Cambridge has historically been an academic hub, due for the most part to the prestigious university at its heart. One way this academia is visible here is through the many different museums that we have here. In this month’s blog, I’ll be taking you through my top 5 museums in Cambridge, and why they’re great for a day out.
1. The Fitzwilliam Museum
Affectionately known as ‘The Fitz’ to all who live here, The Fitzwilliam is probably Cambridge’s most well-known museum. They house a world-renowned collection of over half a million works of art, paintings and historical artefacts. Its collection includes Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman objects right through to the modern art of the present day. It also houses Asian art, medieval illuminated manuscripts and pottery, porcelain and medieval coins. The museum is known internationally for its high standards, in terms of its collections and exhibitions, its research, its curation and its fine-art conservation work. If what’s inside the building doesn’t tempt you, the building is a stunning neo-classical design by George Basevi. With its grand pillars, and the 4 stone lions that are positioned at the museum’s steps, it entices people inside to learn about its history. The Fitzwilliam Museum is free to visit.
2. Museum of Zoology
One of the most popular museums for tourists who come to Cambridge, the University’s Museum of Zoology houses one of the most impressive collections of animal kingdom specimens in Britain. The museum welcomes 75,000 visitors every year, and for good reason – their collections are some of the best and biggest in the world, often used for academic study. An especially exciting fact about this museum is that it includes specimens discovered by world-famous scientists including Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. No two visits to the museum are likely to be the same – changing exhibitions mean that you can learn something new every time you go. Most striking to many visitors is the ‘Whale Hall’, the entranceway to the museum that holds the 21-metre-long Fin Whale skeleton. Great for exciting children about science and nature, but a special experience for enthusiasts of all ages, the museum is a must the next time you’re in Cambridge! It’s free to visit.
3. Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Also known as the ‘MAA’, this intriguing museum sits just across the street from the Museum of Zoology. This makes them a great duo of museums to visit on the same day, or if you only have a short time in Cambridge. Contrastingly to the Museum of Zoology, which is all about the history of the animal kingdom, the MAA’s collections are all based around almost 2 million years of human history that span all 6 inhabited continents. They want to make it known though, that this is no museum only about the past – it is through the collections that we can learn more about contemporary life all over the world today. The museum collaborates with indigenous communities to improve its collection and the information that they share with the public. Some of the must-see artefacts in the museum include its oldest object – a 1.8-million-year-old stone tool from Olduvai Gorge, as well as a towering Totem Pole from Moresby Island in British Columbia. The MAA is also free to enter.
4. The Museum of Cambridge
The history of Cambridge itself extends beyond that of the university, and this is where the Museum of Cambridge comes in. Known as The Cambridge and County Folk Museum for over 70 years, the museum is housed in a 17th Century former coaching inn. Their collections focus on everyday life in Cambridge and Cambridgeshire spanning over 300 years. The museum describes itself as a ‘social history hub’ that contains 20,000 objects from vacuum cleaners to folklore objects. Young children will enjoy the ‘playroom’ at the very top of the building, full of both modern and antique toys. An adult pass to the museum is £6, concession passes are £4 and children aged 12 and under go free when accompanied by an adult.
5. Centre for Computing History
Newer on the scene is the Centre for Computing History, a few minutes’ drive out of the town centre. More than just a museum, they host exhibitions, workshops and other activities and events. Even just a normal visit is super interactive and fun for children and adults alike. It’s impossible to imagine a world where we don’t have computers or the internet, and the centre takes you right back to the very start and looks at how we got here. The collection is over 24,000 items which include vintage computers, memorabilia, mobile phones, games consoles and calculators. There’s even the option to play on retro computer games! The entry fee is £9 for adults and £6 for children aged 5 to 16. Children under 5 enter free. There is also the option of a family ticket for £26 for up to 2 adults and 2 children.
With the UK getting ready to welcome visitors again very soon, we hope that you will join us in Cambridge and take the opportunity to check out some of these fantastic museums in your free time. Let us know in the comments which of the museums you’ve already been to and what you thought, and also, leave a comment if there are any museums you think we should have included on our list.
