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Summer schools set to expand
24 Apr 09
A new summer school programme at the University of Oxford will start next year, thanks to a generous donation.
The University is expanding the number of summer school places it offers from 387 on the Sutton Trust summer schools this year to 1,000 places on the new summer schools by 2014.
The University of Oxford summer schools will replace the Sutton Trust summer schools currently run by the University. 500 high-performing sixteen and seventeen year olds from state schools and colleges will be given a taste of life at Oxford on the first new summer school in 2010.
In 2011 there will be 600 places; in 2012 there will be 750 places and in 2013 there will be 850 places. By 2014, there will be 1,000 places and a summer school course for every undergraduate course offered by the University.
The summer schools will give pupils the chance to spend a week in Oxford – attending lectures in their chosen subject, living in college accommodation with other summer school pupils and student mentors, and finding out more about applying to Oxford.
Mike Nicholson, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Oxford University, said: ‘Based on our experience of running summer schools over the last eleven years we know they are a good way of helping encourage talented students to apply to university, so I’m very pleased we are able to offer more places.’
Ewan McKendrick, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education
I’m delighted that, thanks to this generous donation, we are able to offer more students the chance to attend a summer school at the University.
James Turner, Director of Policy at the Sutton Trust, said: ‘We are delighted that Oxford has been able to secure a major donation to expand its residential summer schools. When the Sutton Trust supported the first summer school at Oxford eleven years ago, it could not have hoped for more success. Thousands of summer school students from non-privileged backgrounds have subsequently entered Oxford and other prestigious universities. But the ultimate goal was that universities would eventually take ownership of the summer schools themselves, so we wish Oxford every success and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.’
The Helsington Foundation has given the University £3.25 million, over the next six years, to fund the summer schools. The Foundation has also given money to fund the work the University is undertaking with teachers this year, including this summer’s regional teachers’ conferences, and work with Oxford PGCE students and new graduates who are about to take part in the Teach First programme.
The University has been increasing the work it does with teachers and guidance advisors as they are one of the most important influences on a student’s decisions about higher education and deal with a large number of students each year. The University is offering HE guidance training to secondary PGCE students at its Department for Education, thereby engaging with new teachers before they start their first jobs. Oxford University provides the largest number of graduates to Teach First. It is offering them HE guidance training, making sure they have an appreciation of the wider HE sector and are up to date with changes to the admissions process since they applied to university.
Graham Sharp, the Oxford alumnus who set up the Helsington Foundation, said: 'I want to help with initiatives that reach out to those pupils who have ability and aspirations but aren’t able to fulfil those aspirations. I named the foundation after the outward bound centre I went to with my old school – a place that helped widen my education.'
The donation has been made as part of the Campaign for the University of Oxford – the largest campaign in European university history and one of the biggest in the world. It aims to raise more than £1.25 billion in order to transform the University for many generations to come, and supporting students is one of its key aims.
Ewan McKendrick, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education at the University of Oxford, said: ‘Oxford wants to continue to attract the best students and an important part of our fundraising is about making sure that we equip talented students to apply and that they are supported when they get here. I’m delighted that, thanks to this generous donation, we are able to offer more students the chance to attend a summer school at the University.’
Mike Nicholson adds: ‘Attending a summer school should give students the chance to explore a potential university subject in greater depth than they can at school, while also giving them the opportunity to discover for themselves what Oxford’s really like, dispelling some of the myths that surround the University.’