St Anne’s College is committed to widening access to Oxford and becoming ever more diverse and inclusive. This year, the College recognised that the method originally used by Ofqual to allocate grades was likely to have a disproportionately negative effect on high achieving pupils in state, non-selective and lower performing schools and colleges. When those results were released College tutors and staff worked with great care, using all the information available to us, to ensure that any capacity to accept candidates who had not met their offer conditions was prioritised to those who had been most disadvantaged.
We welcomed the subsequent announcement that students’ grades would additionally be awarded based on teachers’ predictions. This change resulted in even more of our offer-holders meeting the terms of their offer and we will be delighted to welcome all 135 confirmed offer holders to St Anne’s in October.
The College usually has a teaching capacity of 128 and bedrooms for 126 freshers. Our Covid-19 preparations, to protect the physical and mental wellbeing of all members of the College next term, have meant that the number of available bedrooms will be reduced by 27 and teaching staff will suffer increased pressures. We are working hard to ensure all students have a safe, educationally rewarding, and enjoyable experience next term and will seek external financial support for the additional costs being incurred. We are confident that all members of our community will do their bit by being flexible, acting responsibly, and cooperating fully with the new safety procedures we are putting in place.
Unlike some Colleges we have not accepted every offer holder who missed their grades, as all the information available to us, including schools’ predicted grades, has enabled subject tutors to consider every candidate individually. We are proud of the great care and lengthy hours committed by tutors and staff in their efforts to be fair and supportive to all offer holders. The final position is that 99% of St Anne’s offer holders who had Oxford as their UCAS first choice have now had their places confirmed. They include students from schools and colleges that have never sent anyone to Oxbridge before and students who have experienced Local Authority care, homelessness and other significant disadvantage. We have also worked very closely with University Departments to facilitate students starting their courses this year, where that is their preference.
We are concerned that disparities in the quality and quantity of online teaching provided by different schools to pupils entering Year 13 over important months of their A-level courses will generate even greater barriers for disadvantaged applicants aspiring to apply to Oxford next year. Therefore we have sought to avoid compounding this by not filling 2021 places prior to the start of the admissions process. Year 13 pupils, their parents/carers and teachers are invited to attend Oxford’s virtual Open Day on 18 Sept https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/virtual-open-day and to visit the St Anne’s events being held that day https://www.st-annes.ox.ac.uk/study-here/undergraduate/open-days/.
Over the last three years the proportion of students admitted to St Anne’s from areas of socio-economic deprivation, areas with low levels of progression to Higher Education, and from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities have all continued to grow steadily. 67% of last year’s St Anne’s UK freshers were from state schools, compared with 60% in the University overall. 75% of 2020 UK freshers will be state educated. This year St Anne’s has been a leading early adopter of the new Opportunity Oxford programme and we look forward to welcoming one of the highest numbers of students on the programme of any College.
We have updated this information to provide assurance that, despite these difficult and insecure times, St Anne’s is determined to remain true to the proud legacy of our predecessors, who over 140 years ago opened an Oxford education to women, whilst simultaneously securing our future as a College that is truly diverse, forward looking, outward facing, ambitious, rigorous, supportive, and down to earth.