Students from poorer backgrounds were celebrating today after winning places at prestigious Russell Group Universities with the help of a ground-breaking project that supplies free private tutors in deprived areas.
The charity, the Access Project, matches students from disadvantaged areas with high-flying graduates to act as tutors for weekly tutorials. These sessions aim to bridge the gap between the most affluent and least affluent students by boosting their grades and confidence and coaching them in interview skills.
Maksud Rahman, 18, will be the first member of his family to go to university after securing a place to study chemistry at UCL by scoring AAB in his A-levels yesterday. Maksud, who attended Central Foundation School in east London and whose parents came from Bangladesh, was tutored in maths by the managing director of a hedge fund and in chemistry by an accountant who had read chemistry at university. His education was disrupted when he went abroad for a year before his GCSEs.
He said: “The project has been extraordinarily helpful. It has meant the difference between me getting an A and a C in maths. I would never have had the financial means to have a tutor.”
The charity works with schools where more than 30 per cent of pupils are on free schools meals, putting them in the 10 per cent most deprived in the country. It worked with more than 600 students from 13 schools in London and the West Midlands this year and provided private tuition for 86 final-year students sitting their A-levels this summer.
21 achieved their place at a highly selective “top third” university, with 16 having won a place at a prestigious Russell Group institution.