Oxbridge Applications

St Swithun's offers a comprehensive careers and higher education advice and support service for sixth form students through the student guidance department. Our Oxbridge programme is part of our wider whole-school academic enrichment programme which provides another elevated and engaging academic layer for students needing rigorous academic challenges and stimulation. Oxbridge candidates have access to an activity programme and have regular tutorials and meetings with the head of academic enrichment. These sessions are designed to support their application at every stage and will help them develop critical and creative thinking skills and a rigorous approach to academic study and scholarly endeavour.

Monday Tuesday  Wednesday ThursdayFriday 


Weekly drop-in session

Symbols of scholarship:
academic lunch

Thinking skills,
tests and critical
thinking session

Oxbridge questions Stretch session  
Alternative time
for weekly drop-in

Three minute thesis/
personal statement

Personal statement drop-in session


Oracy and action group

Academic reading group


Philosothon: A Philosothon is a friendly competition in which a team works together to reach a set of academically and philosophically satisfying ideas. Members of the team are all scored by the quality of their contributions, but also for their ability to help others to contribute. Those who forward the thinking of the team will score well. Those prepared to say controversial or disagreeable things could score well because it may help the team to agree some principles. The aim is not to point score off each other, but to work creatively with ideas as a team. In other words, an idea can be nonsense or wrong but a person cannot be either. Girls in the group will take it in turns to be the facilitators and to score. This is an absolute must Stretch option for any girl considering Oxbridge or wishing to develop her academic and thinking skills. Topics and questions include: What is art? What is the point of education? What is happiness? What is the law? 

All year groups will be encouraged to attend (as in previous years). Oxbridge girls are encouraged to facilitate and score this enquiry-based session and help hone exactly the sort of skills an interviewer will be looking for.

Weekly drop-in session with EKM: Dr Mackintosh will be available during Monday and Friday lunchtime for short meetings to discuss the progress of Oxbridge applications.  

Symbols of scholarship academic lunch: Throughout the term, we will be having regular guests joining us for an academic lunch in the Conference Room. (Exact dates and guests to be confirmed) They will talk to us about their work and academic interests and research and will be answering the following questions: What does the term ‘academic’ mean to them? What does an academic ‘look’ like and what skills do they possess? and Why is it important to be academic? Ian Fraser (Winchester College) and Professor Fiona Woollard (Southampton University) will be joining us in September.