The young people that we work with are nervously finding out their GCSE results this morning.

Our two-year programme

We work with GCSE students in over 30 schools up and down the country. 

In four schools (Hornsey School for Girls, Lister Community School, Shirebrook Academy and Dixons Cottingley Academy) we run a two-year programme, as these schools do not have sixth form centres for students to go onto A level studies.

The aim of our two-year programme is to ensure that we work with students to get the grades they need at GCSE, to be able to go to some of the best sixth form or colleges, and to later go on to apply for and study at some of the country’s leading universities.

The disadvantage gap at GCSE 

Students from low income households are over a year and a half behind their peers at the point of taking their GCSEs – and only four out of every 100 young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds get a place at a top university.

Through regular tuition and mentoring, The Access Project’s students are more than twice as likely to attend top universities as similarly disadvantaged students, UCAS found.

GCSE students who work with The Access Project for two years make five months more progress in their tutored subject than similarly disadvantaged peers.

Learning during the pandemic

This year our students faced even more challenges when it came to learning – with the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affecting disadvantaged communities. Some of the students collecting their results today, for instance, didn’t even have the equipment needed to learn from home – which was one of the issues we responded directly to by providing 135 pieces of equipment (laptops and graphics tablets).

“It felt quite overwhelming at times,” one student, Laila, told us. “At one stage my internet stopped working and I just had no idea what to do.”

Laila has been tutored in Maths. “Before I met my tutor I was working at a grade 4 or 5,” she explains. “Now I’m working at grade 7 thanks to her. It was a shaky subject for me but she’s really built my confidence.”

Placing at top universities

Our ambition is for young people to get the grades they need so that they can secure places at some of the leading universities in the country. More of our students than ever before accessed top universities, despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: 69% of 2019/20 students placed, compared with 61% in 2018/19 and 57% in 2017/18. We are still crunching numbers from this year’s A level results day but will be making an announcement soon.