FAQsBelow are the frequently asked questions our parents and students ask us.
FLIGHTS & TRAVEL
How do I get to Oxford?
Oxford is situated around 60 miles from London, and has excellent transport links.
Most of our international students fly to London Heathrow or London Gatwick airports, which are around 60-90 minutes away. We recommend Heathrow if you can fly there as it’s closer, we will have Oxford Scholastica staff present there on our arrival days and our airport transfers go to and from Heathrow (see below for more information)
Oxford can also be reached from other airports such as Birmingham, Luton or Stansted, and we are also reachable by train. Oxford train station is around an hour away from London Paddington. Please note, Oxford has two train stations – ‘Oxford’ and ‘Oxford Parkway’. ‘Oxford’ is much closer to our accommodation.
We are very happy to advise you on your travel plans. We can send you a link to book a taxi with a chauffeur firm who will meet you at arrivals and take you directly to our campus. Alternatively, you can use our own Oxford Scholastica minibus transfer service from Heathrow airport (£150), which involves meeting us at our central meeting point at Heathrow. As well as these options, there is a regular public coach from Heathrow and Gatwick to Oxford which we are happy to provide further information about.
If you have any questions please get in touch with Photis who will be happy to help.
My child isn't used to travelling alone, how can you help?
We appreciate that travelling can be a bit daunting! We’re here to help:
- If you are flying, we recommend arriving at London Heathrow airport as this is the easiest airport to get to Oxford from. Our friendly staff members will be present on arrival day at Heathrow, and we will also give you their contact number so that if there’s any problem you can contact them
- We can provide a link for you to book a taxi from any airport or arrival destination. Their driver will have your name on a board and will meet you in the arrivals part of the airport. They will then chauffeur you directly to our campus
- Alternatively, you can join our Oxford Scholastica minibus transfer from Heathrow Airport (£150). You will receive extremely detailed instructions (with lots of photos) on how to find our meeting point at Heathrow Airport and will head to our accommodation in Oxford with a group of new summer school friends
- As a final option, we can give you the details of the direct bus service which is accessible from Heathrow and Gatwick airports and which will take you to Oxford. Our campus is only a couple of minutes from the bus station
- For extra peace of mind, we have members of staff at every terminal at Heathrow airport on arrival and departure day to help the students finding their way to their preferred method of transport and to support them in case they have any issues
We want to make your travelling experience as easy and stress-free as possible, so please contact Photis if you have any questions.
Do I need a visa?
If you are from the UK, European Union or the European Economic Area you shouldn’t need a visa.
If you are from another country we recommend you click here to find out more information about whether you will need a visa.
As we are fully accredited by the British Accreditation Council, we are able to welcome students who need a visa. We will issue you with an official, stamped acceptance letter so you can use it to apply for your visa. Please note that by law we can only provide this when you have paid all the fees for your place, so we typically issue your letter from April each year.
It can take a while for visas to be processed, so please let us know as soon as possible after you have paid the balance if you require a letter from us. You’ll need to make sure you apply for your visa with plenty of time to spare before the summer school starts.
Please note that we can only offer informal advice on visas, and that it is your responsibility to check the latest information and make sure you apply for the correct visa in a timely manner. If you have an existing visa, it is also important that you check that your visa allows you to study with us.
If your visa application is rejected, unfortunately we can’t offer a refund outside of the refund period outlined in our terms and conditions.
When is the earliest I can check in? What if I want to arrive earlier?
Students are allowed to check in from 12-5pm. If you want to arrive earlier, please let us know and we will always try our best to help. If you need to arrive earlier, we suggest you book one of the local hotels and we would be happy to advise you on the best hotels to book (we have created our own Oxford Scholastica Guide to our Favourite Oxford Hotels for your convenience).
When is the latest I can depart? What if I want to stay for a few more days?
We’ll ask you to be all packed and ready by 9am on the final day (when you’ll need to vacate your room). You’re welcome to stay in the accommodation building any time until midday, but most of our students tend to head home around 10am. If you would like to stay for additional days, we can provide you with details of the best local hotels.
Should I get travel and medical insurance?
Our terms and conditions require you to take out comprehensive insurance for things like health, contents and travel insurance, and this should also cover you in case you have to cancel your place on the summer school. Unfortunately, if you have to cancel we can’t offer a refund outside of the refund period.
