The programme begins with the often overlooked subject of reading in the Lower Years, with pupils given a dedicated period in the timetable to read and record their thoughts. It continues within the curriculum in the Third Form Trivium and the Lower Sixth Form Quadrivium courses, which are cross-curricular explorations of widely expansive topics designed to stimulate pupils’ curiosity about all things. Many Sixth Form pupils choose to complete the Extended Project Qualification which provides an invaluable opportunity to follow a rigorous programme of independent research.
Debating and Public Speaking Societies engage pupils across all year groups, and the Inter-House debating competition takes place at both senior and junior levels, training pupils to hone their critical thinking and to respond flexibly, articulately and persuasively, and to view questions from a variety of standpoints. Pupils discover teamwork skills and the art of listening as they develop confidence both in presenting a case and in responding to counter arguments.
Each academic department has its own society which organises evening talks led by an impressive range of visiting speakers who address ideas and issues within and beyond the curriculum. A rolling programme of fifteen-minute afternoon assemblies for each year group is led by members of the Common Room who share their own ideas and thoughts for pupils to take away.