Each year Sidney Sussex works in collaboration with Christ's and Murray Edwards Colleges to run a summer school in August for Year 11 students who live in areas of low participation to higher education ('LPN' refers to 'low participation neighbourhoods').

LPN Summer School 2021

16-27 August 2021 

The LPN Summer School is a two-year long programme for students who live in areas where few young people enter higher education, and takes place in the summer holidays. You can find the information about this programme, subjects, eligibility criteria and how to apply below. We strongly recommend reading this page carefully before making an application!

COVID & LPN: UPDATED March 2021 

The LPN summer school is scheduled to run online for summer 2021 and will take place between 16-27 August. The application form asks students to indicate the feasibility of attending an online version of the programme, as well as their access to suitable internet connections and devices. Students who are unsure about their internet connection and/or devices are still encouraged to apply, and we will look into alternatives on a case-by-case basis for the selected students. 

The LPN Summer School is designed to encourage academically able students from areas of the country where students are less likely to enter higher education to consider making applications to top universities, including the University of Cambridge. It is also important to note that this programme consists of visits in both the summers of Year 11 and Year 12, with the Year 12 component only open to those who were involved in Year 11. Therefore, we strongly encourage any eligible Year 11 students to make an application, as they will receive support and guidance for their studies and university in the summer and beyond, as well as the opportunity to stay with us in summer 2022 for the Year 12 leg. 


What does the summer school involve?

The summer school takes place in August just after you (would) have taken your GCSEs, and will this year take place online.

The programme includes a variety of masterclasses given by Cambridge University researchers, an opportunity to get to know Cambridge, information about making an application to Cambridge, and a chance to meet current Cambridge students and staff. There will also be a variety of interactive social events for students to meet others on the programme! 

Don't worry about the longer dates for 2021 - this is so that we can spread sessions out, so students who attend do not need to spend more than 2-3 hours maximum online each day. Sessions will only take place in the Mon-Fri of each week.

After the summer school, the Colleges provide continuing support during Year 12 and there is a follow-up summer school at the end of Year 12 to which you are automatically invited. This will include free accommodation and meals, as well as social activities to give you a taste of student life and get to know others on the programme!

What does the summer school cost?

The whole summer school is free of charge, including meals and accommodation but excluding travel when taking place in person (though this year is online). 

Subject strands

As part of the summer school programme, students have the opportunity to attend a series of seminars that will introduce them to the study of a particular subject at university level.

The following subject strands will be available for the 2021 summer school:

  • Medicine
  • Biological Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • History
  • Law
  • Social Sciences

The application form will ask for your first and - if you have one - second preference strand.

In addition to a set of academic sessions in the selected strand, those who are selected for a place on the event will also have the opportunity to try something new in subject/s not explicitly covered in the above strands. These have previously included Computer Science, Economics, Languages and Archaeology, among many others.

Choosing your strand

A similar number of places is available on each subject strand, so please choose the subject that interests you the most. Priority for a place on a strand will be given to those who have selected it as their first choice, and students cannot be considered for strands other than those they have selected as their first or second choice.

The above strands also encompass other subjects, and below is some further advice on particular strands which might seem less clear, or if you aren't sure which one is right for you: 

  • Biological Sciences - for those interested in Biology and Chemistry
  • Physical Sciences - for those interested in Physics and Chemistry, or Engineering
  • Mathematics - also recommended for students interested in Economics or Computer Science, as these are courses with high mathematical content at university
  • Social Sciences - this will cover areas such as Sociology and Politics (in line with the Human, Social and Political Sciences course that Cambridge teaches).


We encourage students to consider their choice of strand carefully and to think about subject areas that might be something you've not thought about before. Many subjects are interdisciplinary - they overlap with one another quite a bit - so for example, those interested in pursuing modern languages may therefore find any of English, History or the Social Sciences strands as interesting and relevant.

You can find out about all the different courses we offer at Cambridge here, and more about what they involve (there are over 30 courses covering 65 different subjects!).

Eligibility to apply

Students must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible to apply for a place on the LPN summer school: 

You are currently in Year 11 (England and Wales), or Year 12 in Northern Ireland or S4 (Scotland), and would have been about to take your GCSEs or National 5s at a UK school that does not charge fees (to anyone) in summer 2021.

You are going on to study academic qualifications for Sixth Form, at a school or college that does not charge fees (to anyone).
  • academic qualifications are A-Levels, the International Baccalaureate or Highers/Advanced Highers.
You live in an area of low participation in higher education (you must check your postcode before applying!)
  • To explain this a bit further, we use the POLAR classification and we only accept applications from students who live in quintile 1 or 2 areas. We encourage students to check if they are eligible to apply using this online postcode checker tool. When you put your postcode into the tool, check the 'POLAR4 quintile'. We have made a short guide to help you do so here: Checking your postcode
    • This is for your HOME postcode, not your school postcode.
You are on target to receive a majority of 9-7/A*-A grades at GCSE (or equivalent e.g. A grades in National 5s)
  • Students applying for the Medicine strand as their first choice should expect to achieve a majority 8/9/A* grades at GCSE, due to the competitive nature of this strand
  • It may be helpful to note that over the last three years (2018-20) most students who have been successful in obtaining a place on the LPN Summer School are usually expected to achieve 8/9/A* grades in GCSE subjects relevant to the strand applied for.

We encourage applications from those who may be the first in their family to go to university (parents/carers did not attend university), a young carer, a refugee, from a BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) background, eligible for free school meals currently or in the past, have spent any time in care, or who are estranged from their family (i.e. you no longer have contact with your parents and may be living with another family member).

Selection will be primarily on the basis of academic merit, though other widening participation factors as outlined above will also be taken into consideration when deciding.

You can provide the name and email address of a teacher who can support your application. You should discuss applying with a teacher before applying, and get their permission to provide their details to us.

How and when do I apply?

Applications for the 2021 summer school are now closed.

If you applied prior to the deadline, your nominated teacher referee will be contacted to complete a reference, which must be provided by Friday 28th May 2021. Applications after the deadline will not be accepted. 

Applicants and their teachers will be notified in early June about the outcome of their application.

Will you (or your child/student) be in Year 11 (England & Wales - Year 12 Northern Ireland, S4 in Scotland) in the academic year 2021-22? Register your interest for LPN 2022 by completing this short form. We will then email you once applications open. 

Where can I get more information?

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this residential.

Information for Teachers

We welcome teachers to get in touch if they would like help in identifying which students would be eligible for this event on the basis of the student's home postcode. We are able to run a set of postcodes through an online database to check whether they are in the eligible quintiles of the POLAR4 measure. This only takes us a few minutes to do and we will generally be able to get this back to you very quickly.

To do this, please email an Excel spreadsheet of the postcodes to check to Ellie at access@christs.cam.ac.uk. Postcodes must be full postcodes in the format AB12 3CD.

You may choose to do this with either:

  • The list of postcodes of the whole cohort
  • Only the postcodes of those who would meet the academic criteria

We do not require any other information than the postcode. You may like to include an identifier column e.g. a number or initials, or to list the postcodes alphabetically - whichever will help you to match it back to student names. In any case, the order of the postcodes in your list will remain the same as how you send them to us!