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Walthamstow School for Girls

Year 10 trip to St Peter’s College, Oxford

Students visit Oxford University

10 students had the opportunity to spend the day at the University of Oxford. We travelled by coach along with students and staff from Kelmscott and Willowfield and were looked after by Schools Liaison Officer, Dan Pugh-Bevan, who had coordinated the day.

The girls participated in a chemistry practical session, where they performed the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, had lunch in a grand dining hall, heard about the collegiate system and ended the day with a session on Anglo Saxon.

The day was hugely inspirational, and the girls picked up lots of top tips about how to prepare for interviews at top universities like Oxford and Cambridge. Here are a few:

  • Choice of subject – study the subject that you love. Ken Loach studied Law at St Peter’s, but still became an award winning film director. If you are passionate about your subject, anything is possible.
  • Wider reading – invest in a notebook and jot down which books, TV programmes, films, TED talks etc you have read/watched that have developed your knowledge of what you have learnt in the classroom. Practise talking passionately about what you have learnt.
  • Watch the news – be able to talk about your chosen subject in the real world. A potential music student was interviewed for Cambridge in 2012, and asked what he thought of the music for the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

Here is some feedback from the students:

The experience was very educational and let us develop our independence in the sessions. We also had assurance that Oxford is a great university to apply for and that they are more interested in your brain than where you come from. What is important is the ability to work hard and the drive to succeed. Overall it was a great day.
Hafsa and Hawa

The day has really inspired us to consider Oxford in the future and we had lots of positive vibes throughout the day. The chemistry experiment was particularly fun. We were given so much trust and independence. At first we didn’t understand what to do, but we were left to work it out ourselves, and we did! One of the main things we learnt about applying is that they are looking for rounded people and that it is really important to have outside interests and to be able to talk about them.
Assa and Erin

My favourite part of the day was the chemistry experiment as it was so unexpected that we would actually be doing it ourselves. It was inspiring to find out that at Oxford they are interested to know who we are. It’s not just about getting top grades.

It was really interesting to hear about the 35 different colleges and how the college system works. My favourite part of the day was the chemistry experiment as we were just given instructions and then had to get on with it, in pairs. It was good that we had to learn from our mistakes as it helps us to remember in the future. It was a really interesting day.

The School Liaison Officer from St Peter’s has now visited Walthamstow School for Girls to talk to Year 7 and Year 9 and will continue to work closely with us in the future.

Ms Robinson
Challenge Coordinator