Woldingham School Academic Stretch

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Academic stretch for all At Woldingham we are committed to fulfilling the academic potential of every pupil. Not only do we have an excellent track record of GCSE and A Level results, Woldingham is also in the top 10% of schools for ‘value added education’.

Woldingham’s vision is to provide an outstanding education that empowers women to change the world. We understand that every girl is unique, and our learning is tailored to her specific needs.

Stretch for academic scholars and high achievers We are proud that each year competition for academic scholarships at Woldingham is high. Alongside this a significant number of girls are identified as high achievers through exposure to excellent teaching and academic opportunities.

Woldingham offers a range of programmes and initiatives to provide stretch for our academic scholars and high achievers, which supports them to grow, fulfil their academic potential and take up places at top universities, both in the UK and overseas.

Woldingham is at the forefront of girls’ education. Our students’ educational outcomes benefit from our enriching curriculum, which allows for a community of learning in its fullest sense, both in and out of the classroom.

Academic scholars - developing learning Academic scholarships are offered on the basis of excellent results in Woldingham’s entrance assessment tests, which identify girls with high academic potential. Within the classroom, academic scholars are encouraged and stretched with differentiated activities. We expect academic scholars to continue to meet the highest academic standards and to take part in a variety of enrichment activities from the wide range available. These include subject specific clubs such as Hans Woyda Maths, Chemistry Cosmetics, Teen Tech, Dissection, DT, Coding, Chess, Philosophy,

Czech, French Culture, Economics, Poetry, Book Club and Creative Writing. There is also a range of broader academic pursuits such as Café Scientifique, ‘Thinking Big’ speakers’ programme, debating, ‘Women of Woldingham’ feminist society and current affairs. Academic scholars are encouraged to enter essay competitions and take advantage of external and internal speakers and masterclasses. Academic scholars in Years 7-11 follow Woldingham’s Kritikos programme to encourage critical flexibility and nurture independent and enquiring minds.

Kritikos for academic scholars Kritikos is Woldingham’s programme for academic scholars in Years 7-11. Kritikos comes from the ancient Greek idea of intellectual discernment. It is the ability to judge and evaluate rather than simply recite information.

• Small group debates and discussions. Some are prompted by a series of ‘What If’ statements such as ‘What if there were no laws?’ These give students the opportunity to explore current affairs, philosophy, sciences, arts and humanities.

Kritikos students are given alternative tasks in lessons or for study to develop their academic skills and have access to a wide range of academic enrichment activities.

• Staff and student led short lectures. Recent examples include cryptic crosswords, the psychology of obedience to authority, growth mind-sets and history of art.

The Kritikos programme comprises: • One-to-one meetings between each student and the Kritikos Coordinator. These sessions consist of a discussion of students’ interests within and beyond the curriculum and their wider reading, and develop into mini seminars where students have to think on their feet and respond to probing questions on their field of research.

• Students complete a ‘Curiosity Project’, a significant piece of independent research often inspired by a trip to a museum. This culminates in a presentation to parents and peers over afternoon tea and discussion. Students compile these experiences into an electronic Kritikos Review document.

Sixth Form Oxbridge programme We provide tailored and specialist support for students applying to Oxford and Cambridge universities. This includes additional academic enrichment opportunities, bespoke one-to-one mentoring, advice in crafting the UCAS personal statement, and interview preparation and practice, both in school and outside it.

Students meet Woldingham alumnae who are at, or have recently graduated from, Oxford and Cambridge universities to ask questions about the application process and the experience of studying at undergraduate level. Towards the end of the Lower Sixth, students meet the Oxbridge Coordinator to draw up a bespoke summer holiday plan of academic enrichment in readiness for the completion of their UCAS application.

From early in their application journey, we assign each Oxbridge applicant a subject specialist mentor who they meet weekly. Mentors offer advice on enrichment opportunities and wider reading and work with students to develop the articulation of their interest in their subject of choice.

From the start of the Upper Sixth, we give students practical support to complete their applications. Once these have been submitted, the focus shifts to intense interview practice with subject specialists both in school and from other local schools.

In the Lower Sixth, as well as introducing students to the logistics of an Oxbridge application, they are given practical support to ensure their application is unique and personalised.

