Training camp and IOL 2021

Covid precautions

As you will know, the regulations around COVID safety measures are due to change in England on July 19th. Nevertheless, we have a duty of care to provide as safe as possible an environment for you to participate in IOL. We are therefore setting out the following guidelines which you must follow before, during and after your time at Greenwich. We will be sending you further (non-COVID related) information about the event in due course.
  1. Pre-arrival. Please take a lateral flow test before leaving home on the morning of Monday 19th July and report the result via our WhatsApp group. If you test positive, you will not be able to participate in the competition and should not come to Greenwich. Please pack some masks and some hand sanitiser. If you are travelling to Greenwich on public transport, please wear a mask during your journey.
  2. At Greenwich. Please wash your hands regularly, or use hand sanitiser regularly. During the contests, you will not be required to wear a mask, though you are very welcome to wear one if this makes you feel more comfortable. Please carry a mask with you at all times, as you may be asked to wear it in other enclosed spaces on the university campus. We strongly encourage you to use a mask as much as possible in indoor spaces during your time in Greenwich.
  3. On going home. Please wear a mask on public transport (regardless of government guidelines), and take another lateral-flow test when you get home on Wednesday 21st, and report the result via our WhatsApp group. We will provide the test kit before you leave. If you test positive, we will notify all the other squad members and their parents. You should then follow the government’s guidance relating to self-isolation for those who have tested positive or have come into contact with someone who has tested positive.


This year, unlike previous years,

  • the residential event was meant to be a training camp for the UK teams; this was a permanent change. But unfortunately, because of Covid we have had to scrap this plan, so the residential event will only cover the competition itself and a short time on Monday for meeting and preparing for the contest.
  • the International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) will be held online; this change is just for the pandemic, so we hope to return in 2022 to an in-person competition in a foreign country.

Since our squad members (i.e. the two teams of four) will all have to be in the same place when competing online (this is required by IOL regulations), they will all be in Greenwich. (See below.)

The IOL consists of two competitions: the individual competition (lasting six hours) and the team competition (lasting ‘just’ three hours). There is normally a programme of social events to fill the rest of the five days, but these events will be online this year – see the revised published programme which includes information about special lectures and social activities.

What else?

You’ve been invited to take part in a special linguistics event based in UCL, courtesy of Kazune Sato (a Japanese student who is an undergraduate in UCL Linguistics); this event will include IOL participants from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India, and maybe even some UCL undergraduates. Here are the details for your diary. The lecturers are world authorities, and will be talking, online, in English! There will be plenty of opportunities for you to ask questions.

  • Title: UCL Special Linguistics Lecture
  • Date and Time: Sun 4 July, 2021, 10:00-13:30 (NB The time has been changed.)
  • Speakers: Klaus Abels (UCL), John Harris (UCL)


Here’s a brief outline of the event:
  • July 19, 15:00 – Watching the opening ceremony via the internet from Latvia, followed by an  introductory lecture
  • July 20 – 9.00 to 15.00 (6 hours) Individual contest.
  • July 21 – 9.00 to 13.00 (4 hours) Team contest.
  • July 24 (not 23, as shown previously) – Award and closing ceremony (time tba)

For more detail, you can check:

Background: The residential event in Greenwich will last from July 19 to 21, as you all have to be in the same place for the individual and team competitions. We wish we could keep you there for longer, but we’re even keener to minimize the risk of infection so you’ll be in Greenwich for the minimum time possible. We hope you enjoy watching the Saturday event – feedback and awards – from home.


The University of Greenwich have kindly agreed to host the UK teams for the competition. They are providing accommodation in a local hotel, the Ibis London Greenwich.

How much?

This event, like the rest of UKLO’s offerings, is entirely free to both the participants and their schools. This is possible because of generous financial support from our sponsoring organisations.


The squad consists of the following, divided as shown into two teams: U and K:

team name school
 U  Alex Robson The Judd School
 U  Barnaby Colvin The Perse School, Cambridge
 U  Harrison Moore The Judd School
 U  Toby Weston King’s College School, Wimbledon
 K  Aanya Goyal Alleyn’s School
 K  Keira Cumming North London Collegiate School
 K  Toby Collins The Perse School, Cambridge
 K  Xane Miles Latymer Upper School

There will also be two resident tutors (the two Vice-chairs of UKLO):

Both tutors have served as UKLO tutors and team leaders many times before, and both have full clearance for working with young people.


These photos were taken and shared by Siyu Chen, your postgraduate guide. Thanks Siyu! If you want to view the photos, just click on one then move through them using the left/right arrows.