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Senior School Beyond Curricular Learning

Senior School Beyond Curricular Learning
in Senior

From their first years at St Swithun’s girls are taught to examine social, cultural and moral issues so that they can make informed decisions about their own way of living as well as respecting the values of others.

PSHE Thrive

The Thrive PSHE programme is tailored for each year group and delivered through a range of school activities and specialist speakers. Its aim is to give the girls confidence in themselves so that they do not feel they necessarily have to conform to society's expectations.

Academic Challenge

Stretch, is a weekly academic enrichment programme for the entire school. The girls in L4-L5 (Years 7-9) follow a compulsory programme of activities such as astronomy, thinking skills, experimental art, discovering the news and the great egg challenge while the older girls will have a choice of courses including ethics and science, Socratic discussion and UK political issues.

Our whole-school academic enrichment programme provides an elevated and engaging academic layer for students needing rigorous academic challenges and stimulation throughout their time at St Swithun’s. Regular additional sessions help students to develop critical and creative thinking skills and a rigorous approach to academic study and scholarly endeavour.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday


Weekly drop-in session

Symbols of scholarship:
academic lunch

Thinking skills,
tests and critical
thinking session

Oxbridge questions Stretch session

Alternative time
for weekly drop-in

Three minute thesis/
personal statement

Personal statement drop-in session

Oracy and action group

Academic reading group

Philosothon is a friendly competition in which a team works together to reach a set of academically and philosophically satisfying ideas. Members who forward the thinking of the team by being prepared to contribute controversial points of view score well. Topics include: What is Art? What is the point of Education? What is Happiness? What is the Law? This is an absolute must Stretch option for any girl considering Oxbridge or wishing to develop her academic and thinking skills.

Guests joining girls for Symbols of Scholarship Academic Lunches talk about their work, academic interests and research.

Oxbridge Questions Stretch sessions invite students to engage in high level thinking skills by examining a range of responses to some of the renowned Cambridge and Oxford University interview questions. These sessions are valuable for any girl considering Oxbridge or indeed wishing to sharpen her academic skills.

Oracy and Action Group helps pupils improve both public speaking and thinking skills by deconstructing and analysing a famous speech or reading.

Three Minute Thesis / Personal Statement Competition is inspired by a famous competition on the university circuit. The winner is the student who can best present themselves through their personal statement in three minutes.

Leadership Programme

Leadership days encompass a range of physically challenging and mentally stimulating tasks designed to develop confident leadership and followership skills. The format, objectives and tasks are tailored according to each specific year group so that they revolve around relevant issues.

There is also a series of leadership-themed lunchtime workshops for students with school responsibilities (such as the head girl team) to discuss the practicalities of leading.  

Academic competitions

St Swithun’s students take part in a number of national academic competitions, such as:

  •  Oxford Schools Debating Competition,
  •  Maths Challenge and Maths Olympiad run by the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust
  •  Biology Olympiad
  •  Physics Olympiad
  •  Poetry by Heart
  •  ARTiculation

In 2017 we hosted the Winchester Maths Circle (a United Kingdom Mathematics Trust event) which consists of two days of stretching mathematical activity including workshops led by experienced and inspiring mathematicians.

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