Cherwell House Summer Blogs

Sunday 30th June to Saturday 13th July 2019

Friday 12th July 2019


Our final full day at Oxford Scholastica was no less action-filled than the two weeks that led us here. Starting with special “Class X” fixtures, our wonderful tutors were given the opportunity to show their students something a little different, with many opting to share exclusive glimpse at their own cutting-edge research with our Cherwell students.



A final lunch break, which saw the beloved Peppa Pig mascot set free and last visits to favourite food spots in Oxford, brought us up to the graduation ceremony. Everyone looked wonderfully smart, and all of our audience were wowed by our incredible speakers. We had Maanya, Freddie, Armaan, Alaina and Katherine discuss their respective subjects, while our Valedictorian Jack wrapped up the occasion with a moving (and rather Brideshead Revisited focused) summary of our time at the summer school.



A barbecue in the glorious garden of the Oxford University Saïd Business School allowed us to enjoy the British summer evening before we headed back inside to participate in our very own Ceilidh. A long-standing Gaelic tradition, and one which both Oxford and Cambridge Universities have whole-heartedly adopted, this traditional dancing style had everyone on their feet – and rather worn out by the end of the night! We couldn’t possible mention the dance without giving a special mention to Louis, whose enthusiasm and rhythm did not go unnoticed, and Alexis, whose previous dance training certainly shone through in the grace and control of her movements.



After the announcement of the overall winners of our house point competition (our Greek-named team whose name Sophie doesn’t know how to transcribe properly won with an astounding 80 points!), our students said their goodbyes to students who were leaving overnight, and headed to bed.


We’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the students who have been with us at Cherwell for making the experience such a memorable one, both for each other and for the staff working with you. We wish you all the best in the future, and look forward to hearing what it is you get up to in the years to come.





Thursday 11th July


After we headed to our final regular classes of the summer school, everyone enjoyed an extended lunch around Oxford. Louis and Jack took it upon themselves to form their own running club, since our sporty AC Caitlin wasn’t available to run with them.

A group of our students have developed an infatuation with the British children’s TV character Peppa Pig, getting matching temporary tattoos and buying a helium balloon just before we headed to the Oxford Union for our afternoon debating fixture!



As a prestigious University venue, having played host to celebrity speakers including but by no means limited to the Dalai Lama, Winston Churchill and Morgan Freeman, it was a real treat for our students to have the opportunity to hone their dialogue and debate skills at the Union. Cherwell first entered the ornate debating Chamber for a masterclass on effective, non-violent communication, before moving to the MacMillan room for a debating session.



After a warm-up “hot air balloon” debate, in which our students posed as Marvel characters in an effort to convince the group they shouldn’t be thrown out of it, we had a more serious discussion about whether or not social media usage should be restricted for teenagers. Both sides had wonderful arguments, and Amber, Emilio, Amari, Freddie, Katharine and Nadia all showed off their substantial talent in the field. Jack and Alaina were selected as our representatives for the grand final with the other OSA houses, however, and went on to win the popular vote in the main event of the evening: a debate discussing whether or not we should boycott the art of individuals who are accused of crimes.



An enlightening and thoroughly enjoyable day, the students headed to bed ahead of their final day of activities with us here at Cherwell.



Tuesday 9th July 2019


On Tuesday afternoon, we had the event many of our students had been waiting for: punting! After classes as usual, in which the engineers built their very own engines from scratch, the group headed to lunch and returned to the house ready to head to the river.



Punting is something of a skill and, while a great time was had by all accounts, we think it’s fair to say not all of our students were naturals. Teddy impressed AC Eliza with his skills but while Rudra definitely gets points for originality, his attempts to boost his punt with a paddle weren’t overly successful.



Another exciting aspect of the afternoon was getting to meet up with the students from Summer School Two, who arrived at our other accommodation houses on Sunday. We joined them for some football, as well as a wonderful barbecue at Wolfson college where Katherine wowed the group with some impromptu arts and crafts. After dinner, we headed inside to hear the amazing Michael Plant (an Oxford University philosopher) teach us the importance of happiness and how to conquer it.

It’s definitely been a busy day, but it was well worth the effort!




