*NEW* Opportunities

Please scroll down for plenty more exciting enrichment opportunities.

Young Geographer of the Year (Geography) – Where can geography take you? This year’s competition, organised by the Royal Geographical Society, gives pupils the chance to explore the potential that geography holds. Whether you’ve always wanted geography to take you to a particular place, to help you in a particular career or to help you understand one of the many challenges facing our world, we want to know where geography can take you. Click here to find out more, or speak to a member of the geography department. Deadline: Friday 18th October.

Cambridge Chemistry Challenge (Chemistry) – This competition aims to stretch and challenge students interested in chemistry, and will provide an excellent experience for anyone considering taking their studies further. Set by an experienced team of teachers and university chemists, it is designed to be accessible to Year 12 students but will take them significantly beyond the syllabus and encourage them to think about science in the way they would at university. For more information, please click here or speak to Dr Dearden in school.

Chemistry Olympiad 2020 (Chemistry) – The RSC Chemistry Olympiad is the leading chemistry competition for students in secondary education across the UK. Run annually, the Olympiad is an opportunity for chemistry students to develop creative thinking and apply their existing knowledge in new and interesting contexts. The competition is made up of three stages, starting with a written test and ending with four students representing the UK at the prestigious International Chemistry Olympiad. Speak to Dr Dearden (chemistry) to find out more and register your interest.

Peterhouse Essay Competitions (History, Science & English) – Three prestigious annual essay competitions include Peterhouse’s Vellacott History Prize, the Kelvin Science Prize and the Thomas Campion English Prize. The Peterhouse Essay Competitions are a great opportunity for Year 12 students to start exploring their subject and get a taste of university-level research. It runs every year, with questions released in December and the deadline for entries falling at the end of March. Each competition has a prize pool of £750. Click here to find out more, or speak to Mr Yates or Mr Dodd in school.

Model United Nations (MUN) – Model United Nations takes place on Mondays in Hi5 from 4-5:30pm. Please see CVH or AMS for more information, or the Y13 MUN President and Vice-Presidents: Ted Borland, Amy Alexander, Taskiya Rehman & Aneesh Varma.

Smallpeice Trust Residential Courses (Engineering) – For 50 years, we’ve been giving young people everything they need to fuel their passion for engineering, helping to make their big ideas a reality with the help of parents, teachers, universities and corporate partners. Residential courses run in Easter/early summer and the timetable will be released shortly. Click here, or speak to Mr Rogerson (physics) for more information.

Young Scientists Journal – The Young Scientists Journal is an international peer-review science journal written, reviewed and produced by school students aged 12 to 20. The YSJ is a place for young people to publish their scientific research. Print issues of the journal are released twice a year, packed with original research, review articles, reports and interviews. The journal helps bridge the gap between school and university science, introducing students to a more collaborative approach to science. Read more about the YSJ on The GSAL Journal here, or speak to Mr Dodd (geography) for more information.

GSAL Opportunities

All departments offer a range of subject enrichment opportunities; please speak to your subject teacher to find out more. The following super-curricular opportunities may also be of interest:

Aspire & Widening Perspectives (Sixth Form Enrichment) –Mr Rushworth

Debating Society –Mrs Rees, Mr Morley, Mr Westwood, Miss Simpson

Extended Project Qualification – Mrs Walker

LEAP (Business Enterprise) –Ms Ward

Media SocietyMrs Kurczij

Model United Nations Society Miss Haigh & Mr Stodolny

Oxford & Cambridge ProgrammeMr Yates & Mr Dodd

Public Speaking Mrs Kurczij

Science SocietyDr Dearden

External Opportunities

These opportunities are in addition to those advertised via subject teachers, year group bulletins and the Higher Education team. Pay attention to all notices and check your school emails regularly.

The enrichment opportunities listed below are updated regularly. There are also links to other enrichment opportunities advertised on The GSAL Journal. Please report any missing or broken hyperlinks.

