Increasing access through sustained contact

The Catalyst Programme is the College’s established outreach initiative, aiming to equip students with the information and knowledge that they need to make informed decisions about their future. As a sustained contact programme, Catalyst provides pupils with tailored support at multiple points in their school career, as well as an opportunity to visit Oxford.

Using a ‘hub model’ for each event, the schools take turns to host pupils from the other schools in the network. This means the College has a greater impact in terms of the total number of participants, and shares the logistical strain of organising large scale events with all schools in the partnership. We currently work with four hubs, located in Lewisham, Haringey, Teesside and Wales.

So far this year, we’ve delivered six point 1 workshops, which involve members of the College Outreach team visiting each hub and working with Y8 students to introduce them to Higher Education. As part of this workshop, students work in teams to design their own university campuses before presenting their work back to the group. Over 260 students across Teesside, Lewisham, Haringey and Wales participated in these workshops. When asked what they had learnt as a result of the session, some of these students told us:

  • “You should still apply for a good university (like Oxford or Harvard) even if you don’t come from a rich family. Don’t cut out opportunities just because of your background”
  • “University is for everyone and a lot of people have a chance at [attending] university”

Currently, we are delivering our point 2 workshops, which work with Y10 students to introduce them to their post-16 options, as well as planning to welcome our partner schools to the College for point 3 of the programme in the summer. We’re really looking forward to welcoming them all to Catz!

If you’d like to find out more about the Catalyst programme then head over to the Catalyst section of our website. You can also find more information about supporting our work with schools and prospective applications on the support us page.