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Meet the team

Dr Peter Claus

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Access Fellow, Historian, Director of OxNet & CredOx (Pembroke College, Oxford)

At Pembroke College, Oxford, Dr Claus is chiefly responsible as Access Fellow for a professional network of universities, schools and third-sector organisations that encourage pupils from challenging socio-economic circumstances to enter Oxford and other competitive universities. 

As a former mature student, Dr Claus has a particular interest in pioneering teaching strategies that enthuse students from non-traditional backgrounds, international students or students from cultural or ethnic minorities. He has taught courses at every level, from school students to postgraduate.

Mr Chris Dobbs

Director of OxNet Youth Scholars

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Chris is the Director of the OxNet Youth Scholars' programme, hosted at Hollingworth Academy, Rochdale and responsible for academic enrichment events that support students from Rochdale, Bury and Bolton. 

This Programme, the latest addition to the OxNet family, aims to develop academic confidence in students, from year 7 to year 11, through weekly and half-termly activities. It also aims to support parents and carers, who have little or no experience of higher education, through a series of information, advice and guidance events.

An alumnus of The Institute of Education, UCL, Chris has over thirty years of experience, teaching in the state sector. He has led whole school and borough-wide initiatives, in collaboration with Russell Group institutions, to support academically-able students, from disadvantaged backgrounds. This is the theme of his ongoing PhD research.

Miss Morgan Lewis

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OxNet Officer (Pembroke College, Oxford)

Based at Pembroke College, Oxford, Morgan is responsible for overseeing the OxNet programmes & Pembroke Scholars.

 

Graduating from Cardiff University in 2019, she holds a BSc in Social Science, with specialisms in Education alongside Social & Public Policy. She is also an alumnus of the University of Oxford, having completed an MSc in Education (Higher Education) (with Distinction) in 2021, in which her specialism was Widening Participation in the UK.

As a White and Black Caribbean women who was state-school educated and a first-generation student, Morgan is passionate about ensuring diversity within the OxNet cohort and tackling educational inequality from a variety of perspectives.

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OxNet Hub Coordinators

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Alex Noble

Hub: Ashton Sixth Form College (Ashton under Lyne)

Alex is the OxNet Coordinator responsible for the Goldsmiths' Sutherland Centre for Philosophy and World Religions, based at Ashton Sixth Form College, Tameside.  

 

At Ashton Sixth Form College, Alex manages the Realising Aspirations programmes, which are modelled on the OxNet system of sustained academic engagement. They offer a series of lectures, seminars and workshops led by visiting academics, information and guidance events and university visits across 15 wide-ranging programme strands.

In Year 12, Alex participated in OxNet's Philosophy and World Religions programme. She went on to study at the University of Leeds, graduating with a degree in Theology & Religious Studies in 2019.

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Holly Jones

Hub: Cheshire College South and West (Crewe)

Email address: holly.jones@ccsw.ac.uk

Holly is the Oxnet Coordinator responsible for the OxNet Science Programme, based at Cheshire College – South & West (Crewe, Chester and Ellesmere Port).

 

At CCSW, Holly is the Futures Supervisor and oversees post-18 destinations with a key focus on raising aspirations. As part of this she runs the Scholars and the Honours Programmes which are bespoke academic engagement programmes to increase acceptance into selective and competitive universities. This includes guest lectures, academic workshops, and networking opportunities.

 

Holly is also an A-Level History teacher, having graduated with a First Class Honours degree in History from Lancaster University. She is still particularly proud of receiving the Andrew Pearson Prize for the best undergraduate dissertation.

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David Jones

Hub: Blackburn College (Blackburn)

David is the coordinator for Blackburn and East Lancashire. He has taught A Levels at Blackburn College for 26 years. Since 2005 he has been the High Achievers’ Coordinator for the Sixth Form at Blackburn College, supporting and advising students who aim to apply for top universities and professional careers.

 

David studied at the University of Birmingham, where he completed a Masters in Russian and East European Studies before training as a teacher at the University of Cardiff. He teaches on a range of programmes, including the Joint Honours degree run by Blackburn College in partnership with Lancaster University. In the Sixth Form, David runs the Debate Club and hosts the annual Schools’ Quiz

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Amy Knott

Hub: Southmoor Academy (Sunderland)

Email address: amyknott14@gmail.com

Amy is the Ox-Net coordinator for the North East hub based in Sunderland. 

