Fostering a love of learning, thinking and scholarship is one of the most important ways in which we can try to ensure that our boys thrive not only at school and university but also later in life. To this end, we offer all boys from Year 7 to Year 13 a variety of opportunities for intellectual engagement at the highest level.
Lower School boys (Years 7 and 8) are encouraged to attend our lively weekly meetings, where difficult and fascinating ideas are introduced, such as the nature of perception, the ethics of veganism, or the problem of free will. Essays on subjects such as these are an important part of our challenging Scholarship examination, which is open to any boy in Year 8.
In the Middle School (Years 9, 10 and 11) the Scholarship programme is extended. Weekly meetings run by the Head of Scholarship and other members of the teaching staff are complemented by half-termly set-piece events, such as lectures and panel discussions. Middle School boys are encouraged to enter the Gareth Evans Essay Competition, named after an illustrious Old Alleynian philosopher. Recent essay topics have included: ‘Do future generations have rights?’ and ‘Has the internet changed the way we think?’ Finally, Middle School boys are offered the opportunity to attend conferences at other institutions, such as the Humanities Festival recently held at Sydenham High School for Girls, and to visit colleges and museums in Oxford and Cambridge.
In the Upper School, we encourage those boys who are intellectually ambitious to attend weekly enrichment sessions in the subject they wish to study at university. If their choice of university subject is not offered at A-level by the College, such as Psychology or Anthropology, sessions are organized by the Head of Scholarship. A number of one-to-one tutorials are also offered, as well as practice university interviews, run in conjunction with other schools. Boys are encouraged to read as widely as possible: advice and bibliographies are available from departments, in the Wodehouse Library and on The Thinkers’ Hub. The Thinkers’ Hub also has information on the Erasmus Essay Prize, a prestigious inter-schools essay competition which was won this year by Edward Wilson (Year 12), as well as range of other essay prizes offered mainly by Oxford and Cambridge Colleges.