FIVE primary schools have twinned with University of Oxford colleges to benefit from extracurricular activities and academic support.

The pilot scheme has been launched by Oxford Hub, a charity formed in 2007 by university students who felt the need for better coordination between student charitable groups.

Twinning will provide the schools with access to college facilities and activities led by students, such as workshops with academic tutors, singing in the college chapel and lunches in the dining hall.

Colleges will also provide pupils with one-to-one academic support through Schools Plus, Oxford Hub’s free tutoring programme.

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Oxford colleges Exeter, New, St John’s, Somerville and Trinity will match with the primary schools John Henry Newman, Wood Farm, Rose Hill, St Frideswide and St Christopher’s respectively.

David Lewin, headteacher at Wood Farm Primary School in Headington, said: “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.”

Jan Royall, principal of Somerville College, said: “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.”

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A spokesperson for the university added: “Oxford University already offers support to local schools and families through its central undergraduate admissions and outreach teams, as well as divisions, departments, museums and collections.

“Trinity College serves as a link college for the region of Oxfordshire, providing a range of outreach activity and resources alongside the programmes run with local schools and teachers.

“The new initiative is targeted specifically at primary school pupils in a set of schools in particularly disadvantaged areas of Oxford.”

Oxford Hub said the vision for the programme is to ‘build long-term relationships between Oxford University and local schools, tackling educational inequality, raising local children’s aspirations and supporting them to achieve their potential’.

The charity’s 2020-21 review shows it coordinated more than 1,000 people to help each other in response to the pandemic, matched 145 Oxfordshire children with volunteer tutors and distributed 103 bikes to local families.