Blogs and Interviews

What is Academic Scholarship at CLC?
18th April 2023
Dr David Gamblin, Assistant Head Academic

Dr David Gamblin

Assistant Head Academic

At College, we believe education is more than just grades. We aim to educate the whole person, so that students learn the skills they need to make their own decisions, are fulfilled and happy, and have the emotional resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them.

We do this by providing them with a broad, balanced and challenging curriculum that is underpinned by CLC’s core values which include mutual respect, tolerance, and seeking and evaluating a range of viewpoints. We promote integrity and our aim is that students develop a strong sense of fairness and justice, with the ability to take responsibility for their actions. We encourage them to be brave and resourceful when taking on new challenges.

Our Academic Scholars play a key role in the life of College and have access to a wealth of opportunities designed to enrich, inspire and challenge them to think critically. College values intellectual development, curiosity, the ability to enhance debate in the classroom and the acquisition of skills.

Educating each other

Over the last year or so, students have had the opportunity to take part in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® (LSP) sessions at College, giving them the opportunity to practise important skills. The use of Lego distracts the mind and allows ideas to flow, enabling students to express themselves, collaborate, take on different roles and listen to the views of others.

We recently used LSP in our assessment days of Academic Scholarship candidates, and within our academic enrichment programme, as it helps students to think in an abstract way to try to solve a problem. It also helps that Lego is very relatable to young people – most have fond memories of it – thereby putting them at ease.

This approach and variation of activity further encourages our students to become individual and interesting young people who think independently. They become more compassionate, knowledgeable and curious, with the ability to engage confidently with others. In addition, we encourage them to want to give back to communities on a local, national and international level, with the hope that they will make a positive difference in the world. 

An education which challenges and excites

Outside of the classroom, we have a tailored academic enrichment programme to stretch and inspire our pupils. This includes seminars, lectures and webinars run by the ‘Forum42’ Society. The number 42 pays homage to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in which it is the answer given by a supercomputer to “the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”.

The society is open to all pupils at College because it enables our older students to act as role models for their younger peers, who can watch, learn and develop from inspiring older pupils.

As well as Forum42 activities, each week, pupils deliver short TED-style talks to their peers, tackling meaty subjects such as ‘Should the UK still have an army in the 21st Century?’, ‘Can science disprove free will?’ and ‘Should we rewrite global politics?’.

The society also runs regular lectures from high profile speakers who are the leading lights and thought-leaders of the modern world. Recent speakers have included Baroness Lola Young who spoke about diversity in British cinema, and Professor Lewis Dartnell who got students thinking about how to rebuild the world from scratch.  

Our much-loved ‘Three Humans on a Sofa’ event sees brave teachers discuss thought-provoking and often controversial ideas. In addition, pupils are encouraged to explore their academic ideas through online courses, podcasts and essay competitions.

Thought-provoking topics

Academic Scholars have the opportunity to attend masterclasses with young academics which cover a range of themes, from ‘Dilemmas in national policy making’ to ‘Who owns health?’. The climax of the scholarship programme is when Year 12 students take part in a bespoke six-week mentoring project with young academics, based on what they want to explore further at university. These have ranged from ‘Coding the mars lander descent’ to ‘How can the law do more to protect vulnerable children in care?’.

For me, though, the real highlight is seeing our older Scholars present and defend the assertions in their topics of study at a mini academic conference with students from the younger year groups. It is always wonderful to see our younger pupils inspired by their older peers.

The modern workplace

It is these collaborative skills which I believe are of great importance as students develop as individuals, as opposed to their ability to purely recall facts or information. It is vital that they develop the skills to collaborate and exchange ideas, take on the views of others and come to a new or balanced viewpoint as a collective.

After all, these skills are indispensable in the modern workplace; business leaders want to hire thinkers, problem solvers and collaborators. The only way we will be able to overcome the greatest challenges that humankind is facing is by working together and by harnessing the collective genius of the group.

17 February 2023