What an exciting week ORA students have had across all of our campuses! From Zoolab and CSI Masterclasses to city tours and guest speakers, our pupils have been fully immersed in the Summer School experience and have been making the most of every minute.
Students tried Real Tennis this week
Icebreaker games such as ‘Duck Duck Goose’ got ORA students at Balliol raring for the week ahead. Masterclasses started the week with informative lessons, enabling students to make soap, improve their creative writing, learn to salsa and even learn about movie editing. Students fully immersed themselves in the Masterclasses and enjoyed the practical element of the lessons.
A fascinating trip to the city centre gave students the chance to visit the Ashmolean, the Natural History Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum. Captivated by the chaos of Pitt Rivers and stunned by the artefacts in the Ashmolean and Natural History Museums, students had a knowledge-filled day exploring Oxford.
Pupils staying at Balliol were also extremely lucky this week as they had the chance to play Real Tennis, a game introduced in England in the 16th Century. Somewhere between squash and tennis, this game is different from others of its kind but exhilarating and a lot of fun!
The Theatre Workout Masterclass in full swing
Students staying at Clare College took part in three Masterclasses this week: Zoolab, Theatre Workout and Debating. Few of the students shied away from the chance to hold lizards and snakes, with some excitedly snapping photos of the incredible creatures as they learned all about them.
The Theatre Workout Masterclass took place on the outside lawn in the beautiful English sun (no, really!) and students were taught a range of performing skills and fun games to improve their acting. The confidence of the pupils highlighted how comfortable they already feel around their peers, a sight that was pleasing to staff.
The Debate later in the week was impressive in showing how quickly ORA students could acquire skills. Some had never debated before but wasted no time getting involved and successfully arguing their case. It was great to see such high levels of interaction with the material being argued, and the support from peer to peer as they refined their skills was encouraging.
Imperial College London
Students enjoyed visiting the Tate Modern
With students studying at Imperial quickly becoming acquainted with London and its famous landmarks, including Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral, everyone was ready for a trip to the Tate Modern to experience some creative expression. Famous for its contemporary art exhibitions, students enjoyed the chance to critique the pieces and pick their favourites from the colourful and creative displays.
Students also had the incredible option to visit the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, an event showcasing amazing live music over the period of a few weeks. A night of classical music performed by a live orchestra allowed pupils to experience traditional culture and many were moved by the performances. The Proms are world-famous and appreciated by even the most well-known individuals in society, so to be able to spend an evening at the historic Royal Albert Hall was an amazing opportunity.
A tie dye session produced some amazing results
Green House took the Sports Day prize this week at Jowett Walk. With egg and spoon races causing chaos and laughter, students revelled in the opportunity to cheer on their teammates and enthusiastically have a go at racing. The 3-legged race was met with equal levels of entertainment, as students hobbled down the field in competitive attempts to take first prize.
After the crazy excitement from Sports Day, students had the choice to join a tie dye session and create their own T-shirt designs. With a variety of colours available, the patterns were all unique and original, allowing students to showcase their independent designs.
Lady Margaret Hall
Students at LMH pose together on Arrivals Day
ORA students at LMH got straight into lessons with their Stage Combat, Theatre Workout and Stock Market Challenge and Journalism Masterclasses. These in-depth classes gave pupils a real insight into performing, journalism and business, as well as a practical outlet in which to demonstrate what they had learned.
The quiz night was a thoroughly enjoyable evening this week for ORA students at LMH, as pupils teamed up to compete for intellectual glory. The fierce competition made for an exciting evening, with many students demonstrating an exceptional standard of general knowledge.
The 19-25s sip cocktails at The Varsity Club
A Bodleian Library induction and city tour were highlights for ORA students staying at Merton in week 1. Being able to enter such a famous landmark (and one that is not open to the public) was an incredible opportunity that captivated our students.