Monday 8th July 2019


We started off our second week here at Cherwell with classes and independent study in the morning, although our Young Doctors were treated to something a little different when our AC Vi popped in to act as a patient for their Brain and Mind class. They were all very impressed with his heretofore hidden acting skills!



In the afternoon, the students opted to go to one or both of our Success Master Classes. The first covered inspiration for how to turn failure into success, while the second was focused on how to make successful beginnings. Emilio was impressed by the concept of success being a subjective concept, and everyone having their own standards for what is successful, while Raghav and Vedant enjoyed the myriad illustrative stories that our speaker had.



To wrap up our Monday, we had one of the most exciting fixtures of the Scholastica calendar: OSA’s Got Talent. With an enthusiastic crowd and a lot of house points on the line, Jack and Victor B started us off by demonstrating the impressive dip dance move they’d been taught at the ball on Sunday evening. Check it out on our Instagram SS1 story highlights!





A tough act to follow, we think that the national anthem remix group, made up of Jumana, Karsha, Audrey, Shiv, Kaya and Amber, lived up to the challenge. We had some wonderful artwork on our whiteboard too, courtesy of Nadia and Katherine. Our winner, who took home 10 house points for his team, was Suryansh with his wonderful rendition of the Ariana Grande classic “thank u, next” which had the whole group cheering along. Our runners up were the national anthem singers, who gained points for originality and creativity.

Everyone headed to bed after evening briefing very excited to go punting Tuesday afternoon, and we can’t wait either!




Sunday 7th July 2019


What a lovely Sunday we had! Our relaxed morning kicked off with some free time, which most students opted to use for a lie in. A group of our sprightlier students headed to London for the day, taking advantage of the more relaxed Sunday schedule to grab brunch and go shoe-shopping.



Once everyone in the house was up, we headed to Corpus Christi College’s hall for a traditional full English brunch together. We then had each of our ACs lead a different activity in and around Oxford. Eliza took some of the boys shopping at Bicester Village, a nearby outlet complex, while some of the others opted for round two of football with Viorel. Alexis joined Sophie at the Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museums, and was particularly impressed by the special bee exhibition.



After free time, we all had pizza in the common room (35 large Dominos pizzas in one place was quite something to see!), and got ready for the main event of the evening: the OSA Ball. Boarding a boat at Folly Bridge, we headed down the Thames towards London for about an hour and a half, before returning to the mooring point. We had some wonderful tunes playing, and some even better dancing! Maanya earned 5 house points for being the first up to dance, as well as for her general enthusiasm throughout the evening, while Louis, Rowan, Sophia and Kira earned three apiece for their impressive moves.



It was a great evening by all accounts, with Jack summing it up better than we ever could when he declared “That was entertaining. I am thoroughly entertained!”




Saturday 6th July 2019


We kicked off the weekend with our amazing Hero Sessions today. Each of our courses heard from someone who has taken an unexpected or unusual direction in their subject, including Diko, a civil rights activist on her way to becoming a judge, and Yvonne, an epidemiologist looking at the wider causes of disease rather than directly treating them.

As well as learning more about a rather niche aspect of the profession, our doctors-in-training also thought about what it takes to be a great medic, coming up with traits including compassion, communication and an eagerness to be a lifelong learner.

After their Hero Session with Spencer, who has created his own sustainable and affordable alternative to Tesla, some of our Discover Business and Technology students swapped the chess board for the ping-pong table. After a couple of games, we all headed off to lunch, with a lovely afternoon or free time to look forward to afterwards.

Some of our students opted to spend their free time playing football with our wonderful ACs, V and Eliza, at the Iffley Sports Fields. Joseph earned a house point for his particularly impressive performance on the pitch.

To wrap up the evening, we embraced a British classic with a trivia quiz night in our common room. Favourite rounds included matching the baby photo to the staff member; V was a little surprised to learn that everyone thought baby Jessie was an early snap of him. All of our houses gave a valiant effort, but Oi ψηλά (please excuse Sophie if that’s spelt wrong!) snapped up the victory.


We’ve got a lovely chilled Sunday planned, with Brunch to kick it all off, so be sure to check back tomorrow!




Friday 5th July 2019


Friday saw another busy day here at OSA. After classes as usual this morning, we had our subject-specific challenges!

