STUDENTS in Bradford were inspired to aspire to reach the highest level of education last week when they were visited by professors and tutors from the University of Oxford.

Academics from Worcester College - Oxford held a special event for 60 Year 9 students from the city at the National Science and Media Museum to try and encourage more students from Bradford to apply to Oxford.

The event was organised in partnership with The Brilliant Club, which aims to help children from under-represented backgrounds into the most selective universities.

The 60 students joined the programme run by the college and Brilliant Club last year, and will be supported up to their GCSE exams, with more groups joining in the coming years.

At the event, students from Beckfoot Thornton, Bradford Forster, Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College, Grange Technology College, and Tong Leadership Academy took part in taster sessions in subjects ranging from Biomedical Science to Law, Maths and Philosophy.

The programme is designed to help young people build the academic skills and confidence they need to apply for a place at universities such as Oxford and Cambridge.

As well as receiving mentoring from tutors such as Dr John Parrington, Dr Natalya Din-Kariuki and Dr Steven Methven and students from Worcester College, they also make visits and attend residential summer school to sample student life.

The workshops at the Media Museum on Friday focused round a central theme of genetic modification, with geneticist Dr Parrington, who was born and raised in Bradford, explaining DNA to students and answering questions.

On top of supporting students, Worcester College is also keen to hear from teachers what more universities could do to better support pupils in Bradford.

Dr Steven Methven, tutor in philosophy, said: “As someone from a background not typical to Oxford, I know how easy it can be to feel like Oxford might not be for you.

“That’s why we’re offering one-to-one support and mentoring to give young people in Bradford the confidence to apply to some of the most selective universities.

“We want the students with a passion for their subject, whatever their background. We are also keen to reach out to the teachers and forge ever closer links with schools in the area.”

Dr Natalie Day, The Brilliant Club’s North of England area director, added: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Worcester College and Bradford schools on this multi-year programme.

“As well as completing two rigorous university-style courses with a PhD-level tutor, pupils are getting the opportunity to meet academics from different disciplines and to gain an in-depth understanding of life at the University of Oxford through a residential visit at Worcester College and online mentoring with a current undergraduate.

“We are excited to see how the project inspires the pupils in their study and university choices, and helps them fulfil their academic potential.”

Worcester College was founded in 1714 at the University of Oxford, and prides itself on welcoming diversity amongst its students and staff, and recognises the benefits of having a wide variety of backgrounds and range of experiences among its members.

Notable alumni of the College include actors Emma Watson and Ellie Kemper, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and a number of Lord Justices of Appeal.