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
On 23 March, the UK Government made the announcement that all schools must close to reduce the spread of Coronavirus. In response to this, we closed our doors and made the move to online learning while we waited for updates from the government. This has been and is a time of uncertainty, and as such we do not yet know when we will be able to reopen fully. We can, however, assure our students and their families that as soon as it is safe to do so, we will be ready to greet you here in Cambridge. In view of this, in today’s blog I want to set out what we’ve put into place to ensure your safety and peace of mind when we open our Cambridge headquarters, and also what we have available for you to book in the meantime.
In the Covid-19 era, it is important for schools and businesses to devise plans of action for reopening and risk assess these arrangements. With this in mind, we have devised a 10-point operational plan that will be kept in place while the threat of coronavirus is sufficiently high. This plan has been considered not only in accordance with UK Government guidelines but also our internal risk assessments. Whether we implement all or some of these will be dependent on the level of risk at the time. You can find more detailed information about this plan on our website, and information about the procedure, social distancing and the use of protective equipment can also be found on signage in all classrooms when you return to our school. As well as devising our Covid-19 procedures, we have trained our staff extensively to ensure that they are prepared to return to face-to-face work.
To take you through our operational plan in a bit more detail, it can be separated into 4 subsections: school organisation, capacity adjustment, hygiene and disinfection and extensive training. We have overhauled our usual arrangements for each of these areas to prepare for work in the current circumstances. In terms of the organisation of our school, we have thought through each and every step of our students’ visits to us and considered how we can maintain social distancing. All staff and students should therefore keep a distance of 2 metres between them and others at all times. Our reception, classrooms and public spaces have all been adapted and rearranged to allow for this – you can expect furniture to be more spaced out than usual. We will also be minimising the number of high-touch items, such as shared coursebooks, that are used in class. Most importantly, we will be operating ‘social-bubbling’, a system in which staff and students are placed into small ‘bubbles’ who may socialise with one another while maintaining social distancing. These bubbles will be kept for the duration of student stays and they are to be maintained in accommodation, excursions, group activities and transfers.
When thinking about adjusting our capacity, we have decided to reduce maximum class sizes to allow for social distancing. Students will be seated in their bubbles which allows them to maintain interaction with one another in the classroom. Group size adjustment will continue out of the classroom as we reduce the number of students on excursions. To help us manage these adjustments, we will be operating a ‘zig-zag’ timetable which includes staggered breaks, to reduce congestion in our public spaces and to allow distancing even in the WC’s. Thinking about activities specifically, we have altered the timetables to include excursions that don’t require close contact.
Hygiene and disinfection are extremely important so that our students and staff can continue to stay safe in school. We have made sanitiser stations available in our lobby and in all rooms. All lunches are made externally in a safe setting and will be individually bagged. Our building will also be robustly cleaned in its entirety on a daily basis. Not only this, but any classroom surfaces and other high-touch points will be sanitised at changeover times. We will also carry out cleaning of our WC’s before and after breaks.
I have already touched on our extensive training procedure, but to expand: our staff are aware of the symptoms of Covid-19, as well as how to act if someone becomes unwell in school. All students will also undergo training in the form of an induction when they come to the school. Our staff and students should therefore all be on the same page when it comes to steps to ensure everyone remains safe in our school.
Now that I’ve outlined what we’re going to be doing when our Cambridge school reopens, I want to let you know what you can do right now. ABC LIVE, our online school, is open for business right now, and you can start any week. If you want to learn more about ABC LIVE, you can read my blog where I cover exactly what we can offer you. Although we have had to cancel our Summer School this year for face-to–face teaching, our online summer school will be up and running between 15 June and 14 August. There is more information on our website about this. If you want to book in-person learning for 2020, we are offering both adult group classes and private family courses from 7 September, but keep an eye on the website in case we are able to resume these earlier than planned. We will also be resuming the running of our Group Study Holidays for groups of 10 or more students from 7 September, and you can learn more about these on our website too.
I hope that this blog has offered some clarity and reassurance as to how we will be operating when it’s safe to resume our face-to-face courses. As well as our exciting online school, the ABC Languages team are working behind the scenes to ensure that our 2020/21 in-person learning opportunities are the best they can be. If you have any questions about learning online with us or booking for our upcoming courses, please get in touch.
