Oxford High School, shaping the NHS of the future

Aspiring medical students at Oxford High School helped organise a Virtual Medicine Day Conference to give future healthcare professionals from the GDST family and local state schools the access to practising medics that Covid has prevented

medicine students gdst

The NHS is “an incredible national institution” Dr Clare Warrell told aspiring medical students in her opening address at Oxford High School’s Virtual Medicine Day Conference.

Dr Warrell, an OHS alumna and Tropical Medicine Registrar, also told the online audience that “medicine is brilliant” and much “more than just science”. She gave the introductory address at the conference which was attended by nearly 500 pupils from across the GDST family and local state schools.

“The GDST has a strong track record of students going on to study medicine”

The conference was staged by Year 12 students at OHS who want to go on to study medicine at university. The pressure is on for these students. This past year has put the spotlight on the NHS and its enormous value to society like never before. But with staffing shortfalls across the sector plus a huge growth in applications to study medicine and the expansion of medical school places available at English universities, it isn’t an easy pathway. Work experience has always helped students make informed decisions ahead of applying to medical school, but the Coronavirus pandemic has prevented face-to-face placements. Undaunted, the Year 12 students at OHS, together with their careers teacher, Dr Claudia Strobel, organised this valuable day for hundreds of aspiring medics to hear from healthcare professionals.

Dr Strobel told the girls:

“These careers are not just jobs, working in a healthcare setting is a privilege and entering the profession is a big decision. Ask your questions, gather all the information you need to inform your next steps.”

The conference reflected this advice, placing emphasis on hearing from a wide range of professionals across the healthcare sector. Expert practitioners and current medical students – many of whom are OHS alumnae – spoke at the event include surgeons, dentists and orthodontists, pharmacists, GPs, a haematologist, an anaesthetist, a microbiologist, and a tropical diseases doctor.

The GDST has a strong track record of students going on to study medicine. 16.4% of the 2020 A level cohort went on to study medicine, dentistry or subjects allied to medicine at university. As a family of schools, the GSDT has considerable expertise in the teaching of STEM subjects. The virtual nature of the Conference is making this expertise available to a much wider audience. The majority of GDST schools had students attending plus aspiring medics from five local state schools in and around Oxford joined the event.

Raahi, one of the Year 12 student organisers, said:

“This conference is an incredible opportunity to not only build on our organisation skills but also to interact with the amazing speakers that we have in this event. I hope to gain wider knowledge on the looming medical school application process and also life as a practising medical student.”

Marina Gardiner Legge, Head of Oxford High School, GDST, said:

“There’s no doubt that the selfless dedication of NHS staff has inspired us all recently.  Here at Oxford High School, it’s really exciting to think that the aspiring medics and nurses attending our conference from all over the UK might well be saving lives themselves one day. One aspect of the pandemic which has been surprisingly positive has been the extraordinary focus that it has put onto science and onto the role of women in science in particular. Every Head believes that the young people in their school will change the world for the better. Our Medicine Conference will inspire more than 500 young people from the GDST and our partner schools. Who knows? In ten or 15 years maybe the next vaccine developer or Nobel Prize winner will be among them.”