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Oxford academic mentors King Edward VII Academy RE teacher

Dr Kalpana Tadikonda and Dr Tim Mawson
Dr Kalpana Tadikonda and Dr Tim Mawson

A King Edward VII Academy teacher is to be mentored by an Oxford academic as part of a programme to aid teachers’ professional development.

Dr Kalpana Tadikonda, head of religious dtudies at KES in Lynn, is taking part in the initiative, run by St Peter’s College, one of Oxford University’s prestigious colleges.

The school teacher will be working with Dr Tim Mawson, a fellow and tutor in philosophy, discussing the latest research and debates in the field of ethics.

Dr Tadikonda said: “I teach ethics and philosophy at A-level, and it will be hugely stimulating from a personal point of view to have academic discussions on these topics.

“We also hope this link will help raise the aspirations of our students here in Norfolk. The perception can still exist that Oxford is elitist, or for the wealthy, and that’s something we’re hoping to address.”

The scheme, known as the Schools Ambassador Project, sees St Peter’s link up with nine secondary schools from the state sector across England.

The academics will work with the teachers throughout the year across a range of disciplines, helping them keep up to date with developments in their field.

Master of St Peter’s College, Mark Damazer, said: “I am delighted that we are trying something new in the interest of the individual teachers, their schools and the college.

“We know many teachers have a thirst to get back to their subject, and we have academics here full of excitement about the thought of teaching motivated school teachers who want to refresh or add to their knowledge.

“I hope the scheme leads to a richer understanding in the schools as a whole about what an Oxford college is really like and helps boost the confidence of teachers to get their best students to apply here.”

Participating schools will also gain a better understanding of the university admissions process, the college’s own identity, and indeed, Oxford as a whole.

Director of Sixth Form at King Edward VII Academy, Alistair White, said: “We have students with the potential to apply to universities like Oxford but who perhaps don’t see themselves as capable, which we want to change.

“We want them to think that it’s a possibility for them and that they can fit in there.

“A highlight of the link-up so far has been seeing a mock Oxford interview.”

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