Year 10 and 11 Inspire Programme

Welcome to the Inspire Programme for Years 10 and 11!

On this page you can find an overview of our Year 10 and 11 Inspire Programme. This is an online course focussing on one central question which is approached from a variety of subject viewpoints; each virtual class includes articles, quizzes, games and competitions. We also include information on making informed choices about A-level subjects, conducting research and effective note-taking, writing compelling academic essays, problem-solving and scientific analysis and revision skills. By taking part in the programme you will have an opportunity to follow your interests in depth, while developing study skills and confidence in your ability.


Course outline

The 2020-21 programme will be themed around the question “Why does evolution matter?” This question will be addressed from a number of different subject perspectives in four virtual classes, which will be released in Spring Term 2021. The schedule for the programme is as follows:

Welcome to the course: Why does evolution matter? (PDF)

Release date: 14 December 2020

Class 1: Biology and Darwinian evolution (PDF)

In our first class of the year, we will begin by looking at evolution from the traditional Darwinian perspective. We’ll discuss what is meant by the terms ‘evolution’ and ‘natural selection’, and look at how these processes can be observed in genetics, viruses, humans and other mammals. We will also consider fossil records as a means to trace evolutionary developments from long ago in the Earth’s history.

Subjects covered: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Maths
Release date: 4 January 2021
Competition deadline: 1 February 2021

Class 2: Evolution as a metaphor

In the previous class, we learned about evolution as a driver of biological change. But other kinds of change function in quite similar ways, and today we will use the metaphor of evolution to consider changes in human communication over time. We will look at how English has evolved over the past several centuries, and how it is still evolving today in our increasingly digital world. We will also consider how books and novels have evolved through different formats, styles and practices that reflect the societies producing them.

Subjects covered: English, Linguistics, Literature, Modern Languages
Release date: 1 February 2021
Competition deadline: 1 March 2021

Class 3: Evolution, science and technology

In the past two classes, we have looked at evolution in the past, but now it’s time to turn to the future: this class is all about evolution in science and technology. We will look at the evolution of flying and aeroplanes, brain development and artificial intelligence, and the evolution of consciousness itself. In this class we will take what we have learned about how evolution works and apply it to subjects in the sciences to see where we might be going as well as where we have come from.

Subjects covered: Engineering, Maths, Medicine, Physics, Psychology
Release date: 1 March 2021
Competition deadline: 29 March 2021

Class 4: Culture and history through the lens of evolution

For our final class of the year, we examine culture and history through the lens of evolution. We will begin by looking at how theories of evolution developed through history, from the ancient Greeks through theologians to Darwin, and we will consider the debate between evolution and creationism. And finally, we will investigate the evolution of cultural phenomena such as music and poetry, and how we can use these to learn about how human culture has evolved through time.

Subjects covered: Classics, Economics, History, Music, Philosophy, Poetry, Theology
Release date: 29 March 2021
Competition deadline: 26 April 2021

Summer School for Year 11

The Inspire Programme Year 11 Summer School is an exciting opportunity for Year 11 pupils on the course to visit St John’s College, Oxford to experience life as an undergraduate student. You will attend workshops led by current university researchers, meet Oxford undergraduates and participate in fun trips around Oxford.

In order to be eligible to participate in the Summer School, Year 11 pupils need to:

  • Be registered for the Year 10 & 11 programme by 14 December 2020
  • Participate in at least one competition during the course of the programme
  • Complete a Summer School application form

There will be a competitive application process for places on the Summer School. The exact dates of the summer school will be announced here in due course, and further details will also be provided in the virtual class materials.

Summer School for Year 10

The Inspire Programme Year 10 Summer School in 2021 is an opportunity for Year 10 pupils on the course to continue their participation through virtual lectures and workshops, videos and all-new interactive activities. The Year 10 Summer School is entirely virtual and free to participate in for all Year 10 pupils registered on the course by 14 December 2020.

Current Year 10 pupils will be able to continue on the course in the 2021-22 academic year, and apply for a place on the 2022 Summer School to visit St John’s College, Oxford.


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