FAQ for prospective KAN students


What is KAN?

The Kent Academies Network (KAN) is an outreach project homed at Sevenoaks School (since 2018), which was originally founded (in 2013) as a separate charity. 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.

What does the programme involve?

There are two streams. Core and Aspire. On both programmes students are linked with aspirational undergraduate mentors for their cohort. You will see your mentors at three online mentoring sessions each year and stay in contact with them on a virtual learning environment. You will also meet likeminded students, for example at the two meet-up days each year. Other things open to students are access to an online tool called Unifrog and the opportunity to apply for grants for university visits. On both programmes you will also attend two meet-up days each year. Students on the Core programme only will be expected to attend two bespoke residential weeks each year.

How are Core and Aspire different?

Students on the Core programme only will be expected to attend two bespoke residential weeks each year. Further, students on the Core programme must be attending a KAN school.

If I am on the Aspire programme can I swap to the Core programme?

If a place becomes available, for example because a student moves school or stops engaging, then you may be invited to join the Core programme.

Why should I / my child participate in this?

It is a unique opportunity to accelerate educational achievement and opportunities. KAN commit to supporting your child for four years, as they progress through their GCSEs and A-Levels/IB studies. This period of support is unprecedented for charitable educational programmes in the UK.

Our programme is designed to expose students to new ideas and concepts, reinforce their existing subject knowledge and to raise their aspirations. The combination of residential events, day events and ongoing mentoring from undergraduates (including many from Oxbridge) offers your child the chance to fulfil their academic potential and have fun along the way.

What will it cost me? Are there hidden costs?

Nothing! KAN is totally free to our students.

How do you select the students to be part of the programme?

Students who are eligible for the programme will be contacted by their schools and encouraged to apply. These students will be asked to fill out an application form and to write a letter of application. Each school will then narrow down their shortlist and submit a final list of names, who will progress to interview. These interviews are informal conversations designed to ensure that the students we select are suitable and committed to the programme. We offer the opportunity of Core and Aspire based on who we believe will benefit most from each.

How will they get to the events?

This varies from event to event. Generally events are in term time so your child’s school will provide transport to events. However, after the one-week residential events it is usually the case that parents come to collect their child as this date is usually during the school holidays. Obviously, if this is problematic alternative arrangements can be made, on a case by case basis.

Can they try it out and then withdraw if they don’t like it?

KAN is a 4 year programme and students should think very carefully about this before they apply – it is a big commitment. With that said, students may leave the programme in particular circumstances and we also understand that a student may not be able to make it to every event.

What happens if they move away from a KAN school?

We aim to ensure that our Aspire students stay on the programme even if they move school, but in some cases this may not be possible if their new school cannot support their involvement. In the past we have had several students move from their academies to grammar schools due to their excellent GCSE results. If a Core student moves away from their KAN school they will be asked to switch to the Aspire programme instead.

Who are the mentors?

Our Mentors are current undergraduates, from top UK universities, who are passionate about education and want to encourage bright students who might otherwise not attend university to reach their academic potential. The mentors, like the students, go through an application and interview process and are subjected to a DBS (background) check. They give up time throughout the year to support their students in any way they can.

Can I meet a student already on the scheme?

If your school has participated on our programmes in previous years they should be able to arrange a meeting with one of their students who is currently a part of the KAN programme. Our students are frequently used in the recruitment phase of the application process, where they provide their own thoughts and opinions on the benefits of our programmes.

What if I don’t want to go to university?

Our programmes are designed to expose students to the opportunities that a university education can provide. As such, for our students to get the most out of the programme we expect them to be at least open minded about potentially attending university. However, if at the end of their 4 years with us, they make an informed decision that university is not for them, we will consider that a job well done. University is not for everyone, but we believe it is crucial that students are able to make an informed choice and explore their options.


You can read about past KAN events here.

If you have further questions please email the KAN Director, Isla Phillips-Ewen, here