Image credit: Edmund Blok
St Peter's College, Oxford has launched a new access initiative focusing on providing professional development for teachers.
The innovative scheme, known as the Schools Ambassador Project, sees the college link up with nine secondary schools from the state sector across England.
St Peter's academics, some of them professors, will work with the teachers throughout the year across a range of disciplines, helping them keep up to date with developments in their field.
Participating schools will also gain a better understanding of the University admissions process, the college's own identity, and Oxford as a whole.
Mark Damazer, Master of St Peter's College, 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.'
The teachers taking part in the scheme come from schools in Merseyside and north-east London – St Peter's link regions – as well as Bournemouth, Hertfordshire and King's Lynn.
Gillian Dale, a chemistry teacher and head of sixth form at King David High School in Liverpool, will be working with Professor Mark Moloney. She said: 'The structure of A-levels has changed recently and my subject has brought in new content which I haven't previously taught, so this is a really good opportunity to get a feel for some of that new content.
'We don't have a huge flow of students going to Oxford, and it can feel different down here, so an initiative like this will hopefully break down some of those barriers. We've been given some really useful information about how this university is looking to widen participation and encourage more applications from schools like ours.'
It is hoped the initiative will be expanded following its pilot year.