LAE enrichment visit gets students thinking outside the box

UCS has welcomed pupils from one of its partnership schools, the London Academy of Excellence (LAE), Stratford, for a day of enrichment and collaboration between pupils. Much like at UCS, LAE pupils’ sense of belonging to Houses forms part of the Stratford school’s structure of pastoral support and one of these Houses is named ‘UCS’.

After last year’s successful format of a series of lectures – each with an overarching theme, followed by pupils responding to the theme in groups – the event on Friday 30th September had the same structure as visiting pupils together with members of our Transitus (aka Year 12) enjoyed three stellar lectures by members of the Sixth (Year 13).

This year’s theme was ‘life, growth and death’. Issy Spooner kicked proceedings off with an enthralling talk on whether de-extinction is possible (life) and was followed by an insightful dissection of the controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution in American schools (growth) by Rhea Kapoor.

James Abrahams completed the lineup with a thoughtful and meticulously researched look at whether the language of Yiddish is dead (death). All three pupils spoke with clarity and confidence and provided excellent takes on the theme, brilliantly setting up the mixed UCS/LAE groups to make their own interpretations.

The subsequent responses included drama pieces, poetry, art, lectures and formal written work on topics ranging from the death of democracy, the brain versus the mind, and what would happen if humans could live forever.

Miss Bennett, Assistant Head (Partnerships and PR), organised the visit with Ms Baxter, Assistant Head (Head of Sixth Form), and explained: “This annual visit is a really lovely event in our calendar of partnership events and is perfectly timed at the start of the year to get pupils together and thinking about academia beyond their exam specifications.

“The creativity and enthusiasm that all the groups demonstrated throughout the day was really wonderful to see. We’re already excited about the return visit that takes place in June and all the opportunities to continue collaborating and working with LAE before then!”

Dr Huang, Head of UCS House at LAE, led 38 Year 12 pupils to Frognal and commented: “Our students were universally inspired by the quality of the UCS academic presentations and the freedom of the task. This was a perfect and gentle way to set them up for a year of thinking beyond the bounds of their A Level courses.”

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