Illustration of a school

Who we are

Greater Manchester Higher is a collaborative network.

The partnership is a part of the National Collaborative Outreach Programme, which will deliver a nationally coordinated approach to working with schools, universities and colleges to help people access higher education.

Our Year in Brief provides an overview of the activities delivered and the key achievements and successes during 2018/19.


Our vision

We aim to improve the provision of information, advice and guidance about progression routes to higher education (HE), alongside offering a menu of activities to raise the aspirations of young people in Greater Manchester.

Our team

Central Team

Sam Kalubowila, Head of Greater Manchester Higher

Sam Kalubowila

Head of Greater Manchester Higher

My parents moved to London from Sri Lanka in the 1970s to further their own education and my first HE experience was at the University of London’s nursery as a baby! As the eldest of three, I was expected to go to university to set a good example to my younger siblings.

My A-levels didn’t go exactly to plan, but I was lucky and found a place at Sheffield Hallam…

Jamie Bytheway, Operations Manager

Jamie Bytheway

Operations Manager (Activities & Projects)

From a young age, my Mum and Dad always told me that I would go to the local university, even though none of us really knew what that meant or had ever visited it as I was the first in my family to go, and that I would be an accountant as I was good at Maths.

Fast forward to now and I have a degree in English Literature from…

Grace Sheldon, Operations Manager

Grace Sheldon

Operations Manager (Governance)

After getting my A-Levels at my local FE college I went to the University of Liverpool to study Sociology and Criminology (mainly because I was interested in those subjects, but also because I liked the feel of the place when I went to their open day).

My degree helped me to get a graduate role straight after Uni with a company who run Tuition centres for kids, which was great…

Ian McGarry, Advice and Guidance Manager

Ian McGarry

Information, Advice and Guidance Manager

I left school at age 16 with a clutch of strong GCSE grades and determined to cut it in the world of journalism. I didn’t progress past the local newspaper. It took me until the age of 23 to wake-up and realise that university was the answer. Manchester Met University gave me a chance – despite the fact that I had no A Levels to my name.

University opened my…

Mark Burke, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager

Mark Burke

Monitoring and Evaluation Manager

My parents moved to the UK from Jamaica in the 1960s as part of the Windrush Generation, where my father continued his career as a minister. Although my father never formally attended a higher education establishment, he taught in a number of teaching positions within the church.

Like many of my peers, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school, so I stayed on at…

Sarah Starkey, Marketing and Communications Officer

Sarah Starkey

Marketing and Communications Officer

I was the first one in my family to go to uni, (it’s a shame my graduation photo is so bad and still hangs in my parents’ front room!) My mum was keen for me to apply, and sometimes, Mums know best.

Whilst I was in sixth form, I wasn’t sure whether university would be for me, I found the idea quite daunting – not knowing anyone, being somewhere new,…

Edit Zsibrita, Project Administrator

Edit Zsibrita

Project Assistant

Unlike many people, I knew from a very early age, I wanted to be a teacher (my dolls had school reports) and with that desire in my heart, I sailed through university with my eyes fixed on the ultimate goal. After having gained a QTS, I taught History to GSCE and A level for 7 years that helped me to develop a deep commitment to enhancing students’ experience.

However, whilst…

Hub Managers

Elin Bowker-Stewart, Hub Manager Bolton Bury and Rochdale

Elin Stewart-Bowker

Bury, Bolton & Rochdale

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Chris Delaney, Hub Manager Manchester

Chris Delaney


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Colin Stanfield, Hub Manager Wigan

Colin Stanfield

Wigan and Leigh

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Vicky Sinfield, Hub Manager Stockport Oldham and Tameside

Vicky Sinfield

Oldham, Stockport & Tameside

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Andrea, Hub Manager for Salford and Trafford

Andrea Dapoto

Salford and Trafford

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Our partners


We take the safeguarding of the youg people we work with very seriously, please find our safeguarding statement here.

Download Safeguarding PDF

Cancellation Policy

All of our events are free for schools and colleges to participate in, however we have a cancellation policy in the event of less than 14 days notice being given.

Download Cancellation Policy PDF


Manchester Metropolitan University are the lead institution for the network.

Greater Manchester Higher is governed by a steering group who oversee the strategic and financial aspects of the project. This group meets three times a year and each institution has a representative on the steering group.

Download Governance PDF

Targeting, Monitoring & Evaluation

The overall aim of the NCOP programme is to support the government’s social mobility goals by rapidly increasing the number of young people from underrepresented group who go into higher education. The programme is collaborative, impartial and targeted.

Our targeting is based upon learner postcodes. The government has identified 45 electoral wards within the Greater Manchester area where Higher Education participation is lower than expected based on KS4 attainment and this is where we apply the government definition for underrepresented groups.

Our work must focus on providing intensive activities with Y9-13 learners from these 45 electoral wards, therefore 2 /3rds of learners on any intervention must be from the target wards, with the exception of activities delivered to a whole year group or activities for targeted learners.

Our  NCOP school postcode tool will help you determine which of your pupils are from our target wards.

Our work must focus on providing intensive activities with Y9-13 learners from these wards, therefore 2/3rds of learners on any intervention must be from the target wards (with the exception of activity delivered to a whole year group or activity for targeted learners). Our Postcode tool will help you determine which of your pupils are from our target wards.

You can watch our quick ‘step by step’ guide on how to use the NCOP school postcode tool:

Postcode Tool video guide 


Download our Postcode Tool