Why summer school is a great idea for kids aged 8-12
A distinctively different way of learning, summer school is an unique opportunity for your child to experience something brand-new and get them excited afresh about learning. It’s a way to help kids bridge the learning gap over the summer and prevent learning loss, without the pressure and sense of urgency often associated with school; think of it as a way to keep the ‘learning door’ ajar rather than flung wide open. In fact, research shows that children who don’t engage in any learning during the summer holidays tend to lose up to a third of what they have learnt during the academic year and then spend around a month settling into the habit of learning once they’re back at school.
Summer school is also a LOT of fun! Forget the stuffy ‘punishment’ mathematics summer classes of yesteryear, with your child glued to a desk inside pining for the sunshine outside. Nowadays, summer schools are as much about trying out new and exciting activities, sports, making friends and going on stimulating days out as they are about learning.
But back to the learning for a moment! If your child is finding a particular subject at school challenging (perhaps they struggle with memorisation or written work, or they’re bored because they’re ahead of the rest of their class), summer school is an excellent opportunity to approach learning in an innovative way. Lively classroom discussion is encouraged and classes are typically as hands-on as possible; new ideas are brought to life for your child through games, role play and debate, practical experimentation and relevant field trips. It’s learning without your child realising they’re learning.
If English isn’t your child’s first language, a UK summer school provides the perfect opportunity for your child to improve their English language skills, including conversational and colloquial ‘real-life’ English in an authentic setting, which is difficult to pick up from books alone. Even if your child’s chosen course isn’t specifically an English course, whatever they are studying will be taught entirely in English, their peers and teachers will speak in English, and they’ll be fully immersed in British culture – they’ll live in a traditional British boarding school in exactly the same way that the year-round local students do.
A child aged 8-12 typically inhabits a very small world and their opinions can often be replicas of their friends’; simply modelled on the examples available in their immediate surroundings. A good summer school will expose your child to the myriad options for success awaiting them later on in life: they might discover a new passion or future career idea, or realise they love a subject they were previously struggling with. You’ll see their world expand as well as a tangible increase in their independence and self-confidence. They’ll make new friends from all over the world, from diverse cultures and backgrounds: summer schools are very well set up for encouraging new friendships, with ice-breaker activities and a jam-packed timetable of activities and trips – so making friends is natural and easy, even for the shyest of children.
So, where to start? Read on for our guide to the best UK summer schools for kids aged 8-12 in Oxford and Dorset this summer 2023.
8 Featured Courses for Ages 8-12
A brilliant course for mini-entrepreneurs who plan to be running the world one day! This two-week course by Oxford Scholastica for ages 8-12 provides a fun and interactive introduction to the world of business and how to run your own company. Your child will live at one of three Oxford college residences and enjoy exciting days out and extracurricular activities, leaving no time for homesickness!
Learn the universal language of science: discover cells, genes, atoms and molecules, and investigate the origins of life and outer space. This action-packed course for ages 8-12 by Oxford Summer Courses will spark your child’s curiosity and develop their love of the sciences! Residential at an authentic Oxford University college for two weeks, your child will share a room with their new friends, have plenty of time for play and activities, and there’s 24/7 security and pastoral support.
Summer Boarding Courses’ two-week English language course for ages 11-15 takes a hands-on, interactive approach to language learning: through creative tasks, projects and games, children are challenged to activate their language knowledge and develop their communication skills in a natural way. Located at Canford School (recently ranked in the top 10 most beautiful boarding schools in the UK) in Dorset, your child will be just 30 minutes away from the traditional British seaside town of Bournemouth, which they’ll visit on memorable days out.
This engaging two-week course for budding novelists by Oxford Summer Courses teaches children aged 8-12 how to create a character, structure a plot and grab the reader’s attention then keep it page after page. Your child will get the chance to create interactive adventures with comic strips, look at the role of photos and podcasts in modern narration and take inspiration from Britain’s best-loved authors. Residential at an Oxford University college, they’ll get to live out their Harry Potter dreams and discover how this magical city inspired JK Rowling!
Residential at Canford School in Dorset, a beautiful boarding school set in 250 acres that is frequently shortlisted as the best public school in the UK, this two-week course for ages 11-15 is unique in that it will build your child’s English language skills whilst igniting a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Outside of class, Summer Boarding Courses will keep your child busy with three excursions to famous UK cities and popular destinations.
An inspiring course for future doctors and nurses, Oxford Scholastica runs a two-week medicine course for ages 8-12, residential at a historic University of Oxford college. This hands-on course is filled with practical exercises, project work and exciting experiments to give children a realistic taste of what it’s really like to study and practise this fascinating subject.
If your child is fascinated by how things work and has a keen interest in technology, harness their curiosity with Oxford Scholastica’s two-week technology course for ages 8-12 in Oxford, residential at a University of Oxford college. Your child will gain hands-on experience in the fields of computing and engineering, helping to prepare them for an ever-increasing digital future.
It’s never too early to get your child clued up on the world around them. This highly-interactive two-week course by Summer Boarding Schools for ages 8-12 develops an introductory understanding of how and why the international political landscape is shaped as it is. Your child will be encouraged to consider key global issues from a variety of perspectives through debate and role play whilst simultaneously building on their fluency and confidence in using English. Residential at the prestigious Canford School in Dorset (30 minutes from the seaside), there will also be plenty of time for exciting extracurricular activities and sports!
Give your child a phenomenal summer!
A summer school experience is enriching and eye-opening. Whichever subject you choose, you’ll be helping to cultivate your child’s passion for a subject that could become their lifelong career focus, you’ll be enabling them to experience a brand-new culture and develop their English skills, as well as make international friends and visit iconic tourist attractions.
If you have questions or need a little further advice, get in touch and one of our friendly team will be happy to talk it through with you!