Parent and guardian information

This page is specifically designed for parents and guardians of students who are attending or interested in attending our Pre-University Summer School. We recognise that is incredibly important for you to feel that your child is safe, happy and healthy with us, as well as feeling assured that they will benefit from the experience. 

This is of paramount importance to us and is not a responsibility that the University of Exeter takes lightly, with considerable thought going into the practice and policies involved in our programmes.

While we recognise that this programme is designed to give your teenager the chance to experience life as a university student, it is also important that to recognise that this may well be the first time someone has been abroad or even to another city alone. This is in addition to the fact that the students are still considered children in the eyes of the law in the UK. We maintain a strict maximum supervision ratio of 1:15 students with our highly trained student ambassadors, as well as designated members of staff on hand to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Our student ambassadors

Our Exeter student ambassadors are current students who work as ambassadors for the university, which gives our summer school participants the chance to interact on a daily basis with other students who are experiencing student life, possibly in the field in which your child is interested. We ensure that the Student Ambassadors are well trained and able to work with the students but have the full support of staff should they need anyone.

We recognise that it’s not easy to supervise teenagers without them feeling they are constantly being watched, and this is why we use our student ambassadors to give the teenagers someone to interact with on their own level, whilst still being responsible for them.

The benefit of using a ratio of 1 ambassador to 15 students means that the students are able to get to know each other in the group and make friends without forcing them all to get along immediately. This also provides the ambassador with a group of students to get to know and interact with, as well as helping them to stay safe and happy in practical ways.

International summer school team

The Exeter student ambassadors are in direct contact with staff at all times. The International Summer School team are on hand constantly, join in with the programme and offer the students another person to talk to if they have any concerns or questions. Our staff are also on hand for you to contact, should you have any concerns or questions. The best way to contact your child or our staff during the programme is detailed on our Parents' Handbook, which is sent out upon successful application.

All students are accommodated in one of our on-campus accommodation blocks. We guarantee that these blocks are exclusive to our programme, so no members of the general public nor participants on other programmes are able to access the buildings.

Rooms

Each student has a single, lockable ensuite room and the students are separated between floors for male and female students.

Supervision

We maintain our 1:15 supervision ratio overnight; plus two members of staff staying in that accommodation block for any overnight emergencies and to ensure the students are not able to get up in the middle of the night to go out by themselves.

Emergency contacts

We also run our emergency contact number over 24 hours/day, so that students have two different ways to get help overnight if there is a problem. For any overnight questions, we ask that the students contact the emergency number immediately and avoid going through the ambassadors.

We have a designated emergency line for our summer programmes which is manned by our team 24 hours a day and guidelines on how to deal with emergencies overnight and off campus. On campus emergencies are responded to by following our standard university procedures in cases of fire drills or evacuations.

The students also have access to their ambassador group leaders via telephone as well, and can contact them overnight or during breaks if they are not within sight, such as trips into the city centre or activities.

For any overnight questions, we ask that the students contact the emergency number immediately and avoid going through the ambassadors.

Risk assessments

All the activities on the programme are assessed thoroughly for risks and these assessments can be made available upon request. Within each assessment, there is a guide on how to react in emergencies to ensure all staff and ambassadors responsible for student welfare know how to respond.

Emergency contact with parents/guardians

In the event of any emergency that we feel has impacted on a student’s welfare, we will contact you directly via the emergency contact information we request on the welfare form. It is incredibly important that this information is up to date, but we will only use it if we deem the situation to be an emergency or as having serious effects on the programme.

As part of the application procedure, all students and a parent/guardian must read through and sign our code of conduct. This document details what we expect from participants on our programme, what we will not tolerate and any consequences of breaking this code of conduct. This is a formal agreement between participants and the University to ensure that everyone can truly enjoy the programme without dealing with disciplinary issues and being unsure as to the behaviour required. 

Before the programme

Prior to the programme, we can always be contacted via our general inbox iss@exeter.ac.uk. If you wish to speak to us, please send us an email and we can arrange a convenient time to speak over the telephone.

From 48 hours prior to the commencement of the programme, our emergency contact number (detailed on all documents) will be live for any concerns from parents or issues when the students are travelling.

During the programme

This number will then be in use 24 hours a day and will be answered by a member of the International Summer School Team until 48 hours after the end of the programme.

If you wish to contact your child during the programme, please try to restrict this to times outside of the academic programme, except in cases of emergency.

Once a place has been confirmed by payment of the deposit and return of the code of conduct and parental consent forms, it is then advisable to begin the search for suitable transport to the programme. Please note, we offer a meet and greet service at Heathrow Airport between 9am and 4pm on transfer days but if a student arrives particularly early, they may have to wait until other students have arrived in order to be transferred to our campus.

