St John’s Inspire Programme for Years 10 & 11: Class 1

Dear Year 10 and 11 pupils, We hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season and New Year’s! We’re excited to welcome you back to the Year 10 and 11 Inspire Programme with the first class materials. Today we are excited to release the first class materials for our Year 10 and 11 Inspire Programme. This…

Inspire Year 10 and 11 Launch

St John’s College, as part of Oxford for South East, is excited to announce the Year 10 and 11 Inspire Programme for 2020-21!

Inspire Virtual Summer Schools in review

Following last week’s Virtual Summer Schools on the Inspire Programme, we are excited to announce the winners of last week’s Year 9 and Year 12 competitions!

UK Parliament for Year 11: Day 2

Today, you’ll be able to put your learning to the test with some interactive online games put together by the UK Parliament outreach team!

Medieval journeys

What drove people in Medieval times to journey from their homes? During this lecture you will see examples of the travel people undertook for a variety of reasons.

Pitt Rivers Museum

Welcome to the Pitt Rivers Museum! Take a virtual tour of the museum and practice your observation skills with the Museum’s collection of masks.

Disease modelling

During this lecture, you will see how two different areas of maths can be used to model the spread of diseases through a population.

Museum of Natural History

Welcome to the Museum of Natural History! Take a virtual tour and explore the museum’s highlights here.

History of Science Museum

Welcome to the History of Science Museum in Oxford! Explore the museum virtually and learn about the fascinating instruments in its collection here.

UK Parliament for Year 11: Day 1

In this session you will get to know the UK Parliament, and you will learn about some ways in which you can get involved. We will start by learning about Parliament and its history, and finish off the day with some votes and debating exercises.

Biodiversity and Conservation for Year 11, Day 1

There is a huge variety of wildlife found locally, in our gardens and local green spaces. It is important to monitor this diversity, to see whether it changes seasonally, or over time as our green spaces in Britain become more urbanised.

Competition 3.2 Results: Reading the runes

St John’s French Tutor Marie Elven set our Year 11 course a tricky rune-decoding task: click here to check your work and to see how other pupils enrolled on the course puzzled it out!

Competition 2.2 Results: What’s the price on your head?

St John’s Economics tutor Dr Kate Doornik set our Year 11 course one of the more challenging competitions this year. Through Dr Doornik’s article What’s the price on your head?, pupils explored the difficulty of putting a monetary value on saving lives, and in their competition responses, pupils grappled with this challenge themselves. This series…

Competition 2.4 Results: Scaling Analysis

St John’s College Maths tutor Prof Stuart White set our Year 11 course a few challenging questions on scaling analysis as part of Class 2. Click here to see the answers!

Competition 2.1 Results

We received so many excellent entries for Competition 2.1: Volcanoes & mass extinction! This question asked pupils enrolled on our Year 11 course to think about the similarities and differences between the current mass extinction event we are living through and previous mass extinctions through history, especially considering the effect of volcanic activity. The essays…

Inspire Year 11: Class 3

How time has flown—it’s already time for the final class in this year’s Inspire course for Year 11! Last time we considered the role volcanoes played in the demise of the dinosaurs, learned about geographical records left by volcanic eruptions and much more. Today we turn from the science of volcanoes to the creative works…

Competition 1.3 Results

The final competition in Class 1 of the Year 11 course asked about the importance of dating volcanic eruptions, and the significance of tephrachronology in this process. We received some really fascinating entries in response to this question, many of which also address the applicability of these concepts to our current climate. You can read…

Competition 1.2 Results

We received so many excellent entries for Competition 1.2: The role of the historian! You can read the top entries below.

