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Post GCSE programme

Post GCSE programme
Karen Smith

Once GCSEs have started to become a distant memory, we give our Fifth Formers the opportunity to take part in a four day immersion in the culture of our country through a programme of activities and trips to iconic museums and landmarks in London and more locally in the region.

This year’s programme offered eight different aspects of culture for pupils to choose from - ‘Ways of Being’, ‘Multiple Identities’, ‘Making Marks’, ‘River Art’, ‘Alienation Nation’, ‘Aspirations’, ‘Sea and Stars’ and ‘Filling Spaces’.  Each group spent a day in London and a day locally, following through their individual theme.  For example, the ‘Multiple Identities’ group visited the Kiss My Genders exhibition at the Hayward Gallery and a talk at Somerset House on Get Up And Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Pioneers and the Unconscious Landscapes exhibition at the Hauser and Wirth Gallery in Bruton, Somerset, while the ‘Aspirations’ group were given a tour of the Houses of Parliament by MP Sir Desmond Swayne, viewed the Apollo 11 exhibition and film at the IMAX at the Science Museum and saw the Magna Carta at Salisbury Cathedral.

The groups presented their thoughts on the different themes to staff and pupils on the final day in the Layard Theatre.

John James, Head of Cultural Enrichment, challenged pupils to be open minded and inspired by the experience:

“I see this as a shared experience for the year group after the stress and strain of GCSE. All these cultural offerings are themselves a cornucopia.  You won’t like everything you see or hear but try to respond to it with an entirely open mind, holding back all preconceptions. Try to shape a response to what you see and hear both in exhibitions and on the streets. Use your memory and your smart phone to record some of the things you see. Interview each other about the objects and ideas you encounter. Consider why people go to exhibitions, what they learn and how they behave there.”

For more information about our enrichment programmes, please visit