Kent Academies Network
The Kent Academies Network (KAN) is a four-year university access programme for students from academies across Kent.
It aims to remove barriers to higher education by developing students’ confidence, knowledge, and agency so that they can set ambitious goals, and ultimately reach them.
KAN is a four–year university access programme that is open to eligible students in Year 9 to 13 at Knole Academy, the John Wallis academy, Skinners Kent Academy, Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey and the Marsh Academy.
Our Core programme has been running since 2013 and Aspire since 2021. The Aspire programme entails two meet-up days, termly online mentoring, access to a university mentor, and a summer research project. In addition, students on the Core programme attend two residential events per year, in the Spring and Summer term.
An incredible 98% of KAN alumni receive places for university degrees or high-level apprenticeships.
The Kent Academies Network (KAN) aims to remove barriers to higher education for the most able, disadvantaged pupils. KAN does this by developing pupils’ confidence, knowledge, and agency so that they can set ambitious goals, and ultimately reach them.
KAN also aims to develop future leaders in education and social impact who feel part of a wider community and have increased opportunities thanks to the experiences and skills they develop through their commitment to the role.
Our Core university access programme has been running since 2013 and our new Aspire university access programme began in 2021. Core and Aspire are uniquely comprehensive four-year programmes of mentoring, meet-up days and Core residential weeks.
The KAN scheme was initially supported and funded by the Sutton Trust. Sevenoaks School has been an active partner school in the programme since conception.
There are five schools in the network: Knole Academy, The Marsh Academy, The John Wallis Academy, Skinners Kent Academy and The Oasis Academy, Isle of Sheppey.
Friends of the programme, alumni, and staff and teachers from the academies and Sevenoaks all volunteer their time and expertise.
The following organisations, and those that wish to remain anonymous, support and have supported the funding of the KAN university access programme:
Accelerate and Access Foundation
Buffini Chao Foundation
Queens’ College, University of Cambridge
Sevenoaks School Foundation
In its tenth year, an incredible 98 per cent of KAN alumni have received places for university degrees or high-level apprenticeships.
After our summer residential week, the 28 students who completed feedback agreed that the sessions were interesting and well delivered, they feel part of a KAN network and supported by KAN. In addition, over 90 per cent agreed that KAN helps them feel more confident and the residential improved their understanding of options beyond school.
"KAN is a way to meet new people and explore new opportunities. It is helping me to forge my future." KAN student
"The best thing about the residential event was the balance between academic learning, mentoring and free time to enjoy each other’s company as a cohort. The timetable for the week was very fulfilling." KAN student
"The students I worked with this week can only be described by a list of superlatives. They are some of the most driven, ambitious, independent, courteous, and intelligent students I have had the pleasure of meeting in five years of teaching." KAN teacher volunteer, Sevenoaks School
"The relationships I formed have stayed with me, and the opportunity to work to improve social mobility has been extremely valuable. I’ve always been passionate about access to education, and I continue that work as an EDI professional in higher education." Alumni mentor
Since 2021 Sixth-form students at Sevenoaks School now have the opportunity to participate in a service group that functions as a form of work experience and involves supporting management tasks for the programme.
Each year, the academies identify Year 9 students to begin the application and interview process. Up to
three students are selected from each school – making a total of 15 students in a cohort.
Every academic year of the four year programme there are:
• Termly online mentoring sessions (new in 2020-21)
• Two meet-up days, at either Sevenoaks School or a university
• The Spring residential event at Sevenoaks School
• The Summer residential week, which takes place at Tonbridge School for the two youngest
cohorts (beginning at the end of Year 9) and the University of Cambridge (alternating between Fitzwilliam College and Queens’ College) for the eldest KAN students are guided by an undergraduate mentor who is with them throughout the programme.
The mentoring relationships and the peer-to-peer support network, fostered by the small, close-knit cohorts, are hugely important to KAN.