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Our team

The Academic Summer team are here to help you. We aim to offer you an individual and personal service.

Helen Lami, Director; helen.lami@academicsummer.co.uk, +44 7968152795

Vincent Smidowicz, Principal; principal@academicsummer.co.uk

Eleanor Callon-Jones, Director of Studies; ellie.jones@academicsummer.co.uk

Caroline Marshall, PA to the director, caroline.marshall@academicsummer.co.uk

Petra Sedivcova, Customer Relations: petra.sedivcova@academicsummer.co.uk

Academic Summer employ a team of teachers, leaders and other positions in the summer. If you are interested in working with us and you feel you would fit into the Academic Summer team then please contact us for more information. 

Vincent Smidowicz, Principal of Academic Summer

Academic Summer programme offers from one to nine-week courses for British and international students aged 13 to 18. The philosophy of the academic programme is based on Theory of Knowledge as studied in the International Baccalaureate. The areas of knowledge explored are: Sciences, Mathematics, Humanities, Literature, Language and the Arts. The course is delivered by subject specialist teachers and the medium of instruction is English.


In keeping with the ethos of the IB and the principles of CLIL, Academic Summer programme aims to develop your content knowledge, cognitive skills, communicative competence and cultural awareness. You will also be encouraged constantly to engage in culture communication with fellow members of the international Academic Summer programme community.

Pastoral care and attention to your social and personal development is an important feature of Academic Summer. We are also aware that the course takes place in your school holidays and we provide the highest quality of surroundings, accommodation, leisure facilities and catering. This year we will be based at Sidcot School near Bristol and DLD College in London.

My thirty years in teaching, teacher-training and academic management has involved work with UK study centres; preparing students to join academic programmes and running teacher development courses. I have examined for International Baccalaureate English A2, designed and run pre-IB programmes and visited international schools in many countries.

My aim as Principal of Academic Summer is to share the benefits of my experience with students and teachers to help everyone achieve his or her personal best.

Helen Lami, Director of Academic Summer

I have over 10 years experience working on summer schools and I look forward to welcoming you to Academic Summer. I believe Academic Summer will offer you a quality summer course with a difference. We offer you a course which will help you to achieve your Personal Best academically and socially. The programme is integrated and focuses around the ethos of the IB Diploma which we believe is useful to all students whether or not they are planning to study the IB Diploma. We encourage you to be an independent learner and we help you prepare for your future studies.

I lived in Albania between 1994 and 1998 which is where I met my husband. While I was in Albania I taught English to the President's daughter.

I enjoy working in education and I especially like working in the international market and I love meeting people from different cultures. I believe that English is an International language which we all use to communicate. It is exciting when we get together and share our different cultures and experiences. I hope Academic Summer will help students to have this experience.

I would be very happy to discuss students' future academic plans with them and suggest appropriate schools and courses for them. I can recommend different schools including our host schools Sidcot School and DLD College in London.

I look forward to hearing from you and answering any questions you may have about Academic Summer.


Clive Lee, Director of Academic Summer

For me, Academic Summer brings together the ideal combination of staff, philosophy, facilities and students for an excellent summer programme for you to engage with, learn from and enjoy. You will see me engaging, learning and enjoying too: being Director means the freedom to pursue my passion for treating young people as adults and facilitating their development within Academic Summer's unique concept of Personal Best.

Having spent over half of my twenty years' in education working abroad (in Hong Kong and Singapore), I am also passionate about the concept of English as an International Language. Young people of today, whatever their first language, are all speakers of English as an International Language. Part of what you will be doing at Academic Summer is understanding what that means to you and to society in general as well as developing your ability to use it... even if you are a native speaker of English!!

If I teach you, I will hope to excite you with two things. First, I will want you to achieve your Personal Best as a writer of English as an International Language in the style demanded by Academic IELTS, the IB Diploma and Cambridge ESOL examinations. Second, I will want you to leave curious about how lexis works in English and with strategies to develop your English lexicon by reading, watching and listening to news and current affairs—which will also develop your general knowledge to provide content for your writing!

If I don't teach you, you will still get to know me in the evenings and at weekends. For three years, I was Housemaster/House Tutor at a boarding school in the southwest of England, living with and caring for young people from all over the world, helping them to adjust culturally to people, life and education in the UK and to living with each other! (From the beginning, you should know it is best to ask me if you want to keep in your room… a goldfish!)

As we get to know each other, I will find out more about your Personal Best. You will also find out about mine. I have three times got to the top Mount Kinabalu (4095 metres), on one occasion with my (then) seventy-year-old father and my mother, who says she will never believe me ever again when I say the top is just round the corner! I have also won prizes as a cabinetmaker and as a maker of early guitars. My Personal Best highlight, though, as I hope you will come to agree, is the creation of Academic Summer.

