Outside the classroom, the Honours Programme continues to grow, running throughout the academic year and providing unique opportunities to high attaining students in a range of subject areas. Through academic and enrichment opportunities, we aim to prepare and challenge students in Years 7-10 to aim for Grade ‘9’ in their GCSEs, increase their Progress 8 and Attainment 8 scores and, ultimately, as future members of our Sixth Form, be in a position to apply to further their studies at the top universities, including Oxford or Cambridge, members of the Russell Group and prestigious Arts universities.
The Honours Programme is divided into two main categories: academic and enrichment.
For the academic aspect of the programme, Years 7 and 8 are grouped together and, likewise, Years 9 and 10. In these groups, they are assigned to different subject areas. Over the course of the school year, each group completes three academic projects in different subject areas, on a rotation basis. Academic projects can either be focused on developing higher-level skills to complement the work they do in lessons or on topics which are not linked to class-based learning, the aim of which is to challenge students in their thinking and expand their horizons beyond the school curriculum.
Projects are typically preceded or followed by an enrichment trip or workshop closely-related to the project’s topic or focus. Some examples of recent projects include:
- a visit to the Wimbledon BookFest to hear author, Tracy Chevalier, lecture on her adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ followed by an English project on adapting and modernising famous Shakespeare scenes
- a joint Maths and Computing project on ‘coding’, supported by a visit to Bletchley Park to see the Enigma machine and partake in a workshop on ‘Codes and Ciphers’.
Throughout the year, we also arrange separate enrichment opportunities which aim to extend our highest attaining students. These have included:
- University of Oxford outreach events at Jesus College and Twickenham stadium.
- A chromatography workshop and a visit to BP’s Upstream Learning Centre.
- A workshop on urban town planning, run by Battersea Power Station’s redevelopment team.
- Lectures at Imperial College London and the Wimbledon BookFest.
- Theatre experiences, including ‘Othello/Macbeth’ at the Lyric theatre in Hammersmith and performances by the touring theatre company, ALRA.
10 students are selected at the beginning of each academic year (Years 7-10) to form the ‘core’ group of Honours students. These pupils are involved in all Honours Programme activities throughout the year. Selection for the Year 7 group is determined by a combination of Key Stage 2 scores in English, Maths and Non-Verbal Reasoning. In Years 8-10, Attainment 8 scores are used to indicate our highest attaining students across the curriculum.
For each academic or enrichment opportunity, an additional five spaces are available per year group for students outside the ‘core’ group who are performing exceptionally well in the relevant subject area.
As Honours students progress to the Sixth Form, our expectation is that they will be active members of the Sixth Form community. Therefore, we aim to develop strong links between the Honours Programme and the Sixth Form so that students recognise the benefits of this unique programme of academic and enrichment opportunities, and draw on these experiences, as they advance towards higher and further education.