Celebration of Welsh Outreach: supporting and inspiring young people in Wales
The University of Oxford and the Welsh Government’s Seren Network this week co-hosted an evening reception to celebrate the enduring impact of their partnership on outreach in Wales, and announce expansion plans to reach younger children in the region.
The Seren Network was fully established by the Welsh Government in 2016. It aims to support and enable Welsh students from all backgrounds to achieve their academic potential, and progress to leading universities around the world. New expansion plans include targeted outreach with children aged 13 upwards (year eight), and the creation of a bespoke outreach co-ordinator position from Oxford to oversee Oxford’s work in the region.
The Cardiff Bay event was attended by current Welsh undergraduates studying at Oxford, Seren students who have recently been offered places at Oxford, and previous and current Welsh winners of Oxford’s Inspirational Teachers Awards.
The Jesus College Seren Summer School is now in its second full year, and is already making a big difference in supporting the brightest Welsh students to apply to and understand the application process at Oxford. There are 75 spaces for the summer school for students and spaces allocated for teachers and coordinators to ensure they are best placed to support their students.
Guests enjoyed a look back at some of the collaboration’s early successes and a chance to hear from students’ past and present first-hand. The event bought together alumni and partners to explore new opportunities for Welsh Seren students at Oxford, and connect with leaders across different sectors to facilitate work placements and career support for Welsh students as they embark on their higher education journey.
The University of Oxford is always looking for new ways to engage with the most talented young people and to invest in their potential. It commits close to £4 million a year in widening access programmes. Through the Welsh Government’s Seren Network, students develop better awareness of their options and are enabled to make informed choices.
The University aims to develop and deepen the relationship with Welsh schools, resulting in more outreach provision for students in Wales. And has plans to expand its support and build on existing success, by establishing partnerships with individuals, organisations, and businesses in Wales.
Dr Samina Khan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach at Oxford said: ‘I’m very excited to be here today promoting the expansion of Seren Network to younger school children. Through this continued partnership we hope to make a positive and sustainable change in the lives of young people in Wales.’
Kirsty Williams AM, Welsh Minister for Education said: ‘I’m extremely proud of Seren. We can see already the tremendous impact it is having in supporting Wales’s most talented and able academically gifted children to reach their full potential. What’s so exciting is having learnt the lessons over the last couple of years, we can now apply that to more Welsh students. We will be expanding the Seren Network and programme to encourage children from year eight to really reach for the stars, enjoy the activities and programmes on offer and reach their full potential. When we do that for our children, when we do that for our young people, we are building a better future for our nation.’