• Science

The Russell Group

During the early months of Year 12 many students are invited to join the Russell Group within the Sixth Form. The group aims to support those students with the potential to achieve a place at one of the UK’s prestigious ‘Russell’ universities (including Oxford and Cambridge), and it covers students based at both sites of the Sixth Form.

Within Didcot Sixth Form there is a dedicated Russell Group Leader, who provides information and guidance throughout Year 12 and 13 through an established programme. This support is in addition (and complimentary) to that offered through the usual tutorial programme offered by the Sixth Form.

Support offered includes:

  • Supra-curricular opportunities (including advice about (though not the arrangement of) work experience);
  • How to be a ‘Russell’ student in Sixth Form lessons;
  • Writing effective personal statements;
  • Interview preparation;
  • Admission tests.

The programme is delivered via meetings, seminars, email and visits. These vary year to year, but in recent years have seen annual visits to Brasenose College, Oxford to get an insight into applying to Oxbridge and admission tests, as well as residential visits for a small number of students to Peterhouse College, Cambridge and an ‘Aspiration’ event at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.


How are the students chosen to be members of the Russell Group?

A:  Potential Russell applicants are identified by the Heads of Sixth Form, working alongside Heads of Year and the Russell Group Leader. They are identified based on their GCSE results as well as the nominations by teachers and early working grades at AS level. Subject option choices will also be considered (see ‘Is there anything I should do before joining the Sixth Form?’ below) Some students also self-identify as Russell applicants and can apply to join by seeing the Russell Group Leader.

If I’m not invited to join, does that mean I can’t or shouldn’t apply to a Russell University?

A: It doesn’t mean this at all. If you wish to join, you may ask to join by contacting the Russell Group Leader who will discuss this further with you. The group aims to support students with a strong likelihood of a successful application, and it may be that for whatever reason (see how they are chosen above) you were not identified. Students are often added to the group at the beginning of Year 13 when AS results are received, and occasionally during Year 12.

Is there anything I should do before joining the Sixth Form?

A: Prior to joining the Sixth Form, those with strong GCSE predictions should look closely at the Russell Group page in the prospectus about ‘Russell Pathways’. It is important to pick subjects (and combinations) that will demonstrate your academic credentials to these institutions. Picking the appropriate options is one of the first stages in a successful Russell application.

Who are the Russell Universities?

A: The Russell Group is the name of a group of universities who originally came together as the leading research and teaching institutions in Britain. The group includes world renowned institutions like Oxford and Cambridge, as well as other institutions with high entry requirements. The full list of these can be found at http://www.russellgroup.ac.uk/our-universities/

Who should I contact regarding the Russell Group?

A: The Russell Group Leader (Mr P Willett) should be the first port of call, and he is contactable via email on pwillett@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk