Exciting developments in the Inspire Programme during Michaelmas 2019

Michaelmas Term has been an exciting and busy time in the Access & Outreach Office at St John’s! In addition to launching our very own Twitter account and growing our Instagram presence, our Inspire programme has grown bigger and better than ever this term. 

Pre-GCSE Inspire Programme

Our innovative pre-GCSE Inspire Programme launched in October with 24 participating schools and 336 pupils enrolled across our link regions of Ealing and Harrow. An estimated 450 pupils, parents and teachers attended our in-school launch events, and a separate Teachers’ Reception was also held at the British Academy in November. 

We have appointed Teacher Coordinators in each of these schools, who deliver fortnightly after-school clubs across a variety of subjects to their cohort of pupils. The first two pairs of after-school clubs were delivered in schools during the course of Michaelmas Term: two on Biology (focussing on DNA and Human Health), and two on Philosophy and Ethics (focussing on Global Justice and Poverty). This term we are developing clubs in Languages & Linguistics and Physics & Engineering: pupils will learn how to tackle unfamiliar languages with some surprisingly simple tools and tricks, and experiment with lenses to learn about imaging a black hole. 

In addition to these after-school clubs, we have also planned six full Aspiration Days per borough running on weekends over the next two terms; these include trips to the London Science Museum, an animal roadshow held in schools, as well as workshops led by the Globe Theatre and the UK Parliament Education Team. Look out for a review of the Science Museum Aspiration Days coming later this month – for now you can find some highlights of the first day on our Instagram

Year 11 Inspire Programme

Photo of Agnes the Access Lamb reading the first Year 11 class materials
Agnes the Access Lamb reads the first Year 11 class materials

The Year 11 Inspire Programme is an online course coordinated via our website Inspire Digital. The course focuses on one central question which is approached from a variety of subjects; each class includes articles, quizzes, games and competitions. All registered participants who complete at least one of the competitions during the programme are able to apply for a place on our residential summer school from 2-4 August 2020. 

This year’s central question is: ‘What is the power of a volcano?’. 578 participants from non-selective state schools across the whole UK are enrolled on the course, and the first class was released on 6 January. We have already received a number of excellent competition entries, and are looking forward to many more! 

Year 12 Inspire Programme

Photo of Agnes the Access Lamb reading flyers for the Year 12 Inspire Programme
Agnes the Access Lamb reads flyers for the Year 12 Inspire Programme

The Year 12 Inspire Programme consists of a series of five Twilight Sessions throughout the year at schools and sixth form colleges in Ealing and Harrow. Sessions include a combination of academic taster talks by scholars from Oxford or other leading universities, and expert guidance on skills development and how to make an effective and competitive application to university. All participants will also be eligible to apply for the residential summer school, taking place from 3-7 August 2020. Applications for the programme have now closed, and we are looking forward to making a start on the Twilight Sessions in February.

Upcoming

We have a busy programme of school visits and roadshows coming up this term! Learn more about booking a visit to St John’s, and find out more about our roadshows here. We are also currently recruiting for our Study Days in Maths, History and Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, as well as our tenth annual Classics and Ancient History Essay Competition! Find out more about our Study Days and Essay Competition here, where you can also find recaps of last year’s events. 

On the Inspire front, you may have noticed that our Inspire Programme seems to skip Year 10 – not for long! A Year 10 online course modelled on the successful Year 11 Inspire Programme will be launching around Easter. As the pre-GCSE Inspire Programme continues, we are also looking forward to developing some teachers’ CPD resources to provide support to our fantastic Teacher Coordinators. 

We’re looking forward to another exciting term working with pupils, schools and teachers – watch this space for more updates soon!

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