At the annual Responsible Business Gala in London, the ‘Oscars’ of responsible business, Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) took the Education Award for its long-running widening access programme, the Caledonian Club.
GCU is the first University to win this category in the Business in the Community (BITC) Awards, which were established as part of the Prince’s Responsible Business Network to create a fairer society and more sustainable future.
The Caledonian Club has, over the past eight years, worked with more than 12,000 nursery, primary and secondary school pupils and 3,000 of their parents, to raise basic life skills and the aspirations of those from the most disadvantaged communities in Glasgow.
The initiative has also been running for the past five years for children and parents in the Tower Hamlets area of London near the GCU London campus.
Since its launch:
- The initiative has been supported by 500 student mentors, many of whom are former Caledonian Club members themselves, and dedicated GCU staff;
- Children in secondary-level Caledonian Club schools have significantly higher aspirations to attend university than their peers in S1 (57% vs 46%) and S6 (96% vs 49%);
- The average progression rates into higher education of participants has increased following the programme from 14 % in 2007/08 to 28% in 2014/15;
- Parents/carers of Caledonian Club children have higher aspirations for themselves (59% vs 37%);
- Teachers have higher aspirations for Caledonian Club pupils;
- The Caledonian Club has attracted almost £1 million in philanthropic and business investment to support expansion and innovation.
The Chair of the Awards judging panel, Lucy Carver, Director of Bigger Picture, Sky, said: “The judges were unanimous in their support for Glasgow Caledonian University as winners of the Education Award. Their commitment to work holistically with parents, young people, schools and the local community has seen the delivery of a unique end-to-end programme which is driving real results in employability and education outcomes for the young people and their parents. There is much for corporates to learn from this approach, not least in terms of how alumni from your programmes can become your greatest deliverers.”
The Education Award is the second Business in the Community (BITC) Responsible Business Award for the University. In 2014, GCU was also the first University to be awarded the Unilever International Award sponsored by Business Fights Poverty for the contribution of the Grameen Caledonian Nursing College in Dhaka to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE, who founded the Caledonian Club, said: “This most recent award for the Caledonian Club is further testament to the impact that a sustainable commitment to collaborative working of staff across the University, our student mentors, partner schools and teachers, and young people and their families can have. Widening access to higher education is a fundamental part of our social mission as the University for the Common Good.”