What We Do

We work with bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds, providing in-school support and personalised tuition, to help them gain access to top universities.

What We Do

We work with bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds, providing in-school support and personalised tuition, to help them gain access to top universities.

“Their programme of tutoring and impartial advice is a great example of the sustained, targeted, collaborative and robustly evaluated work we need into the future. Most importantly, it is demonstrably helping young people to unlock their potential by achieving the grades they need to get into the university of their choice.”

Chris Millward, Director of Widening Participation and Fair Access, the Office for Students

“Their programme of tutoring and impartial advice is a great example of the sustained, targeted, collaborative and robustly evaluated work we need into the future. Most importantly, it is demonstrably helping young people to unlock their potential by achieving the grades they need to get into the university of their choice.”
Chris Millward, Director of Widening Participation and Fair Access, the Office for Students

The Access Project began in 2008 when Alex Kelly, a teacher in one North London school, convinced some of his friends to provide his bright and ambitious students with the academic support they couldn’t get at home. This one-to-one tuition proved even more successful than Alex had hoped and so he set up The Access Project to ensure more young people could benefit from this support.

Since then we have grown quickly and are now working in 28 schools, with over 1,000 tutors supporting 1,250 students across London, Birmingham and the Black Country and the East Midlands towns of Ashfield, Mansfield and Shirebrook.

Our programme

What makes our programme unique is that it comprises both tutoring and mentoring. Rigorous measurement and data analysis show that it is the combination of these interventions that maximises our students’ likelihood of going to a top university.

Volunteer tutoring

Every year we match over 1,000 volunteer tutors with a 14 to 18-year-old student from one of our partner schools to support those students to achieve their potential at GCSE or A-Level. In weekly tutorial sessions across the school year, tutors address the topics that students’ teachers think they need most help with.​ The weekly sessions not only raise grades but improve a young person’s confidence and aspirations.

In-school mentoring

Mentoring support comes from a dedicated member of Access Project staff who is based in the partner school who works with the students on the programme. Our Access Officer provides expert advice from year 10 to build students’ knowledge and understanding of universities and courses, and provides one-to-one support and advice on applications and interviews. We organise visits to top universities and we run a Law Society, a Medicine and Dentistry Society and an Oxbridge Society.

The Access Project is regularly cited as a sector leader in improving university access:

  • Category Highly Commended for the 2018 CSJ Annual Award for Education, Employment and Skills
  • Validated at Level 3 on Nesta’s Standards of Evidence (2016)
  • Cabinet Office Best Outreach Programme for our partnership with Slaughter and May (2013)

“We know that there are areas in our city that can be neglected where, in some cases, working class students have not been able to enter the top flight universities. The aim of The Access Project is to correct that historic imbalance. I have heard first-hand the testimonials from students in Birmingham and the Black Country whose lives have been transformed as a result of the support they received.”

Colin Diamond CBE, Corporate Director, Children and Young People, Birmingham City Council

I think it is important for all students who have the ambition, together with academic ability, to have the opportunity to go on and study in further education, regardless of their situation or background.
Catriona, Access Project Volunteer Tutor

Volunteer

Learn new skills, gain useful experience and have a positive impact on a young person’s future.

Fundraise & Donate

Help us raise funds in support of our charity’s vital work.

Schools

Become a partner school. We provide one-to-one tuition and mentoring for up to 40 students from years 10–13.

Partners

Setting up an employee volunteering scheme, financially supporting our work and providing pro-bono support are just three of the ways organisations and individuals can partner with us.

Get In Touch

Contact info

The Dock
Tobacco Quay
Wapping Lane
London E1W 2SF

0203 960 6592
info@theaccessproject.org.uk

Get In Touch

Contact info

The Dock
Tobacco Quay
Wapping Lane
London E1W 2SF

0203 960 6592
info@theaccessproject.org.uk