Thriving Minds

Thriving Minds: Encouraging deeper thinking about important topics. 

An enrichment programme for Able, Gifted and Talented Students. 

‘A mind stretched by an idea will never be the same again’ 

children doing work and smiling

At Sancton Wood School we aim to ensure that no student ‘slips through the net’ and that all children are given the opportunity to thrive.  As such, the facets of good teaching for Able, Gifted and Talented students are, in fact, the facets that underpin all of our teaching.  

Our whole school ethos recognises the worth of each student as well as their particular strength, Sancton Wood has a culture of support and high expectation which is essential for the growth of all our pupils.  Labelling a proportion of our school community as ‘able, gifted and talented’ would be divisive and undermine the ethos of the school. Our stated aims and values recognise the individual abilities of all our pupils and commit us to helping them to reach their full potential, not only intellectually but also creatively and physically. We place emphasis on delivering lessons and courses which challenge pupils. Within every subject we expect teachers to teach the most able as well as provide support for the least able pupils. We hope that all our pupils will be challenged beyond the confines of our whole school curriculum. 

We recognise that finding our children’s individual strength and area of expertise is an ongoing process.  Some may be very easy to identify on entry to the school, with others it may emerge later. In essence it is our role as a school to work continually with all our students, finding out what makes each of them ‘tick’; thus, building self-esteem and confidence in all.  

Julia Cottam, Assistant Principal (Academic)

Our A,G and T programme at SW includes: 

The Thriving Minds Study Programme

Be Inspired. A Termly Programme of Talks and Events

Optional Summer School Study

Enrichment Activities

Annual Dukes' Symposium: Young Scholars

Our Thriving Minds Learning platform accelerates academic development, supports SMSC, personal development and culture capital. Students work with their academic mentor and follow a programme which offers a variety of study opportunities.    

Be Inspired! 

A termly programme of events’ for students: talks, visits and challenges.  Arranged with our various friends and partners across Cambridge and the Dukes team. Including Academy Learning, Anglia Ruskin, The Faraday Institute, The Sanger Institute, The Medic Portal, The Lawyer Portal and A-List Applications. 

Highlights of term one include:

Oxbridge Interview Question: Here's a Cactus. Tell us About it.

From Academy Learning. By Julie Arliss.

Questions are designed to give candidates a chance to show their real ability and potential – which means seeing if a candidate can think laterally, and apply their thinking to new ideas and different contexts.

A Slow Strange Death - The Failure of Environmental Economics

From Academy Learning. By Peter Baron (Alumni of University of Oxford)

In a lively interactive session, students will be introduced via various engaging case studies, to the core concepts of neo-classical Economics.

Aristotle 384-322 BCE and his Big Idea

From Academy Learning. By Julie Arliss

The session examines the big idea that Aristotle develops in relation to, ‘What is normal for humans?’ and explain how this idea is core to most modern-day well-being programmes in schools.

So you want to go to Oxford or Cambridge? Tell me about a banana.

Oxbridge Examination Group Talk 

A preparation event that gives students that first taste of what it’s like to live, breathe, and – most importantly – think like an Oxbridge student. 

InvestIN Education

A talk from our Partners at Investin, helping students think about a choice of careers and how to access them. 

Are We Alone in the Universe?

Part of our TED-X programme 

Is there life beyond Earth? NASA’s director of planetary science James Green surveys the places in our solar system that are most likely to harbour alien life. 

Unbelievably Weird Laws in America that Still Exist

There’s no shortage of weird laws in America, from strange driving restrictions to needing your husband’s permission for false teeth. We round-up some of the most unusual. 

Anjali Narbheram, from our partners The Lawyer Portal. 

Why I Chose to Study Medical Sciences

Students listen to a Medical student and discover why she chose to study BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences and what she likes about University life. 

Academic Summer Courses at Bateman Street

These four courses all employ a creative and communicative methodology to enable students to develop their skills. Students will work collaboratively to demonstrate their learning and all courses feature a micro-internship, through which they will have hands-on experience of working in their chosen subject.  Each course is 1-2 weeks long.  

 The courses on offer are:  

  • Medicine  
  • Business  
  • Engineering   
  • Natural Sciences  
Annual Dukes’ Symposium: Young Scholars

Our students enjoy one ‘symposium’ per year, hosted by a different school and each with a focus that in some ways contributes to the idea of cross-curricular study, broadening their horizons and challenging them to be individual thinkers.  

The programme is called ‘Young Scholars’ and it has a quote from Leon Battista Alberti as its starting point: “A man can do all things if he will.” We have chosen this because Alberti was the originator of this ideal of the ‘Renaissance man’. In an age when so much is accomplished electronically or by AI, it is still the person who looks to embrace all knowledge and maximise individual capability who will emerge as a leader. 

The symposium will involve keynote sessions and a number of thought-provoking elective talks. 

Previous symposiums have included talks and hands-on sessions from Alfonso Cuaron, Anton La Guardia, Andre O’Hagan, Peter Doig and Jeremy Haneman.