50 years of Vacational Studies English Summer Schools for children and teenagers in the UK.

English Summer Camps Accredited by The British Council

I have met many thousands of young people since I started Vacational Studies in 1973. To allow you to retain a connection, I created a Facebook group and a Linked In Alumni group. You have incredible careers and all share the 'VacStuds' experience. 'Days I'll remember all my life...'

Scanning these documents which describe our English Language Summer Courses over the last 50 summers, most of which I had not seen for decades until I unearthed them from my voluminous archives, has been a walk down Memory Lane for me. Vacational Studies has become a huge international family with thousands of children spanning three generations. The now defunct Hawtreys and Douai remain with Cheam, Elstree and Mary Hare as House names at Mary Hare and the competition and loyalty are just as they were. Mary Hare is such a vast campus that I can offer accommodation and meals at cost to us to any old VacStudent and family while we are there in hall-of-residence-style accommodation. Old VacSudents might like to join in the activities, too. All of the Sports/Social crew are old VacStudents, too.

What strikes me is that while Vacational Studies has developed over the years, almost all the photos could appear on the 2023 web site and seem as fresh as they were on the day they were taken. How well I remember lying flat on my back and staring up at the volleyball net for the 1981 cover photo, getting a bucket of water thrown over Stefan for the 1982 brochure and taking Otto to the highest point on a fire escape to get the sky shot for the 1978 brochure.

The fun, the laughter, the sheer joie de vivre of the youngsters who have been to our Summer Camps is the same whatever the year. But what incredible social and technological changes have occurred in this time. Those were the days before the computer and mobile phone: the days before fax even, when telex was as hi-tech as it got. Quotes, even in the 1998 brochure, refer to 'letter-writing' as the way to keep in touch. Skype and Facebook have changed everything. Now Google rules the world and I have rewritten everything in the hope that the spiders find their target and push www.vacationalstudies.com up to page one.

The format of the brochures from the '80s and '90s was a concertina into DL envelope-size which is not the easiest for an A4-based scanner. The information section was separated from the 'news' part.

The 'news' went only to those were with us that year and, reading between the lines, I can see why. I used the 'news' to say, sometimes cryptically, what I thought. In those politically less correct times, the staff loved spotting the barbed comments. Nowadays I use 'IGM's page' knowing that only those who are really interested will penetrate so far into the site.

I see, too, that some of the wording I use is unchanged since the beginning. In that the essential 'message' is the same as it was in 1973, it has stood the test of time. In that words on the web now need to be read by robots as well as humans, their time has passed and I sometimes need to use a strange Google-search speak.

The Course is basically what it always has been. Student lists from 1973 onwards are being added from time to time to the Vacational Studies Facebook page. The staff are mentioned in the 'news' part of the brochure. Remember – the photos in the brochure are those from the year before. (Old) Photos and videos can be found in the gallery.

Below are brochures from previous years:

Accredited by the British Council
Offers Trinity
Accredited by English UK