The Access Project has announced a groundbreaking new partnership that will see Keble College, Oxford, supporting our work with Colmers School in Rednal, Birmingham. The initiative will see bright young students from disadvantaged backgrounds offered free weekly tuition in the subjects they need most help with, along with expert and tailored guidance through the university application process.

A young person who has participated in The Access Project’s programme is more than twice as likely to go to a top university than another student with the same academic track record and background – this is set against a backdrop in which only 2.5 per cent of young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds get a place at a top university.

The project has the backing of Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor, who attended Keble College, he said: “The Access Project is doing amazing work increasing the number of bright West Midlands’ students from disadvantaged backgrounds who get into top universities. This fantastic new partnership with the University of Oxford’s Keble College also reflects my on-going commitment to promoting partnerships that ensure all young people in our region can achieve their full potential.

“Going to Keble gave me so many opportunities and I’d like to thank them for supporting students in our schools to open up those chances to them. I would also encourage any graduate who is committed to ensuring young people from the West Midlands have all the opportunities they deserve, to volunteer as a tutor with The Access Project.”

Sir Jonathan Phillips, Warden of Keble College, said: “Not enough bright and motivated young people from less advantaged backgrounds are getting into the best universities. This is true in the West Midlands as in some other areas. We want to attract the most talented students to come to Keble and other institutions from the widest possible range of backgrounds and to realise their full academic potential.

“This brand new partnership with The Access Project will deepen Keble’s long-term commitment to schools and students in the West Midlands. Keble is excited to support the charity in offering academic and mentoring support that will help bright young people from the area win places at top universities.”

Colmers School joins five other West Midlands schools who already partner with The Access Project to get their students into top universities. Keble College supports Oxbridge applicants from all of these schools through visits, workshops, contact with Oxford academics, as well as preparing students to make strong applications, give effective interviews and prepare for Oxbridge admissions tests.

In total, Keble’s widening participation work reaches out to more than 3,000 students a year in the West Midlands, which the college is linked to as part of the Oxford Regional Outreach Scheme. But The Access Project is different in that it offers an intensive project grounded in a local community, and commits Keble to supporting embedded work in schools over a number of years.

Sophia Ireland, Head of Midlands for The Access Project, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Keble College to support more young people from Birmingham reach their academic potential and be ready to take on professional jobs in our growing local economy. It’s great to have the Mayor’s support, as he provides a positive role model for our students at this stage in their academic life.”

Emma Leaman, Headteacher of Colmers School, added: “This exciting new partnership aligns with my desire to reduce inequality and champion our students by providing them with a truly inclusive and inspiring education.”