The Access Project (TAP) is joining forces with a coalition of charities to provide online tuition for hundreds of students in disadvantaged communities, it comes as new analysis shows that school closures could undo the progress made on closing the attainment gap. 

The initiative by The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), The Sutton Trust, Impetus and Nesta brings together four charities to provide high-quality tutoring to up to 1,600 pupils in disadvantaged communities over the coming weeks, as schools open for more pupils. 

The Access Project is one of those charities and will be supporting 440 students in Years 10/11 and Years 12/13 who would normally receive face-to-face tuition through an online model. The charity helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access top universities through personalised tuition and school-based mentoring. 

Halima Begum is a year 10 TAP student at Holte School in Birmingham. Thanks to working with her tutor she is now 3 grades above where she started in maths: “In previous years at school I really struggled with Maths and I knew being on this programme would help me achieve more than ever before. My tutor is really helpful. She encourages me to work independently but she also believes in me and that I can do it!”

The Access Project works with students across London, the West Midlands and in social mobility cold spots in the East Midlands. In the East Midlands, where the charity struggled to recruit tutors it has been running an online programme successfully for two years. COVID-19 led to TAP moving its whole programme online. More than 400 students are now supported in this way. TAP has been pleased to share its experience of online tuition with several other organisations involved in the online pilot.

The Access Project CEO Nathan Sansom said the charity was delighted to be taking part in the online pilot: “We acted swiftly to offer our students tuition and mentoring online following the Coronavirus outbreak because we want to make sure that the students who need it most receive tuition to help them catch up while schools are closed. We hope that the online tuition pilot can ease the negative impact of COVID-19 on the attainment gap.”

It comes as The Education Endowment Fund publishes the most detailed analysis to date of the likely impact of school closures on the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Over the past decade, the gap is estimated to have narrowed by the end of Primary school, from 11.5 months in 2009 to 9.4 months in 2019. However, today’s analysis finds that this progress could be undone as a result of school closures due to COVID-19. The analysis shows that Online Tuition Pilot could be crucial to helping to close that gap.  

You can read the EEF analysis here: