Lancaster University

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Summer school for Britain’s brightest youngsters

05/07/2004 10:55:34

For the first time this year Lancaster University is offering a special summer school for Britain’s brightest school children. Participants will have the chance to study with some of the University’s top academics and to meet other gifted young people. Lancaster is the only north west University to run a summer school for the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY). This government-funded initiative is based at Warwick University and offers a range of opportunities for the top 5% of school children from across the UK.

The summer school is aimed at 11 – 16 year olds and will run from 8th – 21st August. It will offer a choice of eight challenging courses, including composing music using computers, building an electrically powered go-kart, learning about how the mind works and problem solving, and developing artistic skills. Participants will stay in student residences and will have a wide range of social activities to choose from, including sports, competitions, day-trips and music. The week promises to be a stimulating academic experience for the clever youngsters, as well as a great chance for them to make new friends who share their interests.

Of course gifted children may come from rich and poor families alike, and the cost of the summer school is subsidised by NAGTY and the child’s school so that it is open to all eligible children, whatever their family circumstances. For families with an income of less than £20,000 a full bursary is available, and there are fee reductions also for families with an income of up to £40,000.

You might wonder why clever children need extra support, and why there should be special provision for them? Lucy Lloyd, Marketing Manager at Lancaster University’s Department of Continuing Education, says, “Most able pupils need extra support if they are to fulfil their academic potential. Many get bored at school, and feel held back. Some get picked on because they are clever. While teachers may recognise a pupil’s ability, they may not have the time to give the individual attention the pupil needs to really maximise his or her potential. The summer schools that are offered under the NAGTY scheme are an opportunity to bring out a child’s talent in a supportive environment, where it definitely is cool to be bright.”

As one 13 year old from a previous NAGTY summer school said, it gives them the chance to be themselves: “I was shown that all of us are equal and my self-esteem has greatly risen. At school, working hard is seen by some as un-cool, but as the great musician Kurt Curbain said, ‘I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I’m not’.”

The summer school at Lancaster University is organised by the Department of Continuing Education which has a great deal of experience in running residential summer schools for young people. A number of academic departments are offering courses as part of the summer school and these include: Art, Economics, Engineering, Music, Psychology, the Institute for Environment, Philosophy and Public Policy, and History.

In order to attend the summer school at Lancaster, pupils will first need to register as members of NAGTY. They can be proposed by their schools or can propose themselves. To find out more about how to join the Academy, simply contact Student Services at NAGTY on 024 7657 4427 and talk to Anne Packwood. You can also check the NAGTY website on Details of the Lancaster summer school are featured on the NAGTY website.

Those young people who are already Academy members and who would like to find out more about the summer school at Lancaster should contact Lancaster University directly. Please contact Mary Candler at the Department of Continuing Education on 01524 592624. Further details are also on Lancaster University’s website: