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Corpus expands outreach work to the North East of England

This September we are thrilled to welcome Elaine Effard to our Access and Outreach team. Elaine will be expanding the current work we do into the North East, which has been under-represented at Cambridge for some time.

The role sits within our Admissions Department which is responsible for coordinating the College’s undergraduate admissions activities, and running its outreach and access programmes. Corpus has a commitment to diversifying the intake of students through offering places to those from educationally disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds.

This new role recognises the value of having a staff member linked with a specific region of the United Kingdom, and physically based there, to provide direct support to potential applicants and their teachers and advisers, particularly with in-person events. Having a locally based outreach officer will allow more regular and sustained contact with students and teachers, and the scope of activities can be broadened substantially beyond what is currently offered.

In her role as Access and Outreach Coordinator for the North East, Elaine will support high-achieving pupils in local schools, and inform teachers about educational opportunities for their students. She will provide advice and assistance about the application process to competitive Universities like Cambridge, with the ultimate goal of raising aspirations and attainment and increasing applications to top Universities from students in the North East of England.

Elaine has first-hand experience of this, having grown up in the area herself and - against all the odds - gone on to study at the University of Oxford.

“I’m hugely excited to take on this role. Having been passionate about raising aspirations and opening up educational opportunities for students throughout my career in teaching, I am thrilled to join Corpus Christi in tackling the under-representation of students from the North East studying at the University.”

“As well as my professional expertise in enthusing students, I hope to bring my knowledge of the local area and the barriers that can face students, parents and teachers to the fore in this role. Coming from a widening participation background myself, it is my mission to convey that Cambridge is a real possibility for anyone who has the academic capability. When I was accepted to Oxford, there was a general sense of stunned disbelief from my acquaintances; my goal in undertaking this position is to reach a point where that is no longer the natural and default response to future offer holders from the North East,” says Elaine.

“Cambridge currently receives about half as many applicants from the North East as it should, and we believe having an embedded Access and Outreach Coordinator in the region will make a real difference. We’re delighted that Elaine has taken on this post - as a former Oxbridge student and schoolteacher who comes from the area - she is in the best position possible to understand, inform, encourage and engage with the students she meets,” says Jo Willmott, Admissions Tutor.

“She has already made a very positive start in initiating conversations with all the key stakeholders. I look forward to visiting her and the local teachers, parents and students at Harton Academy during the next year.”

Elaine will be based out of Harton Academy, South Shields and will also work closely with Jesus College Cambridge, who run a series of events in the area.

The creation of this role has been made possible thanks to the generous, ongoing support of our donors.