Sevenoaks School Diploma
Throughout a student's time at school they will learn about themselves, about others and the world in a large variety of ways. Much of this learning will of course take place within classrooms; however, a great deal will also happen outside those walls, through the co-curricular programme, school trips and excursions, and the day to day encounters with peers and members of staff.
A more modern approach of education now takes account of the ways in 'academic', intellectual, personal and emotional qualities are all inter-related: what happens outside the classroom is just as important as what happens inside, and vice versa, because one influences the other in a very significant way.
The Sevenoaks School Diploma is a unique, bespoke programme, designed to take account of this way of thinking about the school curriculum. Students will be invited to see it as an opportunity to record many different elements of school life that can sometimes go unnoticed, but also to develop personal qualities and attributes that make them a more fully rounded person, and provide them with the means to learn more effectively.
The Diploma asks students to make formal record of their learning in the Middle School, both inside and outside the classroom. Provided they fulfil the core requirements, at the end of Year 11 they will be rewarded with a Diploma Certificate and a transcript that describes their journey through the Middle School years.
I am delighted to see a school taking such clear steps to emphasise and celebrate crucial aspects of education, absent from performance tables but vital to a happy and successful life. The recording of achievements beyond the curriculum, and pupils' reflections on them, provide pupils with a substantial base of confidence and self-awareness to which they can refer for years afterwards.
Lord Lucas, editor of Good Schools Guide
The eight categories
To qualify for the Diploma students need to have participated in at least one thing from each of the eight categories described below during their time in the Middle School.
There are seven areas in relation to which activities in school can be recorded and recognised.
Tutor Recommendation is the eighth category, and might embrace something that does not obviously or automatically relate to any of them.
|Making and Performing||Core courses|
|Physical and outdoor education||Tutor recommendation|
|Academic engagement||Research project|
Which activities would count?
To have an activity accredited students must demonstrate a sustained commitment to it, usually over period of at least one full term. Sometimes, at a tutor’s discretion, a one-off activity might be suitable, but involvement with it would have to be very substantial.
There are seven Core Values that we seek to nurture in the Middle School, and these underscore all elements of the Curriculum and the activities with which students are engaged – whether inside or outside the classroom. They are defined as follows:
Students are encouraged to think imaginatively and to be adaptable. They try out different solutions and evaluate their strengths. They are encouraged to see existing situations in new and different ways.
Students learn to think for themselves. They develop a natural sense of curiosity and ask thoughtful questions. They acquire skills in research and enquiry. They learn how to manage their time and take responsibility for their own progress.
Students acquire the ability to comprehend, analyse and synthesise information. They explore strengths and weaknesses of multiple answers and question assumptions. They argue points of information persuasively and learn to solve problems in different ways.
Students develop knowledge of ideas, issues and themes in a ‘real world’ global context. They explore ethical, social and political contexts and the relationships between them. They identify ways in which notions of justice, tolerance and peace can be realised.
Students learn in collaborative, cooperative ways, both as leaders and as members of a team. They acquire effective communication skills and understand the importance of active listening. They learn to negotiate, compromise and show consideration for alternative points of view.
Students develop understanding of themselves and the way they learn. They learn to prioritise and to be resilient in the face of challenge. They aspire towards intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.
Students explore the implications of moral and ethical decisions. They acquire a principled, compassionate world view and are sensitive to the needs of others. They exhibit honesty, personal responsibility and a sense of commitment in all areas of school life.
Sevenoaks has shown...that it can command the respect of pupils, parents and universities for the academic judgements that it makes about its pupils' work.
Lord Lucas, editor of Good Schools Guide