David Blunkett praises University's outreach programmes

The Vice-Chancellor, Mr Peter Lampl, Mr Derek Blunkett, and Mr Derek Wood
[Photo: Dick Makin]

The Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon David Blunkett, MP, joined Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Colin Lucas, and students to celebrate `the work of the Sutton Trust with the University' at a dinner for Summer School students hosted at St Hugh's College on Wednesday, 12 July.

Inspiration and aspiration, where education is `the great liberator', was the theme of Mr Blunkett's speech. He spoke of young people's need for support from schools, colleges, and their families, and decried the `enormous amount of talent going to waste'.

Mr Blunkett praised the work of outreach programmes in changing attitudes, and making people believe that Oxford, along with other universities, was an option for all talented students. `I don't want any student anywhere in this country to think that this isn't for them, that there's some attitude or blockage to prevent them. People will find out which course is best for them ... but I hope nobody will go away from here thinking that this is not for them.'

This month around 250 state schools students attended the Sutton Trust Summer School held over two weeks, and 120 state school teachers from across the UK attended the third annual Teachers' In-service Week. As well as attending lectures and seminars, both the teachers and students took part in a range of social, cultural, and sporting activities.

Oxford and the Sutton Trust have been running summer schools for potential state school applicants since 1997. Since then, the project has grown at Oxford—and been duplicated at other leading universities. Of the 239 students taking part in 1999, 60 per cent of them applied to Oxford, and over 61 per cent of their applications were successful.

This week 120 students from inner city schools have been in Oxford attending one of the inaugural Higher Education Summer Schools funded by the Government.

Jane Minto, Head of the Oxford Colleges Admissions Office, said: `It is vital to our access initiatives that students and teachers from the maintained sector get an opportunity to spend some time with us to find out first- hand what Oxford can offer.' A four-page brochure giving details of access schemes, admissions questions, and a calendar of events has been sent out to every school and college with a sixth-form in the UK. It is also available on the Web at: www.ox.ac.uk/access.html.

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