The Access Project and UCL have launched a new partnership in the West Midlands, working together to deliver The Access Project’s innovative programme of in-school support and personalised tuition helping disadvantaged students gain access to top universities. This new partnership will focus on supporting students at Holte School in Lozells, Birmingham over the next three years.  

On Friday 4 October representatives from UCL visited Holte school to launch the partnership along with 15 pupils from the school. Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street attended the event and backed the partnership. He said, “I am a firm believer that every young person across Birmingham should have the opportunity to fulfil their education. I want to make sure students from Birmingham have the same opportunities as me and aspire to achieve this”. 

Students on the programme from Holte School participated in a round table to share  why “everyone on the Access Project wants to achieve higher and aim for the best”. For students at Holte School the partnership with UCL will give them the opportunity to fulfill their full academic potential. For students like Suweda this is something she is grateful for. “Going to university and moving away is a big thing. My family encourages me to go and push me to have an education as they were never in a position to have these opportunities”. 

The Access Project is committed to working with young people from the West Midlands who are most in need, including those at Holte school, which has over twice the average rate of pupils receiving Free School Meals and over 85% of students speaking English as an additional language. The partnership will give these students free weekly tuition along with expert and tailored guidance through the university application process, trips to university and workshops on topics such as student finance and moving away to university.

“We are thrilled to be working in partnership with The Access Project and Holte School”, says Lucie March, Head of Access and Widening Participation at UCL.  “The main themes in our Access and Participation Plan are raising attainment, supporting Higher Education advice and guidance and working regionally, so this project aligns well with all of our aims.”

“It was a real pleasure to meet the Holte School students at the launch. They shared their experiences and thoughts about going to university, and we learnt a lot from them. We’re looking forward to building the partnership and supporting the students in their journeys to higher education.” 

Nathan Sansom, CEO at The Access Project, says, “This partnership is a great investment in the future of disadvantaged students at Holte School. It’s so valuable for pupils to have the opportunity to experience a top university and imagine themselves there in the future. These students are typically the first person in their family to go to university, so for them to visit a globally leading institutions like UCL will make a huge difference.”