Travelling from outside the UK

If a student is travelling into Heathrow from outside the UK, we recommend that the transport is booked either directly or indirectly into Heathrow and not another airport in the UK. If another airport is chosen, we may be able to meet the student and bring them to Heathrow but this is charged at £60 per student and may not always be possible to arrange.

When booking flights into the UK, some airlines may insist on or recommend using the ‘unaccompanied minors’ arrangements within the airline. Some airlines operate this arrangement for passengers up to 12 years old whereas other airlines will operate this until 17 years old. This arrangement ensures that the airline keeps an eye on the student and helps them on and off the plane and through security in some instances. It will also insist that the person meeting the student upon arrival has identification and a contact number. We are happy to provide the details for this service but please make us aware of this on the transfer information form.

Upon arrival at the airport, the students will be met at the arrivals gate by a member of our team, either staff or ambassador, wearing an identifiable uniform and holding a sign with the University of Exeter logo and the name of the student expected at that time. We ask that if a student comes through the arrivals area of the terminal and cannot see our team anywhere that they head straight to the Information Desk and ask them to call our emergency contact number. It is very often the case that in this event, a flight has arrived considerably earlier than anticipated or the member of our team is standing nearby and the student hasn’t spotted the sign.

Travelling from within the UK

If a participant is travelling from within the UK, we offer two meeting points for the student; either at Heathrow or at the University of Exeter. If you decide to have your child meet us at Heathrow, we operate a meeting point from the Arrivals area of Terminal 3 at Heathrow Airport and have signage and a member of the team waiting at the designated meeting point. More information and pictures of this are provided upon completion of booking.

If you choose for your child to meet us at the University of Exeter then we will specify a point on campus and send the address along with a postcode suitable for Sat Nav directions.

Upon successful application to the programme, your child will be sent five documents:

  • Offer letter – confirmation of their successful application along with details of what to do next
  • Code of conduct – this needs to be signed by both the student and a parent/guardian and returned to us
  • Parental consent form – this needs to be signed by a parent/guardian and returned to us in order to confirm the student’s place on the programme
  • Summer handbook – this is a guide designed for the students to give them more details as to the programme itself and what to expect along with what to bring and what to do in an emergency
  • Parents' guidebook – this is a guide designed to go into more details for the parent/guardian of the student. This aims to answer any questions about the details of the programme and to specify timelines up until the summer, as well as helping the students and parents prepare for the summer. 

Once the acceptance of a place has been received via the parental consent form and payment of the deposit, other documents will be sent out or we will request online forms to be completed which will ask for health or dietary requirements as well as emergency contact information and transfer information.

We will also send out regular updates during the application window and ask for:

  • an identification photo
  • and a copy of the student’s formal identification, either passport or national Identity Card.

If you decide that this programme would suit your child and they would benefit from it, the next step is to either complete our register your interest form or apply. If you have any questions or concerns up to this point, please do not hesitate in contacting us on iss@exeter.ac.uk.

Registering your interest

If you wish to hear more information about the programme before we release it to the general public or you wish to be notified when the application window is open, please complete this form and this will also give a discount upon successful application for the student.

Applying

If the application window is open and your child wishes to apply to the programme, please ensure you take a look at our entry requirements regarding English language level. We also ask for three documents to be uploaded with the application:

  • The most recent copy of school grades for your child from the school
  • An academic and character reference from the school your child currently attends
  • A copy of any relevant English language certification or qualifying letter from a school – if applicable. 

If you are unable to provide all of the necessary documents at the time of application, please don’t worry. You will still be able to put through the application, email us to clarify any difficulties you are having in obtaining the other documents or including them within the application. Likewise, if we receive an incomplete application, our next step is to follow up with an email requesting the missing documents.

Processing of applications

Once an application is complete, it normally takes up to 5 working days to process and then the student will receive either an offer letter, a provisional offer (if they do not have the necessary English language level) or an email to explain why they have not been accepted to the programme.

Please note that places are awarded on a first come, first served basis, providing the student meets the entry requirements. In some situations we will accept late applications, so if you are concerned about missing the deadlines, please let us know via iss@exeter.ac.uk.

The pre-university summer school is designed to give students a real insight into life studying their chosen discipline in higher education. Naturally, we hope to encourage all students who visit the University of Exeter to see us as a potential place of study but the summer school programme is designed to go further than show what we do at the University of Exeter.

Career insights

All programmes are suitable for any student with an interest in the chosen field, and also acts as opportunity to see if the discipline the student sees as a potential future is likely to suit them or if they may wish to investigate something else.

In fields such as Medicine and Law, it is a very demanding lifestyle as a student and as a professional later in life, so we feel it is vital that students have the opportunity to see if they are serious about pursuing this, and even investigate other options if they choose not to proceed with the path they previously envisioned.

Making friends

We also feel that every student should have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and experience other perspectives. The pre-university summer school provides students with exactly this opportunity; to meet people from all over the world with similar interests or future career goals and have the chance to make connections and friendships that last well beyond the summer.