Learning centre launches outreach work in Blackbird Leys

Hundreds of children in south and east Oxford will receive significant educational support thanks to a collaboration between Oxford University and children’s educational charity IntoUniversity.

Christ Church Oxford, the University of Oxford and education charity IntoUniversity have created a learning centre which will work with the local schools and teachers to offer 900 young people each year the academic and personal support required to achieve a university place or another education pathway.

The new learning centre operated by IntoUniversity and supported by the University’s outreach staff and student volunteers from Christ Church opened in November 2014 and was officially launched on Tuesday 3 February with a reception attended by local parents, students and teachers. The support from the learning centre will include after school academic support, mentoring and a focus programme designed to help young people to realise and fulfil their aspirations.

The centre will also offer an annual programme of visits to university colleges. Staff will be supported by up to 80 student volunteers, from Christ Church and across the university, who will act as mentors, tutors and role models. The centre will work closely with local schools and community organisations to achieve the aims of the programme, working with participants from the age of seven over the long-term up to their post-school education and beyond.

In its first academic year, IntoUniversity Oxford South East will work with four local partner primary schools on their FOCUS Programme - Windale Primary School, Pegasus Primary School and Orchard Meadow Primary School (who form the Blackbird Academy Trust) and Rose Hill Primary School. IntoUniversity will also be working with local secondary schools, delivering workshops in schools including The Oxford Academy, Oxford Spires and Cheney School, and taking students out of school on trips to Christ Church.

The Very Reverend Professor Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, said: ’Christ Church is delighted to have initiated the setting up of the centre in Blackbird Leys. Christ Church and its students are supporting the centre through student mentoring, visits and events at our main site and financial contributions. We believe that the centre will significantly improve the life chances of some of Oxford’s least advantaged children.’

Dr Samina Khan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach at Oxford University, said: ’We know the importance of early development and educational opportunity to support ability and attainment. Oxford is delighted to be working with Christ Church and IntoUniversity on a sustained programme targeting children early in their educational careers right through to applying for university, apprenticeships or further training and education. Support for this programme from the local primary and secondary schools has been great and we look forward to working with them as this programme goes from strength to strength.’