Upward Bound programme

Upward Bound is a programme aimed at raising attainment and aspirations for young people in participating Islington secondary schools.

Supported and funded by the Dame Alice Owen Foundation, it provides an alternative learning environment within a university setting – addressing the academic, social and cultural needs of the cohort.

Since 2006, Upward Bound has proved to be a valued supplementary educational intervention for Islington schools, supporting more than 1000 pupils through their GCSEs and beyond. The programme has been successful in raising the attainment of its pupils and continues to surpass national and borough results. The programme runs on Saturday mornings during term time for 29 weeks each year at London Metropolitan University. There's also a residential trip in the summer term. Students in year groups nine and 10 participate in the programme for two years, allowing them to feel a sense of community and, importantly, stability. 

The programme is run as a partnership between The London Borough of Islington and London Met as lead delivery partner.

Group of Upward Bound students looking out over a beautiful view on their residential trip

Please contact Maxine-Bunting Thomas for further information.

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What is Upward Bound

Find out more about the Upward Bound programme from our Peer Mentors and programme leader Maxine. Hear about what happens during sessions and the support you can receive on the programme.

Joining Upward Bound

How will Upward Bound run this year?

  • In the first instance, face-to-face sessions will take place at our Holloway campus. We will be following a thorough risk assessment and adhering to Government and University guidelines, details of which will be communicated when we confirm your place in the club.

  • Should the current guidelines change, we are fully set up to run sessions via Google Classroom. We ran Upward Bound online in 2020/21 and it worked really successfully. 

  • We will keep communication open with parents/guardians to update you on any developments or changes we make.

How to apply 

Applications for the 2021-22 academic year are now open for students from participating Islington schools. If you have been invited by your school to apply please complete our online application form.

Spaces are limited and the deadline for applications is Friday 19 November (we may still accept applications after this date). Following this, we'll be in touch with further information. 

If you have any questions please contact Maxine by emailing upward.bound@upwardbound.co.uk or call/leave a voicemail on 07826904417.

Key dates and times 

  • Sessions take place on Saturday mornings during term time between 10am and 2.30pm. Groups will be given their exact timings in advance.
  • Students in KS4 will start on Saturday 9 October 2021.
  • Students in KS3 will start on Saturday 8 January 2022. 
What our previous students and parents/carers think

Student comments

"I really like Upward Bound. So far it’s really helpful and I learn lots of things."
"Upward Bound is a place where you learn and make new friends. The peer mentors are very inspiring and tell you about their experiences to help you."
"Really enjoyable, you meet people and have enough time for work and games."
"It has boosted my self-confidence, as I know that there are people who care about me and want the best for me. I’ve found a family at Upward Bound." 

Parent comments 

"Amazing! What can I say, it was the best thing I could give my boys, and I don’t want it to end. It’s a learning opportunity that all children should be entitled to."
"Upward Bound has been such an asset to my daughters way of learning. The support both she and I have received from it has been outstanding and I would highly recommend it to every parent."
"My son loves the programme and is enthusiastic about attending. He has flourished meeting new people. Upward Bound has definitely increased his motivation and he is talking about himself in a more aspirational way and setting himself goals." 

 Key statistics

  • Since starting in 2006, Upward Bound has supported more than 1000 students
  • 200 young people attend the programme each year
  • In 2021, 80 per cent of  students rated their Upward Bound experience as 'very positive'
  • In 2021, 84 per cent of students achieved a minimum of Grade 4 or above in Maths and English from provisional teacher assessment data

Upward Bound photos

 Student performing poetry at our annual Poetry Slam event


 Upward Bound residential activity
Upward Bound residential activity


 Upward Bound peer mentors
Upward Bound peer mentor sitting in a classroom


 Upward Bound residential trip
Upward bound students looking out over a beautiful view on their residential trip