The course is not long, the impact is so far-reaching. I believe this wonderful experience has exerted a positive influence on my child’s future.
Are you looking for a new kind of summer school; one that in two weeks can make a significant, long-lasting impact on a young person's life? Click on each of the ten images below to see what makes us truly different.
We are a family-owned company with a strong Cambridge tradition. The founder and Managing Director, Laura Davies, is a Cambridge alumna and studied Modern and Medieval Languages at Girton College. Neil Davies is also a Cambridge graduate, where he studied Natural Sciences at St. John’s College. Neil and Laura met as students at Cambridge University and were married at Girton College in 1991.
Their son completed his undergraduate degree in Physiology, Development and Neuroscience (PDN) at Cambridge University and pursued his postgraduate studies at Cambridge University’s School of Clinical Medicine.
Our personal experience means we can really relate to our students’ needs and concerns and provide the personal care and support to help them develop the insights and skills to succeed.
A world economy no longer pays you for what you know – Google knows everything. The world economy pays you for what you can do with what you know. Education today is much more about ways of thinking which involve creative and critical approaches to problem-solving and decision-making.
In addition to high academic grades, universities and employers are increasingly demanding that top performers demonstrate ‘soft skills’ such as critical thinking, creativity, innovation and collaboration. Cambridge Dream’s summer school will help learners develop the transferable life skills, which will equip them to excel in the 21st century global economy.
We apply a 21st Century learning approach to help our students develop these skills, by engaging them in a wide range of STEAM-focused team projects and activities encompassing many new and exciting technologies, such as Virtual Reality, 3D printing, nano-technology and robotics.
In today’s highly competitive global ‘knowledge economy’, all students need new skills…Work, learning and citizenship in the twenty-first century demand that we all know how to think – to reason, analyse, weigh evidence, problem-solve – and to communicate effectively. These are essential survival skills for all of us.
While attending our summer school, students follow a diverse STEAM*-focused curriculum, both inside and outside the classroom, which creates a unique learning experience. The rich variety of workshops and activities allows them to discover their talents, ignites their academic curiosity and enhances their transferable skills across functions, as well as nurturing new interests.
*Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths
Many of the subjects we cover are designed to increase their knowledge of cutting-edge developments in science and technology, such as robotics, smart materials, nano-technology, Virtual Reality and bio-technology. Our 'learning by doing’ approach makes new knowledge easily accessible, whatever the student’s previous background and level of understanding. Learners have the opportunity, for example, to visit a leading scientific research centre, where they are able to talk to scientists about their discoveries and how they are shaping the future. In addition, we engage learners in a wide range of non-science topics, such as international development, ethics and Shakespeare, which inspire their wider academic curiosity - vital for successful applications to top-ranking universities.
In addition to lessons taught by course tutors, they will also experience two very traditional aspects of learning in Cambridge: supervisions and lectures.
The supervision (also known as a tutorial in Oxford) is one of the unique features of a Cambridge education. In a supervision, Cambridge students meet with their supervisor in small groups to discuss the work they have submitted that week. We offer a choice of supervision subjects, led by our student mentors. Typically, these include medicine, law, engineering, science, mathematics, economics, politics, social science, history, philosophy, geography, English and psychology. This is an opportunity for learners to to ask questions, extend their subject knowledge, and become familiar with the style of teaching in top universities such as Cambridge.
Our lecturers are experts in their fields at Cambridge University, speaking about topics for which they have often won awards and written the text books, while the students listen carefully, take notes and complete interactive tasks set during the lecture.
We have several scholars from Cambridge and Oxford Universities on our team, including Dr Helen Scales, the world-famous Cambridge marine biologist, broadcaster and writer. Helen regularly speaks on the BBC and has written several beautiful books about the biological wonders of the oceans. She has worked as a conservationist for the World Wide Fund for Nature and the World Conservation Union, specialising in coral reef conservation and the global trade in endangered marine species. In her lectures for our students, Helen brings to life the animals and places that are normally out of sight and out of mind.
