Ready to discuss ways of writing History with Lord Hennessy

London residential sparks big ideas for 2015 students

The Institute’s second London residential featured 12 inspirational visits, 15 mind-stretching lessons, 16 outstanding teachers, 20 sparky students, much fun, and quite a few changed perceptions.

Beforehand, fewer than half the students said they were considering our most academically competitive universities. Afterwards, all said they were. “It has made me feel much more confident as a person”, said one afterwards.

The six-day visit was generously hosted by Westminster School, one of the world’s most ancient and academically stretching schools, which lies in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament.

In the morning teaching sessions, students:

  • investigated the origins of the universe
  • explored five key ideas that have shaped the world
  • discovered the causes of the Eurozone crisis
  • debated whether markets are fair
  • worked through some of our most tangled legal debates
  • questioned the standard narrative of the First World War

Afternoons involved inspirational visits:

  • workshops on writing history and science at the House of Lords
  • resolving a dispute in a role-play at Herbert Smith Freehills, one of our leading law firms
  • learning how to read a painting at the National Gallery
  • working out how a room can have a perpetual echo at the National Physical Laboratory
  • exploring Shakespeare’s world and watching a superb performance of As You Like It at the Globe theatre

Teachers and speakers included three professors, several leading academics, experts from the professions and several first-class teachers from Westminster and elsewhere.

The Institute helps students at northern comprehensives reach very competitive universities. After our pilot in 2014, 70% of our applicants to Oxbridge or Imperial College London received offers – a better rate than any school in the country.

All the schools involved are in areas in the national bottom 20% for progression to elite universities.

The London residential is the first part of the Reach Higher programme. This also includes a ‘Stepping Stones to Elite Universities’ residential in Cambridge in August, and personalised one-on-one tuition and support in the upper Sixth Form.

The slightly expanded 2015 programme involves 20 students from five schools in Rotherham, Doncaster, Ossett, Ashington and Sheffield.

For information about joining Linacre, contact

St. Paul's by night

Even the Tube strike couldn't dampen spirits at The Globe after a superb production of As You Like It