A new scheme led by Oxford Hub, a charity ‘working to build a more equal, resilient and connected Oxford,’ sees Oxford University colleges twinning with primary schools in the city. 

Five colleges have announced their involvement in the scheme: St John’s, New, Somerville, Trinity, and Exeter. The five primary schools involved in the scheme are Rose Hill, Wood Farm, St Frideswide, St Christopher’s, and John Henry Newman, respectively.

The Colleges will give the participating primary schools access to their staff and facilities. In addition, there will be student-led activities, such as singing in their twin college’s chapel and having lunches in the college’s dining hall.

The colleges will be providing academic support to students, both through workshops with college tutors in addition to a one-to-one program provided through Schools Plus, Oxford Hub’s free tutoring program. 

The scheme is being guided by Somerville College principal and chair of Oxford University’s Conference of Colleges, Jan Royall. 

Principal Royall told the BBC: “This pilot has the potential to create real and lasting relationships between colleges and local schools, raising aspirations, bringing the university and local community closer together and reducing educational inequality in our city.” 

“I am delighted that Somerville, which has always championed equality alongside academic excellence, will have the opportunity to build on its existing relationship with St Frideswide Primary.”

In an update from Somerville College, David Lewin, Headteacher of Wood Farm Primary School, commented “We’re delighted to be part of the new twinning project with Oxford University, and our staff are very excited about the possibilities it offers. We are passionate about our pupils having a strong sense of connection with the city they are growing up in, and all its history and treasures, and this project fits so well with our school values: Ambition, Beauty, and Connection. We’re looking forward to building a lasting and creative partnership with New College.”

Image: Brigade Piron / CC BY-SA 3.0

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