Brightest Watts Summer Programme 2021

Now in it’s eleventh year we are pleased to say that, thanks to the continued support of Baillie Gifford, we can once again offer a summer programme.

Designed for those going into S5 in the summer we aim to give you an idea of what university is like, what opportunities are available to you and the chance to try some of our subjects to see for yourself what they are like. In addition we will look at some career pathways to hopefully inspire you to think about exactly what career would suit you best.

Two-week online programme

Due to the ongoing restrictions we are going online again with an all new two-week programme of events running from Monday 26 July to Friday 6 August, and don’t worry – you get weekends off.

As always, the atmosphere is friendly and supportive and the focus is on meeting new people, including our current students, learning new skills and building your confidence. It’s ok if you’re shy – everyone usually is at the start, but we’ll look after you. There will be freebies and competitions so by the end of the programme you’ll have made lots of new friends and have a whole new support group to help you as you figure out what to do next.


After the summer programme we will be running a series of masterclasses, spaced out over the next two years, to build on what you’ve learned during the summer and help you decide what to do when you leave school. These will include advice on how to choose what to do, how to apply to college and university and how to make that leap from school on to whatever comes after.

On campus

Finally, and when we are able, we will also run an event on campus so you can see for yourself what university is like. This will not be until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and we are confident we can run a safe and healthy event.

Brightest Watts summer school staff and S5 students talk about the event and what they gained from it.’

What will I get out of the experience?

A very enjoyable insight into University life with great workshops

Kayleigh McMillan, Knox Academy

It’s not easy making decisions about what to do when you leave school so it helps to get a head start. Brightest Watts offers a genuine insight into university life; something we hope will have a positive influence on you as you consider what to do next.

Our aim is to help you increase your confidence as well as develop other useful skills like team working, communication and study skills. We also hope to give you the chance to do something different and stand out from the crowd when applying to college, university or for a job.

It's during the summer holidays - will I have fun?

A great confidence-booster, a great laugh and lots of good banter

Liam Wilson, West Calder High

Yes! We’ve designed all of our activities to be interactive and enjoyable and expect you to get involved in everything we have to offer.

As well as the subject sessions we have student life and social sessions throughout the fortnight, and competitions, to help you get to know everyone better and experience the fun side of university as well as the serious side.

When is it?

It runs from Monday 26 July to Friday 30 July. You then have the weekend off and we restart from Monday 2 August to Friday 6 August.

After that we will be offering masterclasses throughout the following two years from August 2021 to June 2023.

When we are allowed we will also run an event on campus so you can see for yourself what university is like.

Where is it?

Most of this programme will be run online. As part of the application form we ask you about your access to a laptop or computer and whether you have a reliable internet connection.

Please answer these questions honestly. We want to make sure you get the most out of the programme so, if you need it, we can provide practical support to help you get online.

When we are allowed to run an event on campus, this will be at our Edinburgh campus on the western edge of the city. We will provide free transport to and from the campus for this.

Who can apply?

Pupils who will be going into S5 over the summer and who attend a school in Scotland. 

Any new S5 pupil is welcome to apply. We prioritise those pupils who are in one or more of the following groups: 

  • From schools with low progression rates to higher education
  • From postcodes defined as being in the lowest 20% as defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)
  • Care-experienced pupils
  • Pupils with caring responsibilities
  • Pupils who are estranged from their families
  • Pupils who will be the first person in their immediate family to go to university
  • Pupils who are eligible for free school meals
  • Other challenging circumstances which may have affected a pupil's education or confidence.
How much does it cost?

The Brightest Watts summer programme is generously supported by Baillie Gifford, which means we are able to offer the whole programme for free.

We will provide materials and activity packs to support some of the sessions and can help with online support through a laptop loan scheme.

Travel to and from any on-campus events will also be provided free of charge.

How do I apply for the Brightest Watts Summer Programme?

Please complete the online application form no later than Sunday 4 July.

We will be in touch as soon as we can after then to let you know if you have a place or not.

More information

If you would like to discuss anything about the week then please contact the the Widening Participation Team at or by calling 0131 451 3451.

Key information

Widening Participation Team

+44 (0) 131 451 3451