Our Academic Discovery Plus Programme offers students aged 11-12 the opportunity to live and study in St Mary’s Ascot, a top UK boarding school. For each week-long session, students study a variety of Arts and Science subjects, along with a series of afternoon workshops.

Academic Content

Students aged 11-12 on our Academic Discovery Plus Programme will have the opportunity to investigate a key question throughout a themed week of lessons and activities. Taught lessons will combine with fun afternoon workshops to help consolidate what students have learned that day. Each student will be contacted to enrol in either the Arts or Sciences stream of the course, and this choice will decide which key question they will investigate for the week. Rather than teaching topics in their minutiae (which often leads to an over-emphasis on content and facts) the goal here is to enable pupils to achieve higher-order outcomes by interrogating information and applying skills in multiple contexts. Lessons will involve pitched debates, and all students will conclude their course with an assessed presentation. Our Sciences stream students will also be given the chance to enjoy the ‘Explorer Dome’ experience – a specially-made portable planetarium which will feature a relevant show in which students will take part.

Photo Gallery

Each week of study will be themed around a key question, framing the lessons and activities in a wider context. Examples of these questions can be found below:

  • Designing a better world: Can technology and engineering alone help us to achieve ‘sustainable cities?’; During the course, students will examine a range of city-related big questions, such as “How polluted are our cities?” and “Is solar power economically viable in developing countries?”.
  • Stranded! What skills would enable you to survive on a remote Indian Ocean island?; Students will work out what skills and tools are essential in survival situations, and look at historical examples of odds-defying survivors of fact and fiction, such as Robinson Crusoe.
  • From scene to screen: how is the way we experience ‘The Arts’ changing over time?; During the course, students will compare classic literature to film adaptations, investigate the use of narrative in modern advertising, and ways in which technology is changing how we experience traditional art-forms.
  • Self-driving cars and bullet trains. How can scientists and engineers improve transport for the future?; Students will think about how speed has increased in importance, how transport impacts infrastructure, and think about the environmental impact of world-wide transport networks.

In each case, students will explore the topic through scientific and arts-based lenses, leading to a wider investigation of the subject.

Learning Objectives

Each of our Key Questions is tailored and planned to encourage the development of similar skills in students. Our objectives are:

  • To allow children to engage with and develop a variety of STEM skills such as planning, carrying out and evaluating fair scientific tests;
  • To enable children to alternatively investigate and improve on a variety of Arts and Humanities skills such as historical enquiry, poetry and language analysis and taking part in presentations and debates;
  • To empower children to justify their own opinions on a variety of subject matters;
  • To increase students’ enthusiasm for STEM, Arts and Humanities and allow them to share this with other students on the course.;
  • To provide children with a diverse range of exciting, practical learning experiences which will ensure full engagement with and enjoyment of the course;
  • To work collaboratively and to constructively question and evaluate each other’s work.

Transferable Life Skills

Attendees on the Academic Discovery Plus Programme are encouraged to work on important key skills during their time with ORA. We believe that the experience of being away from home, living and studying in St Mary’s Ascot, a top UK boarding school, enables our students to develop a suite of transferable skills that go beyond those available to students in their own school environment. Vital for future success in any career, these skills include:
  • developing strengths in independence, self-regulation and self-assessment;
  • confidence in dealing with a wide range of new people and situations;
  • responsibility for own learning, time management, and working with others;
  • communication skills in speaking, listening, and presenting effective arguments in a variety of different contexts.

Our Students

Every summer, ORA welcomes hundreds of the world’s brightest, most academically gifted students to our courses. In 2017, attendees came from 135 different nations, each bringing with them unique cultures, perspectives and stories to share with their new friends.

Our Teaching Faculty

At Oxford Royale Academy we are committed to providing our students with the most qualified and high-calibre teaching faculty available. All Oxford Royale Academy teachers are passionate about their subjects, and are looking forward to passing their knowledge on to their students this summer!

