APPLICATIONS are now open for Aim for Oxford, a free two-year programme run by St Anne’s College and Christ Church.

The goal is to increase the number of successful applications to Oxford University from state schools in the North East.

Currently students from the North East are underrepresented at Oxford, which has just been named as the world’s top ranked University for the fourth year by the Times Higher Education.

The Aim for Oxford programme is open to pupils entering Year 12 of a state school in the North East of England.

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Up to 40 students will be selected on the basis of 'contextualised educational achievement' at GCSE together with indicators of social and educational disadvantage.

Successful applicants will be expected to meet at least one of a number of widening participation criteria.

St Anne’s College Outreach Officer Jessy McCabe will be visiting a number of schools in the region this week to introduce the programme to students who may be interested in applying.

St Anne’s College Principal Helen King said: "This ambitious and exciting new initiative will provide talented students from the North East with insights and the best possible support so that they can aim for Oxford.

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"We are looking forward to working with schools, students, and the local community to open up the university, and reaching those students who we are currently missing out on.’

Samina Khan, Director, Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, said: ‘Oxford wants to ensure that students from different backgrounds and regions are welcomed to Oxford.

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"This programme will help to support students in the North East to feel Oxford is for them, and I’m looking forward to seeing more academically talented students from this region coming to study at the University.’