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 and were married at Girton College in 1991.
Their son completed his undergraduate degree in Physiology, Development and Neuroscience (PDN) at Cambridge and pursued his postgraduate studies at Cambridge'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 needed to help them 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 exciting inter-disciplinary team projects and activities.
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 curriculum, both inside and outside the classroom, which creates a uniquely individual, high-quality learning experience. The rich variety of workshops, small classes, personal care and one-to-one support allows learners to discover their talents and explore their interests.
In addition to their specialist subjects, all our students have the opportunity to learn about a wide range of topics, such as current affairs, international development, ethics and Shakespeare, which inspire their wider academic curiosity - vital for successful applications to top-ranking universities.
As well as 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. This is an opportunity for learners to ask questions, extend their specialist 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, 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 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 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 the 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 Cambridge).
We focus on three key aspects of helping our older students prepare successfully for their university applications and subsequent degree studies and careers: academic study skills; university applications, 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 Study Skills
- Researching, analysing evidence and hypotheses, structuring and writing an essay.
- Developing sound arguments, debating, presenting and giving feedback.
- Setting goals, maintaining focus, and managing time and stress.
- Reading, note-taking and understanding a variety of academic texts.
- Understanding plagiarism and referencing in an academic context.
2. University Applications
- Recognising what admissions tutors in top US and UK universities are looking for.
- Understanding how to prepare for applying and making the transition to university.
- Structuring and writing 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 individual values and aspirations.
- Identifying personal strengths and weaknesses.
- Completing a profile-building worksheet.
- Developing SMART objectives and an action plan with progress measures.
- Making well-informed university and career choices.
To assist us with this vital work, we 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 and Graduates 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.
The student mentors provide personal mentoring, interview practice, personal statement practice, personal development planning and small group tuition. 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 2019, 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, unlike many other providers, we include coach or taxi travel to and from London Heathrow airport and extras such as theatre visits and entrance tickets to visitor attractions such as the London Eye and sightseeing cruise on the river Thames.
From the moment they arrive, students can 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 believe full immersion in British culture includes experiencing good local food and learning about dining and social etiquette. We provide 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 at the end of the programme before the official award ceremony. 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.
Six reasons to attend a Cambridge Dream summer programme
- Improve your university application
- Increase your subject knowledge
- Make the right choices
- Receive individual care and attention
- Benefit from excellent teaching
- Study with other aspirational students, British and international