Outreach | University of Oxford
students with mentor
UNIQ students with a mentor
Credit: John Cairns

Outreach

Our outreach programmes are designed to encourage talented students to think of applying to Oxford; to work with schools to raise levels of attainment; to mentor and support students in schools; and to encourage students everywhere to be curious, inquiring, and to enjoy learning.

We spend about £7m each year on outreach. Very few universities in the country do as much.

Outreach in numbers

We host visits from hundreds of students from under-represented backgrounds:

There are more than 60 committed staff working on access and outreach across Oxford University. Each college is linked to a region in the UK, and the schools in the region have a college contact, from whom they can request information, a visit or just get some advice on applying to Oxford.

Our colleges visit schools in all the regions and nations of the UK. More than 75% of all schools with a sixth form have contact with Oxford every year.

Last year our staff reached 3,100 schools across the UK. Our current undergraduate students also visit schools nationwide to talk about their experiences of Oxford.

Nearly 10,000 prospective applicants attend the OxfordCambridge student conferences each year, guided by 150 Oxford academics and Oxford’s student ambassadors.

We work with thousands of teachers: more than 2,000 teachers from 1,000 schools have attended our regional teachers’ conferences since 2009 and many more are invited to events in Oxford.

We seek out and honour Inspirational Teachers across Britain. The University of Oxford has recognised 57 ‘Inspirational’ teachers since 2011 through our Inspirational Teacher Awards.

Our single biggest initiative is the UNIQ Summer School and this year we are increasing the number of places on it from 850 to 1,350 – an over 50% increase. UNIQ targets students from state schools and backgrounds under-represented at Oxford. They spend a week in Oxford living in a college and learning about the life of an Oxford undergraduate. They take tutorials, lectures and some even take lab classes. Students who come on UNIQ who apply to Oxford have a much better success rate than the average applicant. About 7,200 state school students have attended since 2010 and nearly 1,400 have gone on to become our students.

In 2017, 491 UNIQ participants applied to Oxford and 170 from disadvantaged backgrounds were made an offer – a success rate of 35%. Five per cent of all the UK undergraduates who came to Oxford last year came through UNIQ.

We support learning in schools. We have set up a free service for students called oxplore.org, packed with academic-based educational resources to fuel the curious minds of students aged 11 to 18. From departments and colleges, we offer a variety of study days for schools across a range of subjects, including Computer Science for Girls, Modern Languages, Women and PPE, Further Maths – What next?, FE and Sixth Form Open day and the list goes on.

The Annual Access Conference – launched in 2014 – led by Oxford’s student African and Caribbean Society, with the University, attracts over 150 British Black students from state schools each year. In 2015 a similar conference targeting students from British Asian backgrounds was launched and held in Slough – more than 100 students and their teachers and parents attended.

A new partnership with the organisation Target Oxbridge includes a three-day residential in Oxford for students of British African and Caribbean heritage, as well as ongoing mentoring support. The Target Oxbridge programme had 45 fully funded places in 2017, and in February 2018 Oxford and Cambridge announced funding supported by several colleges to grow the programme to 160 places in 2018.

This year, Target Oxbridge had its greatest number of successes, with 35 Black and mixed heritage students securing offers from Oxford and Cambridge. This represents a success rate of 41% for those taking part in the programme – more than double the average success rate for all candidates.

In 2017, 45 Target Oxbridge participants applied to Oxford and 24 were made an offer – a success rate of 53%.

Regional hub scheme OxNet aims to raise progression to selective and other universities. OxNet has 6 Hub schools in London and the North West, and a new Hub in Sunderland opened in 2017. The Hubs focus on the physical sciences (Cheshire), Modern Languages (London), Classics (East London), and Theology and Religious Studies (Greater Manchester), and aim to showcase the interest and benefits of studying these subjects. A Hub in Luton is working with younger students to show the benefits of starting at an earlier age to help realise aspiration and potential.

Oxford’s colleges and departments run a wide range of activities aimed at raising attainment and supporting applicants to Oxford.

For example, the University College Opportunity Programme offers additional undergraduate places to students from under-represented groups and offers them targeted support. The new places are filled through the University’s normal competitive admissions process, but are available only to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are also given support in the form of an intensive four-week bridging programme in the summer before they start their degree.

The Lady Margaret Hall Foundation Year prepares students for under-represented backgrounds for undergraduate study at Oxford. The programme provides one year of fully funded expert tuition within the college to enable students with unrealised potential to go on and achieve undergraduate degrees either at Oxford or another highly selective university.

There are many other outreach events and more details can be found at ox.ac.uk/outreachevents