The Inspire Programme for Years 9, 10 and 11, 2021-22 is now open!

St John’s College, as part of Oxford for South East, is excited to announce the Inspire Programme for Years 9, 10 and 11, 2021-22! This is an online course focusing on a central theme which is approached from a variety of subject viewpoints; each virtual class includes articles, quizzes, and challenges. The 2021-22 programme is…

St John’s College Access & Admissions Update: Summer 2021

A year of lockdowns and disruption has not stopped the St John’s Access and Admissions Office: we have been hard at work engaging with the hundreds of young people enrolled on our programmes from across the UK. In fact, with over 1,500 pupils participating in the various strands of our Inspire Programme, 2020-21 was our…

Access events and opportunities: Autumn 2021

Our Access & Outreach termcard collates events and opportunities for school pupils from across the University of Oxford. Read and download it below to see what’s coming up this term! We have recently released new video resources covering an introduction to the University of Oxford, how to apply, and admissions tests. Explore these resources here.

Summer School Poster Competition: Winning Entries

Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry for the 2021 Summer School Poster Competition. Participants enrolled on the Year 12 Inspire Programme were set the challenge of creating an academic poster, investigating a topic related to personal identity. Pupils chose from the following topics: STEM topics our DNA/genes our brain technology evolution Arts &…

Summer school work 2021

We’ve been so impressed by the quality and creativity of the work sent in by our virtual summer school participants in response to the activities! Here is a selection of some of our favourite pieces: Shakespeare: From Page to Stage Tia-Lana (Year 10 & 11 Programme) was inspired by the Shakespeare activities to create a…

About the Oxford University Careers Service

What is the Careers Service? One of the questions we’re asked most frequently from the moment we can talk is ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ The Oxford University Careers Service is here to help answer that question with an informed understanding of your options, the best routes for you, and…

Plato’s Republic: Book 1

What is the ideal way to run a society? Danielle Green introduces us to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato and his work, the Republic, from which his famous idea of The Allegory of the Cave originates. She also talks about studying Philosophy at university and how it can teach you to evaluate arguments. This talk…

Maths & the Marathon

In this summer of the European Championships and the Olympics, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to explore sport from an angle you might not have thought much about before: the Mathematics of Sport! In these talks, Dr Tom Crawford (a lecturer in Maths at the University of Oxford, and founder of the…

Day 5: IT Sales Professional

Today, our featured career is ‘IT Sales Professional’. In the fast-paced world of technology, data, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, it is crucial for businesses to work with customers to meet their data and technology needs. As a sales professional in a technology company, you will work with new and existing customers, building relationships,…

Day 5: Author

Today, our featured career is ‘Author’. An author is someone who writes content – this can be a book (fiction or non-fiction), article (in print, such as a newsletter, or online, such as for a blog) or any other document. There are a huge range of different media types that you can become involved in…

How to take the perfect penalty

In this summer of the European Championships and the Olympics, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to explore sport from an angle you might not have thought much about before: the Mathematics of Sport! In these talks, Dr Tom Crawford (a lecturer in Maths at the University of Oxford, and founder of the…

The Art of Coding

The history of computers If someone asked you what a ‘computer’ was, what would you say? The word computer is derived from the Latin word ‘putare’, meaning (in this context) ‘to think’, and the prefix ‘com’, meaning ‘together’. The word ‘computare’, meaning ‘to calculate’ also existed in Latin, and the word ‘compute’ has been used…

Day 4: Entrepreneurship & Business

Today, our featured career is ‘Entrepreneurship & Business’. A ‘business’, simply put, means an organisation which does something. They can be non-profit (such as charities), or for profit – normally this means producing or selling goods and services to make money for the business. As this definition suggests, there are a huge range of businesses…

The Ethics of Self-Experimentation

In this session, Dr Matthew Lennon and Professor Zoltán Molnár introduce us to the concept of self-experimentation and why scientists might be interested in using this approach. In each short video, you will be introduced to a key message relating to self-experimentation. These messages include, importantly, both the ethical and practical considerations which might need…

Oxplore: Is fantasy better than real life?

Throughout this week, we are linking up with Oxplore, the University of Oxford’s ‘Home of the Big Questions’ to dive a little deeper into some of the topics you’ve covered during the Summer School, with a new Big Question every day. Today we have continued our look at art and literature, looking at novels and…

An introduction to Post-GCSE study skills

Welcome to the St John’s Post-GCSE Study Skills Session. The period of education after GCSE can be quite challenging because you might face new obstacles. For example, you may find you have a higher workload and a greater focus on independent study. This session is designed to help you develop your skills so that you…

Why are poems like spells?

