners with information to support progression to higher education.
Time of year: All year
Format: Physical or online

Community Pop-Up University

The University visits a community setting and provides a fun, interactive day featuring practical demonstrations, careers advice and information about higher education.
Time of year: Spring
Format: Physical

Solent courses: a student's view

Charlie Cranstone, 2019 graduate from BA (Hons) Sports Journalism

Charlie Cranstone, 22, who graduated in 2019, has been shortlisted in the 'Rising Star' category in The Drum's Social Media Awards

Charlie, who moved to London after graduating, has been back in his hometown of Poole, Bournemouth since the Covid-19 pandemic. Social Media Producer for LiveWire Sport, Charlie is responsible for planning, producing and posting content for sport right holders on their social media and digital platforms. It was Charlie’s employer who put him forward for The Drum Awards. Charlie commented on his surprise at being nominated: “I didn't know they did awards for this kind of thing... It feels great to know my peers hold me in high regard, but it's still a bit strange to see my name nominated when we're usually hidden behind social media accounts!

“Social media has taken on a whole new importance during the pandemic, as we strived to continue delivering sporting fans the content they crave while the rest of the sporting world halted. I think I’ve worked even more during these months than I did before.

Solent graduate, Charlie Cranstone

“Being able to see engaging content you produce enjoyed by sporting fans from across the globe is a huge buzz, as a fan myself, says Charlie.”

Read more about Charlie and his course leader, Will Cope's reaction to his success

Your questions

Each term, we'll pick a question submitted by you and share the answer here. Here's this term's question.

I support students who have the potential to succeed in higher education but who have a barrier to access because they are disadvantaged or face additional challenges. What provision does Solent offer for these students?

Solent’s mission and strategy are dedicated to the pursuit of an excellent university education that enables learners from all backgrounds to become enterprising citizens and responsible leaders, while also promoting economic and social prosperity for the communities we serve. Solent is a proud champion of widening participation, which is at the core of our operations and our culture.

We are using contextual data to support our admissions process where we will identify disadvantaged students, their achievement and potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience, encourage application and make lower offers to support access

For more information about contextual admissions and eligibility criteria please visit our contextual admissions page.

Two schoolgirls working on a lego project

Previous questions

Does Solent offer financial support for students looked after by the local authority or are care leavers?

Solent University is committed to supporting students who have been in local authority care.

We work in partnership with local councils, schools, colleges and other universities regionally through the 'We Care' Partnership and have dedicated members of staff who will arrange visits and give talks to groups. 

If you have identified a young person in care and would like to know what support we can offer them throughout their degree then please do get in touch. They can even come to have a look around and meet other care leavers who are already studying towards their degree.

For more information and the application form for the care leavers bursary please visit our care leavers bursary page.

Email: student.funding@solent.ac.uk
Telephone: 023 8201 5200

If you have a question you would like us to answer and feature in a future Step Into Success update, please send it to stepintosuccess@solent.ac.uk.