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
Hi everybody, I hope all of our friends around the world are staying safe. In this month’s blog, for a bit of escapism, I’m going to talk about some of the spots in Cambridge that are lesser-known to tourists, but which are great to visit. You might call these places ‘hidden gems’. Hopefully you can come to Cambridge and find them for yourself soon!
I hope this post has made you optimistic about joining us in Cambridge in the future, and given you some suggestions of out of the ordinary things to do here. Until then, stay home, stay safe!
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
With the Covid-19 pandemic unfolding fast around the world, affecting 200 countries, nearly 80% of all students are out of school and staying at home. As a reaction to this, many schools are turning to online teaching to ensure that students continue to be educated as normally as possible at this time. Like all other schools in England, ABC Languages Cambridge has been forced to temporarily close to face-to-face teaching, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. As a result of this, we too will be launching our distance learning platform this month. ABC LIVE will be up and running on 20th April, and you can find information about this exciting development here. In this month’s blog, I’m going to outline some of the benefits of learning a language online, as well as an overview of what ABC LIVE can offer you.
It’s important to look at the positives in a situation like this and, while taking on studies from a distance is definitely different to in-classroom learning, there are benefits to be found. Here are some of the positives of moving to online learning:
Thanks to the introduction of ABC LIVE, it is now possible to enjoy all of these benefits of online study!
ABC Languages has been offering student-focussed learning in Cambridge for over 30 years. Now, you can join in with us no matter where you are. The well-qualified, highly experienced teachers from our real school in Cambridge will make your distance learning experience as comparable to our classroom teaching as possible, as you practise your English with other students from around the world.
As well as creating your own study plan and feeding back to you on your assignments your teacher will constantly check on your progress in class and offer you assistance with self-study. Just like in our Cambridge school where you can take your class materials home, you can access your course content at all times on ABC LIVE, and also chat to other students about the course or just to socialise in our virtual Student Common Room.
As we aim to keep our online offering as close to our real school as possible, we are continuing to be extremely flexible with the different course options, so that we can suit all budgets and needs. We offer three types of ABC LIVE course plan: Standard, Standard Plus and Premium. All of our open group course options course options can be taken for 4, 8 or 12 weeks and include:
If you upgrade to our Standard Plus course your course will also include:
If you upgrade to our Premium course your course will include all of the above, plus 2 ABC LIVE - Tailored private online lessons every week. You can choose the topic from a wide range of options designed to meet your needs, whether they be academic, business or even special interest related. For example, you could focus on exam preparation, business English, English for leisure interests or English for specific professions like marketing or finance. We have teachers with real-life experience who can help with all of these and more.
If you'd like to add ABC LIVE - Tailored private lessons to your course but you don’t want to take the Premium course, these can be enrolled on individually or added to either the Standard or the Standard Plus package. If you want to take an exam, you can add our ‘Exam Booster’ to your Standard or Standard Plus package, which will give you access to past exam papers, practice tests, worksheets, exam-based exercises and more, as well as individual feedback and coaching.
If these courses sound like something you would be interested in, but you’d like to learn more about the classes and what exactly they’d be like, you can opt for an ABC LIVE - Taster. This is completely free of charge and includes 1 live interactive class, a level test and a one-to-one consultation with one of our teachers to assess your needs and goals. If you want to request a free taster of ABC LIVE, just click here to register.
For full information about ABC LIVE click here. We hope to have you join us online soon, and remember to stay safe!
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
Hello everyone! This month on the blog I’m going to talk about being an Au Pair. At ABC Languages, we meet lots of Au Pairs who come to us to learn English in a classroom setting during their time in Cambridge. In fact, teaching Au Pairs was how the school began! I’m going to tell you about what it’s like to be an Au Pair in Cambridge, as well as busting some myths you might have heard about being an Au Pair.
Hopefully this blog has answered some of your questions about what it’s like to be an Au Pair in Cambridge, but if you'd like to know more, be sure to read about Au Pair courses on our website, or send us an email.
