Some 50 year 12 students gathered at Wadham for the three summer school programmes, in Classics, Biology and Human Sciences, and the College’s inaugural Modern Languages Summer School.
Commenting on the programme Wadham's Head of Access Dr Hugh Munro said: "The Summer Schools are always a highlight in the year and this year they seemed significant for a number of firsts. It’s the first time we’ve run a Modern Languages Summer School with focussed support in French, German and Spanish alongside ab initio languages, often resulting in three sessions running at the same time. It’s the first time we’ve been able to use the Access Centre to host access events; something I’m very excited to do more! And it was the first time many of us had done face-to-face teaching in over a year. It was a delight to see the summer school participants making College their own as they got a chance to experience what it’s like to live and study at Wadham.”
The Summer Schools are part of Wadham’s ambitious Access to Excellence programme and are made possible thanks to generous support from alumni and friends of the College. The inaugural Modern Languages Summer School is funded by Marcy and John McCall MacBain (Law, 1980) and the McCall MacBain Foundation to promote access to, and understanding of, the opportunities a modern languages course at university can offer.
The College’s new Locke Access Centre became a foreign languages hub as participants in the Modern Languages Summer School took on classes in Russian, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Learning about the languages and the cultures that form them, the students took part in seminars and tutorials, gaining first-hand experience of life as an Oxford student.
The Biologists and Human Scientists conducted experiments in the College gardens to discover pigmentation of plants, visited Oxford’s Natural History Museum and took part in anthropology and epigenetics taster sessions among a varied programme of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Their work culminated in a presentation of academic posters representing their areas of interest.
Gender and fluidity in Greek tragedy, women’s voices in Ovid’s heroes, Greek priestesses and sex dreams in the ancient world were the subjects of seminars for the Classicists. A visit to the Ashmolean museum was a highlight of the week and the students participated in daily Greek language classes.
Hugh Munro added: “Our alumni who make these summer schools possible would have been overjoyed to see the extraordinary growth in confidence levels in these young people across the week. Many of them had concerns about studying in Oxford and the summer schools go a long way to alleviating worries about fitting in or being good enough."
One Biology and Human Sciences participant commented: "It was such an incredible experience - the lectures were brilliant and it was a great opportunity to learn about some new topics and to talk to some of the tutors. I have met some truly amazing people and have gained some valuable skills. Wadham has such a great atmosphere and it was a delight to be there."
Wadham College would like to not only thank the alumni whose donations make the summer schools possible, but the academic, student and staff teams who work so hard to make the programmes such a success.