Oxford helping teachers to help students to a place at Oxford

A mock Oxford interview and seminars for science teachers on creating rainbows using colourless liquids and the physics of volcanic eruptions will be some of the events on offer at a conference for teachers hosted by Oxford University.

A bit young for OxfordTeachers from 6 schools in Birmingham and the West Midlands are among those attending the Maths & Science Teachers’ Conference hosted by Oxford University.

The free one-day event on Wednesday 4 July in Bristol is designed to help teachers with resources for bright students interested in science and maths. It also offers insights into the Oxford admissions process specifically in maths and science subjects in order to help teachers encourage more bright state school students to apply to Oxford.

The day of seminars will take place at the At-Bristol Science Learning Centre: It will include practical work in purpose-built teaching laboratories and topics that teachers will be able to develop in their own institutions.

Maryam Ahmed attended Swindon New College Swindon and has just finished her final year studying Engineering at Christ Church, Oxford. She will be one of the students helping out at the conference and says: ‘At school, I enjoyed Maths and Science but I wasn’t really sure what a degree in these subjects would involve.

‘Thanks to an amazing A-Level teacher who encouraged me to attend events like the Royal Aeronautical Society Women’s Day, I realised that an Engineering degree would set me up for an exciting, varied, international career and enable me to make a real contribution to society. Girls in particular can feel that science isn’t for them, which is why it’s so important for teachers to provide role models, and demonstrate that STEM subjects are open to anyone with an enquiring mind.’

Dr Martin Christlieb from Oxford’s Department of Oncology is an admissions tutor for Oxford’s Biological Sciences course and is taking part in the conference. He says: ‘Oxford University produces amazing groundbreaking research in science subjects – my department, Oncology, works to develop more effective cancer treatments.  This sort of research needs graduates with backgrounds in biology, chemistry, physics, maths, and engineering alike. An important part of our work is training the next generation of maths and science researchers who will continue this work.  That process starts with bright students in school; we want to spark their interest in maths and science, but also show them that new medicine needs scientists and medics working together.

‘Being involved with teachers through conferences like this one is a great chance to showcase resources and ideas to interest and challenge bright science students in schools. It gives us a chance to show students that they can make a difference to cancer by studying science and maths.  It also gives us a chance to show teachers what the admissions process at Oxford is like and how they can support their students in making the best application possible.

‘Ultimately it’s about working with teachers to get the right messages out there to students interested in science subject: It’s really important that those who are good at and like maths and science keep trying to get better at it and learn to truly love it. There are so many ways in which their skills can be put to use, and they can make a real difference in the world by following their interests and developing their skills. And if that means aiming high and applying to Oxford, we want to make sure they get the best support and encouragement in their application as possible.’

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