At St Joseph’s, every pupil is stretched and challenged to become the very best they can be, and we are particularly proud of our success with our pupils that have been identified as Able, Gifted and Talented.
Pupils are identified as AG&T by subject teachers and also through our regular tracking and assessment points. The list is regularly updated so that pupils who develop a talent, gift or flair for a subject can access the AG&T programme throughout the year.
We have recently launched our revised AG&T programme at St Joseph’s Catholic School and are impressed with the results that it is having, with many departments getting their best ever % of A-A* results in 2015.
Once on the programme, there are regular meetings of both KS3 and KS4 students to complete their AG&T portfolio (a working document which encourages students to extend their learning independently) and to discuss extra- curricular opportunities for them.
We aim to ensure all students are stretched with a variety of activities and extension tasks and within KS4 progress is monitored closely to prevent coasting and encourage challenge; this will be incorporated into the KS3 curriculum also.
Outside the classroom, AG&T students are offered a range of subject specific opportunities to further foster their specific interests and skills. Previously these have ranged from visiting the prototype of ‘Bloodhound SSC’ through ICT, to hearing a lecture from world renowned author Cornelia Funke through English. Talented scientists have had the opportunity to attend a summer school at the University of Cambridge and other university led summer schools are accessible also. Alongside this, we arrange for motivational speakers and workshops to help inspire all AG&T students and have enjoyed visits to and from a number of Russell Group universities, including Oxford to raise aspirations and inform our pupils’ choices.
Law Summer School
I have been extremely fortunate to be offered a generous bursary to go to a top-class Debate Chamber Summer Law School during the Summer Holidays. For this week, I spent most of my time at the University of London Union, working with tutors that were mainly graduates from Oxbridge. We focused on many areas of Constitutional Law, International Law and Human Rights. Personally, I found this experience incredibly interesting – the tutors were over-the-top knowledgeable! As one of the youngest students at the Summer school, I worked with a lot of older students who were very enthusiastic and loved to debate… Therefore my debating challenge was accepted!
At the end of the week, we all worked together as there was International Mock Trials. So, our lecture room was transformed to be the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands. There were also actors who played the witnesses and another class were the jury. We were able to make a decision as the jury for another class too. I thoroughly enjoyed being an individual advocate wearing the wig and gown defending our ‘victim’. This was an amazing, challenging and thought-provoking opportunity that I would definitely recommend.
– Kirstie Stage (Year 11)
This chemistry camp which took place at Cambridge University enabled me to experience how life at a university would be like. I had to live in an accommodation for three days on my own. However, with the aid from a few friends at the place enabled me to settle very easily and quickly. The staffs that run the camp were very helpful and optimistic. This allowed me to ask questions confidently and also allowed it to clear my doubts.
Although, some activities were very hard to understand at first, as a team we got through and completed the experiments and activities. On the first day, when I got there, I had the chance to make friends, socialise with others and get to know more about each other. Then we moved onto our first activity of the camp. This experiment was based on how different conditions affect the rate of reaction. The experiment our group carried out was based on different concentrations. At the end of the activity, we had a little challenge on which group could cause change in colour reaction, within the time period given.
The second day, it was very busy. Firstly, our group carried out the reaction an undergraduate would carry out when he/she enters university. This aim of the experiment was to make benzocaine; benzocaine is a medical anaesthetic. I was also introduced to new equipment- burette and Buhner funnel. As a group, we had to identify how different conditions affect the amount of benzocaine produced. Secondly, we made paint using certain chemicals and painted our own paintings. Lastly, we took a tour around certain colleges within Cambridge University. The buildings were absolutely stunning.
On the last day, we had the opportunity to make glow sticks by carrying out certain chemicals reactions. It was very fun. The science behind this was fascinating. At the end of the activity, we all gathered and took selfies and shared our contacts; to keep in contact.
This wonderful opportunity was great eye-opener for me. It led me to choose whether to do chemistry as a course at University and I learned prodigious and new things. I would definitely recommend others to go on the camp, as you can experience life at University and learn new and astounding things by having fun.
– Jerin Jacob