We are committed to inspiring the brightest students from every background to come to Oxford. In particular, we wish to support students from underrepresented or marginalised communities in applying to Oxford, and we are seeking to eliminate the barriers to a successful application through the following projects.

Access Team

Somerville employs two members of staff in its Access Office, one is full-time and the other part-time. The access staff coordinate all our outreach events and are the point of contact between the College and schools. Annual cost £43,000.

In addition, we will for the first time have a student access and opportunities officer, a recent graduate who understands the pressures and challenges for students from disadvantaged and/or minority backgrounds at Oxford. Annual cost £27,500

Outreach Events

We will continue our work with Bucks, Hounslow and Kingston-upon-Thames, but in addition we are now also working with schools in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight as part of the Oxford for SE Consortium, an outreach collaboration with three other colleges, which incorporates school visits to Somerville and other regional events. We also collaborate with university-wide activities such as the remote interview workshops and BAME study days. 

Somerville also hosts Study Days in Spring Half-Term. These sessions are open to all Year 12 students currently at a UK state school or college, and offer students the chance to hear engaging introductions to their subject of interest, attend seminars with our academics and receive an admissions talk from our Senior Tutor – all completely free of charge. Annual cost £66,500.

UNIQ Summer Schools

Somerville is an active supporter and participant in the UNIQ Summer Schools programme, the University of Oxford scheme enabling students from underrepresented or marginalised communities to meet Oxford student, explore their favourite subjects with our world-class academics and take part in our social activities. Annual cost £2,350.

Universify Summer Schools

Somerville is proud to host the Universify Summer Schools for Year 10 pupils. Universify is a charity tackling educational inequality since 2016, which seeks to enable anyone with academic potential to gain access to university regardless of their background. In 2020, Universify participants were nearly twice as likely to successfully apply to university than their peers, and 2.5 times more likely to receive offers to high-tariff universities. Annual cost £68,000

Target Oxbridge

Somerville is an active supporter and participant in the Target Oxbridge programme that helps students from African and Caribbean heritage increase their chances of getting into the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge (known collectively as Oxbridge). Since launching in 2012, Target Oxbridge has helped over 200 students to secure Oxbridge offers. Annual cost £6,400.

The KARTA initiative

The Karta Initiative is an inclusive movement to transform life outcomes with human, tech and financial capital for young people in the bottom billion of the world’s population. They broaden the talent market by shrinking the gulf between two extremes of world-leading opportunity and youth devoid of economic privilege. Somerville has been closely involved with the Karta Initiative with the aim of providing an Oxford education for the brightest minds in this economic group. Annual cost £5,850.

Tackling Educational Disadvantage in Oxford

The City of Oxford is the second most unequal city in the country with very poor educational attainment. As one means of addressing this we are leading a pilot which will twin Colleges with local primary schools in Oxford and in which our students and JRFs will participate. Annual cost £3,000

Sanctuary Scholarships

In 2021, Somerville was one of the first two colleges of higher education to be recognised as a College of Sanctuary, alongside its sister college, Mansfield. This recognition represents the next stage in Somerville’s long history of providing a welcoming and nurturing environment for refugees and displaced people. To deepen our work as a college of sanctuary, we have established the Sanctuary Scholarship that allows a displaced or stateless student to study at Somerville. Annual cost £15,000.

Support Access & Outreach

Or to discuss supporting our access and outreach work further, please contact Sara Kalim, Development Director