St Peter’s College Foundation Schools Ambassador Project
This three-year project ran from September 2017 to August 2020, pairing school teachers with Oxford academics to facilitate career personal development and strengthen links between their schools and the University of Oxford.
As well as achieving academic outcomes for the benefit of teachers and their students, the project aimed to raise the profile of St Peter’s and the wider university among the students of the Schools Ambassadors. We are committed to encouraging more suitably-qualified pupils to apply to study here, not least students from under-privileged backgrounds. This project built on the original aim of the college to provide a low-cost Oxford education for promising students of limited means.
St Peter’s offered academic mentoring from college academics to a small group of teachers each year, across a range of subjects such as English, History, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biological Sciences, Modern Languages, Philosophy and Law. The project sought to enhance the teachers’ subject expertise and knowledge of university admissions. Ambassador Teachers and their Heads of Sixth Form were also invited to Oxford for two events per year, to get to know the college, its facilities, and key staff.
In return, Ambassador Schools acted 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 worked with schools whose socio-demographic profiles suggested that they had pupils who achieve (or are able to achieve) qualifications that could admit them to Oxford, but who were not applying, or not applying successfully. The selected schools also served populations that are educationally and economically disadvantaged.
In addition to the positive outcomes achieved through the academic collaborations during the project’s lifetime, we were also delighted to see successful applications to the college and the university from some of the schools involved in the project.
Planning for a new Schools Ambassador Project is currently underway; please check this page for updates, and follow us on Twitter (@SPCOutreach) for the latest news.
The following teachers were appointed as St Peter’s College Foundation Schools Ambassadors for the years 2019/20:
Emmanuelle Boisseau of St. Mary Magdalene Academy, Islington, who is being mentored by Prof Balazs Szendroi
Jack Cuthbert of Ecclesbourne School, Derbyshire, who is being mentored by Dr Max Hodgson
Michael Graham of Carmel College, Merseyside, who is being mentored by Dr Deborah Phillips
Stacie-Ann Harper of King David High School, Merseyside, who is being mentored by Dr Jennifer Cassidy
Lara Harris of Upton Hall FCJ School, Merseyside, who is being mentored by Dr Tim Mawson
Michael Hynes of Wirral Grammar School Boys, Merseyside, who is being mentored by Dr Matteo Parisi
Jennifer Leaver of John Warner School, Hertfordshire, who is being mentored by Dr Tom Clark
Dianne Reid of Sacred Heart Catholic College, Merseyside, who is being mentored by Dr Jennifer Cassidy
Chris Surrage of King Edward VII Academy, Norfolk, who is being mentored by Dr Elliot Bentine
Geoff Turner of Calderstones School, Merseyside, who is being mentored by Prof Mark Moloney
The following teachers were appointed as St Peter's College Foundation Schools Ambassadors for the years 2018/19:
Jonathan Lavelle of Carmel College, Merseyside, who was mentored by Prof Balazs Szendroi
Amy Brewer of Impington Village College, Cambridge, who was mentored by Prof Charles Monroe
Alex Barnes of The John Warner School, Herfordshire, who was mentored by Dr Thomas Brodie
Patrick Walton of King David High School, Merseyside, who was mentored by Dr Luke Jew
Martyn Barker of King Edward VII Academy, King’s Lynn, who was mentored by Dr Thomas Brodie
Laura Baker of Sacred Heart Catholic College, Merseyside, who was mentored by Dr Robert Pitkethly
Mair Roberts of St Mary Magdalene, Islington, who was mentored by Dr Thomas Marsden
Laura Beardsall of The Bourne Academy, Bournemouth, who was mentored by Dr Natalya Din-Kariuki
Daniel Kebell of The Ecclesbourne School, Derbyshire, who was mentored by Dr Luke Jew
David Webb, Wirral Grammar School for Boys, Merseyside, who was mentored by Prof Mark Moloney
Nine inaugural Schools Ambassadors were appointed as part of the St Peter's College Foundation Schools Ambassador Project for 2017. They were:
Gill Dale is Assistant Headteacher and Head of Sixth Form at King David High School in Liverpool. Gill is a Chemistry teacher, and has been teaching A level for 19 years. Her school has small numbers of pupils achieving AAA+ at A level each year, and very few pupils apply to Oxford. She would like to gain insight into the required standards to make a successful application, and also to update and extend her knowledge and understanding of new advances in chemistry and biochemistry. Gill will be working with Prof Mark Moloney, concentrating on understanding DNA and other biological molecules from a chemist’s perspective.
