The Summer School is an enterprise that started back in 2015 as something of a ‘side project’ for one of the School’s German teachers, Mr Karl Gross. who saw the building of Founder’s House as an opportunity to show Whitgift to the world and give our students a chance to make friends with children from around the globe during their summer holiday. There were around 50 international students each week in the first summer, hailing from around 13 different countries and staying for anything between one and six weeks in what was then the brand-new boarding house. Fast-forward three years and the Summer School is now hugely over-subscribed with over 100 students coming each week and with 26 different nationalities represented this year, it will be the most diverse summer yet. One particularly pleasing fact about the international students is that around 20% of them are returners from previous years, showing just how valuable, enjoyable and rewarding the experience is.
The Summer School has also been tremendously beneficial to Whitgift boys and Old Palace girls with around 35 taking part each week and working alongside students from all corners of the globe on collaborative projects, sporting and creative academies and social activities in the evenings. Many come back every year as the opportunity to meet and learn with children from all over the world - Colombia to Japan, Canada to Singapore - is a truly unique one.
Mr David Bates, the Course Director, who has been working on the Summer School since the beginning and seen it go from strength to strength, comments: “Seeing our own Whitgift boys and Old Palace girls partaking in the programme alongside international students and quickly forging such strong friendships has been a real highlight. It is this strong link to the main School and its ethos of friendliness, challenge and inclusivity, which affords such great benefits to our international guests who come here in order to improve their English. This link to the School is made even stronger by the involvement of Whitgift staff across the programme. We are all really looking forward to another great summer.”