Earlier this year, Corpus Christi was delighted to announce the launch of the Derby Scholars Programme. Set up in partnership with the University of Derby, the pilot scheme aims to address the low number of Derby City’s young people making applications to Oxbridge.

On 30 January, Katherine Baysan, Outreach and Admissions Officer, and Vicky Morris, subject ambassador in maths and philosophy, travelled to Derby to meet the 100 students across years 9 and 12, selected by their schools to take part.

Lockdown sadly led to the cancellation of the Derby students return visit to Corpus, due to take place in May.  Determined not to allow the Programme to falter, on-site activities were replaced by interactive online academic skills and application support sessions. Subject ambassadors also gave presentations and answered questions about student life.

Pupils were also able to take part in virtual tours of the College. These will be followed by physical visits when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Professor Robin Murphy, Tutor for Admissions and Access, explains: “We were keen to adapt this sustained contact programme to maintain provision for the Derby Scholars despite the current challenging situation. We hope the focused and prolonged provision will enable students to develop the necessary skills, and provide them with the relevant information, to make successful choices for higher education.”

The Derby Scholars Programme was developed to address the barriers, which may prevent able young people from accessing opportunities.  Katherine Baysan sums up: “It was really important for us to ensure the students didn’t lose out on the support we had pledged to enable them to make important decisions, and we hope competitive applications to university. We are delighted that the feedback we have received shows how much the students have benefitted from all our hard work.”

Read more about the Derby Scholars Programme here.