The Scholars Programme at Lister Community School aims to close the gap between the opportunities given to high ability students from state schools like ours and their privately educated peers. We want to ensure that they are given experiences which will give them a competitive edge when pursuing further education and careers, and we want to provide them with the freedom to broaden their cultural capital and explore their own interests.

The ‘Higher Project’ is a fantastic opportunity for our students to expand their knowledge and skills. The Project requires students to complete a research project on a topic of their choice, this could take the form of an essay, an exhibition, a case study etc. Though students have a subject specific mentor to support them, the Project is largely independent and gives them the opportunity to complete a university-style assignment and engage with primary and secondary sources. The Higher Project is also the equivalent of a GCSE, which allows them to gain an additional qualification.

Topics can vary and this means that students can explore niche areas of interest. The Projects that are currently being completed range from the History of Art to changing attitudes towards Mental Health and the evolution of the NHS.

A year 10 student, currently in the middle of her project on the ‘History of Art’ has said ‘In general, the Higher Project is a great opportunity. It allows people to get a GCSE qualification out of a topic that they enjoy as well as helping them gain new skills that will help them in the future. For example, the Higher Project has helped me become more independent and allowed me to become more efficient.’

Students are excited and engaged by the research and eager to complete their Projects to the highest standard. On top of the research skills gained, students also improve their time management and work ethic. Students that have taken part in the Higher Project have also  been seen excelling in their classwork, proving that the Higher Project really does help our students to aim ‘higher’.

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