A GROUNDBREAKING charity which supports bright young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get into top universities has celebrated its partnership with a Cradley Heath school.

Chris Millward, director for fair access and participation at the Office for Students, recently visited Ormiston Forge Academy to learn more about the school’s partnership with The Access Project.

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

During his visit, Mr Millward met 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.

Mr 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.”

Mr Millward said he was “delighted” to visit the school, adding: “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.”