2nd November 2023

Thriving Minds Symposium

screenshot of a news article

Sancton Wood’s Thriving Minds symposium made the front page of the BBC News this morning. Yesterday, Wednesday 1st November, 170 students from schools across Dukes Education attended our Symposium entitled ‘Creating Mindsets for Bright Futures’, hosted by Lucy Hawking, daughter of Stephen Hawking.

This special event gave Sancton Wood students who had signed up to the Thriving Minds programme, alongside students from eight other Dukes Schools the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and explore subjects with higher-level thinking. The carefully curated workshops, held by experts in a range of areas, explored the impact of their fields and how they will develop and affect futures. We hope that this future generation of leaders have left feeling inspired and full of ideas of how they can be a positive influence and make a difference in what they go on to do.

The day started with an inspirational keynote speech from Lucy Hawking, where she shared her experience of bold ideas, curiosity, daring to think differently and asking questions. She encouraged students to think about how they can make the world a better place.  

The day was a wonderful example of the unity of the Dukes family. As well as the school’s in attendance, Dukes Plus’ A-List, InvestIN and Summer Boarding Courses enriched the day with guidance on how they can support students on their educational journeys and beyond at our Futures Fair. Managing Director, Professor Mark Bailey drew on his experience playing for the England rugby team to deliver a popular talk to sports enthusiasts on ‘Creating a Winning Mindset’. 

Lucy Hawking’s workshop, ‘Creating the World You Want to Live In’, opened debate on the big issues around science and technology and prompted discussion on how our young people can influence our journey into the future. She explored how creative writing and ethics are key to how we communicate thinking around these areas and was genuinely thrilled to hear our students’ views and ideas on how we can make positive changes for the future.  

‘The Future of Finance’ from Chris Munson of Lloyds Bank, offered excellent context to how our students’ learning is practically applied in industry. They discussed the fundamentals of Money and Banking whilst exploring how technology is changing the way we manage our finances. 

Dr Tim Witney of the Witney Lab at King’s College London, and scientists from his team Ella-May and Maddie, came armed with a wonderful array of practical activities to show our young people how Radioactivity is more than just atomic bombs and cosmic rays. The session used ‘hook a duck’ to explore cancer cell detection, radiology monitors and organ aprons to show how cancer is detected and tested how much radioactivity is present in different household items such as bananas. It showed how radioactivity can be used as a promising tool for cancer detection and revolutionising treatment.  

Other workshops included ‘From Blank Canvas to a Signature Style’ by children’s illustrator, Kate Winter and Creative Writing ‘Finding Your Voice and Making it Heard’ from novelist, Jim Keeble. 

We’re delighted that Eaton Square Senior School, have picked up the baton to hold next year’s Symposium and we hope that this wonderful opportunity for our students will continue across the family for years to come.  

Schools have shared wonderful feedback from the day, with one saying it was their ‘best school trip yet’.  

Dr Maria Ocampo-Hafalla, Deputy Head (Academic) and Eaton Square Prep said; 

“Our children were engaged and inspired, and they absolutely enjoyed the day. They spoke animatedly about the workshops they attended and even asked for autographs and photographs. Thank you for all of the care and attention that went into organising this day for all the children and thank you for your generous hospitality. It was an absolute joy and privilege to attend the workshops with them, and worth braving London rush hour in the underground to get to King’s Cross to take the train to Cambridge”. 

The event made the front page of the BBC News Stephen Hawking daughter tells school pupils to ‘make world better’ – BBC News. An interview with Principal Richard Settle and Lucy Hawking with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, can be listened to here: Louise Hulland on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire – 01/11/2023 – BBC Sounds at 3 hours, 29 minutes. 




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