THE new head of a city school’s sixth form hopes to inspire pupils to apply for Oxbridge universities when she takes up the post in September.

Jackie Watson has been appointed to lead Oxford Spires Academy’s post-16 education.

She said she is keen to work with the community and continue to raise the school’s academic standards.

But another plan is to encourage more pupils to stay for sixth form study and apply to top universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge.

Ms Watson, who currently works at Kennet School in Thatcham, Berkshire, said: “There are students currently in Year 12 at Spires that should be quite able to compete at the same level as students anywhere.

“Independent schools are very good at making their students feel very confident and we want to do that here. We want to improve the number of students applying, and getting in.

“At Kennet we had about 16 applicants for Oxbridge and about half of them got in, which is a healthy percentage.

“I would be keen to get similar numbers at Oxford Spires of pupils feeling able to apply, wanting to apply and being succesful as well.”

She hopes to be Dr Watson when she starts at the Glanville Road school. She has spent three years working on her PhD – and has just handed in her thesis on early modern drama and courtiership – at Birkbeck, University of London.

Ms Watson added that she was looking forward to working at a school with such a diverse population.

She said: “I have never worked in a school where so many languages are spoken in one place and I find that really exciting.

“Every time I go to the school, the students come up and instantly start talking to me about their life. They are such a confident bunch.

“We want them to feel like they can go and achieve as much as they deserve to.”

Oxford Community School in Glanville Road became Oxford Spires Academy in 2011.

Last year the school had 68 pupils taking their A-Levels, with 15 per cent getting A*-A in their results. The proportion of pupils achieving five or more GCSE A*-C grades including English and maths rose from 31 per cent in 2010 to 58 per cent in 2012.

  • For more information about Oxford Spires Sixth Form contact Ms Watson on jwatson@oxfordspires or visit for induction days on July 8 and 9 or enrolment day on August 21.