Year 10 Oxford University Pathway Event

On the morning of  4th May, 2017, six very lucky year ten students from Sacred Heart Secondary boarded a coach from Prior Pursglove College to our way to Oxford for an ‘Oxford Universities Pathway’ event.  The atmosphere on the coach was one of subdued excitement (it was 5am after all and most of us were lucky if they had had 6 hours of sleep).  Sacred Heart Secondary wasn’t the only secondary school given this amazing opportunity; students from Huntcliff, Laurence Jackson, Ryehills, Bydales and Freebrough were also in attendance.

After a five-hour journey full of reading, chatting, music, making new friends and sleeping, we arrived in the beautiful city of Oxford.  St Hugh’s College was the first stop where we were given a talk about Oxford University as a whole.  Interesting and informative, it helped us realise that we also have the potential to attend this prestigious University, following in the footsteps of Prime Ministers, World Leaders, Nobel Prize Winners and great Olympians.  We were given many opportunities to ask questions about the College and what it has to offer and the stereotypes Oxford University has surrounding it.  It soon became apparent that not everyone was ‘posh’ and not everyone came from a wealthy family.

After the opening talk we were taken to Oriel College, a short walk away.  We passed many beautiful building and were made aware of places that would be beneficial to student life, including other colleges, libraries, shops and places to eat.  On arriving at Oriel, we were taken into a lecture hall where we were given three short activities relating to Oxford University, the first being about how the college operates.  We learnt that Oxford is one of the only Universities to offer ‘tutorials’, this is ‘one to one’ time with a tutor to maximise a students learning and allow the tutor to ensure students are on track with their reading for the week.  Also, we learned the difference between seminars and lectures and how planning time is a key necessity when at university.  This led on well to the second activity, which was about university life.  We were given information about the many societies and opportunities that are offered at Oxford.  These ranged from the Woman’s International Society to the Quidditch Society.  Oxford University makes everyone feel welcome, there is always something a student can get involved in to feel included.  Lunch was taken in the hall, which, can only be describe as the Great Hall at Hogwarts School of Witch Craft and Wizardry.   Following lunch the third and final talk was about how to manage money, living away from home, domestic chores and self care.   We were then given a guided tour of the college and its amazing grounds, including the church, common room and its historic buildings, including the only cat flap that is listed in England.

Finally, we were escorted back to St Hugh’s where we sampled three mini lectures, all of great interest, and were given further opportunity to ask questions about anything that we had thought about during the day.

The coach departed for home at around 3pm arriving at its destination at 8.30pm.  It was agreed that we all found the opportunity a great benefit and it enabled us to have the faith and confidence that one day we may also be attending one of the colleges that makes up Oxford University.

Throughout the day we were asked to give our thoughts on how we felt the day had gone:-

"The visit has made me realise that I’m able to attend Oxford and given me the confidence to aim high".

"Excellent way to motivate you to aim high, and gave insight into what university life would be like!".

"It was a fantastic opportunity that I will never ever forget. It was an insight into the life of a student and I cannot wait to get there myself."

"This trip has given us all the confidence and inspiration to aim high".

"The trip was worthwhile and has helped me realise my goals for the future".

"The trip has been fantastic, it is really inspired me and I can't wait to come, I want to apply now".