The Academic Summer teachers

Stacha Hicks - Stacha is a working actor and with a background in film direction, writing and comedy, She has strong television and film credits and has worked with Ricky Gervais, Paul Greengrass, Tom Hanks, Eddie Marsen, Kevin Cosner and Kevin Reynolds. She is a founding member of the theatre company The Actors Ensemble. She regularly works as a teacher and acting coach for film and television, voice, comedy, clown, physical theatre, puppetry and stage. She also mentors young writers. She is currently developing a comedy farce with BBC comedy writer David Spicer which will be in production early next year.

Josephine Collins - Jo is an experienced English Teacher and examiner who has taught KS3-KS5 for twelve years. She has worked in one of London's leading Prep Schools preparing pupils for Scholarship and Common Entrance examinations. In addition, she has spent the rest of her career between the senior independent and mainstream sectors. Her classroom is a vibrant, dynamic environment where students feel confident in sharing their ideas and meeting the intellectual challenges. Her teaching style is open and inclusive. She encourages students to understand their strengths and view areas for development as an essential part of learning.

Khurram Shafiq - Khurram is fully qualified teacher and a full member of the Institute for Learning. He has taught at Amersham and Wycombe College Sociology and at Crossways Sixth Form College Sociology and Politics earlier also History. Recently, he has delivered Psychology at Epping Forest College and Sociology and Psychology at CATS College in London and taught English to speakers of other languages at Ardmore language school.

Ed McCool - As the art department curriculum leader and GCSE personal tutor at DLD College, I develop and raise the abilities of our students, who will go on to play key roles in the UK and International creative sector. I believe that every student has the potential to achieve in the arts and I nurture this potential by being an enthusiastic and inspirational teacher who responds to student’s individual needs. In reflection of this my lessons were deemed “excellent” in recent ISI assessments. I lead a team of four teachers and am heavily involved in the development of new courses. I was a ‘Beacon Teacher,’ sharing my knowledge & teaching with local primary & secondary schools. I consistently raise achievement in all centres and I am the recipient of a Protocol Professional “New Horizons Award for part time teaching, full time dedication” award.

Jenny Barwell – Jenny has been a music teacher for fourteen years working with children from Reception age through to teaching A2 level music. For eight years she was Head of Music at a secondary school in West Sussex. She has run a diverse programme of musical events and was Musical Director for whole school productions of Oliver and Grease. Her particular interests has been leading the school Jazz Band and running a link programme with a school from Gävle, Sweden. Helping individual students develop their confidence in music is important to her. She is keen to push music education forwards and to keep live performance central to the enjoyment of young people.

Richard Earle - Richard has been a designer and design and technology teacher since the 1990's. He has been a subject leader for electronic products and teaches resistant materials and graphic products. In 2002 he helped develop the national strategy for design and technology assessment. He is a designer of; contract interiors for a large retail chain, national and regional press advertising campaigns for the motor industry, many international architectural projects, bespoke handmade furniture, hospital ward redesign, local mental health awareness campaigns and Southern England's section twelve approvals corporate identity and video advertising. 

Michael Turner - Michael began teaching humanities in 1882. Since 1975 he has visited 80 countries to collect pictorial images to illustrate and add relevance to his lessons. Michael can often supplement the text book by teaching from personal experience such as from his meetings with Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela. Michael is a published author of human rights and the life of Sir Francis Drake. The latter topic has enabled him to make national television and radio documentaries. Michael tries to inspire students to study humanities beyond the GCSE exam by encouraging them to visit the real world and help those less fortunate than themselves.

Magnus Bradshaw - Magnus is Head of Religious Studies at DLD College and has been teaching the subject for 20 years. His experience extends to being an examiner in the subject at A2, AS and GCSE levels. Magnus also has experience teaching humanities ad PSHE, exploring global issues such the environment, wealth and poverty with students a GCSE level along with teaching philosophy at A level.

Academic Summer Richard DolphinRichard Dolphin – Richard spent the first nine years of his working life in banking. He then ran an export business and a financial advisory service: at the same time he was a director of a plastic moulding company based in London. At the age of fifty he translated to the university of Durham where he read a master's degree in Business Administration. Subsequently he wrote a bestselling book on organisational communication before becoming head of Economics at Yeovil College. Later he taught Marketing up to postgraduate level at Northampton university, Investor Relations at Bournemouth university, Management on the university of Derby's Israel programme and, most recently, Service Marketing at the university of Exeter. An examiner in Business for AQA and OCR: and economics for International Baccalaureate: Richard teaches Economics on MPW's Easter Revision programme in Cambridge each year and offers Business, Economics, History and Politics on Academic Summer's Sidcot programme. He believes passionately that humour is an essential ingredient in good communication: which after all is at the heart of good education.