As well as getting to know Oxford and its beautiful architecture, students went head-to-head in a quiz night, revealing competitive streaks and general knowledge ninjas. It was a laughter-filled evening and the competition to be crowned the winners was fierce.
Our 19-25s also watched a beautiful sunset over Oxford at the popular Varsity Club rooftop bar earlier this week, which was complete with delicious cocktails and good conversation.
A human pyramid was created by students during their tour of St Andrews
A good look around St Andrews – and its well-known ice cream shop – was enjoyed by ORA students up in Scotland near the beginning of the week. A trip to the incredibly famous The Experience golf course was a memorable excursion and inspired some students to give the sport a go, whilst the castle’s history mesmerised others.
Students also demonstrated their already strong friendships by building a human pyramid during their walking tour, expertly balancing on top of each other for a great photo. A trip down to the beach completed the city tour, with many students remarking at the raw beauty of the beach and suggesting their desire to return during free time.
Students pose at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
An exciting excursion to San Francisco was a highlight this week for ORA students at Stanford. The California Academy of Sciences showed pupils the inner workings of a rainforest and housed Claude, the Albino Alligator. Perhaps the most thrilling part of the day was driving over the Golden Gate Bridge to a viewing platform, where the photography seemed like it would never cease!
With a visit to the Anatomy Labs came the chance to use the Anatomage Table, a machine that produces 3D reality imaging of the inner workings of the human body. The lab was popular, with many students commenting on how much they enjoyed the cutting-edge workshop.
Cryptography class challenged students to solve difficult riddles and puzzles whilst encouraging pupils to think outside of the box. During the warm summer evenings, the chance to participate in popular American culture and make s’mores was grasped by students, who were keen to engulf the sweet treats.
St Catharine’s College, Cambridge
The Zoolab handling session was popular with students at St Catharine’s
This week saw Photography, Debating and Zoolab Masterclasses cause fascination at St Catharine’s College. Using cameras and imagination, ORA students headed off around the city to search for the perfect photo ops and strike the best poses to impress their peers during the Photography Masterclass. The activity was hilarious and the students were innovative in their location and pose choices.
In Debating, students were taught a range of argumentative techniques before testing them on a range of questions – we wouldn’t be surprised if they returned home with more logical and well-reasoned arguments when asking for permission to go out!
The final Masterclass of the week was Zoolab, which was enjoyed by the animal-loving students who had the chance to handle a variety of lizards and frogs from around the world. The practical element of the Masterclass made learning all the more fun and left students with a newfound interest in the preservation of animal habitats.
St Catherine’s College, Oxford
Punting was an enjoyable afternoon activity for students at St Catherine’s
Museum visits and punting lay in store for ORA students staying at St Catherine’s College this week. Soaking up the culture of Oxford never felt so good as students admired artefacts in the Ashmolean and punted down the river, laughing as they went.
A series of workshops let students jump right into their studies, with Chemistry, Essay Writing and Debating all taking place. The Masterclasses were also a great success, and students had the option to go on the Animation Nation Masterclass (learning to use stop start animation), the Soap Science Masterclass (learning how to make soap) or the Stock Market Challenge (learning about stocks and shares through a simulation activity).
During their leisure time, students enjoyed playing some Ultimate Frisbee, encouraging everyone to run and play outside. It was good to see so many pupils involved and having a go, despite the fact that many had never played before.
St Hugh’s College
Students at St Hugh’s enjoyed some fun in the sun
A couple of guest speakers arrived at St Hugh’s this week to talk to the ORA students about tips for future success and the vicious newspaper industry. Alex Starritt spoke about journalism and the British tabloid industry, describing it as an uncontrollable creature desperate to defend itself from threats. This fresh perspective provided students with a new approach and encouraged them to think independently.
Shirina Carstens then gave a motivational talk about how she became successful after almost being defeated by disease. Her talk was fascinating and even included a range of helpful tips and tricks intended to aid our students in the future.
