Bright Sparks at PGS

by Mrs Samantha Robinson
Deputy Head of Sixth Form and Head of Ignite

2018 saw the launch of the Ignite! Programme, a new Enrichment programme designed to spark a passion for learning and to enrich pupil experience at PGS, inspiring pupils with a love of learning for learning’s sake and preparing them for the challenging and ever-changing worlds of higher education and employment.

The programme takes place every Thursday afternoon throughout Year 12 and consists of 5 key elements:

1.Academic Enrichment

2.Inspirational Speakers

3.Personal Enrichment

4.Making a Difference

5.PGS Extend

Academic Enrichment: No Grades, No Syllabus

Ignite! is a programme in which pupils come first, not exams, or grades, or numbers. Free from curriculum specifications, subject experts, both within the school and external providers, have devised a wide range of exciting programmes catering for the interests and talents of pupils.

During the Autumn and Spring terms, pupils take two academic enrichment courses, each lasting five weeks, from a wide range of options across a range of disciplines: Humanities, Entrepreneurship, Arts & Languages, Tech and Science. Pupils choose the courses they are most drawn to and spend time in small group sessions exploring new material.

The options this year have been enormously popular with pupils, who have particularly enjoyed learning new languages in ‘Chinese for Beginners’ and ‘Russian Language and Literature’, becoming entrepreneurs in the ‘Lean Start Up’ course, honing their rhetorical skills in ‘How to Win at Arguments’, becoming environmental warriors in Sustainability, making ibuprofen in Medicinal Chemistry and writing new programmes in Coding School.

The sessions have inspired and challenged pupils beyond the curriculum and have allowed them to progress in their aim of becoming confident and strong independent learners. During the summer term, all Ignite! pupils follow the PGS Extend programme, a longer project-learning exercise which allows pupils the opportunity to explore a super-curricular area of interest prior to making their UCAS applications.

Personal Enrichment

The Personal Enrichment Programme allows pupils to explore their interests outside of their academic studies. During the Autumn and Spring terms, they take an option from an exciting range of activities including Songwriting Academy, Dance, Yoga, Food for Thought, Costume Assistant, Self-Defence and Climbing.

One of the most exciting events on the Ignite! calendar is the Young Songwriters’ Gig at local venue The Wedgewood Rooms, where pupils were able to share their work with fellow music lovers.

Making a Difference

Giving back to the local community is a priority for Ignite! pupils, who complete a five week volunteering block as part of the service element of the programme. We have developed excellent links with organisations across the city which offer valuable opportunities for pupils to engage with the local community at grassroots level and enrich the lives of others.

Working in this kind of environment allows pupils to give back to their own community and encourages the development of valuable ‘soft skills’, including leadership, teamwork, communication skills and social awareness. Pupils can opt for a variety of options, ranging from local primary schools, care homes, museums and churches. They are encouraged to set up their own placement ifthey have a specific area of interest, for example coaching young players in local rugby clubs or acting as language assistants with younger pupils.

"Just to let you know the 3 girls you have sent over are absolutely superb! Please can you congratulate them and thank them."
Katie Moore, Head of PGS Nursery

What have you most enjoyed?

“Some of the rotations easily offer beneficial outcomes for potential future career paths and skills for me. They have also been beneficial socially for me, in meeting new members of the school community - especially being a new pupil in Year 12.”

"The beach clean during the sustainability section as I enjoyed doing something to look after our environment as a group."

"The Christmas themed cooking sessions!"