The Horizons programme

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

The programme

  • 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; and 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. Teachers from non-selective state schools in Barnet are welcome to submit an application here by 12 February.

  • 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.

    The application deadline for the 2024 Year 12 programme has now passed, but applications will open again in September.

  • Year 13

    Oxford applicants from Barnet state schools are invited to attend a series of online admissions tests workshops before the summer of Year 13 and online interview workshops in Year 13. 

    Registration for the next admissions test workshops will open in the spring and for the interview workshops in the autumn.

What the participants thought

Christ Church Horizons programme participant

'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.'

Christ Church Horizons programme participants

'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.'

Christ Church Horizons: the teacher's perspective

Learn more

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

If you’re a teacher looking to take your school to Christ Church or a pupil interested in one of our programmes, please get in touch