Murder in the Cloisters
A body is found in the Pembroke College quad.
Credit: Greg Blatchford

State school students solve 'murder in the cloisters'

Year Nine students from Oxford, Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire have solved a 'murder in the cloisters' at Oxford University this week.

Fifty-six state school students became detectives during a three-day residential outreach event held at Pembroke College, Oxford from 8-10 April.

The event was organised by Oxford University's Widening Participation team, which works with state school students aged nine to 16 to help them understand what they could gain from further or higher education, and what type of study might suit them best.

This free event was aimed at state school students with average grades of B/C.

On the first day, a tour of the college was interrupted when students came across a 'dead body' that turned out to be the Student Union president. Police Community Support Officers arrived on the scene and cordoned off the area. Later, the students witnessed another murder over a formal dinner in Pembroke College.

The students were enlisted in a three-day investigation. They analysed samples of clothing from suspects in a chemistry lab and helped decode the language of a note found by the body in the Classics Faculty.

James Slattery of Oxford University's Widening Participation team said: 'We all enjoy a good murder mystery and there's something satisfying about solving a big puzzle. This free residential gives students from across the South East a chance to experience life at university while trying to solve the puzzle of whodunnit.'

Didcot Girls' School pupil Ebonie O'Connor, 14, said: 'We had a good tour around the college and we got interrupted by the actors in the murder mystery.' Kian Buck, 13, a pupil at Bicester’s The Cooper School, said: 'It has been great fun. I've really enjoyed getting my Sherlock hat on to try and work out the whodunnit.'