Our partnership with The Access Project charity brings a proven, strategic and evidenced-based approach to widening access and participation in Higher Education, developed in several other English regions, but new to the North West. The programme supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and will initially involve four schools in Cumbria and Blackburn with Darwen: Workington Academy, Whitehaven Academy, Darwen Aldridge Community Academy and Darwen Vale Academy. Queen’s is forging this partnership because we want to tangibly improve access, both for the benefit of  bright individuals, wherever they live, and for the public good, continuing with the ethos of our founders.

The approach is simple: a programme of sustained one-to-one contact between pupils and tutors who not only provide additional teaching in specific areas, but also raise aspirations and inspire pupils to think beyond school and aim high. This contact comes at a crucial time in pupils’ learning and decision-making and produces transformative results. We know that one-to-one teaching works because the tutorial system is the bread and butter of our undergraduate teaching.  And using this approach to support youngsters in gaining places at top universities works: the students on the programme are twice as likely to get a place at a top university compared to similar students not on the programme.

In October 2022, Queen’s and The Access Project staff were welcomed into Whitehaven Academy, one of our partner schools.