*NEW* Opportunities

Please scroll down for plenty more exciting enrichment opportunities.

[Year 12-13] Pythag ‘R’ Us – “Pythag ‘R’ Us” is a maths-based problem solving club based on the A Level syllabus – we base all of the questions on topics that you are currently studying/have just studied. It’s designed to really challenge you and develop your understanding of the material. The club meets all lunchtime in Ma13. Speak to Mrs Edhem or Mr Arthur (mathematics) to find out more.

[Year 9-13] ISSET’s Mission Discovery Summer School – This is an exciting opportunity for ordinary students to do something extraordinary. UK and international students from ages 14 – 18 (Year 9—13) get to work with NASA Astronauts, rocket scientists and NASA personnel for a week. In teams, students will propose an idea for their own science experiment; the best idea will be launched into space and carried out by Astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Deadline: TBC.

[Year 12] EDT Headstart Courses – The Engineering Development Trust (EDT) run successful university taster courses for students aged 16-17 in Year 12 who have an interest in creativity, problem solving, & STEM subjects – for those who want to look at the world, play a part to resolve critical issues to help our environment & create a better world. The courses are designed to increase confidence, help students make well informed decisions about their future & show STEM career paths to be accessible & exciting.  Headstart courses range from 3-5 days. Click here to find out more and apply online. Deadline: Various.

[Year 7-13] ‘Teddy Rocks Maths’ Essay Competition – The first ‘Teddy Rocks Maths’ competition is YOUR chance to write a short 1,000-2,000 word article about your favourite mathematical topic which could win you a prize of up to £100. All entries will be showcased at www.tomrocksmaths.com with the winners published on the St Edmund Hall, Oxford, website. Two prizes of £50 are available for the overall winner and for the best essay from a student under the age of 18. There are no eligibility requirements – all you need is a passion for Maths and a flair for writing to participate! Deadline: 12th March 2020.

[Year 11 & 12] Dukes Education Essay Prize – The Dukes Education Essay Prize is open to all students in Years 11 and 12. It is inspired by the famous entrance test for All Souls College, Oxford, where students write an essay in response to a single word, from the perspective of a specific academic subject. The Prize rewardscreativity, lateral approaches, and engagement with a subject beyond the curriculum. It is a fantastic opportunity to practice university-style assignments, and a prize is a great achievement to discuss on a personal statement. The words for this year’s competition are: Environment – Value – Citizen – Movement – Sequence – Vision – Duty. Students should pick one word as the title of their essay. They can then explore the title from the perspective of one or more academic subjects. How to enter: 1. Choose a title from the seven options above; 2. Write an essay of up to 1,500 words on that title; 3. Submit to dukeseducation.com/essay-submission by the deadline. Click here for more information, or speak to Mr Dodd (Geography) in school. Deadline: 1st June 2020.

[Year 10-13] Write on Art Write on Art is an annual prize for young art writers aged 15–18, sponsored by Art UK and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Art UK is the home for all art in UK public collections. It features over 230,000 artworks by over 40,000 artists. To enter Write on Art, all you have to do is pick one artwork featured on the Art UK website and write about it. What does it say to you? What’s the history behind it? How does it make you feel? Speak to Mrs Young (art) or click here to find out more. Deadline: 31st March 2020.

[Year 12] 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 (history) or Mr Dodd (geography) in school. Deadline: 20th April 2020.

[Year 12 Females] Newnham College Essay Prizes – We are pleased to announce that the 2020 Newnham College Essay Prizes are now open! All female students currently in Year 12 at a UK school may enter the prizes, which are offered in Biological Sciences, Computer Science, EngineeringHistoryModern and Medieval LanguagesMusicPhilosophy and Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, as well as our annual ‘Woolf Essay Prize’ with questions inspired by Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. This year, we are also pleased to introduce two new essay prizes in Classics and Maths. Each of the Newnham Essay Prizes has a first prize of £400, a second prize of £200 and a third prize of £100. We welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects. Each competition has a slightly different word limit, so please consult the questions and information sheet for each of the prizes. All essays must reference sources (including websites consulted) and provide a bibliography. Students may only submit an essay for one subject. Click here to find out more, or speak to Mr Yates (history) or Mr Dodd (geography) in school. Deadline: Friday 6th March 2020.[Year – All]

GSAL Earthshot Competition – Open to all students in all year groups, this exciting competition challenges you to find creative solutions to Earth’s problems. Taking inspiration from the official Earthshot Prize established by HRH Prince William in 2019, the brief is to create and communicate an original solution to a chosen Earth problem. Can you repair the Earth before it is too late? Find out more by clicking here, and by watching this short video, or speaking to a member of the geography department. What are you waiting for? Deadline: Friday 24th April 2020.

Planet B – Planning Our Future: Social Sciences Year 12 Residential – With society being faced with the challenges of population growth, climate chaos and housing crisis you are challenged with answering: What would a New City look like if you were in charge?! Come and take part in our engaging and interactive two day residential, giving you a taste of studying and living at university. This residential is for Year 12 Students interested in studying any Social Science subject (Law, Business, Geography, Law, Sociology, Government & Politics, Accounting, Economics, Environmental Studies). University of Leeds, 2nd-3rd July 2020. Click here to find out more. Deadline: 27th March 2020.

