Summer Schools

April 2024

So why would students sign up for more school over the summer holiday break?  

Summer schools, whether hosted by universities or other organisations, have experienced a surge in popularity in recent years and present lots of opportunities for teens for all ages. Ranging from brief short courses to longer immersive experiences, programmes can offer a range of benefits: from refining academic skills, cultivating new skills & interests to fostering friendships and improving communication abilities; they can also help to combat summer learning loss and provide a sense of routine. 

In this month's blog, we delve into some of the programmes available, highlighting the variety of their offerings and their advantages. 

What can a university summer school offer? 

Summer schools can last between one and five weeks during the summer school break. Some are residential or online and can take place at a school or university campus or community venue.   

In today’s highly competitive landscape, gaining admission to top universities is more challenging than ever, with over 700,000 UK students having applied for a place at a UK university this year alone. Attending a summer school can help students apply to competitive degree courses, not only by demonstrating their subject interests but also by showcasing their preparedness for undergraduate studies. 

*Source: Higher education in numbers   

Some of the other benefits include: 

Improving Academic Foundations - many summer schools are designed to help students improve their academic knowledge of a subject and help them to develop skills for future studies. 

Developing Effective Communication Skills – the opportunity to develop professional skills, through workshops, debating activities or presentations enable students to prepare for the world of work and enhance university and job applications. 

Overcome Summer Learning Loss - summer schools can help maintain academic focus by providing a structured programme to expand a students’ knowledge and skills. 

Maintaining a Routine – the structured approach to a variety of academic and enrichment activities enables learning and development to happen where a complete break from studies may provide no focus. 

What academic summer school courses are there? 

UCL summer School  - With 80+ courses on offer in June, July and August, there are a wide range of courses including in Law, PoliticsandEconomicsas well as the option to live in central London. A fantastic social programme is also included. 

Oxford University Subject Exploration    - An academic summer programme at Oxford University with the opportunity to experience a top UK university whilsthaving a taster ofuniversity-level teaching in popular degrees while staying in Oxford.  

Step into Bath - summer school residential - An on-campus two-nightresidential summer school that runs from Wednesday 24 to Friday 26 July 2024 for Year 12 students who are considering applying to Bath for 2025 entry. To be considered for a place on Step into Bath, students will need to have obtained at least six GCSEs at grades A* to B/9 to 6 and will also need to be taking the relevant A levels (or equivalent) for their chosen course and provide their predicted grades.  

Debate Chamber Summer Schools  - Debate Chamber offers a range of fun and challenging academic events for students aged 11-18 including Philosophy & Physics, Arts & Humanities, Law & Medicineall designed to develop intellectual curiosity, critical thinking and the desire and ability to pursue ideas independently. 

For more information about the courses above and many more click here. 

What other summer programmes are out there?   

As an alternative to the more academic summer school courses that focus on enhancing subject knowledge, there are other programmes that focus more on developing skills ready for the world of work. 

The National Citizenship Service (NCS) deliver programmes aimed at 15 – 17 year olds to help them become world and work-readyProgrammes are delivered in the community, online and as part of a residentialFor more information and how-to sign-up visit:Find a programme | NCS ( 

Investin Programmes - InvestIN is a London based organisation that provides students aged 12-18 with an immersive experience of their dream career.Programmes take place both in person and live online and cover careers in STEM, medicine, engineering, architecture, law, politics and culture. Note: there is a cost to these programmes, but some bursaries are available. 

Animation interactive film and sound short course -This course is aimed at anyone aged between 16 and 18 who’s made films at any level and wants to know how to compile and promote their work further. The focus is on presenting yourself through filmmaking. No experience is necessary. There is a cost to this programme. 

City Football Leadership Institute  Summer School - For an experience inside the world of Premier League champions Manchester City for 14 - 18s, this summer programme offers a hands-on immersion into the business of sport. urse -

Rada Young Actors Summer School  - This two-weeksummer school is aimed at 16–18-year-olds and is suitable for those thinking about actor training at degree levelIt is designed to deepen understanding of acting technique and give apractical insight into literature and drama.  

Fashion Design and Styling  - This course is for students aged11 – 15 who are considering fashion or styling as a future career. The course is held overtwo days in the summer and designed to createan understanding of the processes involved with fashion design and communication, including research and development, 3D experimentation, styling, customising garments and developing a project portfolio for further applications.

Overseas Summer Schools 

The U.K. is not the only place students can experience a summer school. Attending a summer school in another country can greatly expand a students’ insight into how other students live and study. It can be an enriching experience, allowing exploration of new cultures, and the chance to discover the world has to offer. 

Harvard Summer School – Based in Boston, USA, this summer school focuses on law and business, offering a college and campus experience with the opportunity build life skills to use for university applications.  

University of Sydney – offering summer school programmes covering veterinary studies, engineering and creative writing, these summer courses will be taught by professors from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, providing the opportunity to learn from experienced people in the field. Also, with the opportunity to experience fun activities and cultural excursions after school hours. 

For more information about summer courses worldwide click here. 

What are the costs of attending a summer school? 

For academic courses offered by Oxford and Cambridge universities fees can be as much as £5,000 for a two week residential course, however, some five day courses can be from £170 per student from ages 11- 14 years. NCS online summer programmes are free of charge, whilst residential and community programmes are £95 per student.  In some circumstances, the students’ school or college can apply for a bursary to cover the cost. For more information visit: Frequently Asked Questions  


Summer schools are becoming an increasingly popular way for students to expand their horizons and excel academically. Benefits include knowledge enhancement, skill development, preventing learning loss, standing out in competition, subject focus, and cultural exploration. Whilst there are still substantial costs to some programmes, summer programmes like NCS, offer wider access to what can be a very positive experience in a students’ personal development. 

At FutureSmart Careers, we put the student at the centre of everything we do. Our L6 qualified careers advisers are on hand to provide inspiration and impartial advice in one-to-one guidance sessions or via group workshops in topics that support meeting the Gatsby benchmarks. 

If you would like careers guidance or support for students in your school or college, please get in touch at: 

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