King's Health Partners' Online Summer School 2020

Research, General News

King's Health Partners' Online Summer School 2020

44 GCSE students have just taken part in the first ever online King's Health Partners Summer School, organised by the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.

The school traditionally opens its doors to students who attend schools in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham for five days during the first week of the summer holidays. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and necessary social distancing restrictions the delivery of the school in its usual ‘hands-on’ format wasn’t possible this year. However, the BRC team rose to the challenge and worked with partners to deliver the summer school content via the Discover Healthcare YouTube channel. In order to support schools and teachers with the delivery of educational content remotely, the team took the decision to deliver the school during term time this year. The online delivery format of the school also enabled them to extend the invitation to apply to children of staff across the KHP partnership, regardless of where they live or go to school.

For their first day, the students were given an introduction to our BRC at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and The Clinical Research Facility at Guy’s Hospital. They heard from a range of staff about their careers and spent the afternoon carrying out mock clinical trials at home. As all of our students were at home, they had to be creative when choosing their "Investigational Medicinal Product (IMP) for their families to sample. Ideas included types of Jaffa cakes, brands of chocolate and cold tap water from the kitchen vs. the bathroom.

Day two was hosted by The Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care, where they learned about careers in end of life care and took part in a virtual treasure hunt.

For day three, the students followed the journey of patient 'James' (played by an actor) with the Maudsley Simulation Training Centre for Mental Health and learned how people are diagnosed, treated and recover from mental illness.

The Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine introduced the Summer School to Professor Fiona Watt and the work of her team with lots of fun activities.

Feedback from students and parents was extremely positive. The students produced some fantastic work, notably the #Recreatescienceproject where they used items from their homes to reproduce images of stem cells such as a mouse embryo and a neuron.

For their final task, the students were asked to produce a presentation on the importance of Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement in research. The standard of work was exemplary with many different types of media used for the presentations ranging from posters, a PowerPoint presentations, video and audio clips and even a podcast.

Sameer, from Dulwich College said "Whilst this was all done virtually, you did an amazing job in giving us insightful experiences and I have learnt so much in terms of a career in Medicine whilst participating in this Summer School ".

"Shaun Cochrane, Deputy Director Biomedical Research Centre Operations said "I'd like to thank the students for their hard work and engagement during the Summer School. This is a strange and confusing time for all of us and these remarkable young people decided to make the most of this unique opportunity to learn about health and biomedical research. We do hope that they will stay in touch with us and for some this may be the first step in a successful career in science.”

For further information on the Summer School or the BRC's work with young people, please contact Claire O’Neill.