Monday, May 20, 2024
HomeApril 2023Issue 484Suddenly it’s Summer

Suddenly it’s Summer

This year’s summer school special looks at what is changing in the vacation market and what is still the same

IF you take a quick flick through our summer supplement this year, you may ask yourself the question: what has changed? After all the top summer schools in our rankings are more or less the same (see page 21). One may have gone up a little, and one may have gone down but by and large all the familiar names are there.

And so they should be – it is rare that a summer school drops down the rankings very fast. Partly this is because they are only inspected every four to five years, but also because good schools tend to stay good, at least until they change owners, or are hit by a pandemic.

However, following Covid, 18 summer operations have closed or left the accreditation scheme. So, we must say goodbye to former stars, like Absolutely English and Thames Valley both of whom have been forced to close, or boarding school favourites like Moreton Hall and Windermere who have decided to say goodbye to British Council inspections. We examine the secrets of boarding schools on page 22 pointing out they don’t have it all their own way with a handful of language teaching operations including SBC, Discover and Bell multicentres beating them at their own game. But with very few exceptions, boarding schools score highly on inspection and they are our best performing sector this year, just pipping universities at the post. If what you are looking for is great education, it should be no surprise to find that educationalists do best.

“Outside the bustling metropolis there are great schools with great host families”

But some things never change, and some children do best, not in residential school, but living with families instead. Many people believe that UK host families are unfriendly and expensive. But we British would advise that this depends on the location. Across the world, host families in megacities like Beijing or London or Manhattan charge a lot of money for a little space and often appear stressed and unfriendly. That’s mega-cities for you. As we point out on page 23 outside the bustling metropolis there are great schools with great host families living in picture postcard regions like Devon or exciting student cities like Bristol and Newcastle.

But it is outside the UK that the summer school market is really on the boil. On pages 24 and 25 we look at the two new stars of the European summer market: Malta and Ireland. They too are struggling with shortages of accommodation but are devising interesting new alternatives. Care to spend the summer in a private Mediterranean resort hotel? Or, to explore the fascinating historic towns which dot the seaboard of Ireland?

MELANIE BUTLER, EDITOR IN CHIEF

Images courtesy of COPYRIGHT PEXELS.COM and Library
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