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20 - 26 August 2023


The John Locke Junior Summer School is only for exceptional students. 


If you have not yet turned sixteen, but you are ready for something more advanced than you are experiencing at school, this could be exactly what you need.


Similar to our Foundation Certificate it is based on our signature Core Curriculum, but a little bit shorter and adapted for students who are fifteen years old or younger. Unlike the typical middle school or high school curriculum, this course is not about mastering facts or learning how to pass exams. Instead it is about introducing you to exciting new ideas, challenging you with thought-provoking claims and unfamiliar arguments, and helping you acquire skills that will serve you for many years to come.


Our Core Curriculum focuses on contestable concepts: ideas or questions about which two intelligent and well-informed people might have very different opinions. You won’t be able to look up the answers in a book; you’ll need to work it out for yourself, thinking through what you read, and what you hear from our faculty and your fellow students during lectures, precepts and informal discussions.

20 – 26 August, 2023


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We will cover topics in moral philosophy, such as what it is that makes something right. Is it because it conforms to certain rules? If so, where do such rules come from? Suppose someone disagrees with you about what the rules are. How could we arbitrate a dispute between two opposing views, and how could we discover which view is correct? Or is the right thing the thing that produces the best effects? Best in which sense, and according to whom?


In political philosophy, we will consider what, if anything, makes legitimate the powers that a government wields. Is every act done by a democratically-elected government automatically just, or are there other conditions that must be satisfied? If so, what might they be? Do you have rights? In which case, how did you come to possess them, what are they, and how did you discover what they are? 


How do prices regulate supply and demand, and how does the hope of profit incentivise some behaviours and discourage others? What happens when governments tinker with these incentives? Begin to formulate a theory of whether, how, and to what extent a government should intervene in market transactions between willing buyers and sellers.


How can we evaluate conflicting testimonies of historical events? Consider the thoughts of the greatest minds; imagine they are stepping in and out of a centuries-long argument concerning the great questions humans have grappled with. What can the past teach us about what choices we should make today?



"And that sweet city with her dreaming spires,

She needs not June for beauty's heightening" 

Seat of the oldest English-speaking university in the world, Oxford is also one of the world's most beautiful cities: manicured lawns enclosed within mediæval quadrangles of honey-gold stone, grand towers and halls, pretty walled gardens, and the stately progress of the Cherwell where it meets the Thames. These have become symbols of all that is finest in a proud tradition of academic excellence.


Spending a little over a week in Oxford can help young people get a taste of the experience of university and inspire you with a clearer vision of where your studies can take you. A serious academic summer school at this age, in a place like Oxford, can give you the maturity and purposefulness you need to become a top-performing student.



Some of our Junior Summer School students will come from boarding schools, in Britain or overseas, and will be comfortable about being in a new and unfamiliar environment. Many others will be less confident, and for some it will be the first time they have been away from home for more than two or three days at a time.


Our aim is to make sure all students love every minute of their time with us. We are intellectually demanding, which is what bright, ambitious students need, but we are also gentle and nurturing, so our students know they are in a community that is courteous and kind.


Student bedrooms are within an Oxford college, which can only be accessed by John Locke students, and the Institute and college staff. All the adults in a position of trust are trained in safeguarding and are background checked. We enforce the evening curfew strictly to ensure that every student is safe and accounted for twenty-four hours a day.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the college dining hall. 





You should plan to arrive at the summer school on Sunday, 20 August. Check-in time is between 11 am and 12 o'clock midday. 


If you are being dropped off by your parent(s) or guardian(s) we would like to invite them to a luncheon with our senior faculty, at which our Director will explain to them in detail what you will be doing in your time with us.


If you would like to be welcomed in person at the airport on 20th August, our staff will meet students as they enter the Arrivals Hall at Heathrow airport, and bring them to Oxford in a minibus, at an extra charge. If this is what you would like, please book a flight that arrives no later than 9:30am.


Every overseas student must have a valid passport to enter the United Kingdom. You can find all the information about UK visas here. For attending a short course in the UK, the Standard Visitor Visa is normally the one you would need, but it is your responsibility to determine whether you need a visa and, if so, what kind of visa you need and how to apply for it. We can provide individual support on request for those who will need a visa.


We advise you to purchase travel insurance.


On the departure day, Saturday, 26 August, check out is at 10am. 


We will be running a shuttle to Heathrow airport for an extra charge. If you plan to take the shuttle please book a flight that departs no earlier than 12 midday. Our staff will be on hand to help you on the departure day so you don't miss your flight! 


If you plan to take a train from Oxford station, we can walk you to the station and make sure you know at which platform to meet the train. 


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