Schools meeting about applying to Oxford
In March 2017 for the first time the group collaborated with Peter Symonds Sixth Form college in Winchester and Oxford's St Edmund Hall to hold a meeting for secondary schools in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight about applying to Oxford. Parents and potential applicants were invited and more than 100 students attended the event.
They were given the opportunity to hear about the Oxford admissions process from the college's Admissions Tutor Robert Wilkins and Schools Liaison Officer Luke Maw. Several locally-based current Oxford undergraduates and St Edmund Hall undergraduates also attended, and discussed the reality of student life at Oxford.
The group were delighted with the success of the event; a similar ‘Oxford Explained’ event was held in February 2018 at King Edward VI School in Southampton, and it is planned to stage a repeat of the Winchester event at Peter Symonds College in March 2018.
All these events have been made possible by the strong support of the group's work given by St Edmund Hall, which is the Hampshire link college in Oxford. Huge thanks are due to the college’s Admissions Tutor, its Schools' Liaison Officer and the wonderful student ambassadors who come along to help with the events.
For the second time in September 2017, the group held a social event open to all Hampshire-based Oxford candidates who had achieved a place at Oxford for October 2017. The Chairman and other OUS (Hampshire & Isle of Wight) members hosted the event together with a number of current undergraduates from Hampshire who kindly came along to chat to freshers about their experiences at Oxford. Once again, about 25 freshers attended and clearly enjoyed and appreciated the event, which it is hoped will be repeated in September 2018.
In January 2018 the group convened an initial meeting of its new Outreach sub-committee, having circulated to members to invite interest in this area of work and attendance at the meeting. About a dozen group members came to the meeting, at which there was a lively discussion of past and possible future work in this area in Hampshire. Those who attended the meeting have already attended one ‘Oxford Explained ‘ event in Southampton in early 2018, and will be participating in further work in the future, including acting as mentors for Oxford applicants in support of the Oxbridge programme of another local Sixth Form College, Barton Peveril in Eastleigh.
Recent events have included talks from Dr Timothy Hands, Headmaster of Winchester College on a range of educational matters (2017); Sir Ivor Roberts, President of Trinity, on ‘Conversations with Milosevic and other war criminals’ (2016); Lord (Robin) Butler of Brockwell, on 'My Life with Five Prime Ministers' (2015); Sir Tony Brenton KCMG, ex-ambassador to Russia, on “Russia: Has the bear come out of hibernation?” (2014); and Giles Henderson, CBE, Master of Pembroke College, talking about his experiences as a Head of House (2013).
The group has in recent years organised summer excursions to the Watts Gallery and Artists’ Village near Guildford; Chichester (for a guided tour of the cathedral and a lecture at the Pallant House Gallery); Wilton House near Salisbury, Petworth; and Chawton House Library, each with separate guided tours for participating members and including a lunch.
Recent autumn lectures have included as speakers Professor Anne Deighton, Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College Oxford, and Professor of European International Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford; Dame Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust; Professor Alan Barr (Head of Particle Physics at Oxford and Fellow of Merton College); and Dame Jessica Rawson, Warden of Merton College.