Our members who work on the A&O project believe passionately in inspiring confidence in young people who come from more disadvantaged backgrounds to aspire to the very highest level of academic achievement.
Instilling the confidence in this aspiration is at the core of our programme. We set entry into Oxford as our goal; but we recognise that not all students will get an offer (there are 25,000 applications for 3,000 places). However, if we have helped a young person to realise their full academic potential, then we find it immensely rewarding.
At the moment, our programme is built around offering mentoring to students in 6th form colleges. We have been mentoring in Barton Peveril Sixth Form College for some time, and in 2021 students gained a remarkable number of offers: 17 from Oxford and 6 from Cambridge.
The contribution that our mentoring programme has made to this success is reflected in feedback that we’ve had from the college:
“Mentoring helps students realise that challenge and disagreement is not negative or personal but thought-provoking. For many of our students, mentors offer a glimpse of the cultural capital that has not been a significant part of their own upbringing. The mentor's reward is usually observing the journey, as students discover their academic muscles and intellectual confidence.” The principal, Barton Peveril
“Having a mentor has been so valuable in helping me push my academic thinking to the next level, improving my confidence for interviews and for my higher education to come”
A student, Barton Peveril
In the last two years, we have extended our programme to Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke where we now have 5 members who are mentoring students in Y13.
Looking to the future we have very ambitious plans. We are in the process of setting up a programme with three other 6th form colleges in the county and have also begun exploring opportunities with secondary schools.
As our programme expands, we have an increasing number of opportunities for members to become involved as mentors. There is no ‘typical’ profile for a mentor and the whole programme is built around what works best for both the mentor and mentee. If you are interested in learning more about what’s involved, please contact our Lead Committee member, Nick Stenning.