Scholarships and Awards
We do not award academic scholarships on the strength of the entrance tests alone. We believe that we gain a much more accurate picture of a child’s academic ability after we have had an opportunity to see the quality of their work within the School. Therefore, we first award academic scholarships at the beginning of Year 8, usually to twelve pupils. Two further scholarships are awarded at the end of Years 8, 9 and 10 on the basis of examination results, pupils’ class work and homework, and teachers' assessment of a pupil's effort and performance. There are also a small number of lesser awards, Academic Exhibitions, awarded at the same time as the scholarships.
All academic awards (other than Foundation Scholarships – see below) are made for the duration of a Key Stage (Key Stage 3 ends in the summer of Year 9; Key Stage 4 in Year 11), and awards for the following Key Stage are made afresh. It is possible, indeed likely, that an academic scholarship will not be re-awarded, and there is no opprobrium intended: pupils develop differently and work with different ambitions accordingly.
For the Sixth Form we award scholarships to both external and internal pupils. Internal pupils who receive ten A* (or Grade 8 or 9) are asked to apply for a scholarship and give evidence of their academic interests within and beyond the classroom; they are also interviewed by the Deputy Head (Academic) and the Teacher in charge of Scholars. Their academic record over their two GCSE the preceding two years is also taken into account when awards are made. For external pupils, performance at interview is a key factor.
The Deputy Head (Academic), Mr James Newton, and the Teacher in charge of Scholars, Dr Ben Dabby (the Head of History), manage our provision for scholars, an outline of which is set out below. You will see that we take this provision seriously and endeavour to ensure that the academic needs of all our pupils are met. The highest achievers are of course a very important section of our community.
Academic scholarships are honorary and do not bring with them any remission of the school fee.
Foundation Scholarships are the most senior award in the school. These are normally awarded to pupils in Year 12 who have held an academic scholarship for a number of years and who have shown exceptional commitment to their studies. Such individuals will also have modelled scholarly behaviour, aspiration and academic drive to the highest standards, such that we feel it only right to recognise their achievements by upgrading their academic award.
THE SCHOLARS' PROGRAMME
The Scholars’ Programme in each Key Stage is centred on academic fora, in which academic scholars and exhibitioners attend specially designed talks and seminars led by members of staff from different subject departments. Pupils complete purposeful preparatory work in advance of the fora, each of which takes them beyond the syllabus and develops their skills of critical thinking. Academic debate and problem-solving are at the heart of these meetings, which broaden pupils’ educational experience and horizons. They help to promote the central aims of our teaching and learning culture: to enable all pupils to view academic struggle, i.e. the intellectual process of research and problem-solving, as a normal and valuable aspect of their learning; to make learning in Years 10 and 11 as academically stimulating, enriching, and enjoyable as possible; and to cultivate intellectual independence and reflection in Sixth Form. In Sixth Form, the programme of academic fora is complemented by a programme of afterschool visits to public lectures, concerts, and plays, from which academic scholars select two to attend each term. These educational visits are designed to promote Sixth Form scholars’ academic skills of listening and intellectual reflection, and the development of their own academic interests. In this respect, they complement our Critical Method course in Year 12, and Critical Independence course in Year 13.
The Governors offer at least ten Music Awards to pupils who have gained a place through the normal entry arrangements (tests and interviews). The scale of the award is made at the discretion of the Head and Governors, depending on the strength of the field; awards of between 10% and 20% have been made in recent years, and this has been combined with means-tested bursarial support which the School will be happy to explore with successful candidates. Music Exhibitions are also offered without fee remission. All Music Scholars and Exhibitioners are offered free tuition on two instruments (including voice) with the School’s music teachers during school time. Music Awards are normally tenable throughout a pupil’s time at the School, provided progress and conduct remain satisfactory.
The Director of Music reviews annually the academic performance of scholars and their attitude to their studies. If a pupil’s progress and contribution falls below the standard we expect from our Award Holders, then s/he may, after discussion with the pupil and parents/carers and with the Head, remove the award at the end of a Key Stage (ie at the end of Year 9 or Year 11), giving at least two terms’ notice. Award Holders are expected to contribute regularly and fully to the musical life of the school throughout their career. There are regular concerts during term-time and many opportunities for solo performance. The House Music Competitions, solo instrumental and vocal competitions, workshops and masterclasses also provide opportunities for Music Award Holders to work with distinguished visiting professionals. To support our Award Holders, a Music Department-based mentoring programme is in place to ensure that pupils’ progress and musical schedule is reviewed every term and that musical and other commitments are kept in a healthy balance.