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
Welcome back to the blog and a happy new year from the team at ABC! In England, it’s traditional to come up with some ‘new years resolutions’. These are goals that a person will set for themselves to achieve in the year ahead. A resolution might be to continue doing something that has served you well in the past, to stop doing something that hasn’t, or to start something completely new that you think will make your life better. A new year’s resolution, for example, might go something along the lines of ‘this year I am going to continue taking driving lessons so that I can pass my driving test.’ In this month’s blog, I am going to suggest ten specific new years resolutions that you can set yourself if you are learning English as a foreign language. These resolutions can be applied whether you are already a competent student of the English language, or if you’re just getting started:
2. Try the Food
You could have a fun evening by trying some English foods. This is a way to learn about parts of England besides just the language. It’s arguably a more relaxed way of learning something than taking lessons, and you might be surprised by how much vocabulary you acquire while you’re trying the foods. To get started, do some research on the foods that are traditional in England, and make a list of what you want to try.
4. Book a Course
By far the best way to achieve your language learning goals is to go on a course at a language school like ABC Languages. Our native-speaker English teachers teach small classes on interesting topics and push you out of your comfort zone to achieve your best results. Then, if you want to, you can take an exam arranged by us, giving you an English-language qualification to take away. We have full and part-time courses to suit adults of all abilities year round, and in the summer the whole family can learn together on our junior summer school which runs for nine weeks, for children aged 5+.
6. Read a Book
This might seem similar to resolution 5, but hear me out! Reading a book in another language is definitely trickier than watching movies because you have to get to grips with the grammar of the language much more. It is also a better way of learning for this reason. While movies and television can teach you how to speak, reading books will help you to write with better spelling and grammar. Like with the television, it might be a good idea to get a copy of a book you already know to read in English to help you on your way to understanding. Popular books to read to learn English include ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen and the ‘Harry Potter’ series by J.K. Rowling.
8. Read the News
If you make an effort to read the news coming out of the United Kingdom in English newspapers such as ‘The Guardian’ and ‘The Times’, then you are learning not only the language but also what’s going on in the country. It’s a way of keeping up to date while learning new vocabulary.
That’s all of my 2020 resolutions for you, let us know in the comments section if you’re going to try some of them, and how your English language learning goes this year!
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
1. Ice Skating on Parker's Piece
My first pick of activities in Cambridge at Christmas is to go ice skating at ‘The North Pole’, otherwise known as Parker’s Piece. The square of parkland becomes Cambridge’s own winter wonderland, free to enter and open until 5th January, so there’s lots of time for some winter fun. There are rides and stalls for both adults and children, as well as an alpine-style bar. The main attraction, however, is the clear-roofed ice rink which means you can enjoy views of Cambridge without having to worry about what the weather is doing. Slots are 45 minutes every hour, on the hour, and prices start at £10.50 per child and £12.50 per adult, including skate-hire.
2. Have a Sunday Roast in a Cosy Pub
When you’re done skating in the cold, a Sunday Roast in a traditional English pub is the perfect way to warm up! In England, it’s common to have one big meal on a Sunday afternoon; a ‘roast dinner’, so called as it typically consists of roasted meat – chicken, pork, beef or lamb, with roast potatoes and cooked vegetables. On Christmas Day, we eat a roast dinner too, but this time the meat is usually turkey and it comes with ‘all the trimmings’, which include stuffing, gravy, red cabbage, sometimes cauliflower cheese, and of course, the all-important ‘pigs in blankets’ – chipolata sausages wrapped in bacon which are usually everyone’s favourite bit of the meal! If you want to try this English tradition for yourself, you could eat a Christmas Dinner at a pub or restaurant. Pubs all around Cambridge will be serving up their own versions of the Christmas meal in December; I recommend The Granta, a lovely pub which overlooks the river. A Sunday Roast here is priced at around £10.99 so it won’t break the bank, and after lunch, if you like, you can hire a punt from Granta Punts just below it. The meat at The Granta is on a rotation so it changes every week - If you would prefer to eat beef, I’d suggest The St John’s Chophouse for a roast that won’t disappoint. It’s a 17th Century brick house with exposed beams and wood fireplaces, so it makes the perfect setting for a great Instagram shot too! They also do a vegan nut roast if you’re a non-meat-eater. Remember, it’s not a real English Christmas Dinner unless you get to pull a cracker, as shown in the photo below!
