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Lady Margaret Hall (LMH), welcomes the announcement that Oxford University is to develop pioneering programmes inspired by the LMH Foundation Year, along with the innovative bridging scheme developed by University College.

It is part of two major initiatives designed to ensure that by 2023 one Oxford UK undergraduate in four is from an under-represented background.

The two new programmes – Foundation Oxford and Opportunity Oxford – aim to increase significantly the number of most promising students from groups who are currently under-represented in Oxford. Foundation Oxford will be open to students who have personally experienced particularly severe disadvantage or educational disruption. Opportunity Oxford is aimed at students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

When fully up and running, these major new programmes will offer transformative paths to outstanding education for up to 250 state school students a year, representing 10% of Oxford’s UK undergraduate intake. This represents a significant step change for the University, boosting the proportion of students coming to Oxford from under-represented backgrounds from 15% of the current UK intake to 25%.

LMH’s Foundation Year, established in 2016, was the first of its kind at an Oxbridge college. It was based on a 20-year project at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), the impressive Trinity Access Programme.

TCD data shows that - with the help of a foundation year - students from low socio-economic status groups eventually perform just as well as more traditional applicants.

LMH’s pilot project is three years old and we are finding the same. So far we have had 100 per cent retention on course. 76 per cent of the first two years matriculated as full undergraduates at Oxford. All the students who didn’t, in the end, go on to study at Oxford received Russell Group offers and say they benefited from the year they spent honing their academic skills.

Alan Rusbridger, Principal of LMH, said: “Creating a more level admissions playing field is not dumbing down, but helping up. Foundation years are a very powerful tool in allowing extraordinarily talented and committed young people to have an Oxford education. A commitment to social mobility doesn’t have to be in tension with excellence: quite the opposite. It is to Oxford’s credit that it has allowed innovative experiments at individual colleges.

“LMH already looks, and feels, different: we have benefited immensely from the 30-odd students (nearly 10 per cent of our annual intake) we’ve had so far on our foundation year. It is thanks to the vision, dedication and commitment of tutors, staff, students and alumni that it is proving to be successful.

“And now, with expanded schemes and a real commitment at the centre, significant change across Oxford looks certain to happen.”

About LMH

LMH is a diverse, open, intellectually curious and pioneering Oxford University college. We have been leading change since 1879, when we became the first college to educate women – until then excluded from Oxford. We admitted men in 1979 and, in 2016, became the first Oxbridge college to establish a Foundation Year for under-represented students.

More about the LMH Foundation Year can be found here

To meet some of our Foundation Year students click here

To find out more about the announcement by Oxford University click here

Read the Principal's blog here