In this talk, Sammy Wright discusses the links between poetry and magic to address the question: ‘Why are poems like spells?’ His talk uses Shakespeare’s Macbeth as an example, but the themes covered in this class are relevant for any poetry or Shakespeare play you might be studying at GCSE or A Level – not…

How to write your own theatre blog

When theatres closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they began to stream performances online, often for free. Some theatre companies used the time as an opportunity to explore different kinds of digital experiences, such as performances on Zoom or Twitch. Although theatres have now begun to reopen, there are still plenty of…

From Page to Stage: Shakespeare in Performance – Part 2

In the first part of this summer school session, we looked at the difference directors’ choices make to a play in performance and researched two productions. In the second part, we will look at the contributions of designers and actors. You’ll also get to put your knowledge into practice by directing your own scene virtually….

From Page to Stage: Shakespeare in Performance – Part 1

The script of a play is often considered a blueprint for performance. While it can be read and enjoyed on its own, a script is brought to life on stage through the input of the creative team. The choices made by theatre directors, actors and designers unlock potentially infinite different versions. For example, a production…

Entrepreneurship and employability skills

Discover your working personality type Everyone has a working personality type – their unique combination of skills and personal qualities that they bring to work with them. Understanding who you are in professional contexts will help you to identify which careers would suit you and how to make the most of your skills. Take the…

Day 3: Cardiologist

Today our featured career is ‘Cardiologist’. Cardiologists are doctors who specialise in the heart and diseases that affect the heart and associated cardiovascular system. Clinically, your role will include both working with patients who have long term heart problems, and responding to emergency situations where a patient develops a heart condition, some of which may…

Creative writing workshop

Black British Voices: Poetry into prose using compound adjectives with Ashley Hickson-Lovence Join professional writer Ashley Hickson-Lovence for a writing workshop exploring how to make your prose shine by incorporating poetic devices. As Ashley says, ‘Poetry and prose are alike but with prose there’s more room to manoeuvre’. For the writing workshop, you will need…

Medical Studies

The subject of ‘Medicine’ is incredibly broad. The National Health Service, which is the publicly funded health care system in the UK, is one of the largest employers in the world, employing approximately 1.5 million people. Of these staff, slightly over half are clinical professionals (doctors, nurses, midwives and more), who have either specialist or…

Oxplore: Is it ok to ban certain books?

Throughout this week, we are linking up with Oxplore, the University of Oxford’s ‘Home of the Big Questions’ to dive a little deeper into some of the topics you’ve covered during the Summer School, with a new Big Question every day. Today, we have taken an artistic turn, looking at both the visual arts and…

Day 2: Research Scientist

Today, our featured career is ‘Research Scientist’. Research scientists apply their STEM skills directly, working in a wide variety of subjects to increase our understanding of fundamental science, develop future technologies or make existing technologies easier and cheaper to use. This might involve creating a new medical solution, developing a new fuel, finding a cheaper…

Genghis Khan: Refugee to Empire Builder

In this session, you will hear a brief overview of the life of Genghis Khan (born Temüjin), and then have the chance to further investigate an area of his life. Genghis Khan founded and led the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous Empire in history (this means all the land of the Empire was…

Lawyer

Today, our featured career is ‘Lawyer’. A career in law is challenging, but comes with immense rewards. As a lawyer, whichever route you specialise in, you will need to read a lot of information, stay up to date with current (often changing) legal terms and practices, and be able to apply these to new cases….

Day 2: Education Specialist

Today, our featured career is ‘Education Specialist’. When people think of working in the education sector, they often think of teaching. There are many specialisms in teaching, all of which present different challenges and awards. For example, you can teach early-years, primary, secondary, college or higher education. In higher education, teaching is often accompanied by…

Is there life on Mars?

Are we alone in the Universe? Dr Ken Amor discusses the prospect for finding life beyond our own planet and why many space agencies and scientists are interested in discovering whether life began on Mars. Dr Amor talks about the latest ideas of how life might have begun here on Earth and why we think…

Oxplore: Are humans ruining the Earth?

Throughout this week, we are linking up with Oxplore, the University of Oxford’s ‘Home of the Big Questions’ to dive a little deeper into some of the topics you’ve covered during the Summer School, with a new Big Question every day. In today’s sessions, we have learnt about some of the ways in which we…

Investigating Portraits

In this session, Clare Cory, Learning Officer at the Ashmolean Museum, will take us behind the scenes to learn more about the portraits in the Ashmolean Museum’s collections. The Ashmolean Museum is the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology. It was founded in 1683 and is the oldest public museum in Britain! Their…

Should insects be on the menu?

