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Academic Enrichment

Academic Enrichment

Our pupils are encouraged to think critically, to make independent judgements and to explore beyond the parameters of the syllabus. A host of opportunities exist for them to do this.

The graphic below encompasses the school’s approach to learning and was unveiled by educator Ross Morrison McGill, the man behind @TeacherToolkit.

The Leys Learning logo crystallises the views of the school’s Teaching and Learning Committee. The committee, made up of teachers and pupils, spent months looking at a new set of pupil expectations and understanding of what learning means at The Leys.

A competition was held to find the best design. The winning logo was co-designed by three pupils from Years 7 and 11 and the Lower Sixth Form.

As Geoffrey Howe, Director of Teaching and Learning explained: “the eight ‘cogs’ which spell out the essential aspects of how pupils should apply themselves to learning: Listen, Engage, Analyse, Respect the classroom, Never give up, Innovate, Nurture others by example and behaviour, and Grow through resilience and hard work.

Ross Morrison McGill, the most followed teacher on Twitter in the UK and the only teacher in the top 500 Times most influential people in the UK, launched the graphic and said on Twitter: “pupils are in capable hands with a staff body who are keen to place teaching and learning pedagogy at the heart of professional development…”

The graphic appears in exercise books, pupil planners and on classroom walls. “Learning to learn” tutorials teach pupils the deeper meaning of what Leys Learning is and what this means to them.

Pupils are in capable hands with a staff body who are keen to place teaching and learning pedagogy at the heart of professional development...
Ross Morrison McGill

Headmaster’s Society & The Academic Society

Headmaster’s Society, (for Years 11-13) and Academic Society (for Years 9 and 10, and Year 8 by invitation) are groups for pupils who are interested in research and discussion, in short, the exploration of ideas. Academic Scholars in those year groups are expected to attend meetings, but all are welcome.

Meetings of Headmaster’s Society take place once a month. A meeting may be led by a teacher or by pupils. The intention is to stimulate thought and discussion on topics which do not lie squarely within the GCSE and A Level specifications. Responding to a presentation, pupils talk and listen to each in other in small groups, as well as across the floor. The emphasis is not so much on what is learned as the stimulation of the imagination and the development of self expression through speech. Past topics include education, music and memory

The Academic Society meets once every half term. The format and aims of the group are similar to Headmaster’s Society but more support is offered by the teacher present, as is appropriate for the younger pupils. Past topics include, the senses, free will and how to operate time machines.

Academically curious Leysians enjoy this opportunity to be with like-minded pupils and think about things in a different way. The boost to their creativity and imagination is invaluable.



We have launched a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programme, which spans the Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computing, Mathematics and Design and Technology departments. The objective is for pupils to see the practical application of their subjects, drawing on their skills from those four strands, forming a team of problem solvers. Staff are passionate about facilitating this learning, with Alexandra Annett as the STEM Coordinator.

Pupils can engage in the STEM projects through a range of extra curricular activities as well as our Peter Watson Award competition. STEM projects are offered from Year 7 onwards, with emphasis on technical, leadership and collaborative skills. A project brief is explored and developed into a specification, which is then turned into a prototype, assessed, refined and extended as required. Wherever possible, pupils specialising in non-technical subjects are involved as well, in costing, planning, documenting, photographing and evaluating. The overall aim is to equip pupils with the skills needed to work on real projects in the workplace.

We offer a Junior Science club that explores concepts met in class in a fun and interactive way. The STEM club works on a major project, which at the moment is the GreenPower racing car. The Hacker club engages pupils in a range of coding skills and activities, as well as entering in both international and national competitions such as the Bebras Challenge and the Perse Coding Team Challenge. The Peter Watson Award is a unique competition only available to pupils at The Leys who are wanting to engage in scientific research that goes beyond the school curriculum. The prizes are given for unusual observations; innovative thinking; constructive development of ideas and problem solving in any of the fields of science.

We encourage pupils to present their work externally and enter competitions to have their work recognised. In the past we have had pupils successfully win competitions such as the Queen Elizabeth Prize of Engineering Trophy Competition, Arkwright Engineering Scholarships, Crest awards and being published in the Young Scientists Journal.

A variety of lectures are attended each year. They typically include the interactive Science Live days, and lectures given by the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Cambridge Engineering department, Cavendish Laboratory and the CSAR Cambridge Society for Application of Research.



Debating at The Leys is a popular weekly activity that takes place on a Thursday lunchtime in Great Hall. Pupils from all year groups debate against one another on assorted topics and motions determined by the pupil-led committee which are designed to reflect either current affairs, popular culture or school life at The Leys. Teams are comprised of two pupils and it is not uncommon for a Year 9 pupil and a Sixth Form pupil to debate with one another. The debates are always well-attended and each week 70+ pupils come to support their peers and vote on the motion.

In the Easter term, the House Debating competition is held. Each house competes in the first round and points are awarded for the quality of the argument, public speaking and team work. The much-anticipated final takes place in assembly in front of the whole school.

Debating offers a diverse range of skills to those who elect to participate. It encourages confidence, analysis, clarity, team work and promotes an interest in current affairs and politics. It is an important part of both the extra-curricular and academic life of The Leys.

Discover more at The Leys

Digital Learning

At The Leys we endeavour to make the best use of the digital tools available to support and enhance pedagogic practice and pupils’ studies.

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Learning in Cambridge

Read about some of our links with the University of Cambridge and other local academic, business and cultural organisations.

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The school library provides a central collection of resources for the curricular needs of pupils and staff which supports and extends teaching and learning.

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