Why Oxford Royale Summer Schools is the World’s Best Summer Camp

Now in our second decade of operation, Oxford Royale Summer Schools has become one of Oxford’s best established and most prestigious providers of summer courses.

Going into 2017, what we offer to our students has become even more diverse, exciting and academically stimulating. We no longer offer courses solely in Oxford, but across the country in Oxford, Cambridge, London and Ascot, with carefully tailored courses for students aged from 8 to 25. Our summer camps enable our students to see the clearest path to their future goals, academic or otherwise, and it makes us proud to see the steady stream of Oxford Royale Summer Schools alumni who choose to return to us year after year for another unique academic experience. The praise from our students sits alongside a string of awards and accreditations that show it’s not only our own students and their parents that we have impressed. In this article, we take a look at exactly what it is that makes Oxford Royale Summer Schools so special.

Inspiring lessons with world-class teachers

We put outstanding and rigorous teaching at the heart of all of our programmes. Our teaching philosophy focuses on engaging and challenging our students academically, placing interaction at the core of every lesson so that every student contributes actively to class discussion. We encourage our students to get fully involved, to develop and voice their own opinions, and to build their skills in analysis and speaking in front of an audience. This doesn’t just help students build confidence, but also means that what our students learn stays with them for the long term. It’s a methodology that pays off: our students consistently rate our teaching as one of their favourite aspects of their time with us (and that’s even when it’s being compared with a trip to the Harry Potter Studios).

At ORA we pride ourselves on the high quality of our teaching.

The secret to the success of our teaching is the strength of the teachers we select. Many are tutors or recent graduates of Oxford, Cambridge or other Russell Group universities, and they share one key trait: the desire to inspire students with a love of their subject. We only choose teachers who are passionate about their subject so that their enthusiasm will be conveyed to their students. Our aim is that students will leave Oxford Royale Summer Schools freshly enthused about learning and ready for their next big step, from starting secondary school to applying for a postgraduate degree; in fact, we hope to instill our students with a love of knowledge that will last them for the rest of their lives.

A head start on your future goals

Summer holidays provide an ideal opportunity to get ahead of the game in achieving your future goals – whatever they may be. Oxford Royale Summer Schools summer courses can provide valuable experience of academic study, of visiting a new city or country, and of trying out new activities, all of which will enhance future university applications and CVs. Our courses are tailored to help you towards your future goals.
For instance, our university preparation courses are geared towards improving your university application and interview technique, both generally and for specific subjects, so that you stand the best chance of entry into a top university – with locations in Oxford, Cambridge and London, we appreciate the importance of academic success.

Our campus staff provide round-the-clock support and practical advice on student life.

You can also attend Oxford Royale Summer Schools to improve your English, learn the basics of Mandarin Chinese, or cover several different subjects in our Academic Discovery, New Perspectives or Broadening Horizons courses. Some of students choose these courses because they enjoy studying more than one subject at a time; others, because they are trying to choose between different subjects for future school or university study, and we can help them work out which subject is right for them. Alternatively, if you see yourself running the next big start-up to disrupt your chosen market, the Oxford Enterprise Programme will teach you the business and practical economics skills that you need. Or if you’re set on becoming a doctor, Medical School Preparation lets you try out some of the practicals you’ll encounter on a university Medicine course, as well as giving you valuable practice of the BMAT test for medical school entry. All of our courses are designed to give you valuable transferable skills, too, from leadership skills to teamwork.
Whichever course you choose, our experienced teachers and counsellors are on hand to support and guide you. They are very often current or former students at Oxford, Cambridge or one of the London universities, so if you’re thinking of applying to any of those universities yourself, it’s an ideal opportunity to ask them any questions you might have – whether that’s about life at university or the application process. And it isn’t just about university admission. Our teachers are happy to advise you on how you can best achieve your chosen career, from Law to Fashion.

A programme of events that’s second to none

An Oxford Royale Summer Schools summer school course isn’t just about studying – we think what you do outside of lessons is just as important as what you do in them, and that having fun outside of lessons can contribute just as much to the learning process. We offer top quality excursions, extracurriculars and other social events, so that your stay with us is a holiday as well as an educational experience. There are afternoon and evening activities where you can try out new hobbies, such as parkour, archery or Real Tennis on one of the few remaining courts in the world.

An ORA summer school is a great opportunity to try something new!

A particular highlight for many of our students are the sumptuous parties we offer, at luxurious hotels and beautiful manor houses (with plenty of selfie opportunities!). These themed parties are inspired by the excitement and glamour of Oxford and Cambridge May Balls, and they’re the perfect opportunity to spend time with friends you’ve made during your time with us and to let your hair down a little after all the studying you’ve done.

Coach tours of England’s most famous sights

Enjoy all that the UK has to offer.

