Oxford inspires students

21st June 2018

Hard work and determination will pay off students from The Vale Academy were told during a day trip to Oxford University.

The Year 8 and 9 students heard that background and class were no longer barriers to applying for one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious universities.

Party leader, English teacher Nicola Elvin, said that, upon arrival in the historic city, students were impressed with just how beautiful it was.

They were met by a tour guide at Lincoln College, one of around 35 colleges at the university, who took the party to the Lincoln Lower Lecture Room, where they were told more about the university and university life in Oxford.

Undergraduates gave The Vale students a tour of the college and answered questions, displaying a real passion for the university.

“We were shown the dinner hall - which looked like it could have been in the Harry Potter movies - and visited Lincoln College’s beautiful library where students were studying for their end-of-year exams,” said Ms Elvin.

“Students were also impressed by the statue of the ‘Lincoln Imp’ that sits in the front quad poking its head out from amidst the Virginia creeper.

“Many recognised the Imp from the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral and one student was even able to inform our university student tour guide of its history.”

After lunch, The Vale students were able to ask undergraduates any remaining questions.

“Our students seemed surprised to find out that two had initially been rejected from other universities before getting into Oxford.

“The university students were from a variety of backgrounds and did not necessarily fit the old stereotype of Oxbridge students,” said Ms Elvin.

“Students found it interesting when they were informed that anyone who is hard working and passionate about their subject could apply to Oxford: background and class no longer take precedence.”

The last stop was The History of Science Museum. Students explored the huge collection of historic scientific instruments over three floors in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building, the Old Ashmolean.

From navigation tools to Einstein’s whiteboard, the artefacts were fascinating.

“Overall, our trip to Oxford University was incredibly enjoyable and was most definitely worth the 5.15am departure!” said Ms Elvin.

Tom, from Year 9, described the visit as a “great experience”.

“The students we met were really helpful and showed us that anyone who works hard and loves their subject can make it to Oxford University,” he said.

Selena, from Year 8, also agreed.

“I loved looking around Lincoln College,” she said. “It was very pretty. I would love to go to Oxford University in the future.”

Year 8 student Georgia said it had been an “amazing experience” and she was considering applying for Oxford University.

“The university buildings were majestic, and Oxford seems like a lovely place to live,” she said.

Erin (Year 8) said: “I loved going around the university and speaking to the university students. I also liked the pretty grass – it was award winning!”

Principal Nicola Williams described the visit to Oxford as “a terrific experience”.

“Our ethos encourages all our students to aim high,” said Mrs Williams. “We want them all to make the most of their talents and, for some, coupled with hard work and determination, that may mean applying for Oxford or Cambridge Universities.

“I’m delighted the feedback from our staff and students was so positive and the trip was clearly worthwhile.”