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Critical thinking for young minds


Learn how to analyse important issues, think for yourself, generate solutions and communicate ideas persuasively. 


Our courses offer tutor-led small group learning for 12- to 16-year-olds who will enjoy tackling new challenges, and having the opportunity to exchange fresh ideas with peers around the world. In an age of automated learning and exam-led regurgitation of facts, we teach students how to learn through intelligent questioning and lively debate. We help students to develop essential transferable skills - critical thinking, effective communication, good teamwork, creativity, understanding different perspectives - by exploring, in live groups, a spectrum of global challenges. 


 We have suspended residential course bookings for 2020 and have developed a series of live, online modules that will be available to students around the world from 6th July.  Find out more here.


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 and team-building exercises all strengthen the proficiencies that are so crucial to success in interviews, college and university careers and in the world beyond.

“We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.”

E. O. Wilson

  • 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 


They will also receive inspiration for the next stage of their education, and life beyond. 


The Catalyst programme is run by a core team of graduates from Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford. We offer fun, lively learning that encourages questioning and high level of interaction. Classes are small for both residential and online students (maximum
12 students), with excellent teaching of a new curriculum developed by Oxford Catalyst, which takes students beyond what they need to learn to pass exams. These courses give students the skills to use information effectively rather than simply providing them with information to consume and regurgitate. We take a
 very personalised approach, and are always happy to chat to parents or students who are considering our courses.

In the Classroom

We chose to host our residential Catalyst courses at Lady Margaret Hall, one of Oxford University's leafiest colleges, because 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. It is also where the core team all studied and met as undergraduates. 


We understand that, for those choosing residential courses, sending your child to the other side of the world 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.

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