The Widening Participation programme seeks to increase both the number and proportion of people from under-represented and disadvantaged groups accessing higher education. Students from lower income households, people with disabilities and some ethnic minority groups may be eligible.

If you think that you might be eligible for consideration through the Widening Participation programme, please speak in confidence to a member of the Higher Education (HE) team in school.

Academic Competitions

Create a Puzzle for the Day (Year 7-13) – Create a puzzle for the Today programme’s ‘Puzzle for the Day’. Successful entries will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Puzzles that seem to work particularly well are those which are topical or fun; for example, about Valentine’s Day. Here’s the link to the website which lists all of the previous puzzles and answers. Submit your ideas via email to Mr Dodd in school.

She Talks Science Blog (Year 7-13) – The ‘She Talks Science‘ competition run by Murray Edward’s College, Cambridge. The She Talks Science Blog is a space where young women who are interested in science can engage with one another. All you need to do to enter is write a blog-style article on anything science related. A selection of the best entries within GSAL, from both male and female students, will be published right here in The GSAL Journal. Furthermore, the best entry from a female student will be submitted to the She Talks Science blog. Please submit entries via email to Dr Dearden or Mr Dodd.

University of Oxford Academic Competitions (Various) – Several colleges and departments of the University of Oxford run competitions which are open to students from schools and colleges. Preparing an entry for one of these competitions is a valuable experience for academically motivated students so please do encourage your students to enter. There are also some exciting prizes to be won. Click here to find out more.

Enrichment Events

Cambridge Subject Masterclasses – Masterclasses are great for Year 12s (or equivalent) looking to gain an idea of what studying a particular subject at university will be like. Join us to experience two taster lectures led by our academics, gain information about applying to Cambridge, and speak to current undergraduates. Bookings are now open—Find out more.

‘Critical Reasoning for Beginners’ Course (Year 10-13) – Oxford University’s free course ‘Critical Reasoning For Beginners‘ teaches you to think like a philosopher. It is based around a top rated collection of lectures led by Oxford University’s Marianne Talbot. Talbot builds the course from the ground up, and begins by explaining that arguments consist of a set of premises that, logically linked together, lead to a conclusion. She proceeds to outline the way to lay out an argument logically and clearly, and eventually, the basic steps involved in assessing its strengths and weaknesses.

Debate Chamber Summer Schools – The Debate Chamber offers a range of fun and challenging Summer Schools for students aged 11-18, giving participants the opportunity to explore some fascinating subjects in a more sophisticated way than is often available at school. The courses focus on developing intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and the desire to pursue ideas independently.

McKinsey Leadership Academy – What’s not to like about a (free) post-exam summer school, run by what is probably the world’s most famous firm of management consultants? If this is of any interest it might well be worth sending off a short CV and applying. Find out more here, or speak to Mr Law (Economics).

Mensa: The High IQ Society – An IQ score is a quantifiable measure which can complement GCSE and A-Level results to help you stand out. A Mensa supervised IQ test normally costs around £25. Click here to find out more, or speak to Mr Dodd (geography).

Oxbridge Academic Summer Study Programs – Applications are now open for summer study programs in a wide range of different subjects including Medicine, Law, Business and Psychology. Click here to find out more.

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) – A fascinating range of exhibitions, lectures and other events nationally—check out what’s on now.

University of York Open Lectures – Every term, the University organises free open lectures on a wide variety of topics and aimed at a general audience. Some lectures require pre-booking. Where tickets are needed, this is also indicated in the publicity.

Year 11 Subjects Matters – October-January. Each autumn, the University of Cambridge runs practical and informative sessions for Year 11 students. The events, called The Subject Matters, highlight the importance of making suitable subject choices when making an application to a selective, research-led university.

