The Lister Scholars’ Programme aims to provide a stimulating and challenging learning environment for the most able students through seminars, clubs, trips, and competitions, as well specially created in-class provision. Through broadening students’ cultural capital and pursuing their academic ability we work to support these high attaining students to reach their full potential in the Lower School and thus help prepare them to succeed as they move into Upper School and beyond. Furthermore, by working towards developing our students as well-rounded individuals we ensure their applications to top universities are supported, not only by their grades, but by their experiences and interests – marking them out as curious and compelling applicants. There are lots of ways our Scholars are challenged outside the classroom and I would like  to use this blog post to explore just a few of them, reflecting on what happened last year and what we have coming up this year.

Each week, Scholars seminars are run for the Lower School. Seminars aim to enhance students’ cultural capital, expose them to new and exciting concepts, events or topics and challenge them to think critically.  Last year’s Seminars exposed students to topics ranging from volunteering, the link between music and architecture and the culture of fear; all delivered by the staff at Lister who have many different specialist interests. We look forward to exploring more topics this year and allowing our Upper School Scholars to create their own seminars about discrete interests.

Debate club will begin again after half term and works to develop students as confident speakers and masters of the art of argument construction. Both Lower and Upper school will be taking part in Debate Mate again this year. We hope to beat our (30thish) position in the Urban Debate league!

Trips happen throughout the year on the Scholars Programme and see students discovering worlds of art, politics and some of the most prestigious universities in the country. Last year we visited the Imperial War Museum and also discovered what it was like to be a student at Cambridge for the day. As we look to this year, similar opportunities will arise. Keep your eyes peeled for student reflections on their trips.

This week I am especially looking forward to meeting all of the students from years 10 and 11 who have gained a place on The Access Project. The Access Project offers students the opportunity to have weekly bespoke mentoring from an individual at University. This means that they are supported in improving their knowledge and understanding in a subject that they may be struggling in, or that they would like to study further in College and University. It also encourages their autonomy and independence as many of them travel to the University to meet with their mentors after school. I know the students get a lot from this project and so it will be exciting to speak to them as they move through the year.

Finally, another thing I am most looking forward to is the ‘Celebration of Scholars Evening’ which will be held on Thursday 27th September from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. During this evening we will look at the experiences of the Scholars students last year.  This is an exciting way to see Scholars from across the school present and engage the audience (sometimes with a Maths problem or two!) and also discrete subject Scholars with specialist Art displays and Music and Drama performances. If you want some more information about the programme, this would be a great thing to see!

These are just a few ways our Scholars are challenged outside of the classroom. At Lister we aim to challenge all of our students and as we focus further on really challenging our high ability students I will write about what we are up to and how our Scholars are working.

Sara Voisey

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