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THE ACCESS PROJECT

1 in 2 students at Islington state schools is on Free School Meals Only 1 in 100 students on Free School Meals wins a place at a Russell Group university How do we fix this?


What is The Access Project? Bright students from disadvantaged families are unlikely to access the university education to which their natural ability should entitle them. They are less likely to apply to top universities, and when they do, they have often not had enough opportunity to develop their thinking skills to compete with students from more advantaged families. The spark for The Access Project was a class of students aged between 12 and 13 at Highbury Grove School who seemed to have the intellectual curiosity and ability that would eventually suit them to top quality university education. We turned to the expertise of teachers, university admissions tutors, recent graduates, and researchers in social disadvantage to draw up a programme for students that would help them to close the gap with their more privileged peers. Now in their GCSE year, the students from whom the idea originated were the first to benefit from The Access Project. The Access Project has been a registered charity since February 2009.

‘My Tutor makes me work so hard. He gives me homework, even in the holidays! I have to write a 2000 word essay on Nazi propaganda! I think he thinks I’m at degree level already!’ Michael In pursuit of academic rigour, students are matched with recent graduates, who they meet each week for an hour’s tutorial. Students travel to meet their tutor at their tutor’s workplace.


What do we do? The Access Project organises for published authors, filmmakers, scientists, journalists, economists, expert debaters and mathematicians to run weekly workshops for students who have the potential to access excellent university education. Each participant has a tutor who they see each week, and they also go on visits to universities, exhibitions and foreign countries. Participants attend after and out of school activities each day of the week, choosing them according to their interests. The Project seeks to open the eyes of able students to the opportunities offered by Russell Group universities. Ultimately it helps participants become rigorous thinkers, so that they can access excellent university education. ‘‘The Access Project channels the expertise and will-to-help of teachers, recent graduates, and other charities, and the determination to succeed of students, into a concerted effort to help able students get into excellent universities. I wish it all the best.’ -Michael Gove MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.

‘I want to study medicine at Oxford, but I don’t think I’ll do punting again.’ Ann The Access Project organises at least one university visit each term. Students and parents meet undergraduates and lecturers, and find out about admissions and finance.


Students. Students become Access Project participants at the age of 14 or 15, when they begin their GCSEs. They stay on the programme until they finish their A Levels in year 13, when they leave school, hopefully to take up places at Russell Group universities. All students have to do weekly one-to-one tutorials, as we think this is essential for helping them to become rigorous academic thinkers. We also expect them to choose two or three other weekly Access Project activities, and to take a Duke of Edinburgh award. Currently there are 60 students in three different year groups who participate in the Access Project, all from Highbury Grove School. The target for September 2010 is for there to be 80 students in four different year groups at Highbury Grove School, and for the first cohort to be starting in a neighbouring school. We are determined that all Access Project participants will win places at Russell Group universities.

‘It’s good because I’ve learnt a lot of things about making films that I didn’t know before. And everyone in the school has watched one of the films I have made!’ Dwayne Students can pick from a wide variety of extra curricular activities put on by The Access Project. In filmmaking club, students have made horror films set in school, and promotional videos about Highbury Grove’s after school activities.


Funding. As a charity, The Access Project needs to raise funds via charitable donations to pay for the activities it offers. It costs £1000 for one student to participate in The Access Project for one year. We calculate that one of our students needs four years on The Access Project to give them a good chance of winning a place at a top university. In September 2010 we aim to have 100 Access Project participants, so that for the academic year 2010-2011 we need to raise £100,000. ‘Thank you. The trip has given me a love of Rome. I can’t wait to come back.’ Michael Students have the opportunity to go on at least one trip abroad of four days or more each year. On our 2009 trip to Rome, the students were in teams and had to find their own way around! They sketched the Pantheon, performed a short play at the Colosseum, and met the British Ambassador.


What can you do? You can become a one-to-one tutor, you can offer work experience, and you can donate. Weekly one-to-one tutorials with a graduate are comfortably the most valuable extra activity we put on. Students have been transformed by the impact of their tutor their test scores have gone up, they have become more confident, more articulate, and more determined to succeed. To become a tutor you need to offer need to offer an hour of your time each week. Access Project participants have been turned into budding doctors, architects, academics, and game designers after doing work experience during school holidays. Please get in touch if you can offer our students work experience. As a charity, we rely on donations to fund our work. It costs £1000 for one student to be an Access Project participant for one year. If you donate money to the Access Project you will be able to change the lives of the students we work with.

‘In the science club we learn a lot of interesting stuff, like Neuroscience, How can the brain be that complicated?! The club is good for me because I want to be a doctor.’ Lawrence The Access Project helps students to stretch themselves. Members of the Accelerated Science club explore areas of science that are only touched upon in the curriculum.


Work by our tudents. The Access Project organises for a published author to come in to school each week to do creative writing with students, through the charity First Story. Each year the students’ work is published in an anthology. She Is Everything To me… She is everything to me she carried me she taught me she cares for me she is everything to me she is there when I cry she is there when I laugh she is there when I want her she is there when I need her she is everything to me she shows me things… …things I have never seen she is everything to me when she cries I cry I can’t help it you see when she laughs I laugh unless she laughs at me one day I asked her how I could pay her back and she said: you can pay me back by doing more for your own children than I did for you… Fatos Nacakgedigi

‘I’m so grateful for the opportunities that The Access Project has given to me. I take advantage of everything I can! I’ve become way more confident.’ Fatos ‘It’s amazing to have your work actually published. Something you can hold in your hand! I’m proud of that’ Daniel Fatos came to England from Turkey when she was 9. She is now in her final year of GCSEs, and has been an Access Project participant since September 2008. Daniel wants to be the first person in his family to go to university. He aims to study medicine.


Speech To The Fields Hoops, goals, posts & fields. All here. Always in use. Health and safety taking the fun out. All we need? Perseverance, my friends. Let us run, jump, shove & slide. Rejoice in the pain, for we win! Playing fields belong to the children, not to the Government. We must fight for them. I can see the future, we shout in joy & exultation, for our fields, once again, are our own! Comrades, join me, and proclaim: “Us? Not moving!� And let the future begin today! Daniel Williams


Contact details. www.theaccessproject.org.uk ake@theaccessproject.org.uk 07789 870 112 6 Inverness Mews, London, W2 3JQ Charity Registration Number: 1127870

The full list of subjects and activities available through The Access Project is Creative Writing, Accelerated Economics, Accelerated Maths, Debating, Journalism, Culture and the Arts, Accelerated Science, Filmmaking, Exhibition Visits, Oneto-One Tutorials, Mentoring Year 7s, Trips Abroad, Trips to Universities, Crime and Punishment. ‘A few years ago I would never have thought of this, but now I want to study English at Oxford University’ Fatos Nacakgedigi


THE ACCESS PROJECT Charity Registration Number: 1127870


The Access Project