A visit to the nearby park later in the week gave students some time to relax in the sun and play some outdoor games. Footballs and frisbees provided the evening entertainment and everyone got stuck in, appreciating the opportunity to unwind after an extensive series of lessons.
Staff were especially impressed this week with students in the Engineering class, who designed and constructed projects in small groups. The demonstration of teamwork was exceptional, and the end products were neat and adhered to the instructions given.
St Marys, Ascot
A selection of sporty activities were undertaken by SMA students this week
Students based at SMA spent time answering big questions this week, including how travel and exploration have shaped the modern world and the impact of technology on the course of human history. Pupils bought a range of perspectives to the classes and raised intriguing points about these difficult questions. Students also enjoyed learning about periods in history like the Viking raids and Industrial Revolution, with informative and captivating lessons mesmerising ORA’s junior pupils.
After plenty of sports activities this week, a pamper party at SMA gave students a chance to unwind and relax with nail varnish, hot chocolate and cookies. Staff didn’t miss the chance to join in and had a calm and relaxing time with the students.
The highlight for week 1 for ORA students at SMA was the excursion to Kidzania. Kidzania allows children to get their first glimpse at the real, working world and allows them to earn ‘Kidzo’s’ which can be used to buy services and life essentials. The experience was exciting and a great chance for the students to appreciate the working life they face in the future.
St Peter’s College
Walking tour of Oxford
SPC saw ORA students become zoologists, knights and CSI agents this week with their extensive range of Masterclasses. Students wishing to investigate crime scenes opted for the CSI class and crossed the black and yellow tape to dust for prints and conduct analysis in order to solve the crime.
Historical enthusiasts, on the other hand, donned their finest armour and swords as they were taught medieval combat. The bravest knights volunteered for demonstrations in front of the class and showed fearless courage as the teacher showcased a range of fighting styles. Trying on armour replicas was an exciting aspect of the class and students were surprised at the weight of each piece of defence, creating a sense of respect for the knights of the past.
Finally, the Zoolab Masterclass enabled brave students to handle animals from all over the world, including stick insects, snakes and frogs. Some were terrified and refused to get too close, whilst others were keen to be the first volunteer. The information that students were taught is invaluable in protecting wildlife in the future, teaching important lessons about the delicate nature of our planet.
The Queen’s College
Students pose in front of an Oxford College
A Ghost Tour got things off to a spooky start for students staying at Queen’s this week. As well as giving them the chance to see the city of Oxford, the Ghost Tour told tormenting tales of ghastly ghouls and scary spectres that haunt the city. The horrifying stories were made even more realistic when the group were shown spots that ghosts frequented, adding an air of the supernatural to the evening.
Literary fanatics, on the other hand, embarked on the less spooky Creative Writing Tour and heard all about the inspirational city of the Dreaming Spires and the amazing literature that originated here. We think that many of our students will feel the same pull to Oxford as the famous writers of the past.
Punting and an excursion to Christ Church College also gave students the full Oxford experience and showed them a glimpse into the life of Oxford University students. In the evenings, on the other hand, a selection of activities were available, including T-shirt making and the Fan-powered Cars Masterclass: fashionistas revealed their artistic flair and our resident engineers demonstrated their skill.
Pupils relax in University Park
A visit to the Natural History Museum in Oxford this week was an exciting highlight for ORA students at University College. Many were fascinated by the beetle and butterfly specimens, whilst others stared at the fossils and shells. The willingness of the group to learn was inspiring and many students left the museum with lots of new knowledge.
Pupils also visited University Park for a picnic and play for an afternoon of relaxing in nature. With food and a football, students were set for an evening in the park in the warm weather.
Later in the week, some students chose to join the arts and crafts workshop this week and produced beautiful masquerade masks. With paint, glitter and feathers, the white masks were transformed into amazing works of art, and we hope students might wear their masks to the Venetian party tonight.
With week 1 behind us and week 2 promising to be packed full of thrilling activities, check back in the coming days to gain an insight into what else our wonderful ORA students will get up to.