A VETERAN MP has visited Wrexham to discuss barriers faced by Welsh students when applying for Oxbridge universities.
Paul Murphy, the Welsh Government’s Oxbridge Ambassador, kicked off his tour of Welsh schools and colleges by visiting Coleg Cambria in Wrexham yesterday.
The former Welsh Secretary and Northern Ireland Secretary spoke to students and teachers about the support the most able students receive in their applications to Oxford and Cambridge.
Through his tour he hopes to find out about any pitfalls in the application process which mean top Welsh students are still not succeeding in Oxbridge applications.
Mr Murphy also discussed potential barriers which prevent some students from applying, such as a lack of confidence, misconceptions or prevailing Oxbridge stereotypes.
Labour MP for Torfaen in South Wales, Mr Murphy was appointed to the position of Oxbridge Ambassador by former Education Minister Leighton Andrews earlier this year. Over the next few months he will be visiting schools and colleges across Wales to try to understand the reasons behind an apparent decline in the numbers of Welsh students gaining places to study at the universities.
The visits will help to inform Mr Murphy’s interim report, which is due to be published in December. The final report, which will include recommendations to the Welsh Government, will be completed in the summer of 2014.
Mr Murphy said: “I am excited to finally be kicking off my tour of Welsh schools and colleges and looking forward to visiting North East Wales and learning from staff and students.
“We have spent a long time looking at the statistics around the Oxbridge problem and getting to grips with the broad picture, but there is no better way to understand this issue than actually getting out there and talking to people.
“Ultimately, at the heart of this project are students and teachers and their lived experiences and that’s why these visits are so important.”