Is building a replica of an Oxford tutor’s room really the best way to prepare state school pupils for the rigours of an Oxbridge interview? BSix, Brooke House Sixth Form College in Hackney, east London, believes so, and has spent £10,000 on just such a facility, which has fuddy-duddy furnishings and an adjacent garden with replica classical sculptures. “The Red Room” – an appropriately arch name, since the walls are light blue – is more than a cosmetic exercise: an Oxford academic will be teaching BSix students there three times a week. Dr Peter Claus, of Pembroke College, will be taking the tutorials and seminars, part of what he terms the college’s “public duty”. The response from students at the school has been enthusiastic, but the views of Oxford undergraduates are mixed. Rhys Owens, a student at Hertford College, told the university website Cherwell.org: “If you’re the kind of person who gets intimidated by a building or a room, I’m doubtful as to whether applying to Oxbridge would really be the right choice.” Simone Webb, a first year PPE student at the university, agreed. “I think that £10,000 could be better spent on improving the quality of education at the sixth form,” she said, “which would far better prepare students for Oxbridge admissions.” Others may feel that the requisite effect could be achieved for less than £10,000, perhaps by spilling cheap wine, dandruff and ash on the floor of an old book room and locking prospective students in it for an hour with a DVD of Stephen Fry reading from his autobiography.