Select Committee on Education and Employment Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from the University of Oxford (HE 95)


  Applications from maintained schools for places to study on courses at the University of Oxford in 2001 have fallen by two per cent—down to 54 per cent from 56 per cent last year. This fall is against the backdrop of an overall rise in the number of applicants.

  Last year, the percentage of applicants from the state sector rose from 52 per cent to 56 per cent. Commenting on the figures, Dr Colin Lucas, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, said:

    "Despite all our very considerable efforts, we're disappointed that there is no increase in the number of applications to Oxford from state school pupils. Indeed the number as of today has fallen slightly, against an overall rise in applications.

    "We felt that we had begun to make real progress in encouraging more students from the maintained sector to apply to Oxford. However, we will continue undeterred our efforts to encourage every bright student, irrespective of background, to consider applying—and we are grateful for the support we are receiving from David Blunkett and Peter Lampl's Sutton Trust for our work in this area."


  Recent initiatives to encourage suitably-qualified state school pupils to consider applying to Oxford include:

    —  The fourth Sutton Trust Summer School took place in July this year, attended by around 240 potential state school applicants.

    —  Over 100 teachers from the state sector attended an in-service training week, in July, a project also funded by the Sutton Trust.

    —  More than 70 students from inner city schools and colleges across England were given the chance to explore life and study at Oxford University at two Summer Schools hosted by the student-led Oxford Access Scheme in August.

    —  A consortium of seven Oxford colleges, including Mansfield, Keble, Harris Manchester, Hertford, St Hugh's, Worcester, and New College staged a conference for principals from FE Colleges in August. Delegates were given the opportunity to exchange ideas, and discuss ways of increasing the number of applications to Oxford from the FE sector.

    —  Two open days for students from Wales took place over the summer at Glamorgan University and the Cardiff International Arena.

    —  There have been over 30 college-led initiatives targeted at both GCSE and A Level pupils, and their teachers this summer. These included a teach-in at New Vic Sixth Form College, Newham.

    —  A two-day programme of classes and social activities for 60 year 10 pupils from schools in Northampton and Birmingham was held at Christ Church in July.

    —  Trinity College staged a mini Summer School for a group of 40 pupils and their teachers from state schools and colleges in County Durham this September.

    —  A new website which includes a virtual professor, who answers questions online, has been set up by the Chemistry Department this summer. It can be found at

University of Oxford

October 2000

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