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Catalyst is designed to get students thinking on their feet. It is fast-paced, engaging and fun.  


The morning curriculum is a classroom-based, academic programme, delivered in cohorts of up to 12 students over three-and-a-half hours (including two short breaks), and alternating between the practical and cerebral. Each day’s lessons are based around a specific theme, such as ‘Migration’ or ‘Law and Order’, that might draw in a number of different subjects – geography, politics, engineering, technology, media – but in a context that is useful to all disciplines. The theme is explored from a variety of angles in interactive ways, through games, debates, writing, reading and speaking, to build communications and critical thinking skills, and always include an element of practical or personal application.

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Our two-week course includes:

  • Thirty hours of teaching by Oxford graduates in small classes of up to 12 students

  • Thirty further hours of workshops and activities

  • Accommodation in single rooms in Lady Margaret Hall

  • Three excellent meals a day

  • A full programme of evening activities

  • Day trip to Blenheim Palace

  • Open-air theatre performance

  • Trips in and around Oxford to museums and famous landmarks

  • Outdoor adventure and team-building experience

  • Formal hall

  • One-to-one mock interviews and individual feedback 

  • End-of-course awards ceremony and report


Course 1: 5th-17th July 2020  

Course 2: 19th July -1st August 2020 


  • Greater confidence and an improved ability to communicate, and present themselves and their ideas

  • Spark! Enhanced engagement with the world around them, intellectual vigour and more considered views on their next steps in education

  • A well-honed personal statement crafted with support from our expert tutors

  • A report based on class performance and one-to-one interview, giving insights into each student’s strengths as demonstrated and improved on the course, and areas for development

  • A personalised certificate

  • New friendships

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