Lauren Thomas is Associate Headteacher and Director of Post 16 Education at The John Warner School in Hertfordshire. Lauren is an English teacher, with an MSc in Educational Management and Leadership. She has been teaching A level for 10 years, and she has been an A level examiner. Her school is hoping to grow the number of AAA+ students making successful applications to Oxford. She would like to use her insight into St Peter’s and the admissions process to stretch and challenge her pupils. Lauren will be mentored by Dr Marina MacKay, focusing on political and social protest writing.
Kalpana Tadikonda is Head of Religious Studies at King Edward VII Academy in Kings Lynn. Kalpana has been teaching A level for eight years. Her school has small numbers of pupils achieving AAA+ at A level each year, and very few pupils apply to Oxford. She is eager to cultivate and encourage pupils to develop pre-university skills, including research skills, greater independence in learning, and broadening their horizons beyond immediate A level needs. Kalpana will be working with Dr Tim Mawson, Edgar Jones Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy, discussing the latest specialist research in topics and debates in ethical systems and applied ethics.
Sarah Davies is Head of History at Upton Hall School in Wirral. Sarah has a master’s degree in Historical Research and a Post Graduate Diploma in Law, and has been teaching A level for nine years. Her school has small numbers of pupils achieving AAA+ at A level each year, and few pupils apply to Oxford. She would like to enrich and update her subject expertise, and use the knowledge she hopes to gain of St Peter’s to improve her pupils’ confidence in articulating arguments. Sarah will be mentored by Prof Stephen Baxter, concentrating on Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest.
Angela Case is an English teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic College in Liverpool. Angela has been teaching A level for 11 years. Higher-achieving pupils at her school tend not apply to Oxford. She would like to raise pupils’ awareness of the opportunities available to them, and to realise their potential. Angela will be mentored by Prof Abigail Williams, focusing on the socio-economic context of Shakespeare’s works and how that context is represented theatrically.
Liam McMenamin is a design and technology teacher at Southgate School in Enfield. Liam has an MA in Education (Design & Technology), and has been teaching A level for six years. His school has small numbers of pupils achieving AAA+ at A level each year, and few pupils apply to Oxford. He would like to use the link with St Peter’s to engage and enthuse disadvantaged pupils to overcome barriers, unlocking their potential. Liam will be mentored by Iona Richards, DPhil Student in Civil Engineering, concentrating on product design.
Kim Edgell is High Achiever Coordinator for Science at Carmel College in St Helen’s. Kim has been teaching A level biology for 10 years. Her school has significant numbers of pupils achieving AAA+ at A level each year, but few pupils apply to Oxford. She would like to be able to encourage and support her pupils to apply successfully to the most competitive universities, through projects or activities inspired by her link with St Peter’s. Kim will be working with Robert Grant-Downton, focusing on biology and academic support across all sciences.
Daniel Schmidt is Subject Leader for History at The Bourne Academy in Bournemouth. Daniel has been teaching A level for three years, having previously studied and taught in the USA. His school has small numbers of high-achieving pupils each year, and he would like to encourage more to apply successfully to Oxford. He is keen to gain another perspective on how to teach solid research and study skills to his students, and to build a firm foundation in the use of research and critical thinking in a digital age. Daniel will be working with Simon Unger, and will be focusing on Nazi Germany 1933-45.
Pádraig de Cléir is a Teacher of Science (Physics) at St Mary Magdalene Academy in Islington. He studied engineering at university and taught English as a foreign language for a number of years, but is new to teaching science. He is eager to go beyond that which is required by the curriculum in order to foster appreciation and passion for physics in his students. His school has small numbers of pupils achieving AAA+ at A level each year, and few pupils apply to Oxford. Pádraig hopes for greater success for his students in the future. He will be focusing on astrophysics, in particular stellar evolution and processes, working with Dr Angela Taylor, Associate Professor.