Oakham’s innovative Academic Cornerstone Course (ACC) was launched and delivered this term for pupils in Forms 5 and 7.
Headmaster, Henry Price, introduced the new course during a live launch by saying, “It may be a bit of a cliché, but education isn’t all about examinations. All of the aspects included in our Academic Cornerstone Course are things that we would love to see embedded and entwined in the education that we offer, but aren’t always able to do so, due to the pressures of the formal examination system.”
The two-week programme saw pupils take part in a series of courses covering academic skills, life skills, and employability skills. They benefited from six different strands, all identified as ‘cornerstones’ for pupils’ future success; simultaneously providing strong foundations whilst also enabling pupils to view their studies from a different direction. They were: Numeracy, Literacy, Communication, Critical thinking and analysis, Creativity, and Leadership in a changing world.
Given Oakham’s longstanding expertise in delivering the IB Diploma, and more recently in developing the IB MYP for pupils aged 11-13, the course had inter-disciplinary learning at its heart; both from the way the course was designed, and the way in which pupils were able to learn. Each strand was designed by a team of teachers selected from across several departments, to ensure the course was original and impactful, as well as drawing on Oakham’s wide range of teaching expertise, experience and enthusiasm.
The ACC saw pupils taking part in lessons and study sessions, all delivered live and interactively vis MS Teams. Form 5 completed all six strands and Form 7 choose three or more strands in which to take part. Form 5 will also return to the course next year, as it continues to positively shape their Upper School studies throughout Form 6.
At the end of the ACC and in the final weeks of term, pupils were challenged to put what they had learnt and the skills they had acquired into action. The ACC Challenge saw pupils undertake three main tasks, and a range of urgent tasks – all under the guise of leading an independent school. Pupils were asked to walk in Mr Price’s footsteps – undertaking some of the tasks he might tackle as Headmaster and challenging themselves to use some of the skills they have learnt during the ACC. Read more about the Challenge here.
The ACC was just one part of Oakham’s educational provision for Form 5 and 7 (Years 11 and 13) whose learning journey has been most impacted by the Coronavirus due to the cancellation of formal examinations. To support those Oakhamians whose educational journeys had been disrupted, the School adopted a three-stage approach. In the first few weeks of distance learning pupils were able to finish their studies in each of their subjects in consolidation courses. Leo Dudin, (Deputy Academic) said: “This built pupils’ confidence by embedding their learning and core knowledge.” After following the Academic Cornerstone Course, pupils then embarked on Bridging Courses to prepare them for their Sixth Form and university studies.