Founded in 2013, Lauriston Lights is a charity that brings together high ability 11-13 year-old children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds with university students from across the UK.
Over a two week summer camp and extension days, we help children find the confidence and skills to mean they thrive in secondary school and beyond. Currently we run summer camps and extension days in London and Oxford.
Hayley and Jess grew up together, a process which began when they started their education on the same day in 1997 at Lauriston Primary School. Both thrived at Lauriston Primary and beyond, meaning that Hayley, assisted by a scholarship to a private secondary school, became the first person from her family to go to university, whilst Jess followed in the steps of her parents and went on to Cambridge.
As they grew up, they became increasingly aware of how education had transformed Hayley’s life, and how strongly opportunity could assure or deny life chances. They began to realise that many of their friends from Lauriston Primary School didn’t benefit from as good secondary education as they had, nor shared their later successes. Many of their friends, who had been dealt an unlucky hand, weren’t able to capitalise on the power of education, as Hayley did.
Angered by such injustice, and the similar unfairness they saw being replicated throughout the whole education system, Jess and Hayley wanted to harness the power of education to help disadvantaged young people making the vital transition from primary to secondary school. So that those who do well at primary school can continue to flourish into secondary school and beyond, rather than primary school being the peak of their educational attainment.
Whilst at university, Jess and Hayley began to appreciate that university students could be role models - a source of inspiration for young people. They were an untapped resource when it came to tackling educational inequality and they could be used. Thus was born the idea of Lauriston Lights - bridging the class and education divide, just as Hayley and Jess’s friendship had. Early on they got on board Adam - who was also raised in a family and environment that appreciated the value and power of education, and strongly believes that high quality education can be delivered to all irrespective of background.
The first camp took place in the summer of 2013 at Gallions Primary School, Newham, was run solely by 20 university volunteers, and delivered for 40 eleven year olds from the borough making the transition from primary to secondary school. In 2014 we ran another camp, involving a higher number of student volunteers and kids, and which we felt was a perfect base to expand from. In 2015 we built on the successes we’d had and ran two camps. We went on to run two camps in 2016 and are expanding to work in Oxford as well as London in 2017, so that Lauriston Lights affects the lives of more young people, be they eleven year olds or university students.
To find out more about Lauriston Lights, our vision and our methods, do check out the rest of our website or get in touch.
Hayley, Jess and Adam