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Oxford Women in Computer Science (OxWoCS) Challenge Club

A digital programme for Year 12 girls at UK state schools.

November 2022 - May 2023.

Monthly sessions.

First session: Thursday 24th November 2022



The Oxford Women in Computer Science (OxWoCS) Challenge club is a new initiative created by the Oxford Women in Computer Science society alongside the Oxford Department of Computer Science. It aims to create a community of young women with a passion for mathematics and its applications.

The club will consist of monthly mathematical and Computer Science related problem sheets which will be sent out for students to solve. These problems are designed to stretch and challenge students beyond the standard syllabus and give them an insight into some of the many interesting ways in which they can use mathematics. At the end of each month, students will take part in a discussion lead by an Oxford Computer Science student to discuss the problems including solutions, techniques, and areas which people enjoyed or struggled with.

We hope to inspire more young women to continue their mathematical pursuits and to help them thrive as they do so.


Am I eligible to apply?

This event is open to students enthusastic about Mathematics and Computer Science attending state schools in the UK, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, who self-identify as female or non-binary and:

  • Are at school in England or Wales and in Year 12 who have achieved, at least grade 7/A in GCSE Maths and are already studying, Maths at A-level or equivalent. If your school offers it, students in Y12 should also be taking Further Maths A-level (taking Maths in Y12 and Further Maths in Y13 is fine).
  • Are at school in Scotland and in S5; and have achieved, grade A in National 5 Mathematics; and are already studying, Maths Higher and Advanced Higher.
  • Are at school in Northern Ireland and in Year 13; are have achieved at least grade 7/A in GCSE Maths; and are already studying, Maths at A-level or equivalent.

How will the sessions take place?

Starting from November, an initial problem sheet will be shared at the beginning of the month with hints and extensions added during the following weeks. Discussion sessions will then take place at the end of the month on our online platform taught by a member of the Oxford Computer Science Department to discuss the problem sheet and go through solutions and techniques including what students found interesting and difficult that month.

The live, online sessions will start at 4:30pm on the last Thursday of every month.

The live online sessions will take place on the last Thursday of every month (there will be no session in December) at 4:30pm finishing no later than 6pm. The dates of the sessions are as follows:

  • Thursday 24th November 2022
  • No session in December
  • Thursday 26th January 2023
  • Thursday 23rd February 2023
  • Thursday 30th March 2023
  • Thursday 27th April 2023
  • Thursday 25th May 2023

We anticipate that the problem sheet to take about 6-8 hours of work, each month, in your free time, before the live session.

We expect that students who are selected to join the programme to participate in each of the six online sessions, so please be sure that you are available for all dates listed above.

How much does it cost?

This programme is free. See below for details of what equipment you will need to participate.

What will I need for the sessions?

Because the sessions will be held online, all students who take part will need access to a computer, laptop, or tablet capable of calls and a stable internet connection.

Do I need to have studied Computer Science to apply?

No, you do not need to have studied Computer Science to apply. But you do need to be curious about it.

Who are the organisers?

The club is run by The Oxford Women in Computer Science Society (OxWoCS) in partnership with the Oxford Department of Computer Science. OxWoCS aims to support and promote women in computer science. The society exists for all women in computer science, be they students, faculty, or staff. OxWoCS runs a number of academic, social, and career events throughout the year, including weekly coffee meetings, talks by distinguished female speakers, and industry sponsored events. The society provides networking opportunities and a support network comprising role models, mentors, and peers. OxWoCS exists to help enhance the quality of life for all members of the department. For more information, please check out our website:

How do I apply for a place on this programme?

Applications are now closed. We will notify successful and unsuccessful applicants by no later than 28 October 2022.

How will participants be selected?

In order to be seleced for a place on this programme, students must first meet the criteria given above under 'Am I eligible to apply?'. If we are oversubscribed, we will also use ACORN and POLAR data to prioritise students for a place on the programme:

  • ACORN is a classification of residential neighbourhoods which measures the socio-economic wealth of the area you live in. ACORN looks at the attributes of households in your area and covers health, retail and leisure aspects. We will prioritise students who come from a low socio-economic status background, which is classed as an ACORN 4 or 5 category. You can check which ACORN category your postcode comes under, on the ACORN website. Please note that you do need to register before accessing this information.
  • POLAR(4) measures the rate of progression to higher education in your area. We will prioritise students who come from an area with a low rate of progression to higher education, which is classed as a POLAR(4) Quintile 1 or 2. You can check the quintile of your postcode here.

Selection will also prioritise students who have been in care, are care givers, receive free school meals, or are hoping to be first generation university students

What will I need to wear?

Whatever you’re comfortable with.

Do I get a participation certificate?

Students attending a minimum of 5 of the Challenge Club sessions will be eligible for a participation certificate which they will receive at the end of the programme.

I've got a question — who do I talk to?

Please contact:

Please note the organisers reserve the right to change the programme without notification or to make alterations to the advertised details for the day at short notice.


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