While summer offers many staff and students the opportunity for a well-deserved break, it is also a time that GCSE and A level students in particular can use to get a head-start on their courses; develop their CV with work experience and summer employment; and start thinking about the next chapter – university.

We talk to Director of Short Courses, Ms Erin Neil, about the benefits of KPS’s Academic Summer School, and how a summer well spent can have a long lasting impact.


Many students justifiably see the summer as a time for rest and relaxation before the start of another busy academic year. How are summer programmes any different from being in school? 

Summer programmes are a really special, creative space for learning. As a student, there are often parts of a subject that you wish you could learn more about or focus solely on, but with the pressure of upcoming exams and a time-restricted syllabus, this isn’t always possible. There may even be subjects which, depending on what their particular school offers, students won’t have the opportunity to explore until university. Summer programmes give students the opportunity to explore their interests and develop their passions without the pressure of a prescriptive curriculum and an examination at the end. Summer programmes are also really fun! Learning on the KPS summer programme, for example, doesn’t just take place in the classroom, and there is a full social programme in the evenings and weekends giving students the opportunity to make new friends and socialise.

There is so much pressure on young people nowadays to achieve top grades and ‘stand out’. Can summer programmes help students prepare for UCAS and their university applications? 

Absolutely – summer taster experiences are actually a great way to boost your university application! The UCAS undergraduate application form has a dedicated enrichment section, as do many applications for universities abroad. Ivy league and US universities are particularly interested in students’ extra-curricular pursuits, for example. Participating in a summer programme, especially if it is relevant to your chosen degree course, shows university admissions teams that you are researching your future and taking steps to grow outside of the traditional classroom setting. It also provides great fodder for the UCAS Personal Statement, showing that you have engaged in your subject outside of the classroom and A level syllabus. For entry to top universities in the UK and abroad, this ‘added value’ is especially important.

Tell us more about the KPS Summer Programmes. Is it just lessons in the classroom from 9am to 5pm? Who teaches on the course? 

The brilliant KPS Academic Summer School team is made up of KPS teachers, alongside visiting university professors, teachers and industry professionals. Our two-week summer programme is a hands-on, experiential, project-based learning experience. Students can specialise in one of five academic pathways: Business and Entrepreneurship; Law, Politics, and International Relations; Medicine; Art and Design; and Drama and Theatre Studies.

In addition to subject classes and workshops on leadership, critical thinking and public speaking, students put what they learn into practice, taking away tangible skills that will prepare them for their university applications and future careers. Our Medicine students, for example, visit a working London university hospital for the day, take part in clinical skills demonstrations, and practice MMIs (Multiple Mini Interviews). Our Law, Politics and International Relations students have a legal tour of London, visiting the Royal Courts of Justice and, if possible, even getting the chance to sit in on a court case at the Old Bailey. Art and Design students visit the many London art galleries for inspiration, exploring the world-class exhibitions on offer before showcasing their own artwork (created during the course) at the end-of-programme showcase.

In the evenings and at weekends, there is a full social programme, when students can relax, socialise, and experience London’s many cultural attractions. The programme ends with a boat party along the River Thames which is a real highlight for both staff and students!

There are lots of summer programmes out there for students to choose from – too much choice, in fact! What makes the KPS Academic Summer programmes stand out? 

At KPS, one of our key aims is to provide a modern curriculum that fosters intellectual curiosity and creativity. KPS Academic Summer programmes give students the opportunity to delve deeper into their area of interest; participate in seminars and workshops with industry experts and academics from their chosen fields; explore university options, and find out what career options are open to them. Figuring out what you want to be ‘when you grow up’ can be a daunting experience. But developing a genuine love for a subject is a good place to start, and unquantifiable in terms of gains, both personal and academic. Students don’t always have all the information on their university and career choices open to them, or understand how they can use their strengths and interests to build a dream career; our summer programmes aim to rectify this in an engaging, intellectually stimulating, and, most importantly, fun way!

You can read more about the KPS Academic Summer School and access our registration form here.

If you have any questions regarding the course, please do not hesitate to contact our Director of Short Courses, Ms Erin Neil, on erin.neil@astrumeducation.com or telephone: +44 (0)20 7616 4407