easter essay competition

Participants in OxNet 2020 were asked to write a 2,000 word response to an essay question during the Easter break. 

One winner was selected per category. Special Commendations were also awarded for work which was especially strong. We are very proud of the work that our cohort has produced, and it is with pleasure that we have decided to share this with you. 

The winner of each category was awarded a selection of books relating to the degree programme for which they wish to apply, as well as a place on the Pembroke Scholars programme. This is a programme which offers bespoke support for pupils wishing to submit a university application to Pembroke College, University of Oxford.

If you would like to read the essays produced by any of our participants below, simply click on their name, and this will take you to their essay. Congratulations to all of our winners and runners up!

MODERN languages



Cassie Lloyd-Watson: Why are some people more supportive of the European Union than others?


Cassie Lloyd-Watson

Sir John Deane's Sixth Form College, Cheshire

A Levels: Spanish, English Literature, History, Government and Politics

Degree aspiration: Spanish and Portuguese


Special Commendations

Sofia Panourgias: How can we say that the politics of migration has been driven by the far right over the past decade?

Ebenezer Boakye: Superiority is central to European Identity. Discuss.

Shannon Van Schoor: To what extent can popular culture shape identity?


Philosophy and World Religions


Niall Hall: If Augustine were alive to read how Phylis Trible and Katie Edwards interpret Genesis 2-3, would he favour either interpretation over the other?


Niall Hall

Holy Cross College, Bury

A Levels: Religious Studies, Law, French

Degree aspiration: Philosophy and Theology

Special Commendations

Abbas Abid: Does the Qur'an encourage or discourage the use of reason? What is the value reason is assigned in the Qur'an? Does it impose limits on reason's sound use?

Matilda Miller: What role does responsibility play in Karl Marx's critique of religion?

Wiktor Mazurenko: Defining your terms carefully, evaluate the claim that science is a better way of understanding reality than religion.



Freya Gompertz: Who should be liable when autonomous systems cause harm? Why should we allocate responsibility in that way?

Freya Gompertz

Lady Margaret School, West London

A Levels: Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Biology

Degree aspiration: Mathematics

Special Commendations

Mohammad Uhayd: Why may it be misleading to say that colour is the perceptual quality associated with the wavelength of light?

Harvey Balaam: What is the biggest ethical issue posed by Artificial Intelligence?

Humanities and social sciences: north west


Mariella Smith: Is economics simply about the distribution of scarcity?






Mariella Smith

Brine Leas Sixth Form, Cheshire

A Levels: Economics, Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry

Degree aspiration: Economics

Special Commendations

Matthew O'Neill: Is gradual or revolutionary change more likely to result in a just society?

Morgan Smith: Is economics simply about the distribution of scarcity?

Humanities and social sciences: London


Cordelia Piras-Trow: Is the mental reducible to the physical, or is it a different kind of thing?






Cordelia Piras-Trow

Mossbourne Community Academy, East London

A Levels: Philosophy and Ethics, Classical Civilisation and Spanish

Degree aspiration: Chinese Studies

Special Commendations

Elisabetta Falcone: Do you know that you're not a brain in a vat? If you don't, should you be troubled?

Oscar Hill: Do you know that you're not a brain in a vat? If you don't, should you be troubled?


01865 286277


Pembroke College, St Aldates, Oxford, OX1 1DW 

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