At Surbiton High School, engaging, encouraging and inspiring pupils underpins everything we do. We believe that if pupils are encouraged and inspired to explore the world around them and are given the freedom to make choices about what they learn and how they learn it, they will be more engaged in their work. Research projects are the best opportunity for pupils to experience the challenge of academic research in a supportive and forgiving environment. Pupils are given various opportunities to carry out research projects:
Year 7 – Project Curiosity runs as part of the ‘Be the Best you can Be’ curriculum.
The ‘Be the Best you can Be’ programme aims:
- To increase the self-confidence and aspirations of young people
- To inspire young people to engage with the ethos and values of the Olympics, whilst harnessing the Olympian spirit to ‘Be the Best they can Be’
- To provide young people with new skills, particularly peer coaching, to support and challenge their dreams and aspirations
- To awaken young people to their potential by enabling them to develop personal strengths and capabilities, raise awareness and take responsibility for future opportunities and choices
- To encourage and motivate young people to pursue the challenge of personal development through lifelong learning
Some of the key topics that the girls will be taught include how to use their minds effectively; they will focus on the importance of relationships and the spirit of resilience. Well being and fitness are an integral part to this course as is the importance of peer mentoring.
Year 8 –Over the past few years, the Art and Biology Departments have united to create an exciting Year 8 cross-curricular project, culminating in an exhibition of innovative artworks and fascinating research presentations. In Biology, the girls have a series of lessons where they are taught key skills in researching topics; they work independently in their teams to ask and then research to answer a question on the Human impact on the particular organism or topic they have chosen. The Art Studio is a buzz with Year 8 students drawing, painting, planning, investigating the work of other artists and constructing; culminating in a collection of wonderful 2D and 3D artworks. Each group must consider research findings in their Biological studies in order to create a piece of art that reflects each team’s personal, creative response.
Year 9 – are offered the chance to work with Queen Mary’s University, researching an aspect of Human Rights in Britain. This project begins with a day spent at Queen Mary’s University working with the British Institute of Human Rights learning about a variety of issues relevant in today’s society that affect human rights. Pupils then work collaboratively in groups researching a specific topic of their choice and produce an extended essay or report which includes findings from primary and secondary research. The project culminates in a presentation evening attended by professors from Queen Mary’s University.
Years 10 and 12 are encouraged to take part in an AQA accredited Extended Project. Year 10 are encouraged to complete a higher project qualification which is equivalent to half a GCSE. Pupils undertake a carefully designed taught programme which enables them to develop their research, time management and presentation skills. In recent years girls have research topics as diverse as ‘Language used by GPs’ to ‘The influence of Leonardo da Vinci on Renaissance Art.’
It is expected that the majority of Year 12 pupils will complete an Extended Project Qualification equivalent to half an A-level. As with the projects undertaken by Year 10, there is an extensive taught course and pupils work closely with members of staff to help develop their ideas. Projects in the past have included ‘The role of vaccinations in the treatment of Foot and Mouth disease’ to ‘The Comparison of North and South Korea with the imposed divided of Germany.’
All projects have allowed pupils to develop a variety of skills, including independence, research, time management, communication, presentation and extended writing. Through their research pupils can experience the opportunity to be the ‘expert in the room’, when the final presentation is given. For all the projects offered, pupils also get to experience what it is like working more collaboratively with a wide variety of staff members. Girls studying for the accredited Extended Projects work closely with supervisors, who challenge them to extend their understanding of their chosen topic.