As we reflect on 2020 we asked Access Project staff, tutors and students to tell us what this year has been like for them and how TAP has given them hope for a better future. TAP student, Elizabeth, explains how she has coped with the challenges of this year…

This year has definitely been the most challenging I’ve experienced. As a student, the virus put me in a compromising position, day-to-day education in school which made up a significant part of my life had been taken away from me. The lack of normality affected my motivation and this made the switch to remote learning daunting. I felt out of the loop and was apprehensive about how I would approach the last year of my education with gaps in my knowledge. 

However, The Access Project had an efficient response to the situation and moved tuition online. The platform was accessible and it had features that made remote learning easier. It was a pleasant feeling to have someone to give me tailored help in the areas that I struggled with and tuition definitely gave me something to look forward to during lockdown. It was important that I continued tutorials each week as it kept me practising the subject although it was my least favourite. Not only has this improved my confidence in class, I’m more likely to answer questions than before, but  I’m also more hopeful for my exams as it doesn’t look as daunting as before. I believe that I’m on the road to surpassing my target grade. I also had regular check-ins with my UAO and she reassured me of the situation and gave me tips on how to alleviate the stress.

If I could sum up this academic school year in one word, it would be intense. It’s still uncertain whether exams will be taking place. Therefore, teachers are scrambling to teach us the whole syllabus just in case. It means a lot to be able to have my UAO in school because I know that I’ll be able to talk to her whenever I feel overwhelmed. Our mentoring sessions always help me to set SMART goals and these assist me in thinking about an objective at a time, alleviating the pressure. 

This year more than ever, it’s important that I have my UAO and my tutor as they make up one of my major point of references. As I reach the end of my secondary school education, it’s important that I start to think about my next steps and my UAO always gives me exposure to my options after secondary school. I will also be writing my exams in a few months and having my tutor there is reassuring because my tuition sessions give me the confidence that I’m on track.

I hope that I will pass my GCSEs this year and look forward to working with The Access Project to tackle the challenges that I will face in my new phase.

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