About Us

The LINK Project

The Department of English’ LINK Project seeks to build collaborative, sustainable partnerships with targeted low-SES high schools in metropolitan Sydney and regional NSW to foster student aspiration and encourage students of diverse backgrounds to participate in higher education.

The program is designed to:

Bankstown Girls Highschool

Bankstown Girls High School students visit the Department of English at The University of Sydney

  • engage and support the development of students’ critical and creative capacities
  • encourage achievement at high school and beyond
  • actively encourage students of diverse backgrounds to participate in higher education and support student capacity to realise their aspirations for higher education
  • increase feelings of accessibility to higher education within high school cohorts traditionally marginalised by the higher education system
  • promote inclusivity by fostering inter-school communication between urban and rural partner schools
  • increase sustainable rural participation in higher education, including through online platforms
  • reduce rural disenfranchisement by building relationships between partner schools and their local Councils, public libraries, relevant community organisations, and their urban equivalents
  • demystify the university experience
  • widen participation within the Department of English at The University of Sydney

The schools currently partnered with the program include:

  • Bankstown Girls High School
  • Blacktown Boys High School
  • Chifley College, Mt Druitt
  • Coonabarabran High School
  • Gilgandra High School
  • Holroyd High School
  • Mendooran Central School
  • Strathfield South High School
  • Willyama High School

Project Impact

While the project is engaged in a long-term strategy to increase opportunities for low-SES urban and rural high school students in NSW, program feedback since 2012 confirms that the program is already working to satisfy its key outcomes. Our partner school teachers value the contribution the program makes to their own classroom teaching and report high volumes of student enthusiasm for learning activities. The immediate educational benefits of the program are readily apparent, with students consistently stating that the project inspires them to “do their best” at school and is helping to increase confidence about considering University as an option for their future.

Project Funding

Nelson Meers Foundation

Since 2015 the project has been funded by the Nelson Meers Foundation, a private philanthropic organisation that supports achievement in the Arts.

From 2012 to 2014 the project was funded by a series of ‘Widening Participation’ seed grants awarded by the University’s Social Inclusion Unit (SIU), supplementary support from the School of Literature, Art and Letters (SLAM), and (since 2013) a substantial contribution of financial support from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS).