Christ Church Horizons

Christ Church Horizons is a free sustained contact programme for pupils who attend state schools in Barnet.

Year 10

The programme starts in year 10, when pupils come to Christ Church to explore science or humanities subjects through a series of short academic tasters. The aims of the programme are to increase knowledge of the benefits of higher education, to raise awareness of the breadth of university courses and where they lead post-university, and to help pupils make informed future choices. 

We offer two separate events in Christ Church for the Horizons Year 10 strand: a day for investigating sciences and one for investigating humanities and social sciences. Schools can bring up to ten pupils for each event: ten pupils who would be more interested in exploring sciences, and ten who are more curious about humanities.

Teachers are asked to select pupils who show academic ability and potential and are on track to do well in GCSEs and who also come from groups that are socio-economically disadvantaged and / or under-represented at Oxford. This may be pupils who meet one or more of the following criteria: eligibility for free school meals; no parental history of higher education; pupils from areas of socio-economic disadvantage (ACORN groups 4 and 5 – this can be checked here); pupils from areas with low participation in higher education (POLAR quintiles 1 or 2 – this can be checked here); pupils from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Groups; pupils who have been in care or who are young carers.

The programme is entirely free of charge, with transport and meals arranged and covered by Christ Church. The application deadline has now passed, but applications will open again in January 2024. 

Year 12

The Year 12 strand of the programme consists of after-school sessions in Barnet from January to May.

The programme aims to support students in exploring beyond the curriculum and in developing key skills required to make competitive applications to university and to Oxford. Students have the opportunity to engage in discussion with Oxford academics through a series of workshops, on topics in the humanities, sciences and social sciences. Through their interactive format, the workshops encourage reflection, flexibility of thought, scientific reasoning and critical thinking.

The academic sessions are complemented by information, advice, and guidance sessions, from ‘How to explore beyond the curriculum’, to ‘Finance at University’, personal statements and essay writing workshops.

The participants celebrate completing the programme with a 'graduation day' in Christ Church, where they attend taster lectures, discuss their interests in subject-specific groups, and meet current undergraduates.

Applications for this year's Horizons Year 12 programme have closed, but you are welcome to get in touch with us with any questions about studying at University or at Oxford. 

Year 13

Oxford applicants from Barnet state schools are invited to Christ Church for a series of admissions tests before the summer of Year 13 and interview workshops in Year 13. We aim to increase the participants’ understanding of what to expect in each stage of the admissions process, as well as to support them in practising the skills required in these stages, thereby increasing their confidence in their own abilities.   



Feedback from participants

'Before I came on the programme I thought that Oxford was way out of my reach but the programme made me rethink. Now I am seriously considering to apply to Oxford University and I just want to thank you for that. Horizons programme did not only expand my understanding of different subjects but helped me understand more about university and the application process. It was a pleasure to be part of this course and I hope it would be continued throughout the years.'

'I believe these sessions are a really good idea as it gives a chance to those who have limited knowledge about universities to really understand the process.'

'Thank you so much for the opportunity to be part of the Horizons programme! It was a very insightful programme which enabled me to learn about new things that I had not thought of before and build my confidence in contributing ideas in front of peers that I did not know very well. The graduation day was a lovely experience and it also further encouraged my decision to apply to Oxford University.'

'All the tutors were so friendly and welcoming. It wasn't a pressured environment and I don't think people were judgmental. Each session was genuinely interesting and thought provoking and the day at Christ Church was the perfect insight into life at Oxford Uni.' 

'I loved getting to meet the teachers and other students. I really enjoyed the activities we had to take part in. For example, the quiz and also guessing the types of clubs that there are in Oxford. I learned quite a few facts from the quiz and was quite impressed, and the amount of odd clubs in Oxford really made me recognise what an accepting place Oxford is, and its diversity in personalities also.'

'The teachers were extremely bubbly and cheerful, and that really made me feel at ease and also want to take part in the sessions more.'

For more information

For further information on the Horizons programme please contact Dr Ana Hastoy, our Admissions & Access Manager at