Academic Support and Extension
Academic Extension, Competitive Courses and Oxbridge
Pupils with exceptional ability are closely supported at Pocklington. Our Able, Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator monitors all pupils with the help of a cross-departmental committee, ensuring that able, gifted and talented children across all years are happy and achieving highly.
Subject teachers work closely with individual pupils to check that they are being adequately stretched and challenged. We benefit from small class sizes, allowing us the freedom to operate at a pace which suits each set.
Every year, we enter pupils for Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Linguistics Olympiads, as well as a range of extra-curricular external competitions. Pupils with particular talent in Art, Design, Music, Drama and Sport are supported in a range of opportunities, both in and outside school.
Professor David Crystal OBE with Pocklington School Upper Sixth Form students, following his lecture at the School
We believe that every child, no matter their academic profile, should aspire to become an independent learner and thinker. We begin this process in 1st form, when all classes undertake a cross-curricular homework project in the Summer Term, and continue to foster this spirit of inquiry in lessons and extra-curricular activities as pupils move up the school.
The school offers the EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), in which U6 pupils work closely with a supervisor (usually a member of staff who does not teach them) to research, plan and deliver a ‘product’ of their choice. The skills developed in the EPQ – independence, critical thinking and reflection – are highly valued by universities.
It is vital that pupils do not equate all learning with assessment. To this end, we offer a wide range of extra-curricular lunchtime and after-school activities, as well as a number of departmental trips throughout the year. The Symposium Lecture series, a weekly after-school talk delivered by an external or internal speaker, is open to all 5th, L6 and U6 pupils.
Pupils interested in applying for competitive courses in Medicine, Veterinary Science and Physiotherapy are strongly supported in L6 and U6. We are involved in PBL Facilitator training at HYMS (particularly relevant for Medicine) and can also suggest some work experience opportunities for aspiring Medics and Vets. In addition, we welcome visiting speakers to school and offer pupils guidance on university choices, personal statements and mock interviews (both traditional and MMI).
Our Oxbridge Adviser identifies and supports potential applicants to Oxford and Cambridge from the end of the 5th year through to U6. We invite speakers from both universities to visit school in early November to address 4th, 5th, L6 and U6 groups. We also travel to Oxford and Cambridge in February and June of the L6 year, staying in college accommodation, meeting current students and attending subject-specific talks.
In Michaelmas Term of U6, Oxbridge applicants benefit from an extensive programme of mock interviews, personal statement sessions and group discussion on Thursday afternoons. We are also fortunate to have a number of Old Pocklingtonians who attended Oxford or Cambridge and willingly come back to advise current pupils.
All pupils with specific learning difficulties will have their needs identified, assessed, met and monitored so that they can achieve their full potential in a caring and supportive environment, provided by all the pupil’s teachers.
The Learning Support Department exists to support pupils and promote achievement. We have a register of pupils with specific learning difficulties or dyslexia. There are three stages to the register. Any pupil on stage three receives one or two extra lessons a week with one of our specialist learning support teachers.
Pupils on stages one and two of the register are monitored by the Head of Learning Support, another dyslexia specialist. Some of the stage two pupils have a regular, extra lesson with the Head of Learning Support. Others prefer a “drop-in” type of help where extra sessions can be arranged if pupils are struggling with particular pieces of work.
Pupils on stage one are largely the responsibility of the teaching staff. Our aim is to provide a dyslexia-friendly school where staff and pupils work together to develop strategies to overcome difficulties. The Learning Support Department provides advice and suggestions on differentiating the work and how to get the best from dyslexic pupils. The vast majority of our dyslexic pupils cope extremely well without any extra input from the department but help is always there if needed. Two other members of staff also have specialist dyslexia qualifications.
As pupils make progress they may move from stage to stage. Provision is always flexible and individually tailored. Pupils, parents and staff are always welcome to make contact with the Learning Support Department if they have any concerns. Our aim is to help dyslexic pupils achieve their potential and succeed in life. We have an excellent track record of this.
We also teach English as an Additional Language.