While our Engineering students were building bridges from paper and marshmallows, our Young Lawyers took part in a mock-trial at the court house in Oxford Town Hall. Alaina’s opening statement was impressive enough to earn her a house point, while the B. O. B. Bridge Company’s construction held a whopping 4.2kg! Adrian’s “accidental” sabotage attempt on the other team’s bridge, which took the form of a spilt cup of water, led to some course crossover. The calls for a lawsuit suing for damages fell through, however, when it became apparent no damage had actually been done.


Members of the Young Doctors’ Academy spoke to real patients at John Radcliffe Hospital, with Hanna describing the experience as nothing short of “amazing!”. After thinking about what makes a great pitch versus a terrible one (with the help of some clips from Dragons’ Den, of course), our Enterprise students were able to pitch their business to our expert judges.


Our Discover Technology and Discover Business students worked together this afternoon, with the former making and launching amazing rockets, while their commercially-minded counterparts pitched them to a panel of judges.


We headed back to Cherwell for dinner, with Richard displaying his talent as a moth whisperer and saving our ACs from a giant of the species in the common room by calmly taking it outside. We then settled in for a movie night – with the classic Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl narrowly beating Pitch Perfect in the poll.

With our Hero sessions set to inspire us all, and an afternoon of free-time and sports, it’s looking like the weekend will get off to a brilliant start tomorrow!



Thursday 4th July 2019


With the sun still shining, Thursday was another fun, jam-packed day at Cherwell.

It was all about opening our minds and encouraging us to think about how we can use our talents to make a positive impact on the world around us. After classes and independent study, and a couple of hours in Oxford city centre for lunch, we settled in for the afternoon at the Social Impact Conference.

First we met Ruth from SOFEA, a food waste charity who employ young people who’ve struggled with their education to work in their factories, providing them with invaluable life skills. The organisation cuts down on waste by sending left-overs to zoos and other local institutions.

Rupert from KEEN, a charity that creates inclusive social spaces for disabled children, told us all about the challenges involved in launching your own start-up, and gave us tips about working in the third sector.

Inevitably inspired by the amazing work of these two innovative projects, the students then set about dividing into groups and creating their own social enterprises. They were encouraged to firstly focus on what they’d like to change in the world, and from there to devise practical and creative solutions to these problems, drawing up a two-day, a one-month and a six-month plan of action.

It came as no surprise to find out that some of our students are already involved in some amazing social impact projects across the globe. Nadia loves volunteering, so much so that she’s created her own association, providing blankets and necessities for needy individuals back home in Egypt. Mohammed runs a foundation called Yes We Cancer, and has raised thousands of pounds to support people suffering with the disease.

Fired up by the Conference, Alaina was quick to ask how she make her great ideas into a reality. Fortunately, we already have the OSA Foundation, a pot of money which exists to fund the social impact projects of OSA students and alumni. As long as the idea is approved by the community, the Foundation is there for every idea, however big or small, and we’re really excited to see how many projects we can support this year.

After another delicious dinner from Cherwell’s resident kitchen team, we wrapped up the evening with some yoga in the garden. Head of House Mary had a blast teaching some new yogis, and was particularly impressed by the flexibility of Audrey and Hanna! What a relaxing way to end the day.


Yoga at Scholastica

We’re all very much looking forward to our challenges tomorrow, with our Young Doctors heading off to the John Radcliffe Hospital to speak to some real patients, and the Young Lawyers going to Oxford Town Hall for a moot trial.


Wednesday 3rd July 2019


What beautiful weather we had for our first day trip of the summer school! The group were up, ready and raring to go at 8:30am, when we all headed to the coach and drove to Windsor. Famous, of course, for its castle and royal connections, we had some fun theories from the group – although we’re still not quite convinced that the Queen was at the changing of the guard disguised as a Beefeater, as Alicia suspected…

Our students enjoyed plenty of time wandering around Windsor and the castle grounds, with Jumana, Alicia and Audrey all fitting in a chocolate making session, while others had running races, did some shopping or even had a doze in the shade.

After lunch, we all headed in to tour the castle. With the help of audio guides, and of course our wonderful ACs on hand to answer questions too, we learnt a lot about the English monarchy. Sanyukta, especially, was very interested in the history of King Henry VIII and his six wives! With a quick gift shop stop which saw plenty of royal family masks purchased, we headed back to Cherwell for the evening.