Sarah Lloyd is Head of Learning at Oxford University Museum of Natural History. The museum is home to more than seven million natural objects including the first scientifically described dinosaur, the last piece of soft tissue of the enigmatic dodo and roughly five million insects. The museum is also an inspiring place for research, teaching…

DNA Science

Today, you will learn about DNA and the ways that research scientists can study DNA to identify people. What is DNA? What is DNA? Our DNA is our genetic code – instructions on how to create ‘us’! The genetic code is written in DNA bases – there are four DNA bases, A, C, G and…

St John’s Inspire Programme Summer School 2021

We are delighted to be hosting the St John’s Inspire Programme Summer School, which will be held virtually in 2021. New content will be released each morning at 10am from 2nd – 6th August on Inspire Digital. The content will remain on the platform until 23rd September, so participants will be able to join whenever…

Exploring copper

Copper is an essential element in today’s society because it is an excellent electrical conductor. This activity explores where copper is found and how mining geologists set about finding new copper deposits. What is copper? Copper is a transition metal element with an atomic number of 29 (it has 29 electrons) and average atomic mass…

Introduction to the Summer School – Pre-GCSE

Welcome to the St John’s Inspire Programme Summer Schools 2021! On this page you will find information about how to access and navigate the Summer School material and how you can share your work with us. You can also find more information about St John’s, including an interactive tour of the College – so scroll…

Introduction to the Summer School: Year 12

Welcome to the St John’s Inspire Programme Summer Schools 2021! On this page you will find information about how to access and navigate the Summer School material and how you can share your work with us. You can also find more information about St John’s, including an interactive tour of the College – so scroll…

Introduction to the Summer School – Year 10 & 11

Welcome to the St John’s Inspire Programme Summer Schools 2021! On this page you will find information about how to access and navigate the Summer School material and how you can share your work with us. You can also find more information about St John’s, including an interactive tour of the College – so scroll…

Day 1: Senior Geologist

Today, our featured career is ‘Senior Geologist’. Geology, traditionally, is the study of the earth – its core, its crust, and the materials on our planet (rocks and minerals). Traditional Geology courses might include ‘Minerology’ (study of minerals), ‘Geomorphology’ (study of landforms), petrology (study of rocks – which are made of more than one mineral)…

Day 1: Public service as an MP (Member of Parliament)

Today, our featured career is ‘Member of Parliament (MP)’. Each constituency (local area) in the UK has an elected person who represents them in Parliament: an MP. Most MPs are a member of a political party. The political party with the most MPs elected (so long as they have more than half the total number…

UK Parliament

These activities have been adapted from materials created by the UK Parliament Learning Team. You can find much more on their website by clicking here! 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…

How to make an academic poster

During this week, you will hear about a range of careers from people who studied either STEM or Arts & Humanities degrees. You might notice that some of these people are currently in a job which seems rather different to their degree subject. Luckily, studying a degree teaches you many skills that are valuable in…

Oxplore: Could we live without laws?

Throughout this week, we are linking up with Oxplore, the University of Oxford’s ‘Home of the Big Questions’ to dive a little deeper into some of the topics you’ve covered during the Summer School, with a new Big Question every day. In today’s sessions, we have been looking at politics, debating and public speaking, and…

Cardiology: Physiology, Pathology, and Practice

What is Cardiology? In his academic talk, Dr Rohan Wijesurendra introduces us to this branch of medicine, which is the study of our heart, and diseases which impact it. You will hear about some of the intervention options that cardiologists have to remove blockages in blood vessels, including using a balloon to inflate them! Dr…

Realisms from Victorian novels to contemporary fiction

How have novelists attempted to represent real life in their books? In this academic talk, Dr Hannah Greenstreet introduces us to different ideas of realism and how artistic representations of the real have changed over time along with our understanding of reality. She also offers some approaches to analysing passages from novels, which are essential…

Competition S6: winning entries

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition S6, based on Dr Elizabeth Wonnacott’s lecture on ‘How do children learn language?’ Below you can read the winning entry, as selected by our team of markers. The challenge: Click here to read an article from Scientific American, on “How Linguists Would Talk to Extraterrestrials”. The…

Competition AH6: winning entries

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition AH6, based on Stephan Nitu’s lecture on ‘Athenian Democracy: Modes of Thinking About Different Worlds’. Below you can read the winning entry, as selected by our team of markers. The challenge: Building on the ideas covered in the taster lecture, think about how society is…