On Monday 30th April eight Year 10 students from Mounts Bay Academy were joined by four from Five Islands School to travel to Oxford for their graduation from the Scholars’ Programme. Each of the students had completed a 2000 word assignment critically evaluating the statement “We know not through our intellect but through our experience”. Their paper was assessed at ‘A’ Level standard and graded using the university degree awards. All students passed the course with many of the students receiving first class passes which equates to outstanding even for an A Level student. Eleanor took the opportunity of a capitive minibus audience to sing twinkle twinkle little star whilst we made our way which helped the miles fly by.
To maximise the value of the long drive we planned to stay over in Oxford overnight which meant that we could visit St Peter’s College on the Monday evening where we were given dinner before a tour of the campus and being showed a room that is used for seminars. Mia, perhaps inspired by her surroundings, shared her hypothesis which will be the basis of her physics Phd in seven years time. Minds blown we were all ready for our beds so we checked into the Youth Hostel and went to our rooms.
May Day in Oxford is celebrated by a choristers of Magdalen College choir singing Hymnus Eucharisticus from the great tower at 6am followed by the bells being rung. There was street entertainment in the form Morris Dancers, a samba band, Scottish piper with dancers and a brass band. The eight students who wanted to experience this proved their parents wrong and got themselves out of bed in time to meet with us in reception at 5am for the walk into town. As we neared Magdalen bridge the crowd grew but we were fortunate enough to be able to stand right at the base of the tower. The crowd continued to swell until at 6 the clock bell rung and the singing began. It was a beautiful cloud free morning and despite the near freezing temperatures the atmosphere was surreal. As we walked back through the city the rising sun struck the buildings cause a stark contrast in colour as faces were bathed in sun or shade. We enjoyed a coffee to warm up before back to the Youth Hostel for breakfast.
After breakfast we all had a short look around Oxford before it was time for the graduation. We arrived at St Anne’s College. In the morning the students spent time learning about why they should consider going to University and in particular the most selective in the country, the benefits, the opportunities, the costs and the financial support available. Before lunch we had a tour of the campus which included halls of residence, grounds, junior common room and coffee shop. Lunch was taken in the sun on the lawn.
During the afternoon session, the students reviewed what they had learnt from the programme and the skills that had used such critical thinking, research, communication, proof reading, personal organisation, essay planning, referencing and resilience and shared this with students from the other schools present.
The visit ended with the graduation and all the students receiving certificates to mark their achievement. Lilyjane was disappointed that she couldn’t give her full acceptance address but we were treated to it on the way home.
The day ended with the drive back to Penzance which Jacob serenading us with the chorus of “What doesn’t kill you” supported by Kelly Clarkson.
The students were amazing ambassadors for both schools throughout the trip and the whole programme and I trust this has given them further confidence that they can successfully apply for a place at one of the countries top universities when the time comes.
Report by Mr Jack