First Term Reflections

Having worked in two West Midlands schools for the past two years, for me this first term is one of the most hectic, yet exciting times of the year. I love the buzz in school at the beginning of a new academic year, the eager year seven students trying to find their way around the site (often mastering it much more quickly than I ever did!) and what seems like the overnight transformation of the students moving from year 11 to year 12. Everyone is refreshed after a lovely summer break and has renewed motivation to get the best out of the year ahead.

As we approached the end of the first half term, with the nights drawing in and everyone in much need of a rest, I thought I would reflect on what I have really enjoyed this term and what has continued to keep me smiling.  Launching the programme with students in year ten and year 12 is always an exciting, yet nerve wracking experience. You don’t know how the new year group will respond to the opportunity and whether you will be chasing students enticing them to apply, or drowning in application forms. Luckily for me it has been the latter. With an established programme and support staff in school, students are excited about taking on this opportunity and making the most of it. Reading through application forms has formed a lovely part of my role in the last 7 weeks and has really highlighted the fantastic students we work with and the need for our support in helping them achieve their potential.

Application Anecdotes

Within the applicants you have incredibly self-aware students- ‘I am not very good in important subjects, I sometimes get distracted. However, the job I want needs high grades, so I am determined to get them,’ the students most in need- ‘Being the first in my family to pursue higher education, I have never received the type of support I need to understand what going to university really involves.’ And those that really believe in The Access Project- ‘I really believe that The Access Project will provide me with the underlying foundation to progress to a Russell group university and achieve my future goals.’

However, a favourite of mine this year has been a year 10 student recognising the incredible work of our volunteers- ‘The main reason I why I am compelled to join The Access Project is because of the tutors themselves- the volunteers. The people who find their own time to help others with what they love are the best people qualified to teach what they love.’

Thank You to all of our Tutors

At The Access Project we know that our programme would not work without the support and commitment of our volunteers. I wanted to take this opportunity, personally and on behalf of The Access Project, to say to thank you, both to our West Midlands and London tutors, whether they are long standing tutors or have just taken on a new student. Reflecting on the words of my year 10 student, you really are the people that make the difference to these students’ lives.

George is a Senior Programme Coordinator at Waverley School and Holte School based in the West Midlands