Graduate hopes to inspire Priestley students

A GRADUATE is hoping to raise the aspirations of young people in Warrington through his work at Priestley College.

Tom Ward, who went to Oxford University and secured a Masters at York, will be based at Priestley as part of Oxnet – an Oxford University access programme.

“My role will be about stretching and challenging the most able students so they reach their full potential,” he said.

“One way of doing that will be to get them thinking beyond the curriculum and pushing them to consider universities they might not traditionally have thought were within their reach.”

Tom’s role goes beyond Priestley as he is Oxnet Coordinator for Languages in the North West.

Priestley College is an Oxford University regional hub and Tom will be organising Easter and Summer camps at the Loushers Lane campus for students aiming to excel in languages.

The 22-year-old, who grew up in Northwich, secured a First in History and Politics at Oxford University before completing a Masters in History at York.

He now hopes to inspire others by sharing his experiences of securing a university place.

“Until I was 16 going to Oxford was not on my radar,” he said.

“That will be the same for a lot of young people in Warrington, but it helps to break down barriers if you see it as an option from a younger age.”

Priestley College runs a programme called ‘The Graduate’ to help those aiming to study at Russell Group universities.

This year a record number of early applications have been made to the UK’s top universities by Priestley students – 16 of which are aiming for Oxford and Cambridge.

“Priestley has already made great strides in recent years in changing young people’s perceptions of what is achievable and I am looking forward to continuing that work,” said Tom.