Our Schools Liaison, Outreach and Recruitment Officer writes:

Since I started my role in September, our partnership with The Access Project (TAP) has strengthened significantly. Following a hugely successful launch event in October, we have made begun programmes in four schools across Cumbria and Blackburn with Darwen.

Over 80% of places on the programme in the Cumbrian schools have been filled, with a steadily growing 65% of places filled in the Darwen schools. We are working with our colleagues at The Access Project to increase these numbers to as close to 100% as we can.

We are delighted that members of the Queen’s community have come together and supported this project by volunteering their time to become tutors. We now have 14 students, 15 Old Members, and two staff members (including me!) enrolled and tutoring weekly. Over the first term of the programme, the Queen’s community provided 83 hours of tuition and I cannot thank everyone enough for their support as we launch this important partnership.

We have had some great news about particular students* who are enrolled on the project:

Rachel, a Year 12 student at Workington Academy, has applied to be part of the Oxbridge Society run by The Access Project. She was initially quite daunted by the application process but is excited to start exploring Oxbridge as a possibility.

Beth, a Year 10 student at Darwen Vale High School, who was quite disengaged with her studies last year, has shown an increasingly positive attitude towards being on the programme and is now engaging well with her tutorials.

We are hopeful that we can continue to support more students to achieve their full potential.

At the start of 2023, I was able to visit one of our TAP schools, Workington Academy, as part of my Cumbria Access Roadshow. This also entailed visits to 10 schools across the entire county, speaking to almost 400 pupils in years 9-12. I started my week in the freezing northwest, visiting beautiful scenic towns such as Silloth and Cockermouth before moving to the slightly warmer climes of Barrow and Ulverston. One particular highlight of the visit was one student telling me it had always been their dream to go to Oxford, and they didn’t actually have any questions to ask me because they knew exactly what they had to go away and research! Maybe one day, with the support and encouragement of Queen’s behind them, they can make that dream a reality.

Keep an eye out for our new Access and Outreach blog posts which are coming to the website soon. Updates about TAP, including student spotlights, volunteer testimonials, and all of the other initiatives we are working on across Access and Outreach will be posted there.

*Names have been changed.

Lauren Shields