PARTNER CONTENT: One of the highest priorities at the British School Al Khubairat (BSAK) is to support, encourage and stretch students to explore their own unique talents and motivations. The Academic Enrichment programme at BSAK has been designed to do just that and is a particular point of pride that provides students with the opportunity to shine well beyond the classroom.
Morgan Whitfield, the Academic Enrichment Coordinator at BSAK, explains how the programme is built on three pillars – diversity, leadership and engagement.
“Diversity extends to everything we offer,” she says, revealing that the coming term will see more than 40 different societies and clubs. “Societies include traditional ones such as those centred on law and medicine as well as Psychology Society, Model United Nations, as well as the Mental Health Committee. There are creative endeavours such as the Art History Club, Arabic Calligraphy Club, and the Tribune, our school magazine.
The clubs and societies, which are often student-led, offer students opportunities that help to deepen academic excellence in a particular subject area, broaden their interests and build upon and advance their skills.
The second pillar of the Academic Enrichment programme is leadership and skills development, which, provide ways to explore future career opportunities and hone skills that reinforce the curriculum. “We go outside the curriculum too. The idea with leadership and skills development is that we are preparing students with 21st century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking and communications.” Lastly and most importantly, engagement is the third pillar, which ignites curiosity in students so they become lifelong learners.
“We take the lid off learning and students go far beyond any expectations that are set for them.” For such a programme to be a success, Morgan explains how a concept called ‘the pause’ is implemented. “Quite simply, teachers step back and allow the students to become the leaders. Students mentor and teach younger students, decide what the topics are, plan and lead conferences, competitions and so on. “This is what engages students; the accountability is on them and they have a huge role in the direction that they want to take this learning in,” says Morgan.
Primary school students are exposed to as many opportunities and ideas as possible, whereas in secondary school, students specialise more, moving from breadth to depth, and leadership becomes more key. For example, our Sixth Form offers a unique personalised Future Leaders Diploma programme,” she says, designed to provide our students with a ‘stand out’ personal profile through effective career and university planning, extended learning, global citizenship, leadership courses, and even a Mini MBA.
Enrichment is for everybody but within this, Morgan explains how the Academic Enrichment programme ensures that all students are given an invitation to step forward. “We remove any barriers for them,” she says. This includes for young women too, since historically they have not had the same invitation into STEM subjects and pursuing that at high levels and universities. “We are seeing more and more women getting into medical schools. At BSAK we want to make sure that women are at the forefront of leadership too.”
For more information, visit britishschool.sch.ae