Debating, symposiums, mock interviews and other activities with other schools
We have been involved in debating and symposiums with partnership schools for many years, including Queen Elizabeth’s Boys’ School, University College School, The Archer Academy and others. We try to give as many students as possible the opportunity to get involved in these events. It is great for them to have the experience of mixing with students from other schools, and it develops their skills in independent research and debating on a variety of demanding topics. Working in mixed groups of boys and girls means they have to learn to work collaboratively with people they are not used to working with and possibly encounter a different way of working. Lastly, we want the students to have an experience of the rules and the cut and thrust of the debate itself and of course, to gain confidence in the art of formal public speaking. The topics under debate have sometimes been decided by the students themselves, at other times by a variety of questions from different departments in school.
At times the questions have been more subject based and at other times broader. We started our programme of debating with Sixth Form students where we debated a range of questions: ‘In Science and Mathematics one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no-one ever knew before. But in poetry it’s the exact opposite’ and ‘It is not possible to have an objective definition of good literature’. We then moved on to involve students in years 8, 9 and 10 on various subjects: ‘Every child should be given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and this should be funded by government’ and ‘All children under 16 years of age should be allowed free access to concert halls and opera houses’. The partnership debating days are very much enjoyed by the students and the question at the end of the day is always ‘When can we debate again?’ The answer, hopefully, is ‘soon’.
Our students also have opportunities for attending courses and lectures and mock interviews at Highgate School. Additionally, our students often take part in competitions with other schools, including debating in other languages, Robotics competitions, Art collaborations, and much more. Some of or students volunteer at local primary, secondary, special schools. or adult centres This has included our Sixth Form assisting with French at Brooklands Junior School or helping Year 11 with German at Christs’ College, our Year 9 helping at Mapledown School; our Key Stage 4 students helping at Norwood, and putting on a cabaret and community tea for local primary and Norwood visitors. We really value all our interactions with other schools.
Prince’s Teaching Institute (PTI)
The Prince’s Teaching Institute (PTI) launched the Schools Programme in 2007 to recognise and reward school departments that develop inspirational ideas and activities which enhance teaching in a range of subject areas. It is run as a membership group for school departments that choose to commit to increasing the challenge of their subject provision, developing their staff’s specialist subject knowledge, building subject-based links outside school and enthusing their pupils through subject-based activities beyond the curriculum. After three years of Schools Programme membership, departments can choose to become Associate Departments by devising an advanced multi-year programme in one of these areas. As Associate Departments they have the opportunity to share their growing expertise with others in the Schools Programme to the benefit of all. We have been pleased to receive The Prince’s Teaching Institute Mark for various different subjects over the years. Some of our staff are also tutors delivering PTI courses.