Accessible Wadham

14th February 2019

News, Student news, Alumni news

Teach First Wadham Bursary holder Clara Breakwell (French, 2010) returns to Wadham with forty Year 6 students from Elmhurst Primary School in Newham, East London, where she teaches.

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    Arriving at Wadham

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    Clara captures a picture of her students in Front Quad

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The students were taking part in an aspiration day aimed at younger pupils.

“These students are only ten but I think by bringing them here, Oxford becomes a more accessible place. If they are comfortable here for a day then they know they will be comfortable in the future and they understand that Oxford is not the preserve of the privileged,” she said

The students comments on what they had learned during their morning at Wadham, included:

“I didn’t know you lived in College”; “you have a church in the College!”; “there’s a library with all the books ever written”; “you don’t have to wear uniforms”; “people ride bicycles to get around the university”.

Explaining university was the subject of the first presentation to the group by Wadham’s Access and Outreach Officer Hugh Munro, before they took part in an interactive storytelling workshop and tours of Wadham College led by current undergraduates.

Lunch in Hall was a highlight for the students, who shared their Harry Potter stories and decided that they would join the Oxford University Quidditch Club if and when they come to Oxford.

After teaching primary school students in Paris during her year abroad from Wadham, Clara chose Teach First as her next step after completing her degree. “I wasn’t absolutely sure what I wanted to do but after a short time in teaching I knew I really loved it.”

At Elmhurst Primary School Clara feels she can really make a difference. “It is a very aspirational school and standards of behaviour are high.”

She has gone from working as Language Co-ordinator to Literacy Co-ordinator and has recently taken on the role of running the English Hub working with teachers from North East London and Essex to improve standards of English teaching.

“I love coming back to Wadham and have amazing memories of my time as a student. I’m full of admiration for the access work here” she concluded.

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    Clara with the students

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    Q and A with Wadham students

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    Lunch in Hall

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