Aspirational students at Nelson and Colne College are a step closer to attending one of the most prestigious universities in the country after earning a place on an exciting new programme.

An impressive 39 students from Nelson and Colne College have been selected to take part in “Realising Opportunities” – a unique collaboration of 15 leading, research intensive universities, who are working together to promote fair access and social mobility of students from groups underrepresented in higher education.

Nelson and Colne College will work closely with The University of Manchester as part of Realising Opportunities to help participants benefit from a range of workshops and study sessions. Other opportunities include students engaging with e-mentoring, completing an extended project qualification (EPQ), and working on an online “skills4uni” module.

For students who successfully complete the programme, the 15 partner universities have agreed to:

  • Potentially give an alternative RO offer for successful applications to them through UCAS, worth up to two A Level grades or equivalent
  • Give additional consideration to UCAS applications submitted by an RO student
  • Make the benefits eligible to students planning on taking a gap year

An event has now been held at Nelson and Colne College to give more information about the programme to participating students and their parents/guardians.

Courtney Flanagan, 17, from Colne, said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for me. I am not struggling with my A Levels, but it is nice to have that extra insurance when applying to University.

“I wanted to do an EPQ on Japanese Culture anyway, so by taking part in this programme, I will be able to get additional support.”

And her mum Emma Flanagan added: “I think it is an amazing opportunity for all the students. Courtney gets all the support she needs at Nelson and Colne College, and they are helping her to get ready for her future.”

Universities involved in the RO programme include the University of Warwick, the University of York, the University of Liverpool and King’s College London.

Curriculum leader for English, Humanities and Languages Edward Fuller said: “We are thrilled that so many of our students have met the criteria for this exciting programme. By taking part in Realising Opportunities, they will increase their knowledge and understanding of what a research intensive university can offer, and will gain increased access to all 15 partner universities.

“We look forward to seeing students progress throughout this programme, and make the most of the many opportunities on offer to them.”

For more information on the RO programme and to see a full list of participating universities visit

To find out more about studying at NCC contact 01282 440217.