Homerton College Summer School Round-up

Photo: Summer school students

Homerton College hosted 85 year 12 students at four two-day summer residentials over the long vacation. The students came from 24 different state schools in the College’s link areas of Doncaster, Rotherham, Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston.

Summer Schools give students the opportunity to experience life as an undergraduate at Homerton, by taking part in study sessions led by academics at the University, spending time exploring the city centre, and spending time with current Homerton undergraduates.

All students were welcomed to the college by Homertons’ Schools Liaison Officer, Ellen Slack, and were introduced to the courses on offer at the university by Admissions Tutor, Steve Watts.

Students attending the Sciences strand of the Summer Schools chose between sessions built on topics within the A level syllabus, and others introducing new subjects they may not have studied before. Prospective engineers were challenged to build a bridge out of only paper and screws, tested to destruction with a bucket of baked beans.

In the evening a tour of Cambridge led to the Central Science Library, where students were presented with a murder mystery to solve. Protected by crime scene suits, students collected forensic evidence, analysed finger prints, solved puzzles and looked into the motivations of each of the suspects, to decide who had committed the crime.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the talks, the murder mystery and all the activities,” said Garrett May, from The Tiffin School, Kingston-Upon-Thames. “It provided a great insight into Cambridge."

“It was a very valuable experience!" agreed Mae Brooksbank, from Wales High School, Rotherham, who also attended the Sciences Summer School.

The Arts and Humanities Summer Schools included a production of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ performed in Homerton College’s Gardens as part of the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival, and a discussion of it with Dr John Hopkins. Students also looked at Benjamin Britten’s operatic work of the play. Historians looked at the life of Mary, Queen of Scots and the challenges of being a female ruler in a patriarchal society. Other sessions available included History, Philosophy, Art History, English and Children’s Literature.

Jodie Ng, from Ridgewood School, Doncaster, said that the summer school “really helped me understand university life a lot more and answered so many questions I had. I had such a good time, particularly the Shakespeare performance!"

Law, Economics, Politics and Geography were covered in the Social Sciences Summer Schools. Economics students examined how microfinance (including institutions like the Grameen Bank) has helped to transform the lives of some of the world’s poorest people by offering them loans. However, the group also studied some of the challenges and difficulties this type of credit has faced.

Students also listened to short research talks in other areas of the Social Sciences to introduce them to Archaeology, Anthropology, Psychology and Education - subjects they may not have had the opportunity to study so far at school. The chocolate tasting section of the Psychology session certainly went down well with students!

The residentials ended with a closing session from Admissions Tutor Steve Watts on how to make a competitive application to highly selective universities like Cambridge. Steve helped lay to rest some of the misconceptions surrounding the application process and outlined how Admissions Tutors assess applicants.

All involved in the Summer Schools – the academics, student ambassadors and Schools Liaison Officer Ellen Slack – thoroughly enjoyed working with the students who attended the Summer Schools this year, and look forward to welcoming more students to the college in the next academic year.