04 November 2020

From Summer Programme to Sixth Form at Sevenoaks School

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Spring and Summer 2020 truly was a strange time. Working in a school without any children in it is an unusual and unwelcome thing which is why it was so wonderful to start the Michaelmas Term here at Sevenoaks with a campus full of students. Hearing the chatter and laughter of the pupils as they walk past my office has been so very missed and has made the school feel like… well, like a school again. Additionally, for the first time this year, we have our first batch of Summer Programme alumni. Fifteen students who came to the school in the summer of 2019 have just started in the Sixth Form here at Sevenoaks. Catching up with them as they walk around campus and seeing how quickly they have settled in has been delightful.

For some of the students who come on the Summer Programme, it has always been the intention to apply to join the Sixth Form at Sevenoaks. Some have siblings already at the school whose footsteps they want to follow in. Others, however, simply come for a summer school experience and have no intention of staying on the school. This was the case with Teo who came to us from Romania to take part in the 2019 Summer Programme. Teo took part in a Virtual Open Event (click here to view) for the Summer Programme recently and said ‘Before coming to the Summer Programme, I didn’t consider coming to Sevenoaks but after seeing how classes work on the Summer Programme and being told that that’s how they work year-round, now that I’m here, I can see that it’s the same experience. I decided then to apply and here I am now.’

Waru, from Kenya, was someone who had already experienced life at an English boarding school as she was at a school in the West Country when she joined us for the Summer Programme. So, for her, the Summer Programme was a way of finding out if she wanted to potentially move to Sevenoaks School for the Sixth Form. She wanted to cement her decision. ‘It felt like everyone really cared for us, they took a genuine interest in our lives and it made me feel really comfortable in my decision of wanting to become a Sixth Form student here. They treated us as adults and listened to us. Mrs Trigger, the Head of House, was particularly significant when I was making my decision to come here. She was an amazing person.’

Of the 120 students who took part in the 2019 Summer Programme, around half applied to the Sixth Form here at Sevenoaks for either a 2020 or 2021 start. While 15 have joined us this year, we expect more of our alumni (those aged 14 in in the 2019 Summer Programme) to be arriving at Sevenoaks in 2021. We are incredibly proud of all of our Summer Programme alumni and take enormous pleasure in seeing them thrive at Sevenoaks.

The biggest challenge we have had this term is actually getting all of our alumni together for a photo at the same time! Life as a Sixth Form student at Sevenoaks is extremely busy, whether it’s extra meetings with teachers, music or tennis lessons, having everyone free at the same time is nigh on impossible. Below is a photo of some of them, however, socially distanced as is the necessity at this point in time.

Ed Gibson, Director of Summer Programmes

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