Access & Widening Participation
Access at Catz
The access team at Catz exists to try and make the admissions process as fair as possible. For this reason a lot of the work is aimed towards the less-privileged groups in society.
Access work is carried out in three age ranges:
- Ages 7-14 (Widening participation) – At these ages we aim to inform students about the benefits of a University and Oxford education.
- Ages 15-16 (GCSE years) - Talks aimed at those around GCSE level start to focus more on appropriate A-level choices. We also re-iterate the benefits of higher education and encourage them of the importance of strong GCSE grades.
- Ages 16+(A-Levels) – Access work which aims to dispel myths about university and Oxbridge more specifically. We inform students of what subjects are appropriate to take for a variety of courses. We also give UCAS info, interview tips, and personal statement advice.
Access work at Oxford is primarily sorted into regions, with every college being assigned a region, sometimes in conjunction with another college. This is merely an organizational procedure and Catz still encourages students to carry out Access work all over the country. The scheme does not have any bearing on the Oxford admissions process and will not influence whether a college offers a candidate a place. It is also not intended to replace any existing contact a school may have with a particular college or department.
At Catz our region is Northern Ireland. If you have any contacts or ideas please contact Amie Campbell.
Due to the very nature of access work we are always looking at ways to help aspiring pupils or interested teachers wherever you are from. For further information Events and resources we can offer, please contact: Catz Admissions
Time commitment: 1-2 hours a week
Location: schools around Oxford
What is it: A scheme to help young people achieve their academic potential by matching them with university student tutors. You would deliver a weekly tutoring session in a local school, with the overall goal of raising the academic confidence, interest, and attainment of the pupils. This is a really rewarding scheme and also lets you spend some time each week outside of the University environment, which is a rare and welcome opportunity!
Time commitment: variable
What is it: A subset of the University Office’s Outreach programme that deals exclusively with 13-16 y/o students from Oxfordshire, exposing them to university and life beyond GCSEs. If you do around 10-15 hours volunteering over the first two terms (very achievable considering they run weekly sessions of around 5 hours, where you just make sure students are behaving… and you get a free lunch) then you can work on their residential programme, which is a great way to earn money.
Perks: Volunteering with WP counts towards the volunteer hours on Moritz-Heyman and Lloyd’s bursaries / mentors help with fun trips to the cinema, restaurants, and Harry Potter studios / free lunches and snacks / guaranteed references for job applications / paid internship opportunities.
Time commitment: Three Saturdays/term
What is it: A scheme providing disadvantaged children with activity days in and around Oxford. The children in attendance will be referred from local schools or social services to ensure that the scheme helps those in need of extra support. You’ll take the kids on fun activity days and get paired up with a child. If you do the scheme over a long period of time, you’ll consistently be paired up with the same child and be able to develop a positive mentoring relationship.
Time commitment: Up to you
What is it: OUSU’s flagship access programme. The aim is to debunk the various myths many students have about Oxford by allowing current undergrads to share their experiences with students from schools with limited histories of Oxford applications. This is mainly facilitated by sixth form shadowing days, where students are given the opportunity to shadow a current undergrad, and also the Target Schools Roadshow.
Time commitment: One week
What is it: A programme of free summer schools at Oxford University. UNIQ is the only official summer school programme for students studying in their first year of further education. It’s aimed at students at UK state schools and colleges, who apply for a specific course that aims to give them a realistic view of Oxford student life. The students live in a college for one week in July or August, attending lectures and seminars alongside workshops about applying to Oxford.
Time commitment: Up to you
What is it: An access initiative coordinated by the colleges with support from the Sutton Trust. The programme provides information, advice, and guidance on higher education and Oxford to academically able students and their correlating staff members in non-selective state schools with little history of Oxford admissions. Student volunteers can get involved with Year 10 taster days, Year 11 GCSE ‘investigating options’ days, Year 12 study days, and Year 13 application information days.
Time commitment Variable
What is it: A scheme providing local learning centres that support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain either a university place or another chosen aspiration. Young people from the UK’s poorest backgrounds are at a significant educational disadvantage, which is why schemes like this one are necessary – IntoUniversity offers young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with the help that middle-class children receive as a matter of course. Student volunteers can work as tutors and mentors, welcome young people to their university as part of the ‘buddy’ programme, share their university experience with primary school children, and be ambassadors for the scheme within Oxford University.