After a wonderful dinner, we settled in for games night in the common room. While Amber and Shiv got stuck in a battle of wills in what may be the longest game of Twister we’ve ever seen here at OSA, the chess tournament started heating up again. Stay tuned to find out the overall winner of the summer school!




Tuesday 2nd July 2019


We had another fun-filled day here at Cherwell on Tuesday, with classes on subjects as varied as the respiratory system, advertising and economics. In independent study, essays were written and brand new business ideas began to take shape for our students.

One of our wonderful tutors, Simran, treated the students to two incredibly insightful (and reassuring!) masterclasses after lunch, making “Thinking about the Future” seem a lot less daunting than the title might suggest! Running through a plethora of different career paths, she asked students to think about and discuss the skills they should develop and preparation they should do in order to access their chosen route or routes. Afterwards, she talked some of us through the UK university admissions application, as well as providing some great tips on how to make a personal statement stand out – crucial advice indeed!

We headed out to get dinner in Oxford, before settling in at the Oxford Castle ruins to watch a very atmospheric open air production of Macbeth. En route, Shiv proved that chivalry is still alive and well when he held Amber’s foot up so she could tie her shoelace easily, without having to bend all the way down.

Although we got a bit chilly at the theatre as the sun went down, the Macbeth performance was incredible. Maanya particularly enjoyed it, and was especially impressed by the performance Hannah Nicholas gave as Lady Macbeth. She also helped some of our other students enjoy it to the full by explaining some of the subtler plot points, having studied it previously.

Looking ahead to the rest of the summer school, Amari’s most looking forward to the punting, whereas Raghav couldn’t choose just one activity to most look forward to, opting instead for “everything” – which is exactly what we like to hear!







Monday 1st July 2019


After a good night’s sleep, most of our students were feeling fresh-faced and ready to go this morning. After a quick extra nap at the breakfast table, Kira was also raring to go to class. We had welcome talks from one of our Deputy Directors Louise, Lavinia our Programme and Development Manager and Jessie, one of our Activities Coordinators who also graduated from OSA’s Maths Academy in 2014, and students met their tutors this morning too.

Our tours of Oxford were expertly led by our ACs Vi, Caitlin and Eliza, as well as Mary our Head of House. Jack’s group were treated to some tales of his father and godfather’s time at Trinity and Baliol Colleges here at Oxford University, which really added a fun personal touch to the tour and led our students to wonder what sort of adventures they might get up to at university.

Vi was also able to take his group into his own college, the beautiful Jesus College on Turl Street, and show them around his favourite haunts – foremost of which is the library where he says he spends all his time!

Once they’d finished their first Independent Study tasks of the summer school, Adrian and Viktor found themselves locked in an intense chess competition, with the overall winner still to be decided – we’re all looking forward to finding out who it’ll be! In a similar vein, Richard’s accepted our Events Officer Sophie’s request to teach her how to play, although we’re sure that will be quite a challenge…

The scavenger hunt wrapped up our day of activities, with Ellie and Ilia using their initiative (and internet) to find the starting point for their group. After dinner and some all-exciting ice cream, we all took a couple of hours to relax before evening briefing, and headed to bed in preparation for tomorrow morning’s classes.




Sunday 30th June 2019 – Arrivals Day


Wow, what a way to kick off our summer here at the Oxford Scholastica Academy! Arrivals day was a busy one for us at Cherwell, with 55 students joining us from as far apart as India, Canada and Switzerland.

Once everyone had arrived, and the cricket fans had connected to the Wi-Fi and caught up with the scores from today’s play, we were treated to burgers and chicken straight off the barbecue as we set about getting to know each other.

Helping us along the way, of course, were the icebreaker games we played with the wonderful Activities Coordinators, or ACs as we like to call them. We all joined in some energetic games of Splat! with Eliza and Viorel, Edamame led by Caitlin, and Name Aerobics along with Jessie, before settling down for a welcome talk from Mary, our Head of House here at Cherwell. After some quiet time in the evening, with a couple of card games and some more cricket chat amongst others, the students all headed to bed to stave off their jetlag and prepare to meet their tutors in the morning.

With our packed Monday schedule involving classes, a tour of Oxford and even some ice cream, we’re sure it’ll be a wonderful first full day for the #CherwellChamps!