East Lothian Council has announced a partnership with Exeter College, University of Oxford, to provide a fully-funded immersive residential experience for twelve S3 pupils.

Two pupils from each of East Lothian’s six secondary schools will have the opportunity to participate in the initiative, from Sunday, 23 June until Friday, 28 June.  This is the first partnership of its type between an Oxford college and a Scottish local authority.

The selected students will live on Exeter College’s historic main site, in the very heart of Oxford, where they will be given a taster experience of what makes an Oxford education. This includes individual tutorials on a subject of the pupil’s choice; interactive seminars, and visits to Oxford’s many museums and cultural institutions. This is an exciting opportunity for East Lothian pupils to immerse themselves in a truly world-class educational institution.

Costs for this summer camp in Oxford, including accommodation and food will be covered by Exeter College. East Lothian Council is providing transportation for the pupils and staff on this trip. 

In the weeks ahead, interested pupils from all six of the county’s secondary schools will have the opportunity to apply. They will then be assessed by teachers from local secondary schools and 12 pupils will then be given the opportunity to participate in the initiative at the end of June.

The key element of the week will be a taster experience of Oxford’s tutorial system. Core teaching in Oxford is based around conversations between a student and a tutor on a weekly basis during term-time. These tutorials enable students to explore ideas and gain new perspectives through talking in-depth about subjects and receiving constructive, individual criticism from world class tutors, who are experts in their areas of research.

Time will also be set aside for pupils to relax and enjoy other aspects of Oxford, such as punting on the River Cherwell; a croquet tournament in the stunning Fellows’ Garden of Exeter College and meals in the 17th century College Hall.

The council has worked with Sir Rick Trainor, Rector of Exeter College, and Professor Conall Mac Niocaill, Exeter College Tutor for Admissions, to make the initiative a reality.

All communication and negotiation have been facilitated through Andrew Small, a doctoral student in History at Exeter College and who grew up in East Lothian.

Andrew said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for pupils from East Lothian to come and learn at one of the world's greatest educational institutions. The week's activities have been selected to improve pupils’ independent and creative thinking, which we hope will improve their attainment at school and perhaps even plant the seed of aspiration that will motivate pupils to attend the University. My hope is that this is just the beginning of a long-standing partnership between the college and East Lothian. I would like to thank Sir Rick Trainor and Professor Mac Niocaill for their full support. Without them, this partnership would have remained just an idea.”

Fiona Robertson, Head of Education, East Lothian Council, said:

“We are keen to provide all East Lothian children and young people with a variety of individualised pathways into further education, higher education or into sustainable long-term employment. We recognise that it is vital to stretch and support young people when they are learning, to give every young person the best opportunity to grow in confidence. In this way they can utilise their skills and talents to reach their full potential.

“This is a fantastic and exceptionally rare opportunity for East Lothian young people to study at one of the world’s top universities, whilst they are still at school. I hope the 12 pupils involved will find it to be an inspirational trip and one which allows them to develop their independent, creative thinking and commitment to learning. I would like to thank Andrew Small and his father, Brian Small, for making this a reality.”


Published: Wednesday, 6th March 2019