In a year past that has been characterised by a high degree of gloom and anxiety, there is something specially luminous and optimistic about Linacre and its work. For the Institute exists to light lamps in the mind which flicker then flare and are never extinguished — the flame of what Albert Einstein once called a “holy curiosity". Its lustre illuminates both teachers and taught alike in a community of scholars united in the thrill of following the intellect wherever it may lead.
A glowing Ucas study has concluded that Linacre’s work is revolutionising students’ university chances. The report compared our 2014 to 2017 cohorts to students in their database with similar backgrounds and GCSE results. On almost every measure, Linacre’s impact on students’ destinations was “very significantly high”. The independent study found Linacre students had extraordinary success at the “highest performing and most competitive institutions”. Fifty-seven per cent of Linacre students reached these universities, compared with 8% of their non- Linacre equivalents.
We are thrilled that Henry Davies of 106 Communications has just been appointed to our Board of Trustees. Henry was the first in his family to go to University, winning a place at Oxford to read English. He has worked in communications for over 20 years and runs his own Communications and Marketing business based in London. He will be a fantastic addition to the Board, bringing with him an important new expertise and a passion for social mobility.
It was announced this week, that law firm, CMS, is to become Linacre's first corporate sponsor. As well as providing us with financial support, they have a wealth of knowledge in working with young people from social mobility cold spots and helping them to reach their potential and flourish. We are currently working on a mentoring programme with them for those Linacre students who are interested in a career in law.
We are excited to be starting the interview process for our 2018 cohort of students for what will be our 5th Reach Higher Programme! The interview process is always really interesting and fun and we hope that this year's group will be as energetic as the last. To our outgoing cohort, who are approaching the final stages of their A level preparations with some fantastic University offers in hand, we wish you the very best of luck and look forward to hearing news of your results in due course.
One of Linacre's key values is offering support that is ‘Long-term and personal’, and we took a big step in this direction in January when we formed the Linacre Alumni Society. The Society helps formalise links between ex-students who are already keeping in touch and supporting each other, ensuring a community of curiosity continues long after the summer schools are over. It also aims to provide a networking platform for alumni particularly when they move from higher education into employment.
We are honoured that Prof Peter Hennessy (Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield) has agreed to become our first patron. Peter went from grammar school in Gloucestershire to become one of our leading journalists and historians. He has already done inspiring work with Linacre students, asking them never to lose what Einstein called “a holy curiosity”, a message which sums up much of what the charity is trying to achieve. Peter is also a crossbench, or independent, peer in the House of Lords.
The access chasm dividing north and south England is huge, new figures reveal. A child growing up in parts of southern England is 15 times more likely to reach a leading university than one in a Linacre target area, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Labour MP David Lammy. Between 2010 and 2015, students from Barnsley in South Yorkshire won just five offers from Cambridge.
Welcome to our spring newsletter. It has been an intriguing few months, with more success for our students but also new research showing just how much northern students need expert support. So far, nineteen of our 22 students in 2015-16 have won offers from our dozen most competitive universities, including Cambridge, Oxford, UCL, Edinburgh and Durham. All come from parts of the north of England in the bottom third nationally for educational outcomes.