Quintessentially's top 10 summer schools

Words by Charlotte Hansford

30 June 2020

With the long summer months looming, parents and students are looking to fill them with activities - while keeping an eye on preparation for the next school year. In this guide, you’ll find Quintessentially’s recommendations for some of the very best summer camps in the UK. From Oxford Preparation to cooking courses, these selected camps and summer schools aim to inspire a wide range of students - there really is something for everyone. So, in no particular order, here’s our list of favourites in 2019 from our Education Specialists.

Once Upon a Thought

Best for: Creative writing

Location: Battle Abbey School, East Sussex

Ages: 15 - 17

Residential/Day: Residential (2 weeks)

Dates: 15th - 28th July; 29th July – 11th August

Once Upon a Thought™ is a unique and exclusive two-week residential creative writing and storytelling workshop for 15- to 17-year-old students run by Magic Lanterns Academy (MLA), held at Battle Abbey High School in England. The camp works from the core belief that only by adventuring into one’s imagination and exploring the art of storytelling are writers able to express their creativity. The course is to be taught by Sally Gardner, an award-winning author from London, and Lesley Lim, a leading expert in college advising.

Students will also take part in workshops led by well-known authors, and, by the end of the programme, will have completed the foundation course to a year-long online writing course with the goal of writing a novel or other piece of literary work by the close of summer 2020. As the university application process around the world grows ever more competitive, students need to find ways to distinguish themselves from thousands of other applicants. Once Upon a Thought™ helps them do just that.

Coast to Coast Education

Best for: English language and extra-curricular activities

Location: Belmont School Campus, Surrey, UK; Barnard Castle, Durham, UK, and Hong Kong

Ages: 9 -17

Residential/ Day: Residential

Dates: July - August (2 to 4-week courses)

Coast to Coast Education is a boutique organisation that specialises in residential camps away from home, in the UK and Hong Kong. The courses are big on sports, but also encompass an inspiring curriculum to nurture proficiency in the English language and help students develop confidence and independent thought.

The four-week language camp at Belmont School offers a British boarding experience in the heart of the Surrey countryside surrounded by excellent facilities and stunning views. The courses offer a combination of study, sport and activities woven into a friendly and homely residential experience. All three schools are set in extensive grounds with swimming pools, theatres, sports halls, tennis courts, volleyball, football, and softball fields. The course also includes day trips to London and Oxford. There is a 10 % discount for Quintessentially members.

Summer Cooking Camp for Teenagers

Best for: Vital food skills and would-be chefs

Location: Central London

Ages: 13-18

Residential/ Day: Day

Dates: 22nd - 26th July; 5th - 9th August and 19th - 23rd August. All classes run from 9:30 am - 4:00pm (5 days a week)

From baked beans to brilliance in one week, Cookery School at Little Portland Street’s five-day course is perfect for teenagers heading to university, or who simply lack confidence in the kitchen. They learn the essential basics of cooking and leave with an arsenal of easy and enjoyable recipes as taught by trained chefs. At lunchtime, the students meet up around the Cookery School table to enjoy the dishes they’ve prepared that morning, followed by an afternoon filled with activities – from cooking challenges to tasting tours of Cookery School’s favourite London foodie neighbourhoods. The school holds the maximum 3 Stars for sustainability from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), and uses ingredients that are always in season, organic, and sustainably and locally sourced. Kosher and halal, and a variety of other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Quintessentially members can save 10% on Summer Cooking Camp and receive a Cookery School goody bag.

Bishopstrow Academic Summer School

Best for: Sampling a British boarding school experience

Location: Wiltshire, UK

Ages: 7-17

Residential/ Day: Residential

Dates: 17th June - 21st July (5 weeks)

This five-week course helps prepare international students who are set to join a British boarding school in the autumn but it’s also a good way for curious parents to allow their child to dip their toe in the system for the length of a summer holiday.

The programme combines English learning with academic subjects, including Mathematics, Science and History. A Study Skills module for senior students (aged 14-16 years), with an upper intermediate level of English (Level B2 on the Common European Framework), provides excellent preparation for international students before they commence their GCSE, A-Level studies or the IB Diploma Programme at a mainstream school. There’s plenty of time for creative activities, sports, social programme and excursions and the setting is beautiful.

Jonathan Markson Tennis

Best for: Tennis enthusiasts

Location: Yorkshire, Oxford, Brighton, UK, and Annecy in France

Ages: 8 - 21

Residential/Day: Both

Dates: End of June to August

Founded in 1981 by the Scottish International tennis player Jonathan Markson, the international summer camps are for anyone who is passionate about tennis, no matter what their level of play. The programmes include Residential and Day Camps, CORE, Performance Plus and Coach-in-Training tennis programmes, and specific Technical Clinics.

