Hello, my name is Aliyah and I am a Year 7 Scholars Prefect at Lister Community School. In our school, there are two Scholars Prefects in each year group from years 7-10. As part of our position, we will help out in open evenings by giving speeches, presentations, etc.  We will also contribute to this blog on a regular basis, which has been set up in order to provide readers with an insight into the opportunities on offer for our Lister Scholars. As a Year 7 student, I will be discussing the opportunities available to our lower school scholars (those in years 7 and 8), whilst the next post will be written by some of our upper school prefects (from years 10 and 11).

Every Tuesday, the year 7 and 8 scholars have the opportunity to attend Scholars’ Seminars, which take place after school from 3.15-4pm. This club is organised, and usually run by Ms Gazi but on some occasions, it is run by other Lister staff or special guests. During these sessions, we learn about a particular topical issue. The seminars usually focus on a different topic every week, but often there is an overarching theme that links a handful of the seminars. So far, we’ve had seminars on philosophy, the universe, social psychology, and the prison system. These mimic the style of a university-style seminar, and it is immensely important that scholars attend as it is advantageous to us in so many ways. It helps us develop our knowledge, confidence and self-esteem, so that we can achieve outstanding results in upcoming tests and most importantly our GCSEs, which will enable us to attend great sixth forms and universities.

My favourite session was one about mindfulness. It was led by Mr Rowan, who has a very soothing and calming voice. During this session, we learnt how to focus on the present and not ruminate on the past, or potential future events. We listened to a video about a virtual barbershop and with our eyes closed, we had to visualise what was happening in our minds by using our senses. It was very spine-tingling because it felt like the barber was shaving my head because of the loud noises. After this session, I felt relaxed and I felt as though I was better at focusing on the present.

I also enjoyed the session where we talked about prisons. During this, we learnt about the three factors that impact the effectiveness of punishments such as prison sentences.

1) Certainty – offenders generally did not really worry about how long the sentence was, they worried about how certain it would be that they would get caught.

2) Celerity – offenders thought about how quickly they would be charged. It would not be very effective if you committed a crime and police sent you to prison two years later.

3) Severity –  a lengthier sentence generally doesn’t make offenders less likely to commit crime.  

In addition to this, we learnt about two types of deterrence, which prevents people from committing crime. General deterrence is when other people are prevented from committing crimes, but special deterrence refers to a particular person re-offending.

Not only do our lower school scholars get to come to Scholars Seminars, they also get to go on exciting trips and visits. For example, there will be an upcoming Year 7 trip to the university of Cambridge in a few months time.

Thank you for reading the first post on this blog – I hope it gave you an insight into the Scholars’ Programme at Lister.

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