GCSE students from Lambeth and Southwark were given a unique insight into the world of medical research last week at the fourth annual King’s Health Partners (KHP) Summer School.

Organised by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, the week-long school gives young Londoners the chance to learn from some of the world’s leading scientists.

Throughout the week the 24 students enjoyed interactive sessions such as life saving skills at the Simulation and Interactive Learning (SaIL) Centre at St Thomas’ Hospital, extracting DNA from strawberries with scientists at King’s College London, and talking to patients and medical trial participants at the Maudsley Hospital.

Summer School attendee, Victoria Agbejimi, aged 15, said: “The week has been really exciting and packed with activities. I didn’t realise how many different careers were available in healthcare and research. It’s definitely opened my mind to other opportunities.”

Elizabeth Babalola, 15, said: “I’ve been so surprised how important research is for a big hospital like Guy’s and St Thomas’. I’ve learnt so much about the atmosphere of a hospital and the importance of teamwork.”

The Summer School finished on Friday with a celebration event featuring presentations from the students to an invited audience of friends, family and teachers.

Robert Lechler, Executive Director of King’s Health Partners, said: “Our partners work collaboratively to solve some of the biggest health challenges that face our local communities. I hope the King’s Health Partners Summer School students will work together and be inspired by the medical research we do to pursue their own careers in medical research and contribute to solving the health challenges of the future.”

King’s Health Partners is an Academic Health Science Centre that brings together three of the country’s leading NHS Foundation Trusts, Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley, with a world-class university, King’s College London. The partnership was formed to turn research more swiftly and effectively into improvements in healthcare for people with physical and mental health problems in south east London.

The Summer School was funded by KHP, the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London, and the NIHR Clinical Research Network South London.