Laying the foundations for growth

We have been consistently upgrading the programme to allow us to increase our impact on each student, and to get ready to expand across the UK.

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The story so far

Alex Kelly was 21 when he started teaching at Highbury Grove School on the Teach First scheme. The inspiration for The Access Project came in his second year of teaching: he was given one particularly bright group of 12-year-olds and realised that their prospects of winning a place at a top university were low, despite the fact that they clearly had the potential to succeed.

One of the reasons often given for the gap between rich and poor in university admissions is aspiration. But Alex noticed that aspiration was not the issue – students were aware of what a good career might be, or which universities are seen as “the best”. The problem was that they weren’t making the grades to get into these institutions.

The Access Project began when, in an effort to remedy this situation, Alex convinced his friends in City jobs to sign up as volunteer one-to-one tutors. The idea was that the tutorials would be a ‘teaching aid for teachers’ – supporting teachers in their efforts to help the students get excellent grades. It started as a small venture, but snowballed in popularity as more students wanted a tutor, and volunteers’ colleagues started approaching us to volunteer.

Andrew Berwick took over as Director of The Access Project in 2013, overseeing the expansion to schools in London and Birmingham.

What's next

Getting better

We promote a culture of excellence, improvement and innovation - we are always looking to improve our programme to achieve the best outcomes for students.


Getting bigger

As of 2017 we work in 21 schools and with more than 900 students across London and the West Midlands. We are committed to a national impact - our vision is to engage with every student that needs our support.

in their own words

Intheir1 Kerri Hall Tutor

"Every time I tutor Brook, it is the best thing I do with my week."

Intheir2 Denzil Year 11, King Solomon Academy Tutored in English

"The Access Project is allowing me to realise my dream of attending a Russell Group university"