New programmes to transform access

Trinity College is pleased to be associated with a set of major new initiatives designed to widen the mix of UK undergraduates at Oxford.

The combined impact of the programmes means that by 2023, one undergraduate in four will be from the UK’s most under-represented backgrounds.

The two new programmes – Opportunity Oxford and Foundation Oxford –will offer transformative paths to outstanding education for up to 250 state school students a year. The schemes offer students the chance to immerse themselves in the Oxford environment, developing their study skills and their subject knowledge. By the end of their programmes participants will have developed the confidence to meet the challenges of a demanding undergraduate degree. Both schemes will be free and students’ residential and living costs will be fully funded throughout the courses.

Some of Trinity’s student ambassadors – who work with the College’s Schools and Outreach team to support prospective applicants – have welcomed the announcement.

Bradley Logan, a second-year history student, says: ‘I think that today’s commitment represents a big step for change at Oxford University. I sincerely hope that from this, Oxford will be enriched both socially and academically with a new lease of life brought about by new applicants from every demographic of the UK. I believe that the commitment to access is an excellent start, but is something that needs to be pushed still at a collegiate level – something I look forward to doing from a student perspective at Trinity.

‘From my experience coming from the North-East, Oxford has been incredibly inclusive towards me, and I have never found myself feeling down about my heritage or where I come from. In my mind, being from an access background or a privileged background should not matter – you have earned your spot at Oxford, regardless of whether your help to get here was from your parents and independent school, or from one caring state school teacher and the central university team!’

Holly Winch, a third-year Classics student, says: ‘I’m really excited about Oxford’s new programme, not because it will help Oxford to fill a quota or improve its image, but because this is a genuine chance for Oxford to make sure that they don’t lose students with great potential simply because they haven’t had the opportunities that others have.

‘Oxford is often seen as always wanting to stick to traditions and this is a serious impediment in access work, but the level of dedication to access that I’ve seen in my own college, other colleges, and in the University as a whole suggests to me that this perception isn’t a reflection on reality, and the misunderstanding of Oxford as somewhere for better-off people probably contributes significantly to gaps that exist, because people just don’t feel able to apply, or feel that they would be excluded or feel out-of-place, but this isn’t true.’

Posted: 21 May 2019

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