Whilst we are committed to our Oxbridge preparation programme, a number of our high achieving students will focus university applications on other worldclass institutions. We put equal value on our general academic enrichment programme, which permeates school life and is crucial to university success.

Sixth Form Medicine, dentistry and veterinary science applications Medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine applications follow a distinct process. Woldingham provides exceptional support for students considering these routes through membership of Med Soc and bespoke individual advice. As well as exploring new and topical scientific ideas, Med Soc’s weekly sessions cover preparation for application tests, advice on crafting the UCAS personal statement, and interview preparation and practice. Med Soc students complete an extended project and present their findings to staff and peers – skills which are essential to a successful interview. Additionally, external specialists run courses and deliver talks on current research.

US university applications Woldingham has a USA & Canadian Universities Coordinator to support and advise the growing number of students considering studying in North America. The school works with an external provider for SAT/ACT tuition and testing. Recent applicants have secured places at prestigious North American institutions including Princeton, Cornell and NYU.

Academic enrichment programme Woldingham’s academic enrichment programme runs throughout the school. Students are encouraged and equipped to pursue their intellectual curiosities independently, and to love learning for learning’s sake. We have numerous lunchtime and after school clubs that fuel students’ minds on topics including current affairs, French culture, coding and philosophy. Our programme includes: Thinking Big Lecture series These regular, thought-provoking lectures are given by students, staff and guest speakers. Recent talks by students have considered: ‘What University Challenge tells us about the Nature of Knowledge’, ‘Extravagance: Vice or Virtue?’ and ‘Four Billion Years of Climate Change in 20 Minutes.’ External Thinking Big lecturers have included economist and Nobel Prize winner Benny Dembitzer and Chairman and Chief Executive of advertising and communications group AMV BDDO, Cilla Snowball.

Café Scientifique Guest speakers across the broad spectrum of STEM subjects give informal talks to girls across all years, staff and parents. Recent topics have included CRISPR, a new technology allowing targeted alteration of DNA, and potential engineering solutions to problems associated with heavy and congested traffic. Talks often include a discussion on the decisions that led to the speaker’s career, and the girls are encouraged to ask questions. The informality results in genuinely stretching discussions.

External competitions, courses and scholarships We encourage and support students to enter external competitions and to apply for competitive courses and scholarships across many disciplines. While the process of taking part is the key objective, Woldingham students regularly win prestigious awards, including: • Arkwright Engineering Scholarships – awarded to two students in 2019 • Juvenes Translatores (EU Translation Competition) – UK Winner, 2019 • National Youth Theatre Backstage Course – Woldingham student awarded one of just 20 places, 2019 • The Lancaster Writing Award – Winner in Poetry category, 2019 • UK Mathematical Trust Challenges – Nine ‘Kangaroo’ round qualifiers (top 3%) and one Olympiad round qualifier in the Intermediate Level Challenge, 2019 • The Starpack Awards (Design and Technology) – Gold, Silver, Bronze and Highly Commended awards, 2019

Extended Project Qualification Many of our Sixth Formers choose to take the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), which is highly regarded by universities. Students gain the EPQ by choosing a specific topic to research independently, with guidance from a teacher. Universities value EPQs because successful candidates demonstrate research skills, independence and perseverance – all skills required for undergraduate study. Girls who thrive academically in Year 8 are invited to complete an AQA Level 1 Project Qualification. This is similar to a mini EPQ research project, following the process of a logbook, presentation and essay. The openended nature of this recognised qualification means there is scope for a vast array of research on topics such as: ‘How did World War II affect British Women and their Fashion During the War?’ and ‘How has Chinese Communism affected religion in China?’

Our Vision Woldingham provides an outstanding education that empowers women to change the world.

Our Mission Woldingham is a happy and successful school developing confident, compassionate and courageous young women.

Contact For further information, please contact Ms Nicole Weatherston, Deputy Head Academic: weatherstonn@woldinghamschool.co.uk

Woldingham School, Marden Park, Woldingham, Surrey, CR3 7LR T: 01883 349431 E: registrar@woldinghamschool.co.uk www.woldinghamschool.co.uk This document is a carbon balanced publication, where the carbon impact of the production process has been balanced by the World Land Trust. It has been printed using vegan inks and paper stock from a sustainable source.

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