Admissions and Outreach Blog

Schools Ambassador Project Launch Event

by Marianne Talbot on Oct 27, 2017

Teachers and senior leaders from all nine ambassador schools participating in this year's St Peter's College Foundation Schools Ambassador Project were welcomed to a conference held at St Peter’s towards the end of September, for an afternoon and evening of getting to know their academic mentors, the college, the University and the admissions process.
 
 
Speaking at the launch, Mark Damazer CBE, Master of St Peter’s, said: ‘We have academics here full of excitement about the thought of teaching motivated school teachers who want to refresh or add to their knowledge. I hope the scheme leads to a richer understanding in the schools as a whole about what an Oxford college is really like and helps boost the confidence of teachers to get their best students to apply here.’
 
.
 
Conference sessions included:
 
  • a brief history of the University and the college by Mark Damazer 
  • an introduction to access and admissions by Dr Robert Pitkethly, Tutor for Admissions
  • a mock interview between Dr Marina MacKay, Fellow and Tutor in English, and one of the college’s current undergraduates, Eimer McAuley
  • an introduction to Oxplore by Rebecca Costello, Widening Access and Participation Assistant (see https://oxplore.org/ for more information)
  • a tour of the college with student ambassadors
Teachers then had their initial academic mentoring sessions with their mentors, agreeing the scope of the topic to cover during the sessions, and objectives for the year. Senior leaders from the schools walked across Oxford for a Q&A session with Dr Samina Khan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions & Outreach, and Charlotte Hamilton, Student Recruitment Officer.
 
 
Everyone came together in the evening for a drinks reception and dinner, followed by an overnight stay in college, to get that authentic student experience!
 
Comments from teachers included:
 
  • ‘Fascinating and inspiring in equal measure’
  • ‘It was exciting to be there, and seriously impressive’
  • ‘A well-organised and informative day’
  • ‘I came away from our meeting with lots of ideas’
  • ‘The mock interview was excellent, although I would like to see a contrasting interview from a different tutor (from a different subject)’
Teachers and mentors will be meeting virtually during early November for their next mentoring session, and visits to all ambassador schools are being arranged for spring 2018.
 
For more information, or to join the waiting list to join the project, please email Daniel Pugh-Bevan at schools@spc.ox.ac.uk or Marianne Talbot at outreach@spc.ox.ac.uk.

Inaugural Schools Ambassadors confirmed

by Marianne Talbot on Jul 18, 2017

We are very pleased to announce the appointment of the first Schools Ambassadors for this new initiative linking St Peter’s College to nine schools across England – focusing on providing professional development to teachers.

This innovative scheme is funded by the St Peter’s College Foundation*, and will involve St Peter’s academics, some of them professors, working with school teachers during the school year across a range of disciplines. The scheme will also help these particular schools better understand the admissions process, the college’s identity, and Oxford’s as a whole.

The teaching will be delivered at the college and via Skype with several sessions throughout the year. The teachers and leaders of their schools will be invited to visit the college. The St Peter’s College Foundation will pay all expenses.

Mark Damazer, Master of St Peter’s, said “I am delighted that we are trying something new in the interest of the individual teachers, their schools and the college. We know many teachers have a thirst to get back to their subject and we have academics here full of excitement about the thought of teaching motivated school teachers who want to refresh or add to their knowledge. I hope the scheme leads to a richer understanding in the schools as a whole about what an Oxford college is really like and helps boost the confidence of teachers to get their best students to apply here.”

For a full list of the Schools Ambassadors click here.

Applications are now closed for this year; thanks to all those who applied. More blog posts will be made next term, when we will be able to report on our launch event and initial mentoring sessions.

* The St Peter’s College Foundation is an independent, alumni-led, charity that supports St Peter’s College by investing in its people. The Foundation aims to support initiatives to attract the broadest range of potential students to the college, to provide financial support to students in residence at the college and to invest in maintaining and expanding the college’s teaching resources.

Welcome to my first update as Project Administrator of the St Peter’s Foundation Schools Ambassador Project! Since the middle of March, I have been busy agreeing a title for the project (very important!), its aims and objectives, and developing a specification, including a detailed timeline, risks and issues, and a detailed budget for the project.

The project is designed to provide career personal development for teachers in their subjects by pairing them with an Oxford academic while raising the profile of St Peter’s and the University as a whole. We are looking to get more suitably qualified pupils to apply – not least from students with under-privileged backgrounds. This project builds on the original aim of the college to provide a low-cost Oxford education for promising students of limited means.

St Peter’s will offer academic mentoring from college academics to a different group of around eight teachers each year. We want to enhance the teachers’ subject expertise and knowledge of university admissions. Ambassador Teachers and their Headteachers (or Heads of Sixth Form) will also be invited to Oxford for two events per year, to get to know the college, its facilities, and key staff.

In return we are asking Ambassador Schools to act as advocates for St Peter’s College and the University of Oxford, both within the school and in the local community, building a strong and sustainable relationship between the school and the college, using local press/networks and social media.

We are currently running an application process in order to select an appropriate mix of Ambassador Schools, committed to the project and offering a geographical and subject spread across the schools and teachers. We are hoping to mentor teachers working in a range of subject disciplines – in the humanities, STEM, or the social sciences. We expect to be over-subscribed, but would encourage other interested schools to contact us if they believe they meet the following criteria:

  • Few applicants to Oxford over the last decade (less than 15), especially if none or fewer than five have been successful in gaining a place
  • Pupils achieving or expected to achieve at least three A grades in their A levels
  • Located in an area of considerable social, educational, and economic disadvantage (POLAR3 groups 1 or 2, drawing on ACORN categories 4 or 5 – see http://www.hefce.ac.uk/analysis/yp/POLAR/ and http://acorn.caci.co.uk/infographic for more detail)
  • Teachers keen to develop their understanding of a specific aspect of their subject and their knowledge of the Oxford admissions process

If we have no places left for this year we will bear your school in mind for future years.

If you are interested in applying, and would like further information, you can contact me via outreach@spc.ox.ac.uk or Daniel Pugh-Bevan, Schools Liaison Officer via schools@spc.ox.ac.uk.

Look out for more updates during the summer!