Online summer schools a success for students

More than 120 pupils have completed a summer school aimed at widening access to Higher Education.

The week-long initiative, organised by the Sutton Trust, gave pupils an insight into student life and encouraged them to have the confidence to apply to university.

The University has run the Sutton Trust Summer School as a successful on-campus residential for the past seven years, benefitting hundreds of students. 

The Trust work to increase social mobility and improve educational opportunities for young people from low and middle income homes.

Online experience

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the creation of Sutton Trust Online – a new approach to the summer school experience.

Pupils took part in a variety of pre-recorded content and live interactive sessions, experiencing academic teaching, university guidance, and social activities.

Academic staff and current students worked with pupils throughout the week to give them a realistic idea of university life.

I can honestly say I really enjoyed learning about my courses and university in general in greater detail. The team genuinely made the digital school a fun experience and although we weren’t able to come to the campus, I’m sure many students can agree the week was equally as good.

Edinburgh studentSutton Trust Online 2020

Medical programme

Also taking place over a four-day programme this summer has been the Reach Edinburgh Widening Participation project for Medicine.

The project welcomed 25 pupils to a series of online sessions aimed at broadening pupils’ understanding of a career in medicine. The pupils also received advice in putting together stronger applications for medical school. 

Pupils from across Scotland heard from current students at Edinburgh Medical School, who gave detailed insight into each year of the MBChB degree.

Pupils also heard from junior and specialist doctors who came through the Reach project.

Pre-recorded online sessions

The online sessions were a substitute for a previously planned on-campus experience, which was cancelled due to Covid-19.

The majority of sessions were pre-recorded for pupils to view in their own time, allowing them to fit the programme into their own routine.

The Reach Edinburgh team are extremely grateful to all NHS staff who contributed by pre-recording content for these sessions in the current circumstances. With their help, they were able to successfully deliver an alternative programme to continue supporting aspiring medics from the most under-represented backgrounds.

Ryan HamiltonReach Medicine Coordinator


 Although I was originally disappointed that the Medicine Residential was cancelled, these online sessions were an amazing substitute! They allowed me to gain so much knowledge into medicine and medical school. I loved how I could gain such knowledge despite experience being near impossible to get right now with the current situation. I truly appreciate all the hard work you guys put in to make these so informative and enjoyable.

Edinburgh studentReach Medicine Online Sessions 2020

Social and Civic Responsibility

Social and Civic Responsibility is a key aspect of the University’s strategic plan. The University aims to deliver positive change locally, regionally and globally.

This includes a commitment to widening participation in Higher Education, for people of all backgrounds. Through its widening participation strategy, the University aims to address educational inequalities and patterns of under-representation in Higher Education.


The Sutton Trust Summer Schools

Reach Edinburgh

Social and Civic Responsibility