Students receive five hours of coaching per day on the residential summer camps - as well as optional English lessons for international players - along with a wide range of day and evening activities. The summer camps are geared to specific age groups, with Oxford University aimed at 10 -17 years, Brighton University 15 - 21 years, and Cambridge University providing for adults. Younger players (8 -15 years) also have the beautiful campus of Giggleswick School in Yorkshire to enjoy. All the camps deliver an intensive, high quality and uniquely British experience. Quintessentially members benefit from a 10% discount.

Learn and Experience

Best for: Adventure, outdoor activities, and confidence-building

Location: Aysgarth School, Yorkshire, and FSM School, New Forest, Hants, UK

Ages: 8 -15

Residential/ Day: Residential

Dates: World Camps: Yorkshire - 7th July - 3rd August (2 - 4 weeks); New Forest - 28th July - 10th August (2 weeks)

Learn and Experience is an award-winning Residential Camp that specialises in adventure-led, cultural and learning experiences. Its programmes enable young people to learn a huge array of exciting new skills while being provided with expert tuition and guidance and developing independence and confidence. L&E offers two World Camps in the UK: Aysgarth School, just north of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and Forres Sandle Manor, in Hampshire’s New Forest with a fully residential programme, including morning and afternoon activities. To complement its summer camps, L&E also offers travel and leadership programmes for teenagers to immerse themselves in the art of travel by exploring the UK and Europe in groups of 6 -10, accompanied by travel mentors.

Summer Boarding Courses

Best for: English language and Oxbridge

Location: Oxford, Windsor, and Bournemouth, UK

Ages: 8 - 17

Residential/Day: Both

Dates: July – August (2 - 4 weeks)

Summer Boarding Courses provide premium residential and non-residential English summer schools for international students aged between 8 and 17 years old who are looking to learn and develop their English. The immersive environment also allows students to study a specialist subject, in conjunction with an extensive activity and cultural excursions programme. Students have the choice of 25 academic courses and experience life in one of the UK’s most famous university towns, along with two full-day excursions each week to historic and cultural sites, including London, Oxford, Bournemouth, and Bath. Since 2008, SBC has welcomed over 10,000 students from 139 different countries and is ranked as the UK’s Top-Ranked Multi-Campus Summer School. Quintessentially members benefit from a 10% discount.

XUK Camp

Best for: Activity and adventure

Location: Abberley Hall School, Worcester; St Joseph’s College, London; Monmouth, Wales, UK

Ages: 8 -17

Residential/Day: Residential

Dates: July – August (1- 6 weeks)

XUK Camps have been successfully running USA-style summer camps in the UK for over 20 years. There are three fantastic sleepaway options on offer, based at some of the UK’s most prestigious boarding schools; the first being XUK Activity, a multi-activity camp giving 7 to 17-year-olds an all-rounder experience from raft building and Bollywood dance, to football and yoga. Second option XUK English is an English summer school that offers engaging English lessons for 9 to 17-year-olds and a vast range of afternoon activities and sightseeing trips. And lastly, XUK Excel, a specialist activity camp where 8 to 17-year-olds can focus on Water & Forest Adventure, Sport, Media or Creative Arts. Owners and directors, Richard & Nick Bernstein run their family business with pride and are always on hand to help. The camps are recognised by Ofsted and the British Accreditation Council.

International Summer School for Teens (ISSFT)

Best for: English language and all-round experience

Location: Stirling, Scotland

Ages: 12 - 17

Residential/ Day: Residential

Dates: June, July, and August (3 weeks)

International Summer School for Teens (ISSFT) is an all-inclusive three-week programme designed for students aged 12-17. As well as English language teaching at beginner, intermediate and advanced level, students are introduced to a range of inspiring academic subjects while enjoying a full programme of sporting, creative and social activities. The summer school is held at Stirling University, on a modern campus outside the city, surrounded by lovely wooded countryside. It’s often rated among the most beautiful campuses in international surveys, and, as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, it has some of the best facilities in the United Kingdom. Students can enjoy lessons in golf, tennis, photography, sports leadership, theatre, and creative coding, as well as day trips to some of Scotland’s greatest landmarks.

Fire Tech Camps

Best for: Creative technologies

Location: All over London and across the UK

Ages: 9 -17

Residential/ Day: Both

Dates: June – August

Fire Tech is the UK’s leading provider of tech-focused holiday camps for young people aged 9 to 17 years old. Children spend an exhilarating week engineering robots, designing computer games, or building a personal brand on YouTube. Fire Tech campers transform from passive consumers to proactive tech makers and have an absolute blast in the process, learning all about the latest technologies from tech-savvy tutors from the UK’s top universities, including Cambridge and Imperial College. With up to 40 hours of tuition, tech-loving kids can get under the hood with courses on Python and Java coding, Robotics, Digital Photography, Virtual Reality, Video Game Design and more. Courses around the country include a day camp venue at St John’s School in Leatherhead as well as residential camps at Wycombe Abbey, Ardingly College, and Lancing College.

If any of these summer courses are of interest to you and your children, please get in touch with Charlotte: [email protected] or call +44 (0) 2030 736852. For all other education enquiries, please contact: [email protected]

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