Posted: 2nd July 2021

We are delighted to announce that Surbiton High School has been shortlisted for the Independent Schools of the Year Award.

This shortlisting is for a new category is an Innovation Award for an Outstanding New Initiative recognising the challenging times schools have faced this past year. The School’s submission focused on new initiatives implemented for our Year 11s and 13s to ensure our students were inspired, encouraged and empowered to look towards their future following the cancellation of public examinations in the summer 2020.

The initiative was two-fold with our Careers team creating a Virtual Work Experience Week for Year 11 and 13. Delivered partly by employers through career webinars covering employability skills and a vast range of careers, students engaged in activities to help better understand their strengths, skills, interests, and values, and relate these to future choices.

The Year 13s engaged in a 5-week programme designed to prepare them for their specific post-school destination. In addition to virtual classes on more prosaic skills like how to cook a curry and operate a washing machine, students were placed in 20 different groups, by chosen degree. They met weekly with a supervisor and used an extensive ‘Surbiton Super-Curricular Bible’, devised especially for this initiative, to explore MOOCs (free university courses), books, science puzzles etc… that enabled them to immerse themselves in their future studies. By delving deeper into their degree, they felt more prepared for university. This included being able to reflect on their module options at university as well as developing the all-important independent study and critical thinking skills universities treasure.

“I am delighted to see the pre and post A-level programmes put on by Surbiton High School during lockdown being shortlisted for the new initiative category in the Independent School Awards. The virtual work experience weeks for Year 11 and 13, small group supervisors preparing Year 13 students for higher education and other activities were put together in a matter of weeks and yet were turned out to be fantastic preparation for our students’ lives post Surbiton. The fact that we were able to roll out the supervisors we did with the Year 13s to our Year 12s this year shows that from adversity can come opportunity” – Terry McDermott, Director of Careers & Guidance.

This new initiative helped to harness the power of the Schools’ community of parents, pupils, staff and external contacts to deliver an impactful programme at a time of great instability.

“Given the new challenges faced by the schools and students alike in the last school year, a particular purpose of the awards in 2021 is to play a constructive role in assisting the recovery of the sector by amplifying the message that independent schools are continuing to move forward successfully and delivering success in new forms.” – Independent Schools of the Year 2021

Categories: Senior School