On Wednesday 21st February, 23 students from The Leigh, Longfield, Mascalls, Stationers’ Crown Woods, Strood and Wilmington Academies, participated in a visit to two of Oxford University’s colleges: Mansfield and St Hugh’s.
Mansfield College is one of the Universities smaller colleges, admitting around 75 undergraduate students per year, accommodating approximately two hundred students in total. The magnificent Victorian buildings were completed in 1889.
Upon arrival, Helen Brooks, Oxford Admissions Manager, met and escorted the students to a lecture threatre, where she delivered a presentation consisting of an overiew of the collegiate system, degree programme options, the different types of societies available to students, financial support and how learning and teaching is delivered at Oxford.
During the Q&A session, the visitors were joined by four undergraduate students, two of whom had attended state schools. Each Oxford undergraduate explained what subjects they had chosen for their GCSE’s and A-levels and elaborated on the reasons why they decided to choose these subjects.
After the Q&A session, LAT students were split into two groups and taken for a tour of Mansfield College. They were shown student accommodation, the cafeteria and the library.
Student Accommodation Block
The tour finished at Mansfield’s refectory, where we were served lunch.
Tour of St Hugh’s College
After lunch the student were took a 20 minute walk to St Hugh’s College. Founded in 1886, St Hugh’s is one of the largest colleges at the University of Oxford with around 800 students. St Hugh’s has a beautiful setting, with Edwardian buildings and is known for its tranquil gardens.
During the tour of the main building, the year 9 students visited the library.
The St Hugh’s student common room is located centrally within the college and is essentially a very large conservatory with chairs and lots of leather sofas. Here, the LAT students participated in a Q&A session with the Oxford undergraduates.
During a review of the visit, back on the coach, all the year 9 students agreed that they thought that the trip to Oxford had been extremely valuable and worthwhile.
Comments from teachers that had also attended the trip were:
• “…a unique experience for many of the pupils from the Leigh Academy. Students have now begun to normalise the idea of high achievement and ambition....” Chris Bradley, The Leigh Academy
• “I think by speaking to and meeting the Oxford undergraduate students, especially those from state schools, made pupils believe they could go to such a prestigious university!” Mike Illsley, Mascalls Academy
• “….Oxford University has a reputation for being very grand and intimidating, but the students who showed us around showed us that actually the collegiate system makes it less intimidating and as all Leigh Trust schools follow the small school format, it’s just what they are already used to!” Bernie Burwood, Wilmington Academy