Extended Learning Opportunities: Update

Piano Concerto by Michael Clesham Year 12
Piano Concerto by Michael Clesham Year 12

Last Autumn, we launched two new initiatives at KEGS to stimulate extended learning.  We recently concluded the first run through of both initiatives with some lovely outcomes.

The KEGS Foundation Prize

This was designed to become a regular high profile, prestigious prize for students’ endeavours beyond the curriculum.  We launched this with four categories as described in the original post.

Screen shot 2012-10-13 at 10.26.46

We received a lot more entries for the Arts Prize of the calibre we were hoping for than in the other categories.  This led us to give two Arts Prizes and to combine the Global Perspectives and Essay Prizes – for this year.  We felt that this flexible approach would help us to ensure that the standards are comparable between the categories.   Overall, given that this is the first year, I was delighted with the responses.  The quality of the best entries was fabulous.  The volume of entries was lower than I’d expected.. so that is something to work on.  The winners included the following:

Arts Prize:  Michael Clesham, Piano Concerto.  (see above). Written on Sibelius, this was a very ambitious piece of work, with a final movement of enormous quality.. moving, stylish and complex, melodically and harmonically.

Arts Prize:  Will Skelton, Secrets, Great and Small, a poetry anthology.  Described by the Head of English as some of the best poems he’d ever read by a Sixth Form student.. with a range of style and voices.

Will Skelton's Poetry Anthology
Will Skelton’s Poetry Anthology

Research Prize:  Alex Bailey, Liver Enzyme Study.  A student who had secured a placement at Homerton Hospital and had used real data to identify a pattern within the presence of certain enzymes that suggested some alterations in screening processes could lead to higher early detection rates. The work was published in a symposium journal.

Alex Bailey, Enzyme Study
Alex Bailey, Enzyme Study

Global Perspectives/Essay Prize:  Henry Allen:  An essay comparing the dominant ideological positions in global politics, showing a sophisticated and mature understanding of the issues.

Henry Allen: Competing Visions of Global Politics
Henry Allen: Competing Visions of Global Politics


Notable runners-up included a wonderful summary of geopolitics in the Middle East and a 187 page novel, both written by Y12 students.  A Year 8 student was highly commended for his project on Quantum Electrodynamics.

In each case, the Prize has given us a vehicle for celebrating extended work of a very high standard, personal to the student, that would not have been possible otherwise.  Hopefully, this will inspire students to push themselves to explore the furthest reaches of their talents in future years, now that the prize is an established feature of the school.

The annual commemoration assembly, when we celebrate King Edward VI’s birthday, is the occasion we have earmarked to announce the winners and that worked really well this year, giving the prize winners deserved high profile in the school.

The KEGS Global Blog Challenge.

Over 30 bloggers started out writing blogs for the first year of this challenge as described here. (click picture)

The KEGS  Blog Challenge for 2012-13
The KEGS Blog Challenge for 2012-13

The winners were chosen because they had the greatest global reach – well over 20,000 hits, reaching over 100 countries with a blog about football.

The runner-up was chosen based on the quality of the blog – about Formula One racing – and the extent to which he had secured spin-off connections with other people in the F1 world.

There were a range of other superb blogs including one written in French and one in German and a lovely variety of other topics.

It has captured our students’ imagination and we now have another challenge underway.  It is very early days but over 30 new blogs have been launched.  Take a look here: http://kegsblogs.wordpress.com/registered-blogs-2013-14/


  1. Tom
    Eight years ago I launched The Critical Essay Prize at my previous school (Dean Close in Cheltenham): an original critical essay ( plus bibliography) of not more than 3000 words on any subject, but with reward given to cross curricular themes and comnections. The competition was for L6th, closing date at the beginning of the autumn term of their U6th with an outside adjudicator awarding a £100 cash prize at a black-tie dinner to which all the entrants were invited. It was invariably one of the very best events of the year and attracted around 10% of the year group although each year numbers were always a little lower than we hoped. Your Foundation Prize is admirable and ambitious and I wish you every success. I like your idea of opening it to all and having different categories although generating entries across four categories would have worried me a great deal especially as I was never sure how many would convert their pre-summer holiday fighting talk into a completed essay at the beginning of September! I am also excited by the idea of a creative element. I also considered insisting (as far as one can) that all Oxbridge applicants had a go – every student who had a go at the competition ended up discussing it at interview so I felt strongly that it was a real plus in their favour. What I loved was the fact that every year at least one entry came from someone who was not especially academic, but who just wanted to give it a go and be a part of the competition and the buzz of the whole event! I have just started as Deputy Head Academic at Strathallan School in Perthshire and your blog has reignited my thinking about extending the academic horizons here; I don’t think I could go as far as your Foundation Prize portfolio, but I am confident that I can make some version of my idea combined with elements of yours work here (I am also a keen, if infrequent, blogger so I might just nick your blog competition idea if you don’t mind!). All the best, Sean


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