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SPoC Funding Guidance



About SUN & Uni Connect

The Southern Universities Network (SUN) has been established to support the Government’s ambitions to make faster progress nationally to widen access to Higher Education through the Uni Connect Programme –

The SUN partnership comprises Higher Education Institutions, Further Education Colleges, Schools and Local Authorities within Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

Uni Connect is currently focused on providing targeted higher education outreach to young people in years 9 to 14 living in particular geographic areas where higher education participation is lower than might be expected given the GCSE results of the young people who live there.

Uni Connect aims to:

  • Reduce the gap in higher education participation between the most and least represented groups
  • Support young people to make well-informed decisions about their future education
  • Support effective and impactful local collaboration by higher education providers working together with schools, colleges, employers and other partners
  • Contribute to a stronger evidence base around ‘what works’ in higher education outreach and strengthen evaluation practice in the sector
  • Establish 29 local outreach hubs to help schools and colleges access higher education resources and information

SUN provides funding to schools and colleges to meet the aims and objectives of Uni Connect. This document provides guidance on how to use funding provided by SUN to schools and colleges. Please note the changes to SUN funding allocation for the academic year 2019-20


SUN Funding Allocation

In the academic year 2019-20 all identified schools and a select number of colleges will receive SUN funding on the following basis:

  • £40 per target student in Y 9 – 11
  • £20 per target student in Y 12 – 14 with the ability to reach a Level 4 qualification by the age of 19
  • £20 per target student studying a Level 2 or Level 3 qualification with the ability to reach a Level 4 qualification by the age of 19

Note: there is a maximum of £20,000 SUN funding per school / college per academic year.


Use of SUN Funding – SPoC Role

To enable young people in schools and colleges to engage with the SUN during the Uni Connect Programme, schools and colleges should allocate a proportion of the SUN funding to nominate a member of staff to act as the ‘SUN Single Point of Contact (SUN SPoC)’.

SUN funding should be used to release staff from their regular duties to act as their institution’s SPoC. The SPoC requirements are listed below, SUN suggest a minimum allowance of six full days to complete the tasks below, this may vary dependent on the number of target students within an institution. Your school / college SUN Project Leader will offer more advice if required. Additionally, SPoC funding can be used to release other staff who may provide additional support to the SPoC.


SPoC Role Requirements

 Point of Contact

  • To act as the Single Point of Contact for all SUN activity for target students and their parent(s)/carer(s); school staff; Careers Advisers; and SUN staff
  • To meet with a designated member of SUN team at least twice a year and maintain regular contact
  • Attend relevant SPoC networking events, meetings and the SPoC Conference as invited by SUN
  • To ensure that invoices are raised in a timely manner as directed by SUN

 Data, Tracking, Evaluation & Reporting

  • To identify and maintain records of target students for SUN using the Postcode Profiling tool and report templates (provided by SUN)
  • To undertake monitoring, tracking and evaluation of Uni Connect in accordance with requirements set out by the Office for Students
  • To facilitate the completion of HEAT (Higher Education Access Tracker) forms and the baseline survey (where appropriate) by target students
  • To complete and submit accurate data and financial reports on a termly basis

 Facilitate Activity

  • To assist SUN in targeting SUN-led activity to target students
  • To promote relevant SUN outreach activities to the parent(s)/carer(s) of eligible students
  • To promote Teacher CPD to staff in schools and make recommendations to SUN about additional CPD opportunities
  • To facilitate and organise activities/interventions which meet the overall aims and objectives of Uni Connect for target students, their key influencers, and/or school/college staff (see below for examples of activities/interventions)
  • To ensure SUN funding allocated to the institution is spent in accordance with guidance provided in this document and the Collaboration Agreement, including the production of an Action Plan at start of the academic year to demonstrate how the institution plans to utilise SUN funding
  • To proactively seek advice or support from the designated SUN Project Leader regarding questions or concerns over how to spend the allocated funds


Use of SUN Funding – Activities & Interventions

SUN funding should be used to organise or facilitate activities/interventions that meet the overall aims and objectives of Uni Connect for eligible students, their key influencers, and/or school/college staff.

