The Scholars’ programme at KES aims at catering for those students who exhibit scholarly characteristics, namely: consistent academic excellence; strong academic potential; intellectual curiosity, and; scholarly flair, i.e. an ‘edge’ or enthusiasm for learning that will mark them out as different to their peers. Scholarship is about more than hard work and attainment, with interest and aptitude at least as important in the mix of desirable qualities. The Scholarship programme is designed to support the enthusiasms and the high ability of the pupils involved, to challenge them to look beyond the syllabus, to forge links between their subjects and to consider how their school studies link into the wider world. KES scholars are expected to be role models and leaders of the academic community at school, and the role requires a degree of responsibility in terms of attending events and completing some assignments in order to help them to do this.
Details of the availability, procedures and criteria for academic scholarships are outlined in the pdf below. Please note that this document does not deal with bursaries. Queries regarding the availability of bursaries should be addressed to the Registrar.
The Scholars’ programme is not uniform nor standardised but organic and responsive, taking advantage of wider interests and events and supporting students in their intellectual growth rather than just setting out another range of tasks to complete. Hence, it may look very different year on year depending on what else is going on in the school or in the wider community, the make-up of a particular group of scholars or what stage of their education scholars are at – Sixth Form scholars will be expected to take advantage of the school’s subject Academic Societies for instance, whilst past scholars have engaged in a Cogit-8 Conference held at KES and next year’s scholars should be participating in one or several joint events with Stroud School. The following is a flavour of some of the things that KES Scholars (and any other interested students!) have been engaged with over the academic year 2019-20:
- Lower School Scholars have had a series of 20-minute lunchtime talks from interested teachers on subjects that range beyond the curriculum and reflect the enthusiasms of the participating speakers. Recent talks have ranged widely, from the physics of the bagpipes to the properties of water, why contemporary soaps reflect classical drama and why people vote as they do.
- Lower School scholars were also tasked with choosing a book to read and review from a pre-prepared list of more challenging subject-related reads, to encourage them to look beyond the curriculum, to develop their critical reading skills and to foster a scholarly mind-set.
- A Spring Challenge essay competition for the Lower School Scholar were entrants had to pen a short essay on their most inspirational piece of music/ Nobel Prize winner/ Building – winning essays included superb efforts on the Taj Mahal, Malala Yousafzai and Holst’s Planets Suite.
- Upper School scholars were asked to work on a term-long research project, choosing from a range of open-ended and thought-provoking questions such as “Is Capitalism the wrong approach?”, “Is architecture an art form?”, “What are black holes?” or “Do the bacteria in our gut affect how we feel?”. The Scholars presented their findings at a couple of specially-convened Scholars’ Salons, sparking a good deal of interesting discussion.
- Upper School scholars went on a trip to Oxford on 6th March to an Academy Conference for more able students. They heard talks on issues such as epistemology, the nature of happiness, philosophy and relationships, and more – all designed to spark further thought and to introduce them to new fields.
- Upper School and Sixth Form Scholars were invited to engage with the ongoing series of History & Classics after school lectures on a range of topics, from Pompeii to the British Empire. In addition, they were asked to attend several ‘Ask the Expert’ after-school talks delivered by visiting academics on all sorts of themes, such as “Banking Myths and the power of Fairy Dust”, or “Humanity & the Cosmos: from the Big Bang to now”.
- Upper school scholars held a formal debate in response to their being presented with the question “Are Humanity’s best days behind us?”, with the two sides putting forward some insightful and entertaining points – the optimists eventually won! Not to be outdone, the Sixth form scholars held a formal debate (over Zoom during lockdown) on the inter-linked questions “Are people fundamentally selfish or altruistic? Has the current pandemic shed any light on this conundrum? To what extent can institutions rely on people to "do the right thing"?”, prompting some excellent commentary on the possible implications of human behaviour during the Covid-19 epidemic.
- Sixth Form Scholars were asked an open question, to follow their interests and respond to the theme of ‘Race’. Responses ranged from formal essays to exploratory booklets, presentations and local studies. Over a couple of after-school seminars the students shared their responses and discussed their findings, culminating in a wide-ranging discussion on whether ‘race’ was biological or cultural.
Enrichment & Extension
In addition to all of the above, scholars are encouraged to take advantage of the rich array of subject-specific extension and enrichment opportunities available at KES, from co-curricular study trips and relevant Clubs and Societies, through to outside speakers’ talks, essay competitions, student-run presentations and the like. All KES students are encouraged in their learning to ask reaching questions, to look beyond the immediate answer and to engage with extension activities within their lessons. There is much available at KES to ensure that even the most active and agile minds are stimulated and pushed.