3. Go on a Wintry Walk to Grantchester
Another afternoon in Cambridge this Christmas could be spent taking a wintry walk to Grantchester village. It takes a little under an hour to walk from central Cambridge and it’s a rural village with pastoral scenery perfect for whiling away a few hours. The natural setting is gorgeous to stroll through, and, if you get cold, you can warm up with a hot chocolate in The Red Lion Pub. Grantchester is the setting of the popular British TV show by the same name, so you could look out for some of the sets, like the village church. If you visit in the summer you might even see the actors filming around Cambridge!
4. See a Christmas Pantomime
Fun for all the family would be a trip to see a Christmas pantomime at one of Cambridge’s theatres. This is another English tradition that is popular for those with young children. This year at the ADC theatre, situated next to our school, are putting on ‘Red Riding Hood’. It’s running from 27th November to 7th December, with tickets starting at £11. If you don’t catch that one, from 28th November to 11th January you can watch ‘Cinderella’ at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. Tickets for this one are a little more pricey, starting at £17.
5. Mince Pies!
If you’re hungry for a snack amongst all the Christmassy activities, then a mince pie is a good place to start. The mince pie is possibly the most famous Christmas dessert in England, and you will find them in coffee shops all over Cambridge. These are sometimes met with confusion due to being made with ‘mincemeat’, but don’t worry! There is not actually any meat at all in a mince pie, instead, it is a mixture of chopped dried fruit, distilled spirits and spices, in a pastry case. If you like them, you should ask for a recipe to take home where you can practise making your own!
6. Christmas Shopping
If you want to do some Christmas shopping while you’re here in Cambridge, you could try visiting the market in the market square. This goes on all year, but vendors will be selling Christmassy products throughout December so make sure to look for some bargains! If you want to do some more upmarket shopping, the quaint shops in the cobbled streets near our premises – Rose Crescent, Trinity Street and Green Street – are filled with luxury items perfect for surprising someone special with at Christmas. And, you can walk underneath the twinkling Christmas lights as you shop!
7. Watch a Christmas Film
If the weather is dampening your mood, try visiting the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse to watch a Christmas film! The Arts is an independent cinema very popular with Cambridge residents, and it shows not only upcoming, but seasonal films. This year they’re playing the new and very much anticipated ‘Last Christmas’. Going to The Arts is a much more personal experience than going to a multiplex cinema, and in doing so you’re supporting a small business.
8. Winter Lights at Anglesey Abbey
If you’re looking for something striking and memorable to do in winter in Cambridge, I’d recommend booking to go to ‘Winter Lights’ at the National Trust estate Anglesey Abbey. The National Trust describe it as ‘a magical mix of light, colour, sound and nature’. The enchanting walk through the lights goes on for a mile, so it’s not too long if you’re bringing children. The lights are on for three weekends starting with the 29th November, and tickets must be booked. If you are interested, check the National Trust website for more information.
9. Christmas Carols
To get in the Christmas mood, you could attend a carol service. The most famous of all is the service that takes place every year on Christmas Eve in Kings College Chapel, arguably the most impressive building in Cambridge. If you want to attend, however, you will need a warm coat, and some patience! There are first come first served tickets, so any member of the public can attend, but while the service starts at 3pm, the gates to the college open between 6.30pm and 7.00, and you will need to be in the queue by this time if you want the chance of seat. If you’re unsuccessful, you can stick around until the doors open at 1.30pm and try for one of the 500 standing room tickets.
10. Have a Snowball Fight on Midsummer Common
This one is weather dependent, but, if we are lucky enough to have snow in Cambridge this Christmas, then a visit to Midsummer Common, a huge expanse of parkland, to have a snowball fight with friends and family would be a guaranteed way to have some fun in the freezing cold!
Merry Christmas from all of us here at ABC Languages Cambridge!