Please note

  1. Any activity or intervention needs to be targeted at a minimum of 80% of the available target learner population for that cohort (e.g. if within a class of 30 students, 10 are ‘target learners’, at least 8 target learners must take part)
  2. If it is less than 80% of the target learner population for that cohort, then funding can be spent proportionally
  3. High intensity / high cost interventions (such as mentoring) should be solely targeted at target students
  4. All activity should be linked to the SUN Progression Framework (see Appendix 1)
  5. High cost/high intensity activity should be evaluated using the SUN Evaluation Framework. SUN will provide advice and support to schools and colleges to ensure evaluation is conducted as per the guidance offered by the Office for Students.

The list below provides an overview of the type of activities that may be funded by SPoC funding, including some examples of how schools and colleges spent their funding in previous years. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list; schools and colleges are encouraged to explore new and innovative ideas.

  • Additional CEIAG Interventions – Although there is no longer a requirement from SUN for an institution to utilise SUN funding for additional CEIAG Interventions for target learners, an institution can continue this type of intervention if it so wishes. Any CEIAG intervention funded by SUN must be in addition to an institution’s current offer. This intervention should be for target students only.
  • Inspirational/Motivational Speakers or Alumni visits – A number of schools have used SUN funding to purchase inspirational or motivational talks from professional speakers.
  • Alumni / Employer visits – Schools and colleges may use SPoC funding to arrange visits from alumni, local employers, or training/apprenticeship providers. Funds may be used for school/college staff time to coordinate visits and any expenses incurred by alumni or employer.
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Opportunities – Schools and colleges may fund CPD and training opportunities for staff. Funding can be used to purchase places on training courses, or a facilitator to deliver in-house training. Additionally, SPoC funding can be used to cover associated costs, such as travel and cover expenses. SUN encourages schools and colleges to collaborate where possible. Institutions should be able to demonstrate how the CPD and training opportunities funded by SUN are directly linked to the overall aims of UNI CONNECT and support progression to HE for disadvantaged young people, and/or underrepresented groups.
  • Travel to events – SUN funding can be used to fund the transport costs associated to attendance at progression-related or aspiration-raising/realising events or activities such as Regional Careers Fairs, or Subject Specific fairs and activities.
  • Staff Cover – SUN funding can be used to fund staff cover for off-site SUN-related activity. Schools and colleges must be able to provide evidence or a receipt that an additional member of staff was required to support the activity.
  • Revision resources and subscriptions – Resources and service subscriptions may only be purchased after consultation with a member of the SUN team.
  • Mentoring Projects – Schools and college may use funding to develop mentoring projects in-house or access mentoring projects delivered by third parties.
  • Workshops & Activities (delivered by school staff) – Schools and colleges may use funding for staff time to develop and deliver aspiration-raising/realising workshops and activities that provide information and advice about educational progression to target students, parents/ carers, and school/college staff.
  • Workshops & Activities (delivered by third parties) – In 2017-18 and 2018-19 schools and colleges used SPoC funding to purchase workshops and activities from the following providers:


School / College Reporting Requirements

  • Soft Reporting Deadlines: Schools and colleges should be updating their funding and activity reports on a half-termly basis via Glasscubes. All relevant reports will be on Glasscubes and templates will be provided by SUN.
  • Hard Reporting Deadlines: Schools should ensure all reports are ready to be sent to OfS for data collection on the following dates for reports are as follows: Friday 14 February 2020 and Friday 10 July 2020, 5pm.
  • If schools and colleges fail to complete reports, SUN reserve the right to ‘claw back’ funding


Funding Restrictions

  • SUN Funding cannot be used to cover the cost of a school / college’s statutory requirements
  • Institutions may only use SUN funding to cover the cost of subscriptions or resources with prior agreement from SUN
  • Institutions may only use SUN funding to cover the cost of equipment or hardware with prior agreement from SUN
  • SUN Funding cannot be used to cover the costs of activity for solely non-TARGET students
  • SUN Funding cannot be used to cover the costs of activity where funding is obtained by a third party (duplicate funding)