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About us

Founded in 1624, Pembroke College aims to serve the common good through the provision of scholarship and research.

We believe that all those with the necessary academic talent should have the opportunity to benefit from the unique mixture of tradition and innovation to be found at Oxford and that a richly diverse community benefits and inspires all members. This philosophy is embedded within our College Strategy and is championed by our Master, Sir Ernest Ryder (who is photographed below, during his welcome address to the 2023 OxNet cohort).



Pembroke College is proud to have been the first Oxford College to appoint an Access Fellow, Dr Peter Claus (photographed below), who proceeded to create our ground-breaking Access initiative, OxNet.

Led by Pembroke College, OxNet is an established Access and Outreach initiative run collaboratively between participating colleges at the University of Oxford, other Higher Education institutions and seven Hub secondary schools/colleges in West London, the North West and North East of England.


OxNets national network of Hubs work with multiple Link schools in their respective areas of the UK, existing in long-term strategic relationships. This direct relationship enables OxNet to sit at the heart of local communities, championing local interests & needs.

OxNet runs 5 academically-intensive programmes, which are offered to approximately 140 Year 12 pupils across our target regions every year. OxNet’s five programmes are:

1) Humanities & Social Science 

2) Languages

3) English

4) Science

5) Philosophy & World Religions


Participation in one of the year-long OxNet programmes includes a variety of activities, such as: a Study Skills Day, a 6-week Seminar Series, an Easter Essay Competition, a Summer School, and a Twilight Talks series.


Here at OxNet, we are mindful to acknowledge varying classifications of ‘success’ within contemporary conversations surrounding Access & Outreach. Applying this notion, our primary aims are responsive to this multifaceted landscape via the adherence to three fundamental & interconnected aims (noteworthy, the below aims align succinctly with the aims of the Office for Students (OfS), Universities UK and the UK governments ‘Levelling Up’ agenda (2022)).


OxNet aims to be:

  • Attainment driven: We aim to raise educational standards through emphasising challenging but sustained academic activities, which have a direct impact on pupil attainment. This is to be achieved through taking a long term, strategic, unapologetically academic approach to delivering our Access goals, which has a dedication to the equitable distribution of opportunity


  • Regionally focused: We aim to build a diverse network of university & school partnerships which encourage regional collaboration to address specific, local needs. This network should focus on pupils in London, the North West & North East of England, to ensure that every young person, irrespective of background or location, has access to the University of Oxford and other competitive universities


  • Community orientated: We aim to take a longitudinal, collaborative, holistic approach to Access work, by working with younger age groups, wider communities, schools/colleges and other HE institutions. Through strengthening these community relationships and encouraging the sharing of expertise between numerous parties, we ensure that we remain responsive to the voices of local actors, transparent in our processes and collaborative within our sector.



OxNet also works closely with its sister organisation, CredOx, which aims to ensure a data-driven, evidence-based approach to both our access work and our admissions strategy, in addition to focusing on delivering defined outcomes, rather than preserving existing process.

To find out more about governmental policy surrounding Access & Participation:

Levelling Up the United Kingdom - GOV.UK ( (February 2022)

Delivering a fresh approach to access and participation ( (November 2021)


‘Universities and colleges have a moral duty to put their shoulder to the wheel of improving that wider community they sit within, and as both educational and civic institutions, improving attainment in our schools is an essential part of that work.'

John Blake, Director for Fair Access and Participation

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