With the sun finally shining over Yarnton Manor, it is with a hint of sadness that we wave goodbye to a brilliant first cohort of students. The reluctance with which so many of the students departed was a testament to what has been a hugely successful and memorable first session.
Despite some rather typical British weather, the students’ willingness to engage throughout the programme was highly admirable. Adam, the Programme Director, noted that this group had set the bar high for the rest of the summer especially with their display of qualities such as resilience, confidence and sensitivity. The students not only excelled in their academic achievements, but also in their attitudes towards their experience here.
Being a young person, it is not always easy to be so far away from home, however, the students always strived to immerse themselves fully in all that Yarnton Manor had to offer, forming close bonds to support one another. The atmosphere, unlike the weather, was always warm thanks to the fantastic team of counsellors and coordinators on campus who sought to make everyone’s stay as enjoyable as possible.
During their stay the students also had the opportunity to make the most of everything Oxford has to offer within the parameters of an idyllic and serene country manor. Our older students particularly enjoyed their independence, and they often headed into the city after a diligent day of lessons to do some sightseeing, or to browse the historic Covered Market for hidden gems.
Other highlights included excursions to Stonehenge, Clifton Suspension Bridge and Bath, where the students’ spirits were never dampened by the rain. A sunny and informative afternoon was spent touring the grounds and house at Blenheim Palace – famous as the home to Sir Winston Churchill. Many of the students also had the chance to take part in punting! There was lots of laughter as they rowed themselves down the river, with the spires of Oxford framed in the background.
Lessons throughout the session were inspiring, challenging and rewarding. It was always fantastic to note the students’ level of commitment to their programmes, with several of them personally commenting that the lessons had not only deepened their knowledge but also encouraged them to engage respectfully and thoughtfully with international peers.
For our students aged 13 – 15, the lessons offered an unrivalled head start on the road to future success. For our 16 – 18 year old students, their programmes presented them with an insight into studying as a university student and all of our teachers were eager to stretch the minds of these talented young individuals, encouraging them continually to think creatively. The students expressed their sincere appreciation for their teachers who have helped them to develop throughout the programme.
These wonderful two weeks were rounded off with a sunny graduation ceremony, where all of our students received their scrolls. A selected group of students who particularly surpassed expectations also received special awards for effort and achievement in their subject areas.
The session was closed with party celebrations, and as the 13 – 15 year old students enjoyed dancing in the marquee, the 16 – 18 year old students dined elegantly in Oxford. Thank you students of Session One for opening the summer at Yarnton Manor with such a bang!