Year 10 More Able – Visit to Oxford University
I had the privilege of taking some of our More Able year 10 students on a visit to St Hilda's College at Oxford University on Friday 26th January. With the stunning backdrop of the Oxfordshire countryside and the river Isis just outside, our morning started with a preconceptions-busting talk from Hannah Rolley, the University's Outreach officer. This enabled the students to discuss their ideas about who a typical student at Oxford might be compared to the modern, actual reality. They now know that 60% of Oxford's intake comes from state school students - just like them! Although standards are undoubtedly high, they are achievable, and there is also plenty of financial help available for those who need it. The students were told about the broad depth of studies available to undergraduates as well as the world-renown quality of their lecturers and individual tutor system.
Next, our students were introduced to two current undergraduates based at St Hilda's who honestly, and humorously, answered all their eager questions about the reality of life at one of the world's most admired universities. The undergraduates told them all about the social and fun side to their life at St Hilda's as well as the academic side. Their enthusiasm was catching! The advocates then lead our students on an eye-opening tour of the campus including student accommodation and the well-equipped library. We ended up surrounded by many more of the current undergraduates as we enjoyed a very generous free lunch in their very elegant canteen. Great cheesecake!
The afternoon continued to inspire with a stroll through the heart of Oxford city centre incorporating all of the iconic and world famous colleges in their glorious settings, but avoiding the multiple bicycle- riding academics intent on pursuing their degrees! Just being in the same environment gave our students a real taste of the fun that studying in these surroundings could bring as well as the prestige!
Our walk culminated in a visit to see some of the priceless treasures housed in Oxford's Ashmolean museum to make our students realise that Oxford's scholars are encouraged to use the whole city as a resource to make learning come alive! Here our students undertook a structured creative writing session, using some of the museum's classical collections as inspiration. Our students responded with the ease of imagination that the young and gifted possess and produced some worthy writing indeed which they were happy to share. I felt very proud!
Finally, a quick pit-stop at an eye-catching old-style sweet shop, with its multiple magical jars full of every delight imaginable, finished off a truly inspirational and horizon-broadening day. I hope our visit has now encouraged our students to aim high and believe that they too would be warmly welcomed at Oxford and could thrive, and succeed, at the very top!
More Able Coordinator