About Inspire Critical Thinking

About Inspire Critical Thinking:

Inspire Critical Thinking is a free online programme for pupils in Years 9, 10 & 11 who attend a non-selective state school in the UK run collaboratively between St John’s College and Somerville College at the University of Oxford. Each year, Inspire Critical Thinking explores a new theme through four online workshops, each of which contains articles, videos, interviews and more from University of Oxford academics and students! You’ll also have the chance to submit to our competitions for the chance to win prizes, attend our Virtual Summer School, and apply for our Residential Summer School here at St John’s.

Registration for Inspire Critical Thinking 2022/23 is now closed, and the programme will begin in January 2023! The theme for Inspire Critical Thinking 2022/23 is ‘Is Sport Ever Fair?’ Each workshop will contain lots of exciting articles and interviews from Oxford academics, as well as competitions for you to enter! Last year we had over 1,800 amazing pupils from across the UK take part in the programme.


Read our Latest Programme Flyer here:


Inspire Critical Thinking Virtual & Residential Summer Schools

The Inspire Critical Thinking Virtual Summer School is an opportunity for participants on the course to continue their participation through virtual lectures and workshops, videos and all-new interactive activities. The Virtual Summer School is entirely free to participate in for all participants on the programme.

In addition, the Inspire Critical Thinking Residential Summer School is an exciting opportunity for Year 11 pupils on the course to visit St John’s College, Oxford to experience life as an undergraduate student. You will attend lectures and workshops led by current university researchers, meet Oxford undergraduates and participate in fun trips around Oxford!


Frequently Asked Questions:

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Who can take part in Inspire Critical Thinking?

Inspire Critical Thinking is open to all pupils in Years 9, 10 & 11 at non-selective UK state schools! You do not need particular grades or be taking particular GCSE subjects to take part.

How do I register for Inspire Critical Thinking?

Registration to take part in Inspire Critical Thinking for the 2022/23 academic year will open in October 2022. The first class will then be released in January 2023. You can register by filling out the forms at the top of this page.

If you are an Inspire Scholar on our Inspire Scholars Programme for Years 9, 10 & 11 you are automatically registered for Inspire Critical Thinking, and do not need to register again.

Can I access Inspire Critical Thinking courses from previous years?

Yes, you can, however the competitions will no longer be live. Follow this link to access the previous years’ Inspire Critical Thinking classes.


Inspire Travel & Digital Assistance Awards

Inspire Travel Awards (Click this bar to learn more)

If you are travelling to one of our events in College we may be able to help with a contribution towards your travel expenses. The support available for travel will depend on the distance travelled, based on the shortest route between your home postcode and St John’s College.

Click Here to Apply for an Inspire Travel Grant

Inspire Digital Assistance Awards (Click this bar to learn more)

If you are attending a virtual College event from your home working space, we may be able to help by providing item(s) to support effective digital working. There are a range of digital support items available, and the item(s) you receive will depend on your personal requirements to work effectively from home.

Click Here to Apply for an Inspire Digital Assistance Award