Oxford University launches access programme for students of Caribbean descent

University of Oxford has launched an access programme for Black Caribbean year 12s in state schools.


University of Oxford has launched an access programme for Black Caribbean year 12s in state schools.

The aim of this programme is to support British Caribbean students in making the best possible applications to highly selective universities (like Oxford and Cambridge). As a result to increase their representation at Worcester College and other Higher Education institutions. Furthermore, to make Worcester College a place where British Caribbean students can thrive in their learning and in all other aspects of the university experience.

What is this programme?

Thinking about Oxford... for Caribbean Students is an access programme for year 12s at state schools across the UK for whom 'Caribbean' is a part of their identity (including students from Black Caribbean and Indo-Caribbean groups, and students whose mixed heritages include one or more Caribbean groups). The programme will take the form of a series of events with staff members and students from the University of Oxford.
As well as covering all aspects of the application process and university life, the university will also take the opportunity to think carefully about the long history of Caribbean students at Oxford University. In addition, it will look at some of the ways in which colleges like Worcester are working to create more supportive environments for students currently under-represented in higher education. School pupils will have the opportunity to find out more about the student societies and connect with other Caribbean students across the different colleges of Oxford University. The events will take place virtually (via Zoom). The university would eventually arrange a visit to Worcester College as part of this programme, but this will only be possible if COVID-19 restrictions allow.

What will the programme cover?

The events will cover the following topics:

  • 17th May - Choosing a University
  • 7th June – Caribbean students at Oxford
  • 28th June - Choosing a Subject
  • 12th July – Making a Competitive Application
  • End of July - visit to Oxford (depending on COVID-19 restrictions)
  • 23rd August – Application Workshop

Why a specific access programme for Caribbean students?
Working towards racial equality has been high on the agenda for Worcester College for some time, both in terms of our work towards fair admissions processes and anti-racism work within the college environment. Earlier this year we were able to announce some good news about this work. 36% of Worcester 2020 intake were BAME, an increase from the 11% of our student population that BAME students made up in previous years.

However, when the college broke the data down beyond the single heading 'BAME', Worcester saw the story was not quite so simple. The number of BAME students and the number of Black students had increased. (Black students and students of mixed heritage including Black accounted for 8.5% of our student intake in 2020). As a result, it was no longer the case that white students as a group, when they applied, were more likely to be offered places than BAME students. (In fact, Black British African applicants and British Bangladeshi and Pakistani students were in 2020 more likely to be made offers than white students).

There remained one group from whom we received very few applications (fewer than 5), and who consequently continue to make up only a small proportion of Worcester's student body - British Caribbean students. It is not only at Worcester College, or only at Oxford University that British Caribbean students are under-represented. Students from these groups are under-represented across Higher Education more generally, and at Worcester we want to do something about this.

How do I apply?

Caribbean students studying in year 12 at state schools anywhere in the UK are eligible to apply. If more students apply than we are able to accept onto the programme, we will need to offer places to those students who are least likely to have received support with their university applications from their schools.

The university will use the demographic data collected from applicants to do this. Students who are already enrolled on the Target Oxbridge access scheme are not eligible for this programme, which will cover many of the same topics. However, they are welcome to get in touch with Worcester College if they are thinking of making an application and have specific questions.

To apply for a place on this access programme, please fill in this form.

The form will close at 5pm on the 1st May, so please make sure that you have filled in all of the fields before then.

If you have any questions, please contact Claire Sims, the Admissions and Access Officer:

Posted: March 24, 2021