Education Minister, Huw Lewis is visiting Oxford University today as part of his work to ensure more Welsh students gain access to the UK’s top universities.
The Minister is promoting the Welsh Government’s ‘Seren: Supporting Wales’ Brightest programme which aims to ensure Wales’ most academically talented learners access high level support and mentoring to help them gain entry into the UK’s top universities.
As part of his commitment to supporting Wales’ brightest, the Minister is also calling on Welsh alumni from Oxford, Cambridge and other leading universities to support to the next generation of high achievers by becoming ambassadors for the Seren programme.
Alumni can volunteer to support one of the Seren regional partnership ‘ hubs’ and can provide insight and support to students by speaking about their own course and university choices, their experiences of the admission process and academia, and their subsequent careers.
The Welsh Government is establishing eleven regional partnership hubs to support Wales’ most academically talented learners. Seren learners are then exposed to a similarly talented peer group, and supported and mentored to help them access top universities .
In recent years the Welsh Government has been working to understand how to better support high achieving students to progress to leading universities and Oxford has been an active partner in this work.
To build on this the Education Minister will spend his day at Oxford speaking to students, academics and senior management about how the Seren programme can work most effectively to support bright Welsh students and their teachers.
The Minister said: “I want Wales’ most talented and able learners to have every opportunity to study at prestigious and world leading institutions like Oxford.
“Over the last few years we have been working closely with Oxford to build networks, to understand the barriers to access and look at how we can better support our learners to navigate the university’s admissions process.
“Oxford staff have been hugely supportive and I would like to thank them for their time, support and their willingness to engage.
“Our Seren Network aims to ensure our most talented pupils can access high level support and mentoring, can develop their confidence and intellectual curiosity , and can ultimately gain entry into top UK universities.
“Its success very much depends on us maintaining strong networks with leading universities such as Oxford and I look forward to us further developing our strong working partnership over the next few years.
“We are also putting the call out to Welsh alumni of top universities to support our next generation of high achievers. By offering their time and expertise, they can genuinely inspire a new generation of high achievers and can often help turn a young person’s far off dream into a life changing reality.”
Oxford University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, said:
“Oxford has embraced this opportunity to work closely with the Welsh government. Together we are encouraging an increasing number of talented students in Welsh schools and colleges to study here.
“ The University and its colleges have enjoyed longstanding links with a range of Welsh schools and teachers, and through the Seren Network this relationship is set to deepen. The regional hubs have a clear strategy and great potential, and we share the Minister’s aspiration to support them through strong networks of Oxford graduates. I’m delighted to welcome Huw Lewis to the University to underline our shared view that the best and brightest in Wales can, and should, aspire to study at Oxford.