Other Cambridge University lecturers in our team include Dr. Hsin-Ling Liang (a nano-technology expert currently developing smart materials for the Internet of Things), Bang Ming Yong (a PHD candidate in Virtual Reality at Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing), Gerald Mako (a History and Politics graduate from Oxford University and currently a Cambridge PhD candidate in Development Studies) and Akshyeta Suryanarayan (an archaeologist from New Delhi, India, currently completing her PhD at the University of Cambridge).
In addition to the leadership, learning and life skills which are essential for academic and career success in the 21st century world, we focus on three key aspects of helping our students prepare successfully for their university applications and subsequent degree studies and careers: academic writing; university preparation, and personal development planning. Undertaking a Personal Development Plan with their student mentors helps our students to become self-directed, reflective learners, who are more likely to progress to higher levels of academic attainment.
1. Academic Writing
- Practising academic writing skills for the purposes of university entrance.
- Reading and understanding a variety of academic texts.
- Increasing awareness of the use of style and structure in academic writing.
- Expanding vocabulary for academic writing.
- Understanding plagiarism and referencing in an academic context.
2. University Preparation
- Understanding what admissions tutors in top universities are looking for.
- Understanding the key differences and similarities between the US and UK application systems.
- Learning how to structure and write an effective personal statement (15-18 years).
- Practising useful interview techniques and answers (15-18 years).
- Taking part in a supervision (small class discussion) about a chosen academic topic.
3. Personal Development Planning (15-18 years)
- Writing a statement of values and aspirations.
- Identifying personal strengths and weaknesses.
- Defining skills and knowledge developed during the programme.
- Understanding areas that need to be worked on.
- Developing SMART objectives and an action plan with progress measures.
To assist us with this vital work, we are fortunate to have Melissa Lee, who is a professional careers advisor and head of a careers department in a local Cambridge Academy. Melissa graduated in Education from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and completed a Masters in Education at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her careers education role, Melissa is the founder and Executive Director of UK Education Garden.
Cambridge Dream employs current Cambridge and Oxford Undergraduates to assist the senior management team in the safe, efficient and enjoyable running of the summer programme. They are of course academically gifted in their degree subjects, but also carefully selected for their strong communication skills, cultural understanding, enthusiasm and wide range of interests and talents, such as debating, sports, public speaking, art, drama and music.
The role of the Student Mentor is a very important element within the programme. They are each assigned a small group of about 6 learners, whom they stay with and support throughout the programme, providing valuable knowledge about the subjects which they are currently studying at Cambridge. Course participants will be teamed with a mentor studying the subject which fits best with what they are thinking of applying for at university. In 2018, the undergraduates’ subjects included medicine, law, engineering, science, mathematics, economics, politics, social science, history, philosophy, geography, English and psychology.
The student mentors provide personal mentoring, interview practice, personal statement practice, personal development planning and small group tuition (a supervision-style lesson). They can answer any questions about life as a student and the application process based on their recent experience. Their duties also include helping with excursions, evening entertainments, airport transfers, workshops and sports leadership activities.
A truly distinctive aspect of the Cambridge Dream programme is our integration of international students with British school students. We collaborate with schools in the Cambridge area to enable British students to join us in Girton College for the summer school. In 2018, we had over 90 students enrolled for either one or two weeks.
The British school students attend all the daytime workshops and lectures, working in mixed teams with our international participants, as well as joining in some evening activities and excursions. Integrated classes and activities are of significant benefit to all the participants, as both the local Cambridge students and overseas students gain from shared learning and increased cultural understanding. Of course, they also have lots of fun interacting in a variety of settings, from robotics and 3D printing to performing Shakespeare and Scottish dancing.
Our fees may initially appear more expensive than standard English Language summer camps, but the learners and teachers who attend our programmes say they actually represent very good value for the high-quality outcomes we deliver. This is because we are offering a much more extensive educational experience and a more personalised service! Unlike many summer course providers, we do not simply provide a standard programme. Instead, we work in close partnership with schools and educators to design customised programmes that meet the specific needs of their learners.
Our aim is to challenge and extend students to help them develop vital skills, such as collaboration, critical and creative thinking, communication and independent study, valued by top universities and employers - and give them the confidence and practice to be able to use them effectively. So we involve our learners in as many different experiences as possible - from robotics to 3D printing; Model United Nations simulations to Shakespeare workshops; product inventions and business investment pitches to lateral thinking challenges.
