Oxford student bids to improve top university access for state school pupils

Left-to-right: Declan Peters, president of the 93% Club, with Darian Murray-Griffiths and Eddie Yu, also members of the club.

Left-to-right: Declan Peters, president of the 93% Club, with Darian Murray-Griffiths and Eddie Yu, also members of the club. - Credit: Declan Peters

A student from Gants Hill who has been elected president of Oxford University’s State School Society said he wants to help others from his background get into top universities.

Declan Peters, 19, has just finished his first year at the prestigious university, where he studies music at Christ Church College.

He said he wants to spend his year in charge of the society improving access for those from similar backgrounds.

The society has traditionally been focused on providing a space for students from a state school background at Oxford.

They run social events for state school students to get to know one another as a way of tackling isolation some feel at top universities.

Declan said: “I do think it is really important to have a kind of community there – even if it is not your only community – but a community of people you can relate to and make your experience a bit more comfortable.”

The society is part of a wider network of state school societies called The 93% Club, which works to address social mobility by offering admissions advice to state school students and organising networking events with sponsors including Morgan Stanley.

Declan wants to increase the focus of the society on such access projects, running online workshops for people from areas such as Ilford.

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He said: “For me, I think it is quite important that I want to do the access side – so doing events with schools and stuff like that to try to improve their admission."

Declan recently returned to his former school, Palmer Catholic Academy in Seven Kings, to speak to pupils about how to write a competitive application.

“I think it’s really important for us to be doing those kinds of events,” he said.

 “The committee have all come from a state school background and we all feel like we owe something back to our communities, to kind of give back.

“We have done that and we want to see more people like us make it.”

Anyone who wants to get involved with the society can get in contact with them on Instagram @93cluboxford.

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