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12th November 2012

Exeter hosts 180 Investigating Options teachers

Over three days this week, Exeter is playing host to around 180 teachers from state schools across the country. They will be accompanying some of their Year 11 students as part of the Investigating Options Days.

Investigating Options focuses on encouraging students to think about the opportunities available to them at university, and how their choice of A-levels might affect those choices. In the morning, students will attend a series of 15-minute ‘mini lectures’ by Oxford academics and postgraduate students. Exeter tutors Helen Brookman, Christina de Bellaigue and Jo Dunkley will be among those speaking. In the afternoon, students will join small group workshops with current undergraduates, while their teachers will convene at Exeter for a session on supporting their students’ choices.

The events are part of the Pathways Programme, an outreach collaboration between a number of Oxford’s colleges. Pathways is targeted at students in non-selective state schools with little history of successful applications to Oxford, and runs events for a number of year groups.

Exeter’s Schools Liaison Officer, Ashley Walters, who is coordinating the days and running the teachers’ sessions, said: ‘It is very important that school students are aware of what applying to university involves before sixth form. Some A-level subjects are absolutely crucial for studying certain courses at competitive universities like Oxford, so we need to make sure this message gets out to students before they make their choices. Teachers play a crucial role in advising their students and encouraging the most able, so I am particularly pleased that we can host the Investigating Options teachers here at Exeter.’

Holly Quinlan, a second year studying history at Exeter, is volunteering to help with the events. ‘My time at Oxford has been some of the best years of my life, and I think it’s unfair that others who would enjoy it just as much could miss out because of bad press. Oxford’s outreach initiatives are all about showing students that the stereotype isn’t true, and letting them make an informed decision about how suitable Oxford is for them. It’s really important to get that information out there for students as early as possible so they can make the right academic choices for their future.’

More information on Exeter’s outreach programme can be foundĀ here.

More information on the Pathways Programme can be found on the University of Oxford website atĀ

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