St John’s Inspire Programme Summer Schools are launching for 2022

Date 26 July 2022

We are delighted to be hosting the St John's Inspire Programme Summer Schools for Year 11 and Year 12, both at St John’s College and virtually!

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The Inspire Programme encourages talented pupils to aim high, to stretch themselves academically and to be confident in making well-founded applications to a top university like Oxford. The annual summer schools play a key role in this mission, so we’re thrilled to be able to welcome pupils back to St John’s College in person, for the first time since 2019! In addition, all pupils on our Inspire Programmes are invited to our virtual summer schools on the Inspire Digital platform.

This year, we are hosting four three-day residential summer schools between the 25th July and 5th August. Almost 200 Year 11 and Year 12 pupils will be joining us from our Pre-GCSE Inspire Programme (our three-year sustained contact programme in Ealing and Harrow), the Inspire Critical Thinking Programme (for pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11 enrolled on our online programme from across the UK), and our Inspire 12 & 13 Programme (for pupils enrolled on our Year 12 programme across Ealing, Harrow, and the Oxford for South East region). They will follow an ambitious programme of both social and academic events, giving them an insight into life as an Oxford student.

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On their first day, pupils will be welcomed to college and have a student-led tour, before heading out to try punting on the River Cherwell. In the afternoon, they will attend an academic session of their choice, then unwind over croquet, giant ‘blocks’ and other garden games with a celebration BBQ!

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On Day Two, pupils begin by visiting one of the Oxford Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) institutes, and consider how they would design their own museum exhibit. They are then able to try out one of a range of ‘clubs and societies’, such as learning how to direct or support a performance at the Oxford Playhouse, creating a masterpiece in a Graffiti Art workshop with Graffiti Stars, playing rounders in the University Parks or developing their drawing skills.

Of course, no visit to Oxford would be complete without excellent food – on the second evening of their summer school pupils will dress up for an Inspire Formal dinner, and commemorate the evening in our St John’s Inspire photo-booth! Finally, on Day Three pupils attend our leaving ceremony, are awarded an Inspire Summer School certificate and have a final chance to take photos in their student groups with the St John’s student ambassadors.

The virtual summer schools programme for 2022 is equally diverse, including a range of academic sessions, engaging activities and virtual GLAM visits and engaging challenges for pupils to participate in. Over 2350 pupils across our Pre-GCSE Inspire Programme, Inspire Critical Thinking Programme and Inspire 12 & 13 Programme will be invited to our virtual summer schools for Year 9 & 10, Year 11 and Year 12.

The 2021 summer schools will be taking place 1st-5th August on the Inspire Digital platform (you can view the summer school homepage here), with new content going live each morning for students to follow along with. The content will remain on the platform until 23rd September, so participants will be able to join whenever they are free and revisit activities they have found useful however many times they like.

Activities include a variety of new academic talks, challenges, tasks and skills-development sessions created exclusively for the St John’s Inspire programme. Talk subjects range from the facets of biodiversity to using cartoons to understand history, with all sessions designed by experts in their field, including many of our researchers here at St John’s and members of the wider Oxford community. Examples of activity sessions include “The Human Brain”, “Fluid Dynamics” and “The Art of Coding”; pupils are guided through a series of interactive resources and challenges, designed to develop interests beyond the curriculum.

Alongside these talks and activities, pupils can take interactive tours of Oxford GLAM institutes, as well as investigating some specimens and objects from their collections. For example, pupils will hear about the “Tortoiseshell Box” from the Ashmolean Museum in an engaging podcast, and examine the ‘Talking Threads” exhibition from the Pitt Rivers Museum, which showcases Palestinian embroidery.

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The Year 12 programme has further developed its featured careers focus of the virtual summer school this year, by including the Career Inspiration Hub. Additionally, each day participants are able to “meet” alumni and friends of St John’s, working across a range of exciting featured careers, who will give an insight into their career journey. Students will be exposed to a wide range of career possibilities, from law to psychology, encouraging participants to consider their own choices and the variety of pathways open to them.

Throughout the summer school there will be lots of opportunities for participants to share their work with us for the chance to win Amazon vouchers and have their submissions featured on Inspire Digital. Students will need to submit examples of their work by 31st August to be eligible for the prizes.

We can’t wait to welcome the participants to College virtually in just over two weeks’ time! For more information, please see

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