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Summer School - It’s That Time of Year Again

Many of us have fond and vivid memories of last year’s summer school programmes and the University is gearing up for it again. Teams of people have been working hard in preparation and will continue to work to ensure the smooth running of the events.

The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY) Warwick Summer School opens its doors for three weeks from Sunday 20 July and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Aim Higher Summer School runs from Monday 28 July until Friday 1 August.

NAGTY @ Warwick

NAGTY students, aged 11 to 16, can choose from 10 different courses run by Warwick academics on topics ranging from Creative Writing and Drama and Media to Design of a Light Railway Transport System and Introduction to World Politics.

Warwick academics have been working hard with the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office to design and organise the courses. Advice has also been provided by NAGTY and colleagues at the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University. The courses are aimed at first year undergraduate level, and are designed to be challenging and flexible with the aim of stretching the capabilities of the students enrolled.

172 students have so far confirmed their attendance at the NAGTY @ Warwick Summer School, including some returning students from last year. The students will be coming from all over the country – and three students will be coming from the US to attend.

Aim Higher

The Aim Higher Summer School runs slightly differently, but no less effort has gone in to the organisation – this course is designed as a taster of Higher Education for 16 year-olds as a part of the ongoing Widening Participation initiative. The students will get the chance to try a variety of different subjects including Psychology, Physics, Law and Sociology. Many previous students have said that 'tasting' different subjects helped them to make decisions about which A levels to choose when they returned to college or sixth form that September.

Serious Socialising

It’s not all hard work though, Aim Higher has a Murder Mystery theme with a series of team challenges based around the concept. There are social activities every evening including giant outdoor games, sport, orienteering and a gala dinner.

The NAGTY @ Warwick students will enjoy extra-curricular activities ranging from a Native American event with tepees and drumming and a visit from Lady Godiva to a trip to see The Merry Wives of Windsor at Kenilworth Castle and a James Bond Special Event. Pro Vice-Chancellor Susan Bassnett will be giving a guest lecture on linguistics and the language of gestures and the students will put on a review with a series of sketches at the end of their stay. In addition students will be involved in a range of sport and leisure activities organised by the Residential Assistants.

Learning Measure for Measure

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will be visiting both Summer Schools to lead a drama course.

Trevelyan Wright, Head of Learning Programmes at the RSC, is leading the 15-day Drama and Theatre course. He explained

“This year we are focussing on Measure for Measure which is a much more adult work than The Tempest, which we worked on last year and which is often taught in schools. Learning from last year’s experience we feel more confident in stretching the students.”

The specially designed course will cover a variety of different skills and guests from the RSC, including the Senior Voice Tutor, will come along to teach their specialities. The students will also deal with the key themes of the play, Gary Watt, from the School of Law, will lead a session on the comparison between the Elizabethan and modern day legal systems.

Course participants will be learning by integrating video and live performance and the finale of the course will be a 30 – 40 minute student performance.

Navigating the Environment

Sue Barker, from the Institute of Education, led the Environmental Science course last year and is taking a similar course again this year. As she explained in the NAGTY magazine

“People have asked me about what makes someone gifted and talented in environmental science. I think this is tricky to answer as all the students were academically good all-rounders but all had a keen and passionate interest in the environment. It is this passion which helps them to excel.”

When asked how she was feeling in the run-up to this year’s Summer School, Sue said:

“Because of the large diversity of ability and age with children coming from different areas of the country with different experiences you need to be very flexible, reactive and developmental in the classroom – that’s what makes it a fantastic experience.”

A Great Team Effort

Ken Sloan, Director of Student Recruitment, and his colleagues are looking forward to both the NAGTY and Aim Higher Summer Schools. He said, “The summer schools are one of the highlights for the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office and enable the University to show off what it can do well. On the one hand we have first rate academics, teachers and doctoral students who have developed some very stimulating courses and activities that will keep the brightest minds very busy. Alongside this we have residential staff who will be offering a first rate social experience which draws on some of the excellent facilities that are available on campus and in the local area. Last year’s summer schools set a hard act to follow but we are looking forward to rising to this challenge”.

Lost Property

Starting from Sunday 20 July, only one week after the degree congregations, campus will be a hive of student activity again – only this time they’ll be slightly younger.

If you do see any badged Summer School students looking as if they’ve lost their way please do take pity on them, stop and help them and ring one of the following numbers:

Aim Higher (16 year olds) – Aim Higher Summer School Manager (Ros Roberts) - 024 7652 8120

NAGTY (11 – 16 year olds) – NAGTY @ Warwick Site Manager (Dan Persaud) – 024 7657 4493

However with the help of the residential team and campus Security, we are sure this won’t be necessary!