Oxford introduces news access initiatives in 2024
Oxford introduces news access initiatives in 2024

Oxford introduces new access initiatives to engage with young people across the UK

The University has launched a series of new access initiatives in 2024 for young people from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds in regions of the UK where fewer students currently go on to Oxford. 

The initiatives build on the outreach and access work already being undertaken across the collegiate University as part of Oxford’s commitment to support the aspirations of young people in their educational goals and attract those with the highest academic potential, from all backgrounds, to the University. 

The new initiatives include BeUNIQ – a programme for UK state school students in Years 10 and 11 from groups who are currently under-represented among Oxford undergraduates, providing sustained engagement with students, schools, families and local communities.  

The programme is currently working with students from Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage in five schools in Birmingham, Bradford and Oldham. It follows the success of Oxford’s flagship access initiative – UNIQ – which has been attended by more than 14,500 Year 12 students from under-represented backgrounds since 2010. 

It is hugely exciting to be rolling out these innovative new access initiatives, and we are extremely grateful for the support of our donors to get them off the ground.  

We know that it will become increasingly challenging to reach under-represented groups with lower progression to higher education. Research has shown us that to a make a difference we need to engage with younger students earlier on in their journey and support schools in removing barriers in areas where there is a lower progression of students to Oxford.  

Over time our ambition is to extend the reach of these programmes to other groups of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and currently underrepresented at Oxford.

Dr Samina Khan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach

Next month, Oxford University will visit Cornwall as it hosts its inaugural Oxplore Festival, a travelling event to reach, inform and inspire children about higher education and Oxford. The first festival will be held on two days at Callywith College, a post-16 College in Bodmin (9 and 10 July) and will be attended by more than 500 invited 11- to 13-year-olds from local state schools.   

The Festival will be hosted by Oxford staff and researchers and include a range of fun and interactive workshops to encourage curiosity and critical thinking in Year 7 and 8 students. Students will be asked to consider questions such as ‘could we ever live in Space?’ and set challenges to design a planet, explore how volcanic activity could indicate life on distant planets, and discover why planetary magnetic fields are so important for survival. 

In September, Oxford will launch Oxplore Teach, a new digital platform for teachers and other educators in UK state schools, designed to assist them in providing academic enrichment activities and supporting learners from a wide range of backgrounds in developing academic confidence, oracy and critical thinking skills.  

Building on the success of Oxford’s outreach website Oxplore: Home of Big Questions, which launched in 2017 with students in mind, the new platform responds to requests from teachers for a resource designed for their own dedicated use in and out of the classroom. It includes ready-to-use ‘Oxplore Challenge’ sessions, that can be delivered as a one-off 45-minute session, or a series of four 10-minute sessions within the school day, or at lunch and after school clubs.