About The Access Project

About The Access Project

The Access Project works with bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds, providing in-school support and personalised tuition to help them gain access to top universities.

Why do we do this? Because at present just 1 in 50 young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds gets into a top university compared to 1 in 4 of their most advantaged peers. Unless this improves, we are unlikely to see any significant improvements in social mobility in the UK.

As a charity we run a programme with 1300 young people aged 14-18 across 31 schools. We recruit and train graduate volunteers to be exceptional tutors who work with our students for an hour a week to raise their grades. In addition, a dedicated school-based staff member mentors our students so they have the knowledge and support to make strong university applications.

Our results show this approach works. Our students perform better than their peers academically, and independent analysis by UCAS has shown that students on our programme are twice as likely to get into a top university than another student with the same academic track record and background who has not had our support. As a charity our ambition is to reach more young people whilst maintaining this exceptionally high impact.

The Access Project currently works in London and the East and West Midlands. We have a growing team (currently 51 people) working in schools and in our regional offices. We are on a strong financial footing: we had turnover of £2.0m in 2017-18, and will finish this financial year with over £800k in reserves. Our funding comes from a range of sources including schools, businesses, major donors and grant-making trusts.

We know that there are many bright disadvantaged young people outside of our current geographies who have the talent to go on to top universities – but aren’t able to fulfil this potential. Our long-term ambition is to grow to national reach.

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