On Tuesday 10 March 2020 we were pleased to welcome Year 12 students from non-selective state schools across the UK to our History Study Day

Our Study Days offer high-achieving Year 12 students at non-selective state schools an opportunity to experience higher level study in their chosen subject. Participants at our study days attend talks and workshops led by tutors, find out more about the course at Oxford and what tutors are looking for, and meet current St John’s students. You can find out more about Study Days here. 

Our Assistant Access and Outreach Officer, Dominique Simpson, started the day with an insightful talk for our participants about Oxford admissions and studying History at university. Following this introduction to the day, the students split into groups to attend seminars that were particularly relevant to their interests. There were a wide variety of fascinating options for the students to choose from, with each attending two out of: ‘Joan of Arc: A Medieval Peasant Girl’, given by Professor Hannah Skoda; ‘How to Read an Ancient Epitaph’, given by Professor Georgy Kantor; ‘Match ado about Women: Feminism, Socialism and the Match Girls Strike, 1888’, given by Dr Lyndsey Jenkins; and ‘Approaching Medieval Humour’, given by Amy Ebrey and Sumner Braund. The seminars gave the Study Day participants the opportunity to not only find out more about some of the interesting topics that they may study at university, but also to sample some university-level teaching. 

The day also gave students the chance to find out more about College life, with lunch in Hall and some free time to explore St John’s. In the afternoon the participants had some thought-provoking ‘Hands on History’ sessions, giving them a brilliant opportunity to examine manuscripts and original source materials both at St John’s and in the Bodleian Library, covering topics including the material culture of suffrage, Medieval life in the College collections, and the materiality of the Early Medieval West. 

Back in College, there was a Q&A with current History and joint schools students and the Access and Outreach officers, giving participants the chance to find out more about both the courses on offer at Oxford and the admissions process. To finish the day, participants were free to ask our Student Ambassadors some more informal questions over tea and cake. 

We received some excellent feedback from our participants following the Study Day: 

  • ‘I really enjoyed the ‘Hands on History’ seminar in the afternoon as it was very interesting to look at such important primary sources’
  • ‘My favourite part was the workshop on women’s suffrage because it gave me an insight into the social attitudes in the 20th century’
  • ‘The seminars were fantastic, especially about Feminism and Socialism. I really enjoyed discussing a subject I am passionate about with people who share my interest’
  • ‘It was fascinating and brilliant to have access to such old resources’

Many thanks to everyone who was involved in putting together our History Study Day for making it so useful and informative for those who took part. 

History Study Day