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Grants


Pupils from the West Midlands and London visit Keeble College, Oxford, on TAP’s annual university trip


ACCESS FOR ALL


Social mobility is stalling, but one charity is helping pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds get into top universities


T


he Access Project (TAP) is dedicated to levelling up opportunities for academically able students in areas with


low transition rates to attend top universities. Set up in 2008 by an inner-London schoolteacher (who demonstrated how extra tuition and support had helped his own pupils access university), its core belief is that ‘every young person, regardless of background, can make the most of education, unlocking their potential and creating a fairer society’. The project is currently


working with 30 schools across London and the Midlands. More than 90% of its students come from the most disadvantaged backgrounds – those on pupil premium or receiving free school meals, those in care and care leavers, and young people in areas of low access to higher education. Around 40 pupils in each school


benefit from TAP’s dual programme of personalised tuition and in-school mentoring, which includes help with revision skills and university applications, as well as workshops on the university


experience. Usually, this support is provided in person, but in 2020 TAP developed a bespoke online platform. Against a background of declining


social mobility, TAP’s work is crucial. Analysis by UCAS reveals that pupils helped by the charity are four times as likely as similarly disadvantaged young people to attend top universities. Moreover, 61% of TAP students got places at the top third of UK universities in 2018/19. In addition, pupils who study with TAP for two years at GCSE make five months more progress than


FundEd SPRING 2021 39


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