Slaughter and May launches social mobility project

Slaughter and May today announced the launch of the Key Project - a flagship social mobility initiative.

The Key Project is an initiative at Central Foundation Boys’ School, an inner-city school in Islington, in partnership with The Access Project, an educational charity. It will provide Central Foundation students with a wide programme of weekly one-to-one tutorials, after-school workshops and career insight events at Slaughter and May.

The project is designed to help motivated students get into top universities by enhancing their academic achievements, confidence, articulacy and career aspirations. A special focus will be placed on supporting students through their university application process by providing advice on their UCAS applications and facilitating university visits and interview masterclasses.

The Key Project will involve a widespread team of Slaughter and May volunteers made up of partners, associates and business services staff. Central Foundation students will be able to join the programme in Year 9 (aged 13-14), the year before they begin their GCSEs, and stay on until the end of their A Level exams in Year 13. The programme will be run by The Access Project, whose purpose is to help motivated students from disadvantaged backgrounds win places at top universities.

Slaughter and May has committed to fund the project for a minimum of three years commencing in January 2012, offering places for 40 Central Foundation students in the first year and increasing to at least 80 places by 2013. The firm’s support includes funding a full time inschool programme manager.

The Key Project meets Slaughter and May’s commitment as a founding member of PRIME, an initiative now backed by over 75 law firms to improve access to the legal profession. PRIME was launched in September 2011 with an undertaking to give fair access to quality work experience for young people from less privileged backgrounds. Under the PRIME commitment, Slaughter and May has pledged to provide a number of places which is at least 50% of the number of training contracts offered by the firm each year and to provide each student with a minimum of 30 contact hours per place.

Mark Bennett, partner at Slaughter and May, commented:

"Social mobility is an important issue for the firm and we offer a variety of work insight opportunities to a large number of young people each year. The Key Project reinforces our commitment to help young people from average or below average income families to raise their career aspirations and give them an insight into the opportunities available at a law firm. We have a longstanding association with Central Foundation Boys’ School and recognise the potential of its talented students."

Jamie Brownhill, Headteacher at Central Foundation Boys’ School, said:

"Over 70% of Central Foundation students have claimed free school meals during their time at school. Our commitment to them and their families is that students’ backgrounds will not limit their chances to fulfil their potential. The Key Project and our partnership with Slaughter and May and the charity, The Access Project, enable us to provide the support our students need to gain places at the country’s top universities."

Alex Kelly, Director of The Access Project, commented:

"We are excited about this project because our partners, Central Foundation Boys’ School and Slaughter and May, are as determined as we are to make it an outstanding success. Our hope is that eventually others will seek to emulate the programme we are developing and that this will have a long-lasting impact on social mobility in the UK."

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