Director for Fair Access and Participation visits Ormiston Forge Academy

Chris Millward, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students took time out of his diary to visit Ormiston Forge Academy to learn more about the school’s partnership with The Access Project.  

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The Access Project is a groundbreaking charity that works with schools to support bright kids from disadvantaged backgrounds to get into top universities.

The Project has been working in partnership with Ormiston Forge Academy since 2014 during which time the percentage of young people leaving the school and going on to university has risen from 56% in 2014/15 to an anticipated 66% likely to go this year.

Chris Millward as the access regulator for England leads the Office for Students’ work with universities and colleges, schools, employers and the third sector to identify and invest in the best ways to achieve wider participation in higher education regardless of background.

On his visit at the Academy, he met with Executive Principal Andrew Burns, CEO of the Access Project Andrew Berwick, some of the students on the programme and in-house support staff who work on the project.

Welcoming the visit Executive Principal, Andrew Burns said:

"The work that we do with The Access Project is seamless, the team work with our students in delivering value and extra support exactly where it is needed. It is a model of best practice and I'm proud to see the results of our sector, the charity sector and industry all pulling together to develop the potential of our young people. “Chris will meet the young people who have had their lives transformed by The Access Project, simply by opening up a world of opportunity that wasn’t necessarily available to them beforehand."

CEO of The Access Project, Andrew Berwick said:

"I know Chris has a heartfelt commitment to ensuring that it’s brains and not background that get you into university so I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share our record of success in doing this at Ormiston Forge Academy and beyond. None of what we do would be possible without our volunteers who commit to providing tutoring a young person for an hour a week and I’d like to say a big thank you to them."

Chris Millward said:

"I’m delighted to be visiting Ormiston Forge Academy today to meet their inspiring students and teachers, and to see how The Access Project is helping them succeed. Their programme of tutoring and impartial advice is a great example of the sustained, targeted, collaborative and robustly evaluated work we need into the future. Most importantly, it is demonstrably helping young people to unlock their potential by achieving the grades they need to get into the university of their choice."

Any graduates who’d like to support the programme by becoming a volunteer tutor should get in touch with



Picture caption (left to right): Tiffany Woods-Shepherd (Senior University Access Officer for The Access Project), Andrew Berwick (CEO of The Access Project), Lucy Ball (Programme Director for The Access Project), Serish (Forge student), Chris Millward, Tracey Beech (Pastoral Leader for Key Stage 5 at Ormiston Forge Academy), Andrew Burns (Executive Principal), Liam (Forge student), Sehar (Forge student).