Trinity College, Oldham Council and Parent Power Oldham have joined forces to empower parents and young people in Oldham to realise their educational ambitions.
Through this three-year initiative parents will undertake community organising training, visit universities with their children, and advise others in the community about educational opportunities for young people.
Community Organiser for Parent Power Oldham, Rahiela Koser, herself a founding member of the group in 2019, said:
Parent Power has always had the aim of breaking down barriers to getting young people to university and empower parents with knowledge. Through Parent Power, I get to meet and talk to new people and promote education … it has also helped me find an identity of my own and allowed me to connect with my aspirations.
Parent Power is part of the access charity The Brilliant Club and originated in South London through a collaboration between parents, Citizens UK and King’s College London. Today there are Parent Power chapters in East Oxford, East London, Cardiff, Knowsley, Mansfield, Fenland and Peterborough, as well as Oldham.
Last May parents and children from Oldham visited Trinity and have since been to Edgehill University and the University of Manchester.
Javed Tariq, who came to Trinity with his daughters Fatimah and Tehreem, said it was a great opportunity to see the College and find out more about Cambridge.
I have three daughters ready to come to university – they want to explore the courses they want to do, especially mathematics and medicine. It gives them the opportunity to ask questions and see what is offered, so they can make their own choices. They are loving the atmosphere here: it is big, it is historical, plus the reputation is amazing.
Yaasmin Mughees, another member of Oldham Parent Power who visited Trinity with her four children, has fond memories of Cambridge.
I had family who had a house here. So, from when I was very young, I knew about Cambridge University and my daughters were born here. Of course the ‘ifs and buts’ are there but if you work hard why not? First you need the grades, then you need the information and the willpower.
As a result of their visit, Mrs Mughees said her children would be even more determined in their studies.
The collaboration is part of Trinity’s Outreach programme and Outreach Coordinator, Amber Silk, said:
We support programmes for students as young as primary school all the way to their last year at school, and we support parents because we believe that like teachers, parents have an enormous impact on their child’s educational ambitions. If families are empowered by expert knowledge of Higher Education, then children and parents can make informed choices.
Jimmy Pickering, Director of Communities at The Brilliant Club, said:
Oldham Parent Power highlights the value of community organising for parent and carer engagement. By starting with listening, we create strong relationships which lead to meaningful change for families and communities. It has been inspiring to see parents from diverse cultural backgrounds working together to create change in my hometown.
Rahiela Koser, who has completed a PGCE since joining Oldham Parent Power, says much of the early work of the group centred around university understanding and student finance, with trips to universities being one of the most valuable experiences.
Photos: Graham CopeKoga