Many of our students travel a very long way to come and stay with Oxford Royale Summer Schools, so we think it’s important that you get the opportunity to see England’s most famous sights, beyond those of the city that your college or campus is located in. That might mean a trip to the Harry Potter Studios in London, the chance to explore the beautiful city of Bath and its Roman ruins, or Henry VIII’s grand palace of Hampton Court. There’s a coach excursion every week on every course, and we make sure that there’s a good balance of the opportunity to explore historic sights, an introduction to modern Britain, and the chance to pick up some souvenirs for family and friends back home. It isn’t just about expanding your cultural knowledge; it’s also about having fun!

Historic and beautiful cities

The ORA summer experience is also available in Cambridge.

We may be called Oxford Royale Summer Schools, but the city of Oxford is only one of several places where you can study with us. We also have courses in Cambridge and London, as well as the beautiful school of St Mary’s, Ascot. We choose our summer camp settings carefully, and only choose the most inspiring of surroundings, whether that’s the Victorian charm of Balliol College, Oxford, the Jacobean grandeur of Yarnton Manor, or the metropolitan bustle of London. In every location, we make sure that you get to visit all the most fun and exciting sights nearby and immerse yourself in the local culture, such as the essential opportunity to go punting in Oxford and Cambridge. There’s the chance to live like an undergraduate in Oxford, Cambridge and London, so that you get a taste of what a university experience might be like. Wherever you’re based, there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy the local area throughout your stay.

Friends from Azerbaijan to Zambia

Forge new friendships from all over the world.

Possibly the best thing about Oxford Royale Summer Schools is the incredible range of countries and cultures that our students come from. Last year, we had students of more than a hundred different nationalities, which means that coming on an Oxford Royale Summer Schools summer school course lets you make friends with people that you might otherwise never have met. Many of our students form such firm friendships that they come back year on year to catch up with the friends they made during their stay with us. And this tremendous diversity among our students also gives you the opportunity to learn about other countries and other cultures, and to explore perspectives in your lessons that you might never have encountered before.

An award fit for the Queen

We are honoured to have been presented with the Queen’s Award twice in recent years.

The  Queen’s Award is a little bit like a knighthood for a company, and we were deeply honoured when we were first awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category, in acknowledgement of our innovative courses and engagement with students from all around the world. We were then amazed when we won it again in 2016, in recognition of how we have continued to innovate and develop the service we offer, instead of resting on our laurels.
And the Queen’s Award isn’t the only thing we’ve won. In the last six years, Oxford Royale Summer Schools has been named the Best Educational Product at the British Youth Travel Awards no fewer than five times. In 2015, at the same awards, we were also a finalist in the Outstanding Achievement category. We have also been a finalist in the Exporting Excellence category of Education Investor magazine’s awards for the past five years in a row, demonstrating our commitment to providing a top-quality service to our students.

Accredited at the highest standards

Our teaching, safety, and programming have all been recognised by accreditation bodies.

We’ve gone the extra mile to seek accreditation from the most trusted organisations, so that parents and students alike can be reassured about the safety and quality of our courses. We’re also a member of several associations and other quality assurance schemes that holds us to the highest standards. There are too many to go through all of them here (though you can read more on our awards and accreditations page), but a few of the most important are the British Council, the British Accreditation Council, and the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
The British Council is an international organisation that – among many other things – monitors the teaching of English as a foreign language by schools and other organisations around the world. They’ve visited our sites, given us full accreditation for teaching English and praised us for the quality of our English language courses, looking at our resources and approach to student welfare as well as our teaching methods. The British Accreditation Council is more wide-ranging, also carrying out on-site inspections to look at all aspects of the student experience; their accreditation shows the quality of our teaching, welfare, health and safety and even our administration processes. Finally, the Duke of Edinburgh Award accreditation recognises that we provide Expedition, Residential and Volunteering opportunities to our students – demonstrating our high standards of safety, and the wide range of exciting activities that we offer.

Fond memories of former students

We love hearing about our alumni’s success stories.

One of our favourite moments of every year is when students send in their feedback after their courses. Lois, who studied our Introduction to Medicine course, wrote, “For me, Oxford provided the ability to meet friends that I will keep for the rest of my life. In addition to this, the programme inspired me to choose the right career path to suit me and my intellectual abilities. The staff were very kind and helpful. This experience has been by far the best of my life, and I recommend it to anyone.” Laurenz, from Germany, who studied Computer Science, said, “ORA was just great! I was never bored, every second of my day was planned with interesting and exciting activities, and I learned so much in the fun and interesting lessons.” We’re always hugely pleased when we hear how much our students have enjoyed themselves. And it isn’t just our students, but also their parents who rate us so highly. The mother of one of our students from South Africa, who wrote to us to tell us that “It was a most worthwhile experience both academically and socially, and we will definitely be sending our younger son in the future!”

More than just a summer school

If you’ve read this far, you’ll see why we think we might just offer one of the best summer camp experiences in the world. But Oxford Royale Summer Schools is more than just a summer camp. We also offer year-round courses including Gap Year courses, University Foundation Years and our three-month Oxford Study Programme – all in the beautiful surroundings of our International Study Centre at Yarnton Manor. If you can’t make it over the summer months, why not join us over the rest of the year? Whenever you study with us, we’re sure it’ll be an unforgettable educational experience.