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Essay competition for Particle Physics Summer School

Pupils from Schools in London and Birmingham will be taking part in a Particle Physics summer School at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Pupils from London Schools  St Michael’s College, The Charter, Thomas Tallis, Alleyn’s, Dulwich College, Jags and King Edwards VI School and King Edward High School in Birmingham.


The Head of Physics at Alleyn’s School, Dr Alexandra Galloni developed the idea, with her old PhD supervisor at CERN, Prof Themis Bowcock, for a summer School hosted by PhD students at CERN.  This led to the idea of an essay competition and expanded to include Southwark School Learning Partnership (SSLP) schools.

This year, the 7th year, a total of 18 students from 8 different schools are taking part.


Alleyn’s School will be hosting an information evening for parents to gather and meet before the pupils attend the Particle School.

Teaching staff at Alleyn’s and all the Schools involved spend on average one or two hours per week from January to August to coordinate all aspects of the programme.


Like minded students are joined together for five days to work on Particle Physics projects at CERN. They work in close collaboration with each other and PhD students and experience what it is like to conduct research and develop links.

Pupil Involvement

Students from The Charter School share their thoughts on previous Summer School's they have attended.

"The preparation was very useful as it allowed us to use our own ideas to create something whilst also learning more about things we wouldn't otherwise have known about. It strayed away from a set 'curriculum' and allowed us to explore any possibility imaginable with incredible minds to guide us along the way and make our ideas become somewhat a reality. Picking the brains of the PhD students was not only educational, but also allowed us to build a great bond with them as we saw the similar passions we shared about physics, again, making the whole experience just that much better."

"This workshop gave me my first real experience with coding and filled me with a satisfaction I had never felt before; I was left with an adrenaline rush for an hour after the workshop had finished because I couldn't believe just how fun and dare I say cool I felt having accomplished such a high purity. The experience has pushed me to learn more about coding and I am currently using Code Academy to teach myself Python."

“This experience proved to be above and beyond what I could have ever hoped for.... I have gained more experiences and have felt more alive and passionate in my interests than ever before and will never be able to express how wholeheartedly appreciative I am of having been able to experience the things I did." 


This is an ongoing annual project.