Fifty students who have faced “severe personal disadvantage” or a disrupted education will be admitted onto a new Oxford University ‘foundation year’ course with a minimum three B grades, The Times reports.
The Astrophoria Foundation Year is fully funded and will develop students’ academic skills, self-belief and confidence before they start the standard undergraduate course.
The Astrophoria Foundation Year builds on the model of a pilot foundation year programme pioneered by college Lady Margaret Hall since 2016. The first Astrophoria cohort will be admitted in October next year. Ten Oxford colleges are taking part initially.
The news came on the same day that The Times reported that the vice chancellor of Cambridge University, Professor Stephen Toope, told private schools that they will have to accept that their pupils will be getting fewer offers of Oxbridge places in the future.
An annual report published yesterday by Oxford showed that 68 per cent of students admitted last year achieved three A*s at A-level but students will be able to access the foundation year with grades from BBB to AAB.
Professor Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “This will have a transformative impact on the lives of the smartest students who have experienced grave disadvantage. The programme will enable us to accelerate the progress we have made, as demonstrated in our annual admissions report, in broadening the socioeconomic backgrounds of our undergraduate students.
“I am deeply grateful to the generous donor who shares our belief in the power of education and our commitment to identifying and nurturing talent.”
Overall, admissions data shows the proportion of state school pupils gaining a place at Oxford had risen from 58 per cent in 2017 to 68 per cent in 2021.