Flora-Kate Lacy - Flora teaches the juniors at Academic Summer School in Sidcot; this will be her 5th year working here. She also helps lead trips for both juniors and seniors as part of the fabulous leisure programme. Last year she was given the opportunity to teach IB Drama too - she has a strong passion for musical theatre and have featured as main roles in musicals such as 'Hairspray' and 'Rock of Ages.' Before she got interested in the theatrical stage she was on the TeamGB gymnastics team where she was 6th in the world for the beautiful sport. She also has strong interests in music- she plays the cello, piano, organ and guitar as well as having a degree in this subject area. She likes to think of herself as a happy and inspiring teacher and she looks forward to meeting students during the summer! 

Medical Studies staff:

DR Deborah Lloyd, General Practitioner – Doctor Lloyd trained at Charing Cross medical school in London, this is now part of Imperial college. After qualifying in 1998 and starting her junior doctor jobs she signed up for the 2000/2001 BT Global Challenge. She was  team medic on board yacht Olympic and circumnavigated the globe via the southern ocean and Cape Horn. The whole race took 10 months. She completed her GP training in Wessex working in Portsmouth and started work in a practice in a very deprived part of Gosport where she stayed for 6 years. After having her 2 children, she decided to become a locum and joined a chambers organisation. She has worked all over Hampshire seeing general practice at its most diverse. During the last 6 years of locuming she has become a GP appraiser in Wessex and embarked on the MA in medical education through Winchester university. She has recently started facilitating seminars for year 3 medical students at Southampton university. She also works as a prefect examiner for the Wessex RCGP CSA course and has set up and run courses on musculoskeletal topics for the Wessex RCGP.

Dr Jacey Ip - Jacey is currently an Obstetrics and Gynaecology trainee doctor working in West London, and is currently pursuing a full-time research PhD on a gynaecological oncology project at Imperial College London. She achieved 4 A grades in her A levels including physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics. She had subsequently attended St Bartholomew’s and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry in London to obtain her MBBS degree. Since graduating from medical school, she has worked in major London hospitals such as UCLH and Imperial College Healthcare trust. During her medical training, she has been heavily involved in teaching, both at the university and in hospitals. She enjoys travelling in her free time.

Alice Hayman, 3rd Year Medical Student – Alice is a third year medical student at Southampton. She grew up in Essex and did Maths, Geography, Chemistry and Biology at A Level. She loves university life and is always happy to answer any questions you have no matter how big or small! She enjoys medicine and hope she can introduce and help anybody interested to find out more.

Louis Graham-Hart, 3rd Year Medical Student - Louis is a 3rd year student at University of Southampton where he studies medicine. He went to school at Tonbridge School in Kent and he studied Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths at A level. He is looking forward to working with Academic Summer and passing on some of the experience he has gained from the medical application and his 3 years so far. He finds medicine challenging, interesting, but mostly rewarding, and he will do his best to help in any way he can.

Allestina Ho, 3rd Year Medical Student - Allestina is a 3rd year medical student at University of Southampton. She went to Abbey College Birmingham and studied Chemistry, Biology and Maths at A-level. She has previously worked for Academic Summer as a pastoral staff. She is very excited about this medical program whereby she can share her medical school experience with those who are interested in applying to medicine. She believes medicine is challenging but is incredibly interesting and rewarding. In her free time she volunteers for the South Central Ambulance Service as a first responder, attending to 999 calls. She also has interests in a variety of sports like running and hockey.

Oxbridge staff:

Antonio Palma - Antonio is a lecturer in Spanish Studies at the universities of Oxford, Buckingham and Open, and an education consultant. Antonio’s experience in education ranges from teaching, management and consultancy both in secondary and university education in UK, Spain and Italy. He graduated in Philosophy, Psychology and Education at the University of Valencia and completed his PGCE in 1983. In 1986 he took up a post as lecturer in Spanish Studies at South Bank University in London and subsequently at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.

In 1994 he returned to Spain to work as English Professor at the University of Castellón, Spain, and in 1998 became the Academic Director of an international school in Valencia. He co-founded a grant- maintained school in 2000.

In 2002 Antonio returned to the UK to take up a post as Spanish tutor at Radley College, Abingdon, an independent boys’ boarding school.

From 2009 to 2014 Antonio worked as a consultant on the establishment of a new international boarding school near Genoa while working part-time as a lecturer for the Open and Oxford Universities.

In the summer we employ a team of teachers who are qualified to teach their subjects and have A-Level, IB and TEFL experience. As well as experience our teachers have enthusiasm and a love for their subjects. They make their subject options interesting for you and the lessons will be a mixture of theory and practical work.

Some teachers from Sidcot School and DLD College work for us in the summer and this helps us to offer a quality academic programme.

A quote from a teacher from Sidcot School who works with us:

"I did wonder if giving up part of the holiday was a good idea, but I have thoroughly enjoyed working for Academic Summer. The students in my groups were a pleasure to teach and I was impressed with their level of English, chemical knowledge and level of motivation". Jim Scott, Head of Science, Sidcot School