“There are many outstanding students in Wales and this report has shown that, if they are to reach Cambridge and Oxford in greater number, we must collectively ensure that they are appropriately encouraged, supported and most of all stretched in the sixth form,” said Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, welcoming the Final Report of the Oxbridge Ambassador for Wales.

We welcome Mr Murphy’s excellent report and are grateful for the months of investigation, discussion and reflection that underpin it.

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz

Paul Murphy MP, the former Secretary of State for Wales was appointed as Oxbridge Ambassador in March 2013. The Welsh Government asked him to consider the factors influencing Welsh applications and admissions to Oxford and Cambridge, and to make recommendations on how students could be better supported.

The Final Report, launched at the Wales Millennium Centre on Wednesday 18th June, calls on the Welsh Government to create a “national network of partnership hubs” for more able and talented pupils, which would allow schools and colleges to share expertise and work directly with the UK’s leading universities.

The report also finds raising standards and boosting self-esteem are key to increasing the number of students from Wales going to the two universities.

‘We welcome Mr Murphy’s excellent report and are grateful for the months of investigation, discussion and reflection that underpin it,” the Vice Chancellor said.

“With raised attainment and confidence more will apply – and with a higher chance of success.  To this end we endorse Mr Murphy’s recommendation that schools and colleges in Wales should work in collaboration, with a focus on More Able and Talented (MAT) students.

“We are delighted by the success of the established collaborative ‘hub’ of schools and colleges in the Swansea area, whose development we led, and will do our level best further to support similar hubs as they are established by the Welsh government.”

The report launch was attended by Huw Lewis AM, Education and Skills Minister, Ken Skates AM, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, and students and teachers from across Wales.

Drawing on his own experience as the first in his family to go to University, Mr  Skates spoke about the transformative value of education and the need to challenge myths..

“We must challenge the misconception that being working class is incompatible with being educated,” he said. “Education strengthens our values, it doesn’t weaken them. Education brings us together. It doesn’t drive us apart.”

Huw Lewis AM, Education and Skills Minister, said: “I will consider the recommendations in full but in the meantime I’ve agreed to pilot a hub scheme to help schools and colleges work together with universities to support Welsh students to gain entry into the UK’s top universities. I’ve asked for work on this to begin immediately and more details will follow shortly.

“Once again I’d like to offer my appreciation to the Rt Hon Paul Murphy MP for bringing this report to me and to Oxford and Cambridge universities for being such major contributors to this project. There is no doubt that in the future we will see his findings and recommendations as a major turning point in our efforts to support our high achievers in Wales.”

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