Summer Camp vs. Summer School

5th November 2019

Before schools break up for the often long-awaited summer holidays, parents will have started thinking about ways to keep their children occupied during the long break.  The most popular of which, particularly for working parents, tends to be sending their children to Summer Camps or Summer Schools. But are these one and the same or are they different entirely?

Here we explore the similarities and differences between the two, as well as helping identify which one is right for your child(ren).


Summer School

Both Summer Schools and Summer Camps have been popular in the UK for many years now. An interest that has also been gaining increasing popularity within the international market. The primary difference between Summer Schools and Summer Camps is the day to day programming of activities and learning. The majority of Summer Schools in the UK offer highly academic programmes ranging from subject specific courses such as medicine, journalism or philosophy, to British Boarding School study experiences and intensive English language courses for international students. Many of these Schools offer exam preparation for private school or university entrance exams, including the UK’s most elite Oxbridge universities and Ivy League colleges in the US.

These Summer Schools are seen by many as an opportunity to brush up on weaker skills or an opportunity to advance towards a desired career path. The average Summer School in the UK charges upwards of £2,500 per week excluding travel. In addition, the pressure put on young students, sometimes as young as 8 years old, can be quite intense. The summer holidays have traditionally been seen as an opportunity for children to rest, recoup and engage in activities they enjoy. Of course, no two children are the same and such goes for Summer Schools as well. It is therefore vitally important to make sure parents discuss the options with their child(ren) to ensure the most suitable one is chosen for their personality and goals.


Summer Camp

Summer Camps, on the other hand, offer children in the UK and from abroad the opportunity to have fun and learn in an environment that is freer and often more holistic than a school setting. Summer Camps tend to combine activities, sports, crafts and learning in a way that is fun and engaging. Summer Camps try to foster the individual interests of a child, inspiring them to practise what they love or try something new, whether it be a sport or craft or skill. This is certainly the case when international children come to Varsity International’s Summer Camps in order to improve their level of English through a combination of English lessons and activities alongside British children.

This opportunity to immerse in the language and interact with native speakers is widely recognised as the most effective means to learning any foreign language. The content of Varsity’s English classes tends to focus on building the children’s confidence to use their existing knowledge and expanding their proficiency in the language. Keeping lessons fun, engaging and more focused on communicative skills (speaking and listening) means children develop their ability to express themselves, which trickles down into their confidence to chat and make friends with other children on Camp. In essence, Varsity International’s Summer Camps can offer an insight into English language and culture in a way that inspires international children to continue learning.

To learn more about Varsity’s Summer Camps, head to the ‘Programmessection of our website.

Written by: Amy Huggins, Academic Manager