The charity helping northern state students reach our best universities

Big Ideas - Linacre students light up London

August 2016

Welcome to our summer 2016 newsletter. It's been busy...

Debating the Middle East at the FCO

Our third group of students began their Linacre journey in the shadow of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, and they did themselves proud.

100% agreed that after the July residential they felt more confident, both in general and about applying to competitive universities. And 100% said the six-day programme had a significant positive impact on them. The strongest results of all in the feedback were about how challenged they felt and how much they enjoyed it. “It made me feel”, wrote one, “as though no matter what my choices in life, I can move forward with confidence in myself and my ability.”

Michael and diplomat Ross Allen disagree

Stretching academic work in the mornings (“The best academic experience I’ve ever had”) was followed by a unique programme of workshops in the afternoon: debating Brexit in the House of Lords, role-plays at the Foreign Office, code-breaking with a Civil Service mathematician, dispute-resolution at Herbert Smith Freehills, ‘How to Read a Painting’ at the National Gallery – and many others.

Our 2016 cohort includes 24 students from seven schools across Yorkshire, the Derbyshire mining-belt and the North East. Their subject interests range from Philosophy with Linguistics to Chemical Engineering and Modern Languages. Once again it was made possible by the generosity of our hosts at Westminster School, the Woodward Trust, and by the efforts of many inspirational teachers and supporters. By the end, every student was aiming for at least two of our dozen most competitive universities. Twenty of the 24 currently intend to apply to Cambridge or Oxford.

At Shakespeare’s Globe

Linacre target areas among poorest in Northern Europe

Three Linacre target areas are among the 10 poorest regions in Northern Europe. According to the Inequality Briefing, Durham and the Tees Valley (3), South Yorkshire (5) and East Yorkshire (10) all make the list. The richest part of northern Europe is Inner London.

Recent Social Market Foundation research also suggests that even students from deprived parts of London do better academically than their northern counterparts, because their schools are more successful and find it easier to attract teachers.

Other News

  • Two of our 2016 cohort of students have become our first applicants to US Ivy League schools.
  • Expert tutors around the country are now mentoring and tutoring 2016 students via Skype. They provide first-class subject teaching and guidance from the comfort of a student’s home.
  • We welcome back three of our first group of students – now entering their second year at university – to teach on this year’s summer schools.
  • We have raised more than £20,000 in new funds in the past six months, thanks to generous support from individual donors, Trinity Hall, Cambridge and the Woodward Trust – a trust funded by the Sainsbury Family.
  • Cambridge University has confirmed that the end of AS levels leaves them with no choice but to reinstate entrance tests. These were abolished in the 1990s for favouring those at schools that could provide students with help. New tests begin this autumn.
  • Our second cohort of students are nervously awaiting their A Level results. Their first-choice universities include Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, St Andrew’s and Durham.
  • In April Netherthorpe in north Derbyshire became our seventh partner school. Founded in 1572, Netherthorpe is in Staveley – a former mining area near Chesterfield. Four of their students won places on our 2016 programme.
  • We now have 25 Linacre Champions giving regular financial help – halfway to our target of 50.

What our students said…

  • “I cannot express in so few words the immense gratitude and respect I have for the Institute for giving me the opportunity, the encouragement and the self-belief I needed”
  • “I now feel much more capable of applying to higher universities. I never would have considered it before”
  • “Certainly fulfilled the mission set out in its name. Diverse in-depth teaching delivered by impassioned tutors”
  • “The experiences that I had, such as the House of Lords trip, I will never forget”
  • “It has been humbling to be learning from experts and successful ex-Linacre participants”
  • “Since ‘Big Ideas’ ended, I’ve been truly motivated to pursuing competitive universities”
  • “The teaching was brilliant … The location, content, and staff made this a fantastic trip”
  • “It was both enlightening and heartwarming to be surrounded by incredibly academic people who were humble, kindhearted and who I shared many interests with”
  • “I have now begun to consider new career prospects, from journalism to the civil service.”
  • “No matter who the person we met and no matter their background, we were always encouraged by them to be the best we can be and to never stop thinking”
  • “I think I am running out of things to say … I shall never forget this fantastic experience”