Jake FarrellAs The Access Project is named an approved National Tuition Programme provider we asked our Senior Impact Manager Jake Farrell to explain how our tuition model helps disadvantaged students reach their potential… 

Tutoring, and a focus on raising student attainment, was perhaps the main reason that made me want to join The Access Project as a University Access Officer, that’s the job title of our in-school mentors, around six years ago. 

Working with young people earlier in my career I had seen that they often had the desire and aspiration to attend a top University – but they often simply didn’t have the grades or know-how to gain a place. The Access Project’s programme and focus on tuition seemed to have a clear, evidence based and impact focused theory of change that could make a real difference.

Happily over the years of working for TAP that has proven to be true, and tuition is a huge factor in why our students get to top universities. Last year we worked with the research institute FFT Education Datalab to conduct an evaluation of our students by matching them with similar peers from the National Pupil Database and seeing how their attainment differed. TAP students were shown to make on average five months more progress at GCSE compared to similar peers. Tuition and the energy and ingenuity of our thousands of volunteers are responsible for this. This is what The Access Project can offer through the National Tuition Programme. 

We continue to work hard to boost the impact of our tuition and evidence shows that it’s a method that can deliver real results for students. Tuition, both small group and one-to-one, has been shown to have a strong Impact by the Education Endowment Foundation toolkit. As Sir Peter Lampl, founder and Director of the Sutton Trust wrote recently, “There is a reason tutoring is prevalent among middle-class families. It works.

In line with evidence on what makes for a good tuition programme, our tutorial pairings receive guidance on the best topics to focus on from the student’s teacher. We provide​ extensive resources made by teachers, often heads of department, to support tutors to deliver tuition on these topics. We then deliver observations and feedback which ensure tutorial pairings are on track and heighten our understanding of what “good looks like” for tuition – which then allows us to spread best practice amongst our volunteer cohort.

As an approved NTP Tuition Partner we continue to invest in higher quality resources and training offers to our volunteers to make them confident and expert tutors – just like the expensive private tutors that many affluent families can afford. Our hope is that this investment, coupled with their drive and valuable time, will lead to our already impactful attainment raising intervention delivering the increasingly higher grades that our students need and deserve. 

Read more about the National Tutoring Programme here