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Super-Curricular activity or enrichment could be described as ‘any learning experience that replaces, supplements, or extends instruction beyond the restrictive boundaries of course content, textbook and classroom and that includes depth of understanding, breadth of understanding and relevance to the student and to the world in which s/he lives’.
Many members of our Outreach staff at the university, including within our Access Team at Trinity College, have recently been teachers in schools and colleges across the UK. All of our Access Team develop strong working relationships with teachers and leaders in our partner schools. Appreciating the constraints of curriculum time and other scarce resources, we are here to help teachers and students find realistic, appealing and enriching ways of accessing the super-curriculum.
There are myriad ways in which young learners can access super-curricular enrichment, from early on in Primary school, and we hope this begins a life-long learning journey continuing through school and well beyond it. Some learners express a love of learning, and the pleasure of seeing this enjoyment may be instrumental to many of us, in wanting to teach and support learning, whether in primary school, secondary school, in Higher Education and Adult Education.
Naturally, whether due to the demands of the curriculum at school, other responsibilities and commitments, and the sheer business of life, students need support in accessing super-curricular enrichment. They may need guidance towards appreciating its many rewards; they may appreciate more utilitarian reasons for accessing it.
Super-curricular enrichment comes into various aspects of the admissions process for all universities; at Oxford, we think it is pivotal in students’ development of genuine subject interest, motivation and enthusiasm, which is a clear ingredient of what we hope to see emerging in applicants.
Super-curricular enrichment is a thread which runs through various elements of the Oxford Admissions process, for example in supporting the creation of a strong personal statement, or preparation for admissions tests and interviews. We enjoy discussing it with students in schools and colleges, just as we focus on it as a crucial theme in teacher and parent workshops.
Engagement in super-curricular activity can take so many forms, most of which are highly accessible, and sometimes occurs without students even consciously recognising they are undertaking it. It can be a key influence on students discovering or confirming a love of a particular subject or course for further study, or on deciding not to pursue studies in a specific field, which can be just as useful.
We hope you enjoy reading examples of super-curricular engagement as outlined by our staff and students in these pages.
The main Oxford website has a range of inspiring digital learning materials. There are learning tools for younger students and their parents, resources for older students and guidance for teachers.
This bank of enrichment resources has been compiled by current Trinity students with their recommendations of resources that will help prospective students expand their knowledge and broaden their perspective.