Can I get to know my fellow participants before the summer?
Yes absolutely! We have a secret Facebook group so you can get to know your fellow students before you arrive. You will be asked for your Facebook username as part of the registration process. Joining the group is optional, but we find most of our students like to get to know each other in advance of the summer school starting.
What clothing should I bring?
We have a casual dress code at Oxford Scholastica. As the courses will be during the summer, you should bring clothing that is suited to warm weather. However, England is renowned for rapid changes of weather – so be prepared for this too!
We only have two occasions when you will want to wear something a little bit more formal – our Graduation Ceremony and our Oxford Scholastica International Ball. For the Graduation Ceremony we ask that you dress at least smart casual. For the Ball it is really up to you, and we encourage you to consider wearing something that represents whichever country you call home! You can find out more about the Ball here.
We recommend bringing shoes durable enough for walking as Oxford is a relatively spread out city and there will be a fair amount of walking. You may also wish to bring trainers if you want to do any sport such as tennis/football.
We have more information on what to bring to Oxford in our Welcome Pack which we’ll send to you when you register with us.
What academic things do I need to bring with me (such as stationery etc.)?
You should bring the standard stationery that you would take with you to school – pens, pencils, paper. There are good stationery shops in central Oxford if needed.
How much money do I need to bring with me?
We recommend bringing a small amount of spending money (£10-15 per day) so that you can buy lunch and do other things such as shopping. We not do recommend bringing large amounts of physical cash – there are plenty of banks and ATMs in Oxford which we will show you, and we recommend you bring a credit/debit card if you can.
Do I need to bring my laptop with me?
Wireless internet is provided at our accommodation and we strongly recommend that you bring a laptop so that you can use this to do research/work on, and to keep in touch with your family and friends.
Do I need to bring my mobile phone with me?
We ask you to bring your phone with you, and there are plenty of stores in Oxford where you can buy cheap UK Pay As You Go SIM cards.
Do I need to do much pre-reading?
We will give you some suggested reading. Whilst this is not compulsory, it will give you an introduction to your course so that you can make the most out of your classes with us.
ABOUT THE PROGRAMME
Where are the other students from?
Our students come from the UK and all across the globe to join us in Oxford. Last year, we had over 70 nationalities on the Oxford Scholastica Academy, ranging from Brazil to China, America to India, Holland to Malaysia – and more! You can see last year’s nationalities here.
What are the activities to unwind/relax?
We have a variety of late afternoon and evening activities, from formal visits to watch an outdoor Shakespeare play to informal evening football/rounders sessions – and plenty more. Click here to read about our activities and trips.
How much free time will I get?
We want you to make the most out of your time with us, so we pack in lots of activities to offer a fun and rewarding schedule. However, we know you’ll want to have free time to explore Oxford, hang out with friends or just relax in your room, so you’ll get a couple of hours off for lunch each day, have Sunday afternoon off (to unwind or go on our shopping trip to Bicester Village) and there are other periods of optional free time during the summer school.
When outside of our accommodation, we ask you to be in groups of at least two people (if you are on our Discover summer courses we ask you to be in groups of at least three people).
What is a typical day like?
The morning will typically involve your classes. After lunch, you will normally have a mixture of either workshops or seminars, while the evening will usually involve fun social activities. For a more detailed outline, click on a course and scroll to the bottom of the page where you’ll find our timetable.
When do we have to go to bed?
Students are asked to be in their own rooms by 10.30pm, with lights out at 11pm. This will enable you to get enough rest for the next day ahead.
Who are my tutors?
We spend a lot of time hand-picking and training the best tutors for each course. You can read more about our typical tutors by choosing a course here and scrolling down to read the biographies of last year’s tutors.
Will I get a certificate/accreditation at the end of the course?
All students who successfully complete the course will be given an Oxford Scholastica Academy certificate at our Graduation Evening on the last night of the summer programme at the Saïd Business School. Parents or relatives are very welcome to attend this.
I'd like to study for four weeks, what's the difference in the timetables between the first and second fortnights?
You are welcome to join us for four weeks. You get to choose a second course to study with us for your second two weeks.
