New Joint Venture to tackle university access


The Shaftesbury Partnership is proud to announce a joint venture with YELP Students, to scale an exciting social venture that transforms the aspirations of disadvantaged school pupils through tutoring and mentoring from university students.

YELP Students has had an impressive organic growth record in its first few years, underpinned by a compelling theory of change. By partnering with YELP, The Shaftesbury Partnership will bring its track record in scaling social ventures to build on this platform, with the ambitious target of replicating the YELP model nationally and serving 10,000 disadvantaged pupils within 5 years.

YELP was founded in 2007 by Sharla Duncan as a university society at King’s College London. Sharla herself had been on a journey from a disengaged pupil with poor attendance at a failing school, to being the first from her family to attend university - at King’s and then Oxford. She attributes her success to her friendship with a classmate whose family culture included an expectation to go to university.

The tutoring and mentoring relationships that YELP sets up between university students and school pupils not only provide pupils with advice and learning, but they also mirror the aspiration-building social capital that Sharla found through her friend.

Simon Jebreel, Head of Strategy at The Shaftesbury Partnership, said “educational disadvantage is absolutely core to our mission at Shaftesbury. YELP Students’ theory of change is very powerful and aligns well with our own thinking about social capital. We’re very excited about driving scale in this high impact organisation".

Sharla Duncan, CEO at YELP Students, said, “The Shaftesbury Partnership have already been a great source of support, and we are pleased to develop our relationship.

Update: 3rd March 2012 - The Shaftesbury Partnership's joint venture with YELP Students has now come to an end. Tackling educational disadvantage remains an important part of our mission and we wish YELP every success in future.


view all news articles