The Eton Connect Summer School was run for the first time in summer 2021. The free five-day residential Summer School was based here at Eton College for two cohorts of thirty Year 10 local state school students. After the continued disruption of COVID-19 on young people’s education and social experience, we created the course to complement the support given by schools in promoting social and emotional wellbeing. The course content was devised by EtonX and was designed to develop young people’s skills in leadership, confidence, resilience, creative problem solving and collaboration.

As well as the Skills for Success course, each day was full of activities including a treasure hunt, movie night, talent show, disco and even an Eton Mess making competition with Eton’s Head Chef. Students were able to make use of Eton’s sports facilities such as the football pitches, tennis courts and swimming pool and also explored the College’s museums and archives.

Local and partnership schools were encouraged to nominate Year 10 students who they thought would gain most from the summer school, focusing particularly on those who might have had a challenging time during the lockdowns, and who might profit from the independence and aspiration implicit in spending a week in a boarding school.

Feedback from the students was universally positive; one student noted: “this was the most beneficial trip I have ever been on.” The boarding staff were extremely well liked and meeting other young people was a highlight of the experience for most. Another student said: “I got to meet so many great people here and I’d love to relive it again.” The teaching and content of the Skills for Success course were highly rated with students able to gain new skills and understand their application in daily life, for example: “I’m not sure whether I’ll go to university or straight into work, but whichever I choose, I think the skills I’ve learnt are going to help”. 

Although the second 2021 course had to be cancelled due to COVID, an extra course has been scheduled in 2022 for those students who missed out. In the new year, we will also be inviting schools to nominate their next four Year 10s to join us for the Eton Connect Summer School 2022, which will run over two weeks next July.