 

For students at Southmoor Academy, Amy runs advanced poetry sessions which are aimed at improving students’ close-reading and critical thinking skills. She also holds mock university style-seminars for the Sixth Form’s prospective Oxford Humanities applicants. 

 

Amy is an OxNet alumnus, crediting the programme as the reason she attended St John’s College, Oxford where she studied English Language and Literature. 

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Sam Kaye

Hub: Westminster Academy (London)

Sam is the OxNet Coordinator for London, working in the Sixth Form at Westminster Academy. She also coordinates the London Centre for Languages and Culture, which helps to promote the study of languages for young people at state schools. 

 

At Westminster Academy, Sam runs multiple programmes such as the 'Dare to Know' lectures series. This involves an academic visiting the school and delivering a lecture to students regarding their current research. It is designed to give students a chance to get a taste of what university learning and thinking will be like, tying into OxNet's similarly holistic approach to widening participation in higher education.

 

Sam is an OxNet alumnus, who credits OxNet as the reason why she attended Corpus Christi College, Oxford where she read History and English.

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Guy Smith

Hub: Priestley College (Warrington)

Email address: g.smith2@priestley.ac.uk

Guy is the OxNet Coordinator based at Priestley College, Warrington where he is also responsible for the coordination of the North West Centre for Languages and Cultures. This is a collaborative project between Pembroke, the Open University, and various partner universities such as Lancaster University. It seeks to boost state school participation in languages degrees at university.

 

At Priestley, Guy oversees 'The Graduate' high achievers programme. This incorporates many of the same aims as OxNet, seeking to prepare Priestley's most able students for the rigors of university study, as well as raise ambitions towards highly selective universities like Oxford.

 

Guy is an alumnus of University College, Oxford, where he studied a BA in History and Politics. His specialisms included Twentieth-Century British History as well as Nineteenth-Century Political Philosophy

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OxNet Subject Leads

Miss Holly Roach

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Biological Sciences Subject Lead

Holly is a recent Biochemistry Master’s Graduate, who studied at Pembroke College for 4 years. Her Master’s research project focused on understanding the mechanism of X chromosome inactivation, an epigenetic mechanism to equalise the levels of X-linked gene expression in XX females relative to XY males. After completing her integrated master’s degree, she has started working as a Research Assistant at the University of Oxford, where she is investigating gene expression mechanisms in health and disease. She originally comes from Warrington, a town located in the North West, where her sixth-form was linked to Pembroke’s access program. Having support from her sixth-form teachers, and visiting Pembroke through the access program in year 10 and 12, gave Holly the confidence to apply to the Biochemistry undergraduate course at Oxford. She has never looked back since and wishes to help and inspire future students to apply for courses in Higher Education. 

Dr Thomas Hird

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Physical Sciences Subject Lead

Thomas is an experimental physicist who has been in Oxford for over a decade having arrived as an undergraduate at Somerville to read Physics in 2011. Following a master’s in physics MPhys he was awarded a place at UCL’s Centre for Doctoral Training in Quantum Technologies. He completed a Masters of Research in Quantum Technologies and returned to Oxford for his doctoral studies. Thomas’ DPhil research was in atomic and laser physics and focused on Quantum Memories – an exciting technology with applications spanning quantum information and quantum communication. His current research remains within the realm of quantum technologies, on the exciting AION project. The Atom Interferometry Observatory and Network (AION) project uses laser cooled, ultracold atoms to perform interferometry as a means to both detect gravitational waves and investigate ultra-light dark matter candidates.

 

Thomas has been involved in increasing access and participation to higher education throughout his academic career from developing and delivering CPD for teachers, developing resources and talks for all age groups of students from primary schools up to 6th form and leading workshops and developing partnerships between universities and schools. As well as researcher, college lecturer and admissions tutor, Thomas is the representative for atomic and laser physics on the physics department’s access and engagement committee.

Dr Richard Lee

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English Subject Lead

Richard is the OxNet English Seminar Series Coordinator based at Oldham Sixth Form College where is an Assistant Principal with responsibility for transition and progression.

 

He is the Careers Leader, with specific responsibility for the college’s Oxbridge Group and its programmes for Aspiring Medics and Aspiring Lawyers. He has been teaching English Literature for almost 30 years and has a particular enthusiasm for postcolonial literature which is at the heart of the OxNet English Seminar Series – ‘The Empire Writes Back’.

Richard studied for his first degree, in Philosophy and Politics, at Durham University, before completing an MA and PhD in Literature through the Open University.

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