Coach Excursions

The United Kingdom has a rich cultural heritage, and a course with Oxford Royale Academy is the perfect way for a young learner to explore this. All ORA courses include coach excursions to places of historical and social significance in the UK.

Extra-Curricular Activities

At ORA, we never forget that our students are on holiday! Included with every ORA course is an extra-curricular timetable, carefully designed by our dedicated Events Team to ensure our students have fun, make friends and get the most out of being in the UK.

Some past afternoon activities enjoyed by our students include the following:

  • Summer sports: the school grounds feature acres of space in which students will be able to play a variety of summer sports, from tennis to small team games.
  • Dance and music workshops: have you ever wanted to try Indian dance? How about Salsa dancing? Or drumming? Experts in these art forms will be dropping in to our campuses to run workshops, allowing our students to unleash their creative sides.

The events and entertainment on offer don’t stop when the sun starts to go down at our campuses! The following will be available to every student on our Academic Discovery Plus course:

  • Film nights on campus: catch a movie with your new friends, without having to leave your centre.
  • Themed parties at local hotels and country houses: Enjoy dinner and dancing with your friends from around the world. Every party has a theme: Hollywood, Venetian Masquerade and The Olympics are examples of past themes.
  • Graduation: a formal graduation ceremony will be held on the last night of your course. This is followed by your Graduation dinner and party — a glamorous conclusion to your stay in the UK!
Outside of organised activities, students will have free time to enjoy the grounds and facilities of their accommodation with their new friends.

What’s Included?

Our summer courses offer our students the complete study abroad experience. The grid below describes everything that is included with an ORA course:

  • Study

    • Over 20 taught hours per week
    • Study files and materials
    • Guest lectures from academic speakers
    • Personalised academic reports
    • Course certificate after graduation
  • Explore

    • Wide selection of afternoon and evening activities
    • Coach excursions
    • Welcome and graduation events (parents invited)
  • Live

    • Accommodation in St Mary’s Ascot
    • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on site
    • Free WiFi
    • Daily updates on the ORA blog (great for parents!)
    • Private Medical / Travel insurance
  • Extras

    • ORA T-shirt
    • ID badge and lanyard
    • Welcome and arrival packs
    • Year group photo
    • Course memento photos
    • ORA notebook

Life at St Mary’s

Oxford Royale Academy’s summer programmes are designed with the academic rigour of their prestigious environment firmly in mind. Our courses for students aged 8-12 are residential in St Mary’s School, Ascot. St Mary’s is a secure school site situated in 55 acres of beautiful grounds and equipped with excellent facilities, named the 2015 Public School of the Year by Tatler Magazine. Students can make full use of the school’s excellent teaching and leisure facilities, while parents can rest assured that they are receiving the highest standards of care and supervision.

Student Welfare

The safety and security of our students is ORA’s top priority. All of the venues at which our courses run are safe, secure environments, which are perfect for our students. Each accommodation site is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by a team of Porters. In addition, Oxford Royale Academy’s comprehensively trained team of campus staff are always on hand. If you join us this summer, you will see the following members of staff on your campus:

Each ORA campus has a Programme Director (PD), who is responsible for the day-to-day running of the summer school at their Campus. PDs are residential in the Campus for the duration of the programme, so they are always close by should they be needed. Programme Directors typically have years of experience in education and the management of schools, colleges and student welfare.
The Junior Deans (JDs) assist the Programme Director with the management of the summer school at their campus. They will also be responsible for leading excursions and activities. JDs are typically returning for their third summer with Oxford Royale, or have extensive experience in summer schools or camps elsewhere. JDs are usually residential in their Campus.
Each ORA campus has a team of Counsellors who will be a student’s first point of contact in most cases. All Counsellors are friendly and approachable, and are thoroughly trained by Oxford Royale in the management of events for young people.
ORA has a team of private nurses, who host drop-in sessions at all of our campuses on a rota basis. If a student feels unwell, they can either see one of the Nurses, or go straight to our recommended private GP Surgery (Doctor). ORA courses include Private Medical cover should the need arise.