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
My research for this blog led me to the three pillars of sustainable tourism. These are:
In order to make your trip to learn a new language truly sustainable, you should aim to assess it with each of these pillars in mind. This might sound like it's going to be tricky, but in this blog post I'm going to break it down for you and highlight three main areas where you could make your language travel more sustainable and eco-friendly.
If you are coming from outside Europe or flying is really the only option, there are still ways to make your onward travel more sustainable! The UK is well connected by railway – try taking the train from the airport to your destination, and for other trips during your visit. Taking the train from Cambridge to London is quicker, cheaper and easier than going by car, and much better for the environment! As well as adapting your longer distance travel, it’s important to think about how you’re going to get around where you are staying. If you come to our school, we are based in central Cambridge, making us very easy to get to by public transport, or, if you are already staying in the centre, by walking. We like to encourage all our students to limit their use of cars and taxis as there is really no need for them in Cambridge, not to mention it is impossible to find a parking space! Of course, as well as taking the service buses to get to and from the school and your accommodation, the best way to discover Cambridge is by bicycle! Cambridge is full of cyclists and racks to put your bike on while you’re in class or exploring the city centre. Not only is cycling one of the most eco-friendly ways to get around, with virtually no carbon footprint, it also keeps you fit! There are plenty of bicycle shops in Cambridge where you can hire a bicycle for the duration of your stay. This will be a lot cheaper than taking taxis, and if you hire them from a local business instead of a chain of shops you will be supporting the local economy as well. We can suggest the best bicycle hire shops in Cambridge, so let us know if you want to hire a bicycle to use during your stay.
Homestay is great not only because it is cheaper than staying in a hotel or private apartment, but because by paying for homestay you are directly helping local people and their businesses. It is also a socially sustainable option. Locals might see tourism in a negative light because it results in overcrowding and different standards of behaviour to what they are used to. If you were to participate in an exchange of traditions by staying in a homestay this would help to get them involved in the tourism industry, break down stereotypes and encourage your hosts to see a more positive side to tourism in the city. Living with local people also has the benefit of expanding your English outside the classroom, with native speakers. In our homestay you can eat your evening meal with your host, creating plenty of time to speak English in a relaxed setting while also learning about English food! You could also teach them some of your own language, as sustainable tourism should be a balance of receiving and giving.
Food and Drink
Cambridge is a hub of excellent food and drink. We even have our own Michelin star restaurant, Midsummer House. If you’re on a budget, however, there are lots of great places to eat that are also good options for sustainable tourism. Eating at independent Cambridge restaurants or from street food vendors is a great way to support local businesses that will make your trip more economically sustainable, and Cambridge has many of these. If you’re in the mood for a sandwich or pastry, try Norfolk Street Bakery, an artisan independent bakery that now has a second branch conveniently located near the train station. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat dinner, try The Punter; located very close to our school, it is a traditional pub serving classic British dishes, as well as an array of real ales. I also have to recommend Fitzbillies, famous almost exclusively for its ‘Chelsea Buns’ - swirls of cinnamon, icing and dried fruit. It wouldn’t be a visit to Cambridge without trying a bun at Fitzbillies, and as another small local business, they rely heavily on the tourism industry.
If you are looking to eat vegetarian or vegan, there are also some excellent local options. There is increasing evidence that one of the best things we can do for the environment is to reduce the amount of meat in our diet. This is made easy by restaurants like Stem and Glory, an incredibly well-reviewed plant-based restaurant that was runner-up in The Observer monthly food awards. If you’re after something less expensive and quicker to eat, head to the market square, just a five minute walk from our main school, and grab a vegan falafel wrap or a Mediterranean salad from the independent Mediterranean Falafel food stall.
Turning to drink - I have already mentioned The Punter pub, but if you were in search of some more Great British pubs it is worth visiting The Mill, which sits right next to the river, serving craft ales and craft beer, and The Eagle, a historic pub in the centre of Cambridge, famous for being the setting of Watson and Crick’s DNA chats. As well as supporting local businesses and being more sustainable towards the environment, paying a visit to the places I’ve suggested should ensure that you get some delicious food and drink in the heart of Cambridge.
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
During our popular English language summer school, most of our students opt for our ‘full-day programme’, which includes morning English lessons, lunch, and afternoon activities on our premises and around Cambridge. For the last two years I have been working at ABC Languages during my summer breaks from my undergraduate studies, and in this time I have observed and led a pre-planned summer activity programme, and subsequently taken over the planning and running of the summer school activities. Because I lead the activities myself in my first year working at the summer school, I was able to quickly identify any areas where we could improve on both the design of the activity programmes, and how they were carried out. My main objective for the programmes I designed was that all of our students, (and staff) would have fun in a safe setting. In this blog I’ll be taking you through the process of how and why our activities are planned and showing you why our full-day programme is such an unmissable option, with a sneak peak of what’s to come in summer 2020.
The ‘fun-factor’ of adrenaline-filled activities like these is highly important to me when planning the full-day programme. It is a must for us that the activities we run, both on and off our premises, are stimulating and inspiring, and that we continue to build on the English language that the children are learning in the mornings. The most important thing for me, however, is that they have fun! It is so rewarding to see an activity that I have spent time planning be well-received by the students. With this in mind I have spent time researching even more fun-filled activities which are possible for us in Cambridgeshire. New activities for summer 2020 include a roller disco and ice skating as well as bouncy castles on our very own premises!
Options like inflatable afternoons require a lot of space, and luckily this is something that we have in abundance at our new summer school venue. English is not the only thing that children learn at our summer school when you opt for the full-day programme. As well as the excursions I have already mentioned, our unique experience offers children the opportunity to play new team sports, to climb on purpose-built climbing walls, to swim with their friends, to design and make their own jewellery, and to bake yummy cakes and biscuits, to name but a few of the varied options. All of these things are made possible and so much easier in a large secondary school like the one we will be operating out of next summer. With extensive sports fields, indoor gyms, and specially designed classrooms for activities like cookery, the possibilities for fun are endless. Most anticipated by us is the indoor heated pool that all age groups will have regular use of during the afternoon sport sessions.
The tricky age group of the ‘tweens’ – in between our Early Learner and Teen classes – is something I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get right. Activities for them often seem either ‘too young’ or ‘too old’. They form a gap in the middle that I wanted to focus on for the coming summer. I am anticipating that our new programme specifically designed for this smaller age group of 10-13 years old will really make them feel included and actively engaged in the summer school. It has been drawn up as a programme that is mature enough for quickly growing tweens who feel too grown up for some of our younger activities like messy play and trips to soft-play centres but aren’t quite ready for the more independent and academic aspects of our young adult programme.
As a result of these three activity programmes, we differ from our competitors who generally run one activity programme throughout the summer, irrespective of large age gaps between the students. As well as meaning our activities are more specialised by age, the diversity in our programmes creates smaller groups on the activities, giving every student more individual attention from our staff. As our summer school teachers and teaching assistants double up as our activity team the students spend their afternoons surrounded by the staff they already feel comfortable with, who are also excellently qualified to continue assisting them with their English outside of the classroom.
If you would like to know more about our 2020 summer school please get in touch! We would love to tell you more about our new set-up and the different courses we can offer you...
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
As we draw nearer to the summer, we have started booking our International Summer School activities for juniors staying with us for morning lessons and afternoon activities.
Some of these activities include pizza making, a bus tour of Cambridge, sports games, science games and punting!
We still have availability for our morning lessons + afternoon activities courses but places are booking up fast! Book now to avoid disappointment!
If you have already booked morning lessons with us but would now like to join in with these fun activities, just let us know and we can book you in!
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions
Welcome to our school community. We greatly appreciate the trust and loyalty our students, colleagues and partners place in us. Recognising the ongoing and increased uncertainty that coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing around the world, our highest priority is the health and well-being of all those in our school community.
We continue to closely watch the situation with COVID-19 and are doing everything we can to make sure everyone in our school community remains safe whilst also ensuring continuity of business.
In an effort to maintain some normality, it'll be 'business as usual' on our blog and social media channels so do check-in on us for a moment of escapism.
In the meantime, stay home, stay safe!