While there will be some parts of the programme which are the same, you’ll get to experience a new class, choose some different Masterclasses, experience different trips and make new friends. We’ll sit down with you at the end of your first session (along with the other students attending for four weeks) to discuss what you would like to do in your second two weeks (for example, whether you would like to participate in some of the activities again with the new friends you’ll make on the second session, or whether you’d prefer to do something different).
Do you accept students who are at university?
We can only accept students who haven’t yet started university. If you have just finished attending school and are not yet at university you are welcome to join us, but if you have already started at university unfortunately you aren’t able to attend.
Are you officially connected to Oxford University?
No. Whilst we use Oxford University facilities, and a number of our tutors teach or study at the university, it’s important to understand that we have no formal connection with The University of Oxford. Read more about our relationship here.
SAFETY AND WELFARE
Sending your child away from home is an important decision. The safety, happiness and welfare of your child are significant factors in making your choice and this is something we take seriously at the Oxford Scholastica Academy.
Below are some of the key questions parents have asked us. If you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to call Photis on +44 (0)1865 522 166 or email him here.
What if my child has a minor illness or injury during the summer school?
All our staff are first-aid trained, and we have a matron, so if there are any minor issues we are able to deal with them with the appropriate urgency.
What happens in the case of an accident or emergency?
Our accommodation has residential staff, so there is always someone on site 24 hours a day. During the summer school, we provide a 24 hour emergency phone number that students, family and friends may call. As well as getting contact details from parents/guardians, we ask students to provide another emergency contact as a precaution.
How do we monitor where the students are?
Our students have a full programme of classes and activities, and as such we know where they are. However, if students choose to use their free time to explore Oxford, we have a signing-in and signing-out register. Please note, students are only allowed to leave the accommodation with a friend (they are not allowed out on their own).
From dinner time onwards, students are always supervised. They must either participate in one of our group activities or relax at our accommodation.
How secure is the accommodation?
You’ll be given a fob/key to access your accommodation building, and you will also be able to lock your door. We have a safe in the main staff office where students can choose to deposit items such as passports, bank cards, travel documents and other items of value (though students should also take out relevant contents insurance and we recommend not bringing anything too valuable).
Can I visit my child?
Upon arrival, we hold an opening “Welcome Drinks” for all parents and students on the first Sunday afternoon. Parents are also welcome to come and visit during the summer programme if we are given notice (we also advise you to check what activities your child will be doing at that particular time so as not to clash with their activity scheduling).
ACCOMMODATION & FOOD
What are the arrangements for food?
We provide both breakfast and dinner. A continental breakfast will be provided at the accommodation, and we will be taking you out around the best local restaurants or eating in the accommodation in the evenings. At lunchtime, our students have the opportunity to explore Oxford where there are lots of cheap and healthy lunch options (we have created our own Guide to Oxford’s Best Lunch Spots for your convenience, and also a guide to where the best halal lunch spots are).
I have dietary needs – can this be accommodated?
We are used to accommodating most dietary requirements – including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, lactose intolerant, as well as religious dietary requirements and other dietary needs. We’ll ask you to let us know what your dietary requirements are when you apply, and we’ll then double check this with you when you arrive so we make sure we can cater to your needs.
I have an allergy - can this be accommodated?
A number of our students have allergies. If you have an allergy, please inform us when you book so we can talk you through how we can best support you, and so we can make sure we can cater to your needs. We have an Allergies Policy which is available on request.
How does laundry/washing work?
There are washing machines and drying machines (and washing powder) available, and these are cheap to use (costing around 2-3 GBP). If you aren’t used to doing your washing, our friendly team of Activities Coordinators will be on hand to help you and provide you with training!
Will boys and girls be separately housed?
We make every effort to place boys and girls on separate floors within the accommodation, within any limitations due to the layout of the accommodation.
I'm coming with a friend, can we be put in the same room?
You’ll get your own bedroom with connecting private en suite bathroom. As long as you let us know before you arrive, we can make sure we put you in a next door room to your friend(s).
Please note that we place males and females in different parts of our accommodation, and 12-14 year olds may be in a different building to 15-18 year olds (our buildings are close together though so you won’t be far away).
Does everyone have lunch at the same time?
Yes. This means you can meet up with your friends in different classes for lunch.
I'm a teacher at a school, where can I find more information?
We have a special page for schools which can be accessed here.