Springboard Project Announced

1st March 2021

News, Student news, Alumni news

Balliol, Hertford and Wadham Colleges are collaborating on a new initiative to support school pupils during the pandemic, drawing from the academic expertise of Oxford’s graduate student community. 

  • Springboard logo

The online video project, titled ‘Springboard’, will host a range of 15-20 minute video lessons serving as super-curricular ‘stretch’ resources, primarily targeted to Year 12 students. “We have been working with Oxford graduates who are passionate about outreach to create short video introductions to a range of interesting topics” says Pravahi Osman, The David Freeman Outreach Officer at Balliol College. These sessions will go beyond content covered in the school curriculum and will give a window into the breadth of study and research going on at the university.  

'Super-curricular’ activities can play an important role in developing pupils' interests and in helping them decide which subjects they want to study.  “We hope these videos will be a versatile resource for schools and pupils alike and will help students to deepen their knowledge of what studying at university is like. Making the videos pre-recorded with suggested follow up activities will also cater to the needs of pupils where computer access for ‘live’ content can be difficult. We hope these resources will act as a springboard for pupils to expand their knowledge and develop their interests ahead of applying to university” says Dr Kathryn Boast, STEM Outreach Officer at Hertford College.  

Springboard is one of the initial projects announced by the Oxford for East England consortium, which brings Balliol, Hertford and Wadham Colleges together to support schools and students from the East of England region. 

“Springboard has been an exciting opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues at other colleges” says Nathan Stazicker, Outreach and Communications Officer at Hertford College “and to develop resources that will benefit students from across the East of England and beyond.” 

The project started with an initial callout towards the end of last year along with a training session led by Wadham’s Access and Outreach Officer, Dr Hugh Munro. ‘The response from graduates across the University has been fantastic. So many masters’ and doctoral students stepped forward, willing to share their interest and expertise with younger ages. It has been wonderful seeing the range of topics suggested for sessions highlighting the breadth of fascinating topics currently being researched at Oxford”  says Hugh.

The aim is not only to help students learn beyond their curriculum, but also offer a window into the diversity of research interests at Oxford, and the bigger, often inter-disciplinary questions our students are exploring in their studies. “We hope that able students at GCSE and A Level will engage with this material” says Pravahi “to extend their learning and explore the interdisciplinary nature of learning at Oxford.’   

The Springboard resources are scheduled to be released later this year. Any Oxford graduate students interested in contributing to future rounds of the project should contact access@wadham.ox.ac.uk for more details.