Image credit: Oxford University
Forty talented Oxford Academy pupils attended a two-week summer camp run by Oxford University.
The camp was part of a programme aimed at 'unlocking the potential' of high-achieving children from areas with lower-than-average progression to higher education.
The pupils, most of whom are about to start in Year 7 at the Oxford Academy, were looked after by student mentors from universities around the country – including Oxford and Oxford Brookes – and took part in activities including debating, philosophy, museum trips, academic subject workshops, sport, and discussion of important social issues that can crop up during secondary school.
The summer camp was a joint venture between Oxford University, the Oxford Academy and Lauriston Lights, a charity that aims to bridge the achievement gap at an earlier age between high-ability children from different backgrounds. Lauriston Lights has run summer camps in London since 2013, but 2017 has seen its first expansion beyond the capital. The Oxford summer camp was held on the Oxford Academy's Littlemore site, with the aim of helping attendees find the confidence and skills to thrive academically and personally in secondary school and beyond.
Lou O'Hara, senior lead for primary to secondary transition at the Oxford Academy, said: 'The summer camp been absolutely amazing. Working with Lauriston Lights and Oxford University has been a real privilege, and seeing the students so engaged, working so hard and challenging themselves in these sessions has been fantastic. They're starting to get a sense of what they might be capable of, and thinking about things they've never considered before.
'We've worked with the University a few times throughout the year, on curriculum delivery and staff development, and everything has been very well received. The more the University can engage with local schools the better, as far as we're concerned.'
Organiser Dr Anna Caughey, from Oxford University's Widening Access and Participation team, said: 'This has been a great chance for the University to work with a group of talented and ambitious local school children at the start of their secondary school journey to make sure they are aware of all the opportunities that are open to them.'
Lauriston Lights founder and board member Hayley Carr said: 'We see this as a special partnership – a university, a secondary school and a charity working together with external organisations, teachers and parents to empower bright kids from diverse backgrounds to be stretched, challenged and listened to in a unique environment with university student mentors.'
The summer camp formed part of the University's Oxford for Oxford scheme, which aims to forge closer links between the University and the local community.