Competition 1.1 Results

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition 1.1: Trade in Rome! Below you can read the winning entries, as selected by Georgy Kantor, author of the competition questions. You can find him on Twitter here, and you can read about more of his research on his blog as well. 1st…

Inspire Year 11: Class 2 materials released

After digging through Roman trade documents, dinner party wares and petrified library scrolls in Class 1 of our Year 11 Inspire course in early January, we’re now excited to release Class 2! This time we will consider the role volcanoes played in the demise of the dinosaurs. We’ll learn about the geographical records that volcanic…

Inspire Year 11: Class 1 materials released

We hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season and New Year’s! Today we are excited to release the first class materials for our Year 11 Inspire Programme. This year we’re considering the question “What is the power of a volcano?” In this class we learn how to engage with primary sources and historical materials in…

Year 11: Introduction to the course

We are delighted to welcome 578 pupils onto the St John’s Inspire Programme for Year 11! Click the link below for an introduction to the course. Over the next few months we will be sending you class materials via email from, so please make sure you add this address to your email contacts so…

Inspire Year 11 Launch

St John’s is excited to launch the Year 11 Inspire Programme for 2019-20! Find out more about the programme and how to sign up here.

Easter Challenge Winners

Winner Matyl K, The Sacred Heart Language College It is evident that the video game industry is the fastest growing industry from $10 billion in 1990 to almost $135 billion in 2018. Arguably, this is a result of their ability to engage and transfix people, achieved by the emotional reward that they offer: feelings of…

Making money from video games

This week we asked you to think about the question: What would be the advantages and disadvantages of giving a video game away for free? Very well done to everyone who sent us their answers. Here are the best responses we received: Overall Winner Jay K (Greenford High School) Personally, I believe that giving video…

Year 11 Inspire – Issue 5 “How to make money from video games”

In the fifth edition of Year 11 Inspire, we will be thinking about the economic value of video games. We will be hearing from St John’s economics tutor, Dr Kate Doornik, about how free games such as Fortnite can be incredibly lucrative, and looking at issues surrounding copyrights. Please follow this link for Issue 5…

Year 11 Inspire – Summer School

We are running a summer school our Year 11 Inspire Programme students on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th August 2019. This is an excellent opportunity to see what being an Oxford student might be like! For full details, please see our flyer: If you would like to attend, please complete an application form and return it…

Should violent games be banned?

Some of the most popular video games contain high levels of violence – Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption – to name a few. In Issue 4 “What can we learn from video games?”, we asked our students to consider whether the content of video games should be more strictly regulated. Here…

Year 11 Inspire – Issue 4 “What can we learn from video games?”

In this fourth edition of Year 11 Inspire, we will be considering what we might be able to learn from video games. We will be hearing from Oxford historian Dr Philippa Byrne about the historical significance, and discussing the role of violence in video games. We will also be challenging you to think how video…

Turtle Academy Programming Challenge

Well done to everyone who participated in our Turtle Academy Programming Challenge as part of Year 11 Inspire’s third issue “Design your own video game”. Turtle Academy is a simple-to-use website providing free lessons in basic computer programming. Using the LOGO language, you can create amazing shapes and patterns – give it a try! Here…

Year 11 Inspire – Issue 3 “Design your own video game”

In the third edition of Year 11 Inspire, you will be thinking about designing your own video game. We will be hearing from James Hyde, a games designer himself who works for Creative Assembly in Horsham, West Sussex, and using Flowlab to get some insight into how computer programmes are generated. Please follow this link…

Year 11 Inspire – Issue 2 “Building Characters and Worlds”

In the second issue of Year 11 Inspire, we will be looking at how designers and developers use language to build characters and worlds inside their video games. We will be hearing from St John’s English Tutor, Professor Carolyne Larrington and Oxford Graduate in Linguistics, Maren Fichter. Please follow this link for Issue 2 “Building…

Year 11 Inspire – Issue 1 “Are video games bad for you?”

In this first issue, we will look at whether video games can be considered bad for you, and will ask the question: “Is it possible to become addicted to video games?” We will hear from former St John’s English student Dr Tom Chatfield, and there will be articles, quizzes and challenges to try. Please follow…

Year 11 Inspire – Welcome to the programme!

30 minutes a week to help get you ready for university. A warm welcome to everyone who has signed up for our Year 11 Inspire Programme! This programme aims to provide you with opportunities to pursue your academic interests, to develop your study skills, and to encourage you to become more confident in your abilities….

Candy Crush Challenge

Well done to all of our Year 11 Inspire students, who have been battling hard in this week’s challenge: Candy Crush! How to play Candidates were asked to play Candy Crush on their devices for 15-30 minutes, then take a screenshot of their highest scores and e-mail it to The top three contestants on…