The University of Oxford and New College are committed to the admission of students to read for undergraduate degrees on the basis of strictly academic criteria, regardless of national, social or cultural background, and irrespective of candidates' family, school, or other connections. This rule applies both at the point of the December interviews and selection, and at the point of confirmation or withdrawal of conditional offers in August. At the stage of shortlisting applicants for interview, University departments take into account contextual data, but this does not influence our decisions about which shortlisted candidates are finally offered places.
We consider that the highest attainment in public examinations at the end of secondary schooling is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for success at Oxford undergraduate degree level. It will be very rare indeed for us to confirm a conditional offer of a place to a candidate who fails to achieve the conditions set. Equally, our selection processes in December are not based on, nor tied to, school curricula. Instead we are attempting to see how prepared candidates are to go beyond their school work, and to engage with interviewers, to re-think their understanding, and to tackle difficult problems including some which don't have any definite answer.