According to recent reports, Children in England are three months behind in their studies after lockdown measures:
And whilst all schools have worked hard to help their pupils keep up to date with their studying, many parents will view the summer holidays as a good time to help their children catch up with their studies.
For many international students the Summer months are traditionally an opportunity to come to the UK for an academic or cultural education experience. However, the usual array of face to face Summer schools in the UK are not happening this summer for obvious reasons. Some providers, such as Taunton International will run their summer school from 3rd July, but will only be welcoming students from ‘green’ countries where the UK government has stipulated that no isolation needed, but pre-departure and post-arrival tests are required https://www.tauntonschool.co.uk/international-summer-school-aged-8-17/
Meanwhile, St Clare’s in Oxford, is still running its range of Summer schools with the message-“Book with confidence”-the school is not taking deposits, will give refunds for any fees paid if the reason is Covid-related, offers a Quarantine package in place and excursions will be local to Oxford.
With the quarantine restrictions in place, other providers have pivoted their face to face programmes to attract UK students rather than international students. One UK Summer school provider, UK Guardians, is offering Summer foreign language development programmes for UK based pupils. who would normally go abroad to study French or Spanish.
But what about international students who would normally come to the UK to study over the summer?
A move online has been the key feature of how the Summer School sector has responded to the pandemic.
As an international short course provider Oxford Summer Courses has had to move provision online; “we’re committed to helping students make up for learning loss which has occurred as a result of the lockdown – not just locally, but for pupils around the world,” says CEO Harry Hortyn.
Over the past year, the company has offered more opportunities to support students, including the launch of their online learning platform, Melio Education which offers a quite distinct way of learning compared to the online classroom environment with which most pupils have become very familiar.
Harry Hortyn adds, “Melio Education is set up for pupils to learn the ‘Oxford’ way. It aims to replicate the face to face Summer course learning experience that OSC usually offers, but online. The Melio courses are modelled on the prestigious tutorial system that have earned the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge worldwide recognition. One-on-one tutorials, small seminar groups filled with interesting discussions, and regular, detailed feedback make up the academic timetables.”
Running courses at 2-weeks in length, students learn through a combination of discussion-based seminars, one-on-one-tutorials (for ages 16+) and self-guided study.
Meanwhile, demand for online tutoring has been increasing since the first lockdown and looks set to continue this Summer: “Traditionally, the summer holidays see a slow down in demand for tutoring,” says Ed Richardson, Director of Education at Keystone Tutors. “However, Summer 2020 saw a sustained demand, particularly from Singapore and Hong Kong,” says Jenny McGowan Keystone’s Director for Asia.
“Many pupils who were unable to return from overseas to enjoy face to face teaching this Spring will again be looking to ‘top up’ their learning again this Summer”, says Ed.
Keystone expects many families will again request one to one online tutoring to match what was being taught at school. It also expects their offer of online group courses for GCSE catch up & webinars on how to prevent summer learning loss and how to use the time to get ahead with university preparation will continue to be popular this Summer.
So whilst traditional Summer school providers are unable to offer their usual face to face offering to international students as Caroline Nixon, director of BAISIS says some of the new initiatives that have emerged during the pandemic may be here to stay; “It is clear that boarding schools, summer schools, agents and guardians are all responding flexibly and helping students continue to learn and progress even in these difficult circumstances,” she says.
“And whilst we all hope for some normality to resume, some of these new initiatives, notably the development of high quality online learning will benefit many pupils ongoing and enhance rather than detract from their learning” she adds.