All lessons on the Academic Discovery Plus Programme will take place in the buildings and grounds of St Mary’s Ascot.

Practical Information

  • Flights

    Most students who come to ORA will have to book a flight to the UK. ORA courses do not include flights. Information on the best time to arrive will be on your course confirmation email and in your Welcome Pack.

  • Arrival / Departure Transfers

    ORA offers coach transfers between all our campuses and London Heathrow airport, for a small extra charge. For more information, please click here.

  • Welcome Reception and Graduation

    Parents / family are welcome to attend these events at the start and end of their student’s course. For more information, please contact our Registrations Department on admin@oxford-royale.co.uk.

  • Medical and Dietary Information

    All students who enrol are required to complete our Medical and Dietary Information form. A link will be emailed to all students once their enrolment is confirmed.

Eligibility and Pre-requisites

Students on the Academic Discovery Plus Programme:

  • Must conform to our Age Policy.
  • Must be fluent or near-fluent English language speakers – if you are unsure whether your English level is suitable for this programme, please contact our Registrations Team on admin@oxford-royale.co.uk and they will be able to assist you.
  • Must be able to fulfil the basic requirements of the programme, in terms of attendance at lessons, meals and events. Please contact our Registrations Team for more detailed information.

Weeks, Fees, Locations and Key Questions

For each week, students on the Academic Discovery Plus programme must choose either the Arts stream or the STEM stream. The Key Question that will be focused on in each Week is given below, along with the dates of each Week and the course fees.

Course LengthCourse DatesLocationKey Question
Week 18 Jul – 14 JulSt Mary’s AscotSTEM: Designing a better world: Can technology and engineering alone help us to achieve ‘sustainable cities?’


ARTS: From scene to screen: how is the way we experience ‘The Arts’ changing over time?

Week 215 Jul – 21 JulSt Mary’s AscotSTEM: Self-driving cars and bullet trains. How can scientists and engineers improve transport for the future?


ARTS: In what ways have travel and exploration shaped the world in which we live?

Week 322 Jul – 28 JulSt Mary’s AscotSTEM: Stranded! What skills would enable you to survive on a remote Indian Ocean island?


ARTS: ‘Please Sir, I want some more.’ Was life in Victorian Britain as bleak as Dickens portrayed?

Week 429 Jul – 4 AugSt Mary’s AscotSTEM: Designing a better world: Can technology and engineering alone help us to achieve ‘sustainable cities?’


ARTS: From scene to screen: how is the way we experience ‘The Arts’ changing over time?

Week 55 Aug – 11 AugSt Mary’s AscotSTEM: Self-driving cars and bullet trains. How can scientists and engineers improve transport for the future?


ARTS: In what ways have travel and exploration shaped the world in which we live?

Students can attend the Academic Discovery Plus Programme for 1 – 5 weeks, with fees structured as follows:

1 Week£1,895£495
2 Weeks£3,695£995
3 Weeks£5,495£1495
4 Weeks£7,295£1995
5 Weeks£8,995£2495

How to Apply

If you are ready to apply now, the quickest and easiest way to secure your place on the Academic Discovery Plus Programme for 2018 is online. You will need full details of the student and, if different, the customer responsible for paying the fees, as well as a valid credit or debit card to submit the deposit payment of at least GBP 495.00 (we regret that we are not able to accept American Express as a form of payment).
To get started, please click the link below – you will be asked to choose the date that you would like to study the course.

If you prefer, you can complete our paper application form, which is available for download by clicking here. You can then return this to our offices by one of the following methods:

For enrolments via the paper application form, we are able to accept the course deposit by credit or debit card, bank transfer or cheque. Please see the form for full details.

Further Information and Documents

If you would like to consult with one of our Registrations Team members before making a booking, we would be delighted to hear from you.
admin@oxford-royale.co.uk +44 (0) 845 130 60 21