Exeter continually strives to be a place that welcomes all students, regardless of background. In the last year our donors have supported a number of outreach initiatives including travel grants for Cornish students to come on residential trips to the College, sponsoring places on the Target Oxbridge Scheme, and funding our pilot bridging programme, Exeter Plus. Stephanie Hale, our new Access and Outreach Officer, is even more ambitious about what we can achieve, as she explains below.
I am proud to be Exeter’s first full-time Access and Outreach Officer, particularly as it strengthens its relationships with schools across the country and colleges across Oxford. Exeter maintains good links with coastal and rural areas, primarily in its South West link region, but also as far afield as East Lothian. The college hosted 12 secondary-aged pupils from the latter this year as part of a collaboration with East Lothian council. The pupils stayed at our Turl Street site for a week, gaining a real sense of what it is like to be part of a vibrant college community. The College also hosted its annual residential for Year 12 pupils from state schools in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. Attendees were able to stay at the College for up to three days, developing their knowledge about the application process and college life during their stay. Those who stayed on for the University Open Day on 3 July were able to visit faculties and departments, and attend subject-specific information sessions. The feedback from both residential programmes has been excellent, and we look forward to developing these projects further.
This academic year will see the College launch new projects, such as its sustained contact programme for Year 12 pupils in Plymouth and neighbouring areas of Cornwall. This pilot programme will run with a small number of schools in this area, and students at these schools will learn more about teaching and learning at Oxford, the application process, and college life while they are here at Exeter. These pupils will also have the opportunity to participate in our annual Somerset, Devon and Cornwall residential, and we therefore anticipate an increase in the number of Year 12 students participating in the residential programme. In Hilary Term, we expect to launch a similar pilot programme focused on increasing the attainment levels of Key Stage Three pupils. Once these programmes have been sufficiently developed, the aim is to roll them out to a wider pool of schools.
The College is also developing its plans to collaborate with other colleges at the University. In particular, we will be joining forces with other colleges that have South West link regions. This project is in its infant stages at present, with news of developments anticipated in the autumn of 2020. Exeter is also expanding its outreach links by working with Tottenham University Project, an outreach programme for young people in Years 5 and 6. This year, we are working with Tottenham University Project to develop a new scheme focused on the transition from primary school to secondary school, and I look forward to sharing news of this soon. With many new programmes in the mix, it looks to be an exciting year ahead.