The Access Team had the pleasure of working with another fantastic group of student interns at the end of Hillary Term.

Four students, Patrick Ashmore (Geography), Matilda Noble (Biology), Eleanor Bowen (Classics and Hebrew) and Jack Southall (Psychology) were offered a paid two-week internship. Patrick and Eleanor produced thorough plans for next year’s Inspire Critical Thinking programme and developed content for the final workshop of this year’s cycle. Jack, our communications intern, created instructional videos for 1st Year students, while Matilda planned our Year 9–12 Inspire Summer School timetables. All four interns equally helped with Access visits from visiting schools, leading informative tours and Q&A sessions, and their anecdotes about student life helped to enhance the experience for pupils.

Patrick has summarised his experience below:

Joining St. John’s as an Access Intern has been an incredibly diverse and rewarding experience. From immersing myself in critical thinking programmes to assisting with primary school visits and teacher training days, the two weeks have been both enriching and enjoyable.

Engaging directly with students during primary school visits and student tours has been particularly enlightening. Witnessing their enthusiasm for learning and guiding them through campus tours has reinforced the importance of fostering a supportive educational environment. Question and answer sessions with numerous school visits were equally enjoyable: it was rewarding to impart my knowledge and experiences at Oxford to young students.

Collaborating with teachers during teacher training days has provided valuable insights into the challenges faced by teachers and the opportunity to contribute to enhancing their teaching methodologies. Facilitating workshops and providing practical guidance has been immensely gratifying, knowing that it directly impacts the quality of education delivered in classrooms. Designing workshops and writing articles on a variety of topics has been intellectually stimulating, encouraging students to think critically and analytically about the world around them.

The provision of free accommodation and lunch has been a significant benefit, alleviating financial burdens and enabling me to immerse myself fully in my role without distraction. Additionally, the approachability and supportiveness of my supervisors have been instrumental in navigating the challenges of the internship and maximizing the learning opportunities available. Katie and Ollie were very helpful with any questions I had about my work across the two weeks and this both aided my learning and put me at ease when trying new ideas.

Working as part of the Access team has been a fulfilling experience, driven by a shared commitment to promoting educational equity and accessibility. Working with my fellow access interns has been gratifying and enjoyable. We have supported each other’s learning and collaborated on projects effectively.

Student Ambassadors play a vital role in the College’s access work, acting as role models to students, and providing personal insights into life at Oxford. St John’s has one of the biggest Access Teams across the collegiate University. We work predominantly with students from non-selective state schools within our link regions of East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, and Southampton, as well as Ealing and Harrow. We aim to inspire students from more disadvantaged backgrounds to aim for higher education, as well as running projects to support raising attainment for these students. Many of our events and projects depend on student ambassadors and so we will soon be recruiting for School Visit Ambassadors, Primary School Ambassadors and MCR Academic Ambassadors in addition to Summer School Ambassadors.

Details of how to apply will be distributed around College early in Trinity Term.