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Oxford University Visit

Scholars’ Programme Launched at Oxford University

On Monday the twelve students who successfully applied for the first cohort of the Scholars’ Programme visited Wadham College, University of Oxford for the launch event.  The purpose of this programme, which is organised in partnership with the Brilliant Club, is to increase the proportion of students from state schools who successfully apply for a place at the most selective universities across the country.  The programme will run until the end of September and the students will be working with a PhD tutor on an extended project.  The title for their study is Surviving Conflict – ‘we only eat with our mouths’.  The students who successfully complete the programme will attend a graduation event at another leading university in late September.

Our visit began with a welcome from Emily Cannon of Wadham College followed by an introduction to the Scholars’ Programme by Annika from the Brilliant Club.  The students then participated in their first tutorial which gave them more details on the extended assignment that they will need to complete which will be assessed at A level standard.  Lunch was taken in a Hall that the students described as the same as Hogwarts with heavy oak benches and tables with large portraits on the walls.

Following lunch the students attended an Information, Advice and Guidance session which focussed on how students should select what they wanted to read at university from the approximately 35000 courses that 165 universities across the country currently offer.  Specific guidance was given on what A level subjects and grades were expected by Oxford which focussed heavily, as you would expect, on the traditional academic subjects.  The students also received excellent advice on how a personal statement should be written and what details should be included.  In particular, it is recommended that students focus on super-curricular activities rather than extra-curricular and gave advice of how students could do this.  The student feedback for this session was particularly positive and they felt well prepared for the application process in the coming years.

The fourth activity, of what was a very busy day, was a tour of the College with a current PhD student.  They visited the chapel, student accommodation, common rooms, grounds and the home of the college tortoise.  The tour ended in the impressive front quad with its manicured lawn and statues of Nicolas and Dorothy Wadham who founded the College in 1610 and King James I who was the King at the time.

The day finished with a tutorial for the students focussing on the study skills they will need to apply to successfully complete their extended assignments and also help with their other studies back here at the Academy and beyond.

The need for such a programme was very much underlined by the very early start we needed to make and the late hour of our arrival back in Penzance.  Most students across the country have at least one top university within an hour from them and therefore have much greater access and appreciation of the opportunities that these institutions can offer them.  We are the first Academy in Cornwall to work with the Brilliant Club and we hope that this is the start of a long and successful collaboration.

Report by Mr Jack