Students working with The Access Project (TAP) have been recording video diaries about their experience of the Coronavirus lockdown. TAP, which helps disadvantaged students get to top universities, has moved hundreds of young people who take part in its tuition and mentoring programme online. It means they can still receive personalised tuition and support from TAP staff on a weekly basis.
Isheta is in Year 10 at Central Foundation Girls School in Tower Hamlets, London. She recorded a video about her experience and told TAP: “Life’s been so different since we went into lockdown, we just don’t have access to the things we took for granted before. However, because of The Access Project I have people I can talk to about my work and my worries and I’m still getting my tutorials.”
Students who work with The Access Project are four times as likely to attend top universities as students from similar backgrounds who are not on the programme. However, lockdown presents particular challenges for students from low socio-economic backgrounds who are more likely to lack a quiet space to work and the facilities to learn remotely. TAP is working hard to maintain its programme amid concerns that without extra support, COVID-19 could set back a generation of students.

The charity has moved around 400 of its student/tutor pairings online so far, and expects that number to increase. TAP has previously operated its programme online in social mobility cold spots in the East Midlands and helped students there to achieve the same level of success as those who received face to face tuition. TAP’s mentors, normally based in school, now work online or over the phone with students who don’t have access to the Internet.

In addition to this, A-Level students are being briefed regularly by TAP staff on how their grades will be assessed, how to prepare for university and how to make the transition from school to higher education in challenging circumstances. Staff are also available to support alumni who are currently in their first year of university.

TAP CEO, Nathan Sansom, says: “The Access Project has adapted very quickly to ensure our students don’t get left behind during this difficult time. By moving our tutoring and mentoring online or over the phone we are ensuring they have the support needed to continue learning and progress to university.”