Pembroke announces first ever “access fellow”

demic post devoted to encouraging the best state school students to apply to top universities.

Dr Peter Claus, a senior research fellow in history, has been appointed as the college’s “access fellow”, a position that Pembroke believes is the first of its kind for a publishing academic in Oxford.

This new role will allow Dr Claus to oversee the expansion of Pembroke’s existing access programme based in East London for students in South Cheshire and Manchester. The current programme provides Oxford-style teaching for students at Brooke House Sixth Form College (BSix) in Hackney, East London.

Dr Claus hopes that the developments will make students feel “better prepared to make an application to Pembroke, to Oxford or to other competitive universities.”

He added: “We hope that after working with an access fellow over a full academic year, pupils will have experience of undergraduate teaching and some knowledge about the Oxford admissions process and so will be able to look beyond the myths and feel confident about applying to Oxford.”

The sessions will include teaching in a “tutorial room” to create an environment suited to personal study or mock interviews, while students will get the chance to experience life at an Oxford college.

60 students, increasing to 90 when the Manchester programme begins in 2013 or 2014 will also attend one-on-one tutorials, seminars and skill sessions taught by academics, postgraduates and undergraduates.

The North West programme will be based at South Cheshire School while the seminars for London students will be based at Citibank in Canary Wharf.

Erin Wysocki-Jones, Pembroke’s JCR access officer, said: “Our programme includes the Study Skills School, e-mentoring and a week long residential school at Pembroke College that recreates a week in the life of an undergraduate.”

She added: “By working with our Access Fellow, Peter Claus, over an entire year they will experience undergraduate level teaching and gain an invaluable insight in the Oxford admissions process.”

The Hackney project has been incredibly successful, with successful applications to Russell Group universities increasing by over 500 per cent in the five years Pembroke has been running sessions in the sixth form college.

Wysocki-Jones said:  “We are now taking our model north to South Cheshire and the Manchester area. We are confident that we will experience the same success as we have with Brooke House.

“The programme offers high achieving students to experience the Oxford approach to learning. We want students to feel better prepared when making an application to Pembroke or indeed Russell Group Universities.”

She added: “Pembroke has always been committed to access and the creation of an Access Fellow is confirmation of this.”