University Open Days

St. Catharine’s College Open Days (Year 12)St Catharine’s College Open Days and Subject Taster Days in Cambridge this July and September 2019. These are excellent opportunities for Year 12 (or equivalent) students to come and meet our undergraduates, teaching fellows, and admissions tutors. Attendees will be able to listen to sample lectures and application talks, have a tour of St Catharine’s and lunch in our dining hall, and get a taster of life as a Cambridge student in a friendly environment. For more details on each event please see our website.

Oxford Language Open Days – Year 12 students who are interested in applying for languages at Oxford are encouraged to attend an open day. The individual language open days offer a stimulating insight into what it’s like to study languages at Oxford, with taster lectures and information about the course. Click here to find out more, or speak to Mr Hele (Languages).

University Open Days & Taster Days – Check out the full calendar of university open days; for university taster days, click here to browse a wide variety of university courses and gain insight into university life and career opportunities.


The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019 (Year 7-13) – The biggest poetry competition for young writers is once again looking for the best poems by young people aged 11-17 from the U.K. and beyond. This year’s award-winning poet judges – Raymond Antrobus and Jackie Kay – cannot wait to read your work and perhaps even spend a week writing poetry with you at a prize winners’ writing retreat. Please see the website, www.foyleyoungpoets.org, for details and the competition rules. Keep up to date with everything we are doing at The Poetry Society and find lots of useful writing tips for this year’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award by visiting our website. Submit entries to Mrs Kurczij by 31st July 2019.

Duke’s Education Essay Prize (Year 11-12) – The Dukes Education Essay Prize is a nationwide scheme that encourages academic exploration, creativity, and lateral thinking in students in Yrs 11-12. Inspired by the famous past entrance exam for fellows at All Souls College, Oxford, students write an essay in response to a one-word title. The Prize rewards creativity, lateral approaches, and engagement with a subject beyond the curriculum. It is the perfect opportunity to get a taste of university-style work assignments, and a prize is a great achievement to discuss on a personal statement. The seven titles for 2019 are: Nation – Guilt – Security – Infinity – Energy – Gender – Icon. Click here to find out more. Deadline: 5th May 2019.

FT/Political Studies Association Student Blog Competition (Year 12-13) – Write up to 600 words on the theme: “Is British politics broken?” Find out more here or go the competition site here for full rules and how to apply. Deadline: May 31st 2019.

Sam Hood Translation Prize & Gladstone Memorial Essay Prize (Classics) – Find out more here, or speak to your Classics teacher for more information. Cash prizes available. Deadlines: 10th July 2019.

University of Dundee ‘Gifted & Talented’ Programme (Year 12) – There are still places available for the University of Dundee’s ‘Gifted and Talented’ programme for high-achieving pupils, Monday 1st-Friday 5th July 2019.  The programme will consist of a mixture of thought-provoking workshops and interactive seminar sessions and will offer opportunities to learn from prominent academics at the University. Click here to find out more and apply. Please note the deadline for applications is Friday 24th May 2019. 

Write Your Own Historical Fiction Competition (Year 7-9) – If you enjoy creative writing and have an interest in history you might be interested in entering this competition. This might make a very creative and effective way to consolidate your knowledge and understanding of core topics that are in the end of year exam; alternatively, this would give you an opportunity to explore areas of interest that we don’t find time to cover in lessons. You have until the end of the month to come up with something.
Speak to Mr Yates or Miss Haigh if you would like to discuss your ideas for characters, settings and possible stories. Deadline: Friday 31st May.

History Poster Competition: Right To Vote (Year 7-9) – Use the stories of your local suffrage heroes to inspire young people to exercise their democratic rights today. We are asking your class or history group to inspire other people to engage with their democratic rights by designing your own ‘get involved with democracy’ poster, by sharing the stories of those who championed change over 100 years ago. You must make use of the HA suffrage database plus additional research to represent the story of an individual person or group from your region as an inspiration for today. Click here to find out more, or speak to Mr Yates in school. Deadline: Friday 21st June.