Brightest Watts Summer Week

Coronavirus update

The global situation means that we are unfortunately unable to run our Brightest Watts Summer Week in the usual format. Over the past few weeks, we have taken time to consider the options available and are now very excited to announce the updated Brightest Watts programme for 2020/2021 S5 pupils.

This programme is comprised of three parts:

  • Brightest Watts eWeek – Monday 27 – Friday 31 July 2020
  • Brightest Watts eWeek masterclasses – three dates throughout the year
  • Brightest Watts eWeek Residential – to be confirmed.

We are sorry to say that, due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, we are unable to run our usual residential summer week in 2021.

We will, however, continue with our online engagement and offer a year-long programme of engagement to our new S5 students, beginning with an online summer event.

Please check back for further information in March 2021. Please email if you have any enquiries.

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

What is the Brightest Watts Summer Week?

Great experience for anyone thinking of going on to higher education after school

Ashleigh Thomson, Lasswade High

Brightest Watts is a relaxed and informal way for S5 pupils to learn more about university life. 

The 2020/2021 programme will include a series of exciting events for 40 participants from schools across Scotland. 

Firstly, you will join us online for the Brightest Watts eWeek, taking place from Monday 27 – Friday 31 July 2020. We will be offering a range of activities each day, all designed to introduce you to university, being a student and some of the academic subjects that are on offer.

You will then be invited to a series of online masterclasses, running after school throughout the year. These sessions will look more closely at different courses and will also be a great chance to catch up with the other eWeek participants.

Finally, we will welcome you to Heriot-Watt's Edinburgh Campus once we are allowed back on campus and we can guarantee you the best experience possible. This will give you the opportunity to experience on-campus student life for yourself and meet the staff and other participants.

Throughout the programme, there will be a team of staff and students who will help you to explore university and find out more about the reality of student life – everything from managing finances, to balancing studies and socialising. 

The atmosphere is friendly and supportive, with a real emphasis on meeting new people, trying something new, developing skills and boosting your confidence. Even if you’re a bit shy at first (everyone usually is), you’ll soon make lots of new friends. 

It helps if you are interested in science, technology, engineering, maths, language and business subjects, although no specific prior knowledge is required.

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, but you should fully explore all the options available to you.

Brightest Watts offers a genuine insight into university life and study; something we hope will have a positive influence on the path you choose after leaving school. 

Our aim is to help you increase your confidence as well as develop your team working, communication and learning skills.

The programme is also the perfect chance to do something different and to stand out from the crowd when applying to 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 have designed all of the activities to be interactive and interesting and expect you to get involved in everything that is on offer.

As well as the more academic sessions, we will run social events throughout the eWeek (online) and during the residential on campus, so there will be lots of opportunities to get to know people better.

When is it?

Brightest Watts eWeek – Monday 27 – Friday 31 July 2020 – sessions each day during the afternoon.

Brightest Watts eWeek masterclasses – three dates throughout the year and these will be run after school.

Brightest Watts eWeek Residential – to be confirmed.

Please ensure that you can be available for all of the above dates before applying for the programme.

Where is it?

Brightest Watts eWeek will be run online
As part of the application form, we will ask you about your access to a laptop or computer and whether you have a reliable internet connection. This is to ensure that you can get the most from the eWeek. Please answer these questions honestly. If you need it, we will provide support to help you get online to join us. It would also be useful if you have access to a smartphone to download a couple of apps and to connect with us on social media.

Brightest Watts eWeek masterclasses will be run online
We will work with your school to ensure you have access to equipment to allow you to attend.

Brightest Watts eWeek Residential 
The residential will take place at Heriot-Watt University’s Edinburgh Campus, on the western edge of the city. We will provide free transport to and from the University for this event.

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 Week is generously supported by Baillie Gifford.

This means that all activities and events are completely free for pupils.

Where required, we can provide support with getting online and with sourcing materials to help participants take part in the activities. During the Residential, all accommodation, food, social activity and transport* costs are covered.

*West Lothian Council also fund the transport for West Lothian pupils during the residential event.

How do I apply for the Brightest Watts Summer Week?

Please complete the application form.

Application deadline extended – please submit your application by Monday 13 July.

We will be in touch 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

Baillie Gifford

Widening Participation Team