chapter  6
New Opportunities for Disadvantaged Pupils
The Step-Up Programme
WithDAMIAN O'KANE, CHRIS FINLAY, ANNE MOONEY
Pages 20

The Step-Up programme, which was initiated at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland in 2000, was conceived and developed as a specific response to the underachievement and nonparticipation in higher education of socially and economically disadvantaged secondary school pupils. The pupils who have participated in the programme have achieved outstanding success with over 97 per cent progressing to universities across the UK. Many young people suffer the effects of multiple disadvantages, which often manifest themselves in substance or alcohol abuse, truancy, violence, poor diet and nutrition and untimely pregnancy. The Londonderry Step-Up programme offers 70 places per year to pupils across five secondary schools and is funded by the Department for Employment and Learning under its Widening Participation in Higher Education Strategy. The programme actively involves the University, schools, industry, local hospitals and government agencies in a collaborative partnership.