Higher Prior Attaining Students

Mrs Claire Wells has oversight of our higher prior attaining students.


At The Henry Box School, we believe in the importance of providing challenging and stimulating learning experiences for all students. For our Higher Prior Attaining students this is achieved in several ways, as detailed below:


Academic monitoring

We identify our higher prior attaining students based on their Key Stage 2 SATs results, reading ages and our own teacher assessments which are reviewed twice a year. All students have a mentoring session with their tutor, through our vertical tutoring programme, once every five weeks. Tutors discuss progress and identify targets in these sessions. In years 7-9 tutors also meet individually once a year with parents and students for a 20-minute meeting where they discuss progress in more detail and have a chance to look at their child’s work.


Academic enrichment

There are a range of trips, clubs and programmes available to our higher prior attaining students:


The Scholars Programme: In year 9 the students with the highest reading scores are invited to apply for a place on The Scholars Programme. This is run by The Brilliant Club, an award-winning charity that exists to increase the number of pupils from state schools progressing to highly-selective universities. Through ‘The Scholars Programme’ we provide students with the intellectual and physical experience of University life. Students take part in a University-style module, run by a PhD researcher, focusing on their area of expertise. We have had a range of topics from Modern Art to philosophy. In school tutorials are supported by two trips to our highly selective universities. This year students participated online due to lock down restrictions as a result of Covid-19. The topic was: How did the ‘Swinish multitude’ learn to read? Books and education in the eighteenth century. They then complete a challenging 2,000 -word final assignment as a culmination of their work on the programme, pitched at A- level and beyond. Eleven students achieved a first-class award and one student achieved a 2:1 grade.

Parent comments:

My daughter has learned to think carefully about sources, do research and use examples and evidence to support her interpretation/opinion and has gained confidence and maturity, including feeling able to contribute in seminars.

My son has gained essay writing skills that have already made improvements to the way he writes. His essays have already become more sophisticated in style. Additionally, I think he has appreciated the level of work and commitment required for progress. This will stand him in excellent stead for the future.

Comment from the tutor Dr. Sophie Bankes:

I have been so impressed by the pupils from Henry Box School while I have been working as their tutor. The results of their final assignments speak for themselves but what has been so heartening has been the care, thought, and hard work they have all put into the course. Everyone has submitted homework of a high standard on time, they have listened carefully in class and been prepared to share ideas when asked.

I have been delighted to see students going away to conduct independent research to bring more detail to their essays and to explore aspects of the topic which have particularly interested them. Every single person has risen to the challenges I have set them and delivered some thoughtful and impressive work. It has been lovely to be beamed into a classroom with such a positive scholarly atmosphere.


UKMT Maths Challenge: Previously high attaining students are regularly entered for the UKMT Maths Challenge. This is a national mathematics competition organised by The University of Leeds. We enter students into the individual challenges, as well as entering students for the Maths Team challenge events at a regional level. Many students achieve Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates in the individual challenges, and a few go on to participate in the more advance stages of the competition. Lesson time is dedicated to helping students prepare, through modelling and discussing strategies, whilst looking at an array of problems. Students are also invited to further preparation sessions if they are entered for subsequent rounds.


Shakespeare Festival 'Bard @ the Box': Drama Club runs for students in years 7,8 and 9. Every other year students can perform in Henry Box School's very own Shakespeare Festival 'Bard @ the Box'.


Religion, Philosophy and Ethics Group: A discussion group, where students discuss key religious, philosophical and ethical issues facing our world today,


Oxfam Ambassador group: Students find out about the work of Oxfam, campaign and raise money for Oxfam.


Science Clubs: The Science Faculty sends a team of Y10-13 students to the UK Space Design Competition in the Autumn term.

The Science Faulty also invite speakers into School. Recent examples include the history and future of Mars exploration and the Cochrane Foundation, which teaches critical thinking through examples from evidence-based medicine.


Digital Media, Journalism and Marketing group: Students are taught about digital media and are encouraged to have ownership of our social media platforms, newsletters and updates. We send student reporters to key school events or follow up events through an interview.


Oxplore: Oxplore is an innovative digital outreach portal from Oxford University. As the ‘Home of Big Questions’ it aims to engage those from 11 to 18 years with debates and ideas that go beyond what is covered in the classroom. Big questions tackle complex ideas across a wide range of subjects and draw on the latest research undertaken at Oxford. Oxplore aims to realise aspirations, promote broader thinking and stimulate intellectual curiosity. Students at The Henry Box School are encouraged to discuss these questions in their tutor groups.


University links

Year 7: In year 7 all students attend a university visit, coordinated by Mr Carl Tysom, our School Leader: Sixth Form. This year students visited Oxford Brookes University.


Year 10: All year 10 students are invited to a talk held in school by Dan Powell, a former Geography teacher at The Henry Box School. Dan is now Head of Outreach at New College, Oxford and talks to students about the skills and qualities that Russell Group Universities are looking