Summer School

The Story

Since 2016, a group of students and academics at University College London (UCL) have been organising Summer Schools. The programme gives students from London state schools a chance to observe the research taking place at the London Centre of Nanotechnology (LCN), a multidisciplinary enterprise operating at the forefront of science and technology and UCL Department of Physics.

The Summer School programme then opened to recently arrived young Forced Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK, who experience ‘being lost in the GCSE vacuum because of their lower English level’. In 2019, the course ran for two weeks and 40 participants were signed up.

What We Do

The Summer Schools aims to help with the linguistic needs of the students and also providing skills that would help them to settle into the relatively new environment. In addition to English reinforcement, the Summer School includes daily practical workshops in groups covering diverse STEM subjects (physics, chemistry, biology) and providing useful coding & IT skills.

The funding received is used to cover transport expenses for the students to get to UCL campus and provide them with lunch. All organisers and mentors are volunteers.


In small groups, an English teacher helps the students to improve their writing, speaking, listening and reading skills. The groups are made depending on levels in order to reach the highest impact and fast improvement.


After lunch, all the students meet up in the afternoon for an exciting practical workshop. They learn how to build their own microscope or extract DNA from fruits.

IT & coding

The students have the opportunity to develop their IT and coding skills. They learn how to code and control a friendly programmable robot, learn Word, Excel and Powerpoint, create their email address and build a CV.

The 2019 Summer School in numbers




weeks of English and Science classes


£ secured from sponsors

What participants say

“Dear UCL Summer School team, I would like to say a big thank you for every person in the Summer School team who have supported, taught, helped and encouraged us through these two weeks, I appreciate every single person and their effort in the team, I love the way you support the students and help them. I wish a very bright future for everyone. I will not have this opportunity again and it will always remain in my heart as a beautiful memory with you all.”

― Student (2019)

“I was so pleased to attend the celebration event. It was a great opportunity for the students to show what they had learnt in English and IT skills and it was a real pleasure to talk to them. It’s fantastic to see an Ogden alumnus supporting other young people to succeed.” 

Clare Harvey, Chief Executive, The Ogden Trust

 “My favourite part of the summer school was when we extracted DNA!”

― Student (2019)

 “I liked meeting many PhD students from physics, which was very inspiring. I really liked the friendly environment in the class.”

― Student (2019)

“The students were all extremely enthusiastic presenting their posters and the celebration proceeded with pizza, snacks and a certificate ceremony. It was truly a great ending to a fantastic fortnight of English language and Science activities, and is an example of how we can combine disciplines to deliver an engaging and innovative learning experience.”

― Michael Beaney, English teacher, UCL
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