We also restrict the number of students on our courses and provide lots of one-to-one support and small class teaching by highly expert and knowledgeable staff.
Moreover, our fees are fully inclusive from the moment our students arrive in the UK until they leave, unlike many other providers, who do not include all meals, coach travel to and from London Heathrow airport and extras such as theatre visits and entrances to visitor attractions such as the London Eye and sightseeing cruise on the river Thames.
Rather than move students around between centres, spending countless precious hours just travelling from one location to the next, we base our entire residential programme in one Cambridge College.
From the moment they arrive, students can unpack their bags and immerse themselves in everything the programme has to offer. As well as challenging academic content, we ensure students can enjoy a wide range of exciting social activities, all within easy reach of the college, giving students a deep understanding of traditional UK and Cambridge culture. These include an open air play at the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival, a garden party, croquet on the college lawn, a traditional dancing evening (ceilidh), chauffeured punting on the river Cam and a formal candlelit college dinner.
In one-day trips from Cambridge, participants can access magnificent cultural attractions such as the Tower of London, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, British Museum and, of course, we include plenty of time for exploring the world-famous colleges and museums of Cambridge and Oxford.
We hold our programmes in Girton, which is a beautiful historic college on the outskirts of Cambridge with large grounds and excellent facilities which are all available for our students to use. This means that apart from excursions, all the lessons and activities can be delivered by our staff on site, including a wide variety of sports such as rugby, football, cricket, swimming and tennis, as well as traditional games such as croquet on the college lawn. Cambridge Dream’s founder, Laura Davies, studied at Girton College and chose it for the summer school because it is more suited to this type of programme than the busy city centre colleges where students' access to facilities is limited in the summer, so they feel more like tourists than actual students.
We believe full immersion in British culture includes experiencing good local food and learning about dining and social etiquette. Girton College provides award-winning, top quality food using locally sourced ingredients with several hot and cold choices for every meal, including a full English breakfast every morning. A formal four course silver service dinner is arranged in the college's Great Hall at the end of the programme before the official award ceremony. For smaller groups, we are privileged to be permitted to use the beautiful Fellows’ Dining Room.The chefs in Girton are happy to discuss students’ food preferences and will devise a menu especially for this occasion. Click here to see an example of a ‘formal hall’ dinner menu.
While attending the Cambridge Dream summer school, participants complete a nationally recognised leadership qualification accredited by Sports Leaders UK.Baroness Grey-Thompson, the President of Sports Leaders UK and signatory of the award certificate, is a Paralympic multi-gold medal winner, a member of the House of Lords in the UK Government and a BBC sports presenter.The Go Lead award (for 16-18 year olds) or Young Leader award (for 12-15 year olds) is taught by an approved Cambridge Dream instructor and helps students to develop their confidence, communication and organisational skills. To qualify for the award, students examine the theories of leadership, discuss different leadership styles, develop coaching techniques and learn how to apply these in a sporting context.
As a result of completing the award, students will be able to organise and lead groups of their peers in a range of physical activities under direct supervision. This is the kind of experience that they can really put to use in their own schools and communities and can include in their personal statement and talk about at interview.
Cambridge Dream recognises that the welfare of the children in our care is of paramount consideration. We have extensive experience in running safe and enjoyable residential summer schools for students.
Our senior management and teaching staff all stay in college with the students throughout the programmes. Our staff are responsible for supervising learners while they are attending all their timetabled workshops, activities and during all excursions and evening social entertainments. On arrival, course participants are each given a wristband which has our 24x7 emergency contact telephone number printed on it and they must wear this at all times.
We have a Safeguarding and Welfare Co-ordinator resident in college, who is responsible for the well-being of all our learners and can deal with any personal problems that may arise while they are in our care. All our staff receive specific training in safeguarding children and are carefully checked both by us and the responsible UK authorities (the Disclosure and Barring Service – DBS).
There are first aid facilities and trained staff available at all times who can deal with any minor injuries. In the unlikely event of a more serious illness, there is a Doctors’ clinic nearby and Cambridge has a world-class teaching hospital, Addenbrooke’s.