New College of Humanities Essay Competition – NCH is delighted to launch its 2020 Year 12 Essay Competition. We are inviting essay entries from ambitious and talented students from around the world, who are in their penultimate year of secondary education (equivalent to Year 12 in the UK). This is an opportunity to show both academic potential and passion in the humanities and social sciences. Entrants can choose one of the essay titles listed below. To see the competition rules and how to register for the competition please visit the NCH website here, or speak to Mrs Pratt (English) or Mr Dodd (geography) in school. Deadline: 31st January 2020.

  • Art History: ‘Discuss the potential consequences of de-contextualisation for the art-historical study of a work of art’
  • Economics: ‘Which problems will economists need to solve within the next 20 years and will artificial intelligence help them?’
  • English: ‘We should not judge past literature by the standards of the present’. Discuss.
  • History: ‘How does knowledge of the past help prepare us for the challenges of the twenty-first century?’
  • Law: ‘Should the law allow government to strike special tax deals with certain companies in order to attract foreign investment?’
  • Philosophy: ‘Are we morally responsible for our actions, even if they are ultimately caused by factors beyond our control?’
  • Politics & International Relations: ‘How has warfare changed since WWII?’

Year 10/11 Subjects Matters – October-January. Each autumn, the University of Cambridge runs practical and informative sessions for Year 10/11 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. Speak to Mr Yates (history) or Mr Dodd (geography) in school. Deadline: 12th February 2020.

The Marshall Society of Economics Conference – this is the official Economics Society of the University of Cambridge and their next conference, open to Sixth Form students, will be on Saturday 1st February 2020. This year’s conference is centered around the theme of “Divergence: Where is Economics headed?” Speak to Mr Stevenson (economics) for more information, or click here to visit the website. Deadline: See Mr Stevenson.

The Cambridge Sixth Form Law Conference – The Cambridge University Sixth Form Law Conference was founded over forty years ago to give Year 12 students who may be interested in studying Law at degree level a balanced view of the Law, both as an academic subject and as a profession, and also to offer an insight into life as a Cambridge undergraduate. The programme includes lectures, workshops, city tours and social events. Click here to find out more, or speak to Mr Yates (history) in school. Deadline: See Mr Yates.

STEM Inspire Girls Course at University of Edinburgh – run by the Engineering Development Trust and open to Year 10 & 11 girls, this 4-day residential summer school in June 2020 will give students a taste of Engineering. Applications are currently open – click here to find out more, or speak to Mr Rogerson (physics) in school. Deadline: See Mr Rogerson.

St. Andrews Science & Theology Essay Prize – the University of St Andrews announces a worldwide essay competition to award a scholarship to prospective undergraduates to study theology. First prize is £40,000 towards tuition & fees (£10,000 x 4 years), and nine runner-up awards of £600. By 31 January 2020, write and submit a 1500-word essay, using one of the questions as your prompt. By 15 January 2020, apply to one of the undergraduate Divinity (or Joint) programmes using the standard undergraduate St Andrews application. Visit the St. Andrews website here, or speak to Mrs Fishburn (religious studies) in school. Deadline: 31st January 2020 (conditions attached).

Arkwright Engineering Scholarships – they identify, inspire and nurture future leaders in engineering, computing & technical design. The Arkwright Engineering Scholarships programme is the most prestigious scholarship scheme of its type in the UK with over 5,000 Scholarships awarded to date. Year 11 can apply for the Arkwright Scholarship, which is aimed at those wishing to study engineering at university. It offers financial support and sponsorship during Sixth Form, and is very prestigious – it is only offered to the top 20% of all those that apply. Visit the Arkwright website here, and make all enquiries to Mr Bagshaw (design technology). Deadline: See Mr Bagshaw.

Linguistics Olympiad – if you are interested in languages and enjoy spotting patterns and solving puzzles, the Linguistics Olympiad is for you! This year’s competition will take place in the first week in February and will be open to all year groups. There are three levels: Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced.  Details of how to enter the competition will be circulated at the start of the spring term (keep an eye on your email) but in the meantime, take a look at some of the questions from previous competitions on the UKLO website. Speak to Mr Hill (languages) for more information. Deadline: See Mr Hill.

Oxbridge Events – browse the latest Oxbridge Events, and look for more opportunities and resources on the dedicated Oxbridge page. Speak to Mr Yates (history) and/or Mr Dodd (geography) for more information. Deadline: Various.

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 (history) or Mr Dodd (geography) in school. Deadline: End of March 2020.

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. Deadline: See Mr Rogerson.

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. Deadline: None.

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

The Model United Nations (MUN) 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.

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

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.

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 (geography) 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 (chemistry) or Mr Dodd (geography).

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, or speak to Mr Yates (history) or Mr Dodd (geography) in school.

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. Speak to Mr Yates (history) or Mr Dodd (geography) in school.

‘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. Speak to Mr Yates (history) or Mr Dodd (geography) in school.

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. Speak to Mr Yates (history) or Mr Dodd (geography) in school.

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) in school.

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, or speak to Mr Yates (history) or Mr Dodd (geography) in school.

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) – A fascinating range of exhibitions, lectures and other events nationally—check out what’s on now, or speak to Mrs Young (art) in school.

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. Speak to Mr Dodd (geography) in school.

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, or speak to Mr Yates (history) or Mr Dodd (geography) in school.

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. Speak to Mrs Scott (careers), Mrs Jagger (biology) or Mrs Pratt (English) for more information.


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.

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.