A Summer School for the 21st Century


Live and learn at an Oxford University college for two weeks, and develop the critical thinking and communication skills you need to thrive in your future life.


We offer courses for 12- to 16- year olds with a good level of English, who will enjoy tackling new challenges, encountering fresh ideas, and having the opportunity to make friends in a beautiful, historic setting. 


We, like many businesses all around the world, are having to reconsider our 2020 course provision in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. We have suspended course bookings for now, and are working on ways to make our syllabus available in an online setting until we feel it is safe to start taking bookings for residentials again. Please email info@oxfordcatalyst if you would like more information about this. 

Wishing you all good health during this challenging time. 


Knowledge is available to all of us at the tap of a screen. What we really need to succeed in the globalised world are the transferable skills that will enable us to use all that knowledge effectively: critical and creative thinking, shrewd analysis, the ability to process and synthesise information, and erudite communication. The development of these skills sits at the heart of the Catalyst programme. 


Catalyst is academic but not subject-specific, giving students from any and every discipline the know-how they need to be able to demonstrate above and beyond good grades. We kindle curiosity in cutting-edge issues, encouraging students to be reflective but also getting them to think on their feet. Lively debates, STEAM-based challenges, team-building exercises and a rich, interactive cultural programme, all strengthen the proficiencies that are so crucial to success in interviews, college and university careers and in the world beyond.

Students on our courses will learn how to:
  • Present themselves well in interviews, presentations and
    other important interactions

  • Develop and express considered views on current affairs

  • Debate effectively and demonstrate independence of mind

  • Use their creativity and analytical skills to solve problems

  • Understand international variations in cultural and
    behavioural norms

  • Communicate a sense of personal identity and 
    engaging personality


They will also receive guidance about and inspiration for the next stage of their education, as well getting a fun, enticing taste of life as a student at Oxford University – living, dining, socialising and studying at an historic world-class venue.


The Catalyst programme is run by a core team of Lady Margaret
Hall graduates. We offer high-quality accommodation, small class sizes (maximum 12 students), access to excellent teaching and facilities, and a thoughtful, tailored curriculum. We
 take a very personalised approach, and are always happy to chat to parents or students who are considering the course.

In the Classroom

We chose to host Catalyst at Lady Margaret Hall because it is where the core team all studied and met as undergraduates, but also because we believe it provides an ideal, safe, learning environment for students who would like to get a taste of what study in Oxford looks and feels like, while remaining set apart from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and having the space and freedom to roam in the College’s extensive grounds.


We understand that sending your child to the other side of the world for a residential course can be daunting for both you
and them. A wellbeing officer will be on-site throughout the
course and, as we take only a small cohort, we can ensure that
there will always be a trusted adult available to talk to your child if they have any concerns.


Course 1: 5th – 18th July 2020  

Course 2: 19th July – 1st August 2020 

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