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Inside the 2020 Warwick Sutton Trust Online Summer School

Since 2016, Warwick has been one of 13 partner universities in the Sutton Trust's UK Summer School Programme, which has involved running a summer school for approximately 120 students from under-represented groups in higher education.

The participants are from all over the UK and stay on our campus for 5 days to experience what being a student at Warwick is like. They attend taster lectures in a subject of their choice and learn about the UCAS process. They meet our students and take part in a variety of fun activities, which has included an It's a Knockout afternoon and society tasters.

This year, due to the lockdown and social distancing rules, the Sutton Trust gave us the opportunity to join them in a new venture, meaning we would still be able to host our summer school but in a virtual environment, via the Sutton Trust Online Platform.

Come and meet our 2020 Summer School!

For the Year 12 students arriving on campus on the first day of a summer school, the challenge is usually to avoid delayed or cancelled trains from London or Newcastle, and meeting new people whilst settling down in their accommodation. Our first virtual online day was somewhat different. The ITS team worked around the clock to ensure that all the young people were able to use their Warwick logins to get safely online. A big shout out to Alan, Kiran and David who spent many days in the lead-up to the summer school - and on that first day - rescuing those who were lost, unable to find their way through the labyrinth of Microsoft and the world wide web.

Eventually, most of our participants made it onto MS Teams and were able to meet their subject group. This year, we ran six streams over 4 days:

  • Biology of Health and Care with Warwick Medical School, Life Sciences and Warwick Manufacturing Group
  • Classics and Ancient History, TV & Film and History of Art
  • Computer Science and Engineering
  • Liberal Arts, Politics and International Studies
  • Law
  • Philosophy, Politics and Economics

The participants accessed their subject stream via the Sutton Trust Online platform, where our academics had provided pre-recorded lectures, self-guided exercises and online quizzes.

A big thank you to all the staff involved

and in particular to Leda Mirbahai (WMS), Kevin Moffat (Life Sciences), Farhan Noordali (WMS), Mohannad Alajlani (WMG), Paul Grigsby (Classics & Ancient History), Matthew Denny (Film & TV), Sarah Walford (History of Art), Claire Rocks (Computer Science), Thomas Popham (Engineering), Becca Kirk (Law), Maggie O'Brien (Law), James Harrison (Law), Lory Barile (Economics), Kirk Surgener (PPE), Barney Walker (Philosophy), Kirsten Harris (Liberal Arts), Matthew Watson (PAIS) and Shanaz Akhter (PAIS) and all their helpers for making this possible.

The young people attended live Q&A sessions and seminars in which we all learnt a lot, staff included!

I really enjoyed taking part in the summer school as a whole, especially having the opportunity to learn about new areas of Law that I haven't studied at A-Level. One of the most useful sessions was the Q&A with the ambassadors and getting to familiarise ourselves with the website to learn more about what life at university is like and what the application process entails. AMICE, participant

It’s been challenging adapting to online when we are so used to face to face delivery, however it has been a great learning opportunity for us and something we will certainly take forward into other online outreach activities and teaching next year! Becca Kirk, Law School

Here is what the participants said about their academic sessions

The young people also had a lot of fun thanks to the hard work of our fifteen Warwick Student Ambassadors from the Warwick Welcome Service. They organised a lot of social activities to help our participants feel they belong and get to know each other. Interacting with our students directly was an opportunity many of them appreciated, as we could see from the amount of questions about student life our ambassadors received in the chats.

Well done everyone for a very successful first ever online summer school!