Oxbridge Project Assembly

Dr O’Hear: On Tuesday July 1st, fifty-seven students from 7B, 8B, 9B and 10B filed nervously into the Dennis Potter Theatre for a special assembly announcing the results of the 2014 Oxbridge Project interviews.

All of these students are to be commended for putting themselves forward for this rigorous interview programme in which they were tested on their ability to analyse an unseen text, their knowledge of Current Affairs and then put through their paces on a range of questions on their preferred subject. Maths students, for example, were presented with the classic problem of how many squares there are on a chess board (and no, the answer is not 64!).

Designed to mirror the sort of interview experience one would face at Oxbridge and top Russell Group universities, these interviews, conducted by two members of BDA staff, were not for the faint hearted. However, many of our most able students excelled under this particular type of pressure and 35 of them were offered a place on next year’s Oxbridge Project as a result.

The entire cohort was addressed by special guest speaker Professor Anthony O’Hear (Professor of Philosophy at the University of Buckingham) on the importance of immersing oneself in a ‘liberal education’ (as opposed to an entirely exams-focused education). He spoke of how encountering the music of Beethoven via one of his French teachers (something that was definitely *not* on the French curriculum!) began to open his horizons beyond the constraints of his fairly tough schooling in a deprived part of South Tottenham. Beethoven led to an interest in the history of the time, the French and American Revolutions and so on and so on.

This sort of intellectual emancipation and curiosity, as well as being exactly what the top universities are looking for, is something that will, once ignited, enrich the rest of your lives. It is my great hope that the talks and discussions we have at the Oxbridge Project seminars are starting to light this sort intellectual fuse within you: it is something that cannot be taught, only set in motion.

All students received a commemorative certificate and those who received a place on the Oxford Project for next year were also presented with a scholar’s gown to wear for the rest of the day.  Congratulations to all who took part in the process and special thanks to the twenty three BDA teachers who gave up their precious free periods to plan and conduct the interviews.