4th April 2023
Summer Schools in the UK- How provision has changed post Covid?
By Patricia Moores

Despite the excitement that Summer schools in the UK are back in force this year,  there is a general consensus that 2023 will not see the same number of students taking part or the same number of providers as were seen pre pandemic. However, as Mark Cook, Managing Director Trinity International Education explains, for those providers that have survived the pandemic, “the pause in operations has offered the opportunity to rethink how courses and programmes can work differently, with new content, perhaps breaking away from the previous norms of structure and content.”


The sharing of cultures is a strong theme for many Summer schools now, recognising the restrictions placed on young people during the Covid 19 restrictions. Felsted school has for several years now focused on Global education as a key theme for its summer school offering. The structure of the Summer school offering, is underpinned by Felsted’s membership of the Round Square, a network of over 230 schools spanning over 50 countries. The Round Square focuses itself on developing its 6 key principles of internationalism, democracy, environmentalism, adventure, leadership and service within the hearts and minds of the next generation.


Another new offering comes from Kingsley School.

As one would expect in 2023 there is certainly an increased focus on pastoral provision offered during Summer School stays; “For many students and their families, Summer 2023 will be the first time that many students will have travelled independently. To this end we are increasing the size of our pastoral teams to provide more support, reduce the chances of home sickness and so enable students to reach out to make meaningful connections with other students from around the world,” says Will Finlayson, Director of Summer Boarding Courses

Located on the North Devon Coast the school has launched a Surf & English course & Moreton Hall hopes to revamp and reintroduce its parent & child Summer school in 2024, enabling young people from 3-12 and their parents to experience life and learning in the UK together.

Covid not only impacted on student mental health and ability to travel, in person, to attend summer schools, but it also highlighted huge volatility in world economic markets. Traditionally, pre pandemics, Summer schools focused on improving English language skills and cultural visits, but now, post pandemic, some providers are particularly keen to highlight the value of their academic offerings to help students prepare for higher education and the world of work.

As Jon Halligan, Director of Bucksmore Education points out; “There is very little scope to provide valuable additions (such micro certifications / qualifications, career experiences etc) in an already crowded school-based curriculum. As an academic short course provider (delivered via summer schools) we offer courses to students across a wide range of certifications and experiences that can help enhance their academic profile and subsequently their university application.”

Mark Jeynes, Director of Bishopstrow College, confirms the increased interest in academic programmes; “we are seeing really strong demand for our Term 4 and two (5-week) Academic Summer Programmes, with a waitlist already in operation.”

Ceara Fisher from St Bees highlights; “STEM is a key focus of our summer programme – we want more than just some English and Maths. We want to prepare these students for the global world of tomorrow.”

Some organisations are going beyond an academic focus, offering instead work experience at the core of their programmes. InvestIN Education is the only global provider offering ‘immersive career experiences’ that enable students to gain hands-on experience alongside industry professionals during the summer, with up to 18 different career programmes to choose from, including medicine, engineering and law. Work experience opportunities were badly affected by Covid, so it comes as no surprise that interest in practical work experience programmes continues to grow, as young people prepare for the transition into higher education and are looking for ways to boost their UCAS applications.

So, there is plenty new to excite Summer school students in the UK this summer and fingers crossed levels of providers and students increase again in the years ahead…

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