The Tanner Research Project
In 2018, we launched a comprehensive research project investigating the history of the Tanner Scheme and invited Hertford alumni to participate by sharing their experiences of admissions and their time at Hertford. We are delighted to now be able to share the completed Tanner Scheme Research Project with you.
The project researched the history of Hertford College’s most successful scheme, which ran from the 1960s to the 1980s, to admit students to Oxford who would not otherwise have applied to the University. Devised by the college’s physics tutor, Dr Neil Tanner, the scheme brought to the college young men and later women (after the college admitted women in 1974) from diverse educational and social backgrounds who would not have had the chance of an Oxford education without Tanner’s farsightedness and imagination, and the college’s flexibility. The scheme paved the way for changes in the way Oxford, as a whole, selected undergraduates: what Hertford pioneered in the 1960s became the norm in the 1980s.
The project used archival records, the testimony of tutors involved in the scheme, and the memories of students who came to Hertford by this unconventional route and whose lives were changed by it. In this way the project will contribute to the ongoing debate about application to Oxford: we hope that a notably successful experiment in the past will offer ideas and inspiration for undergraduate admissions now and in the future.
The research was conducted by Professor Lawrence Goldman, formerly Director of the Institute of Historical Research at the School of Advanced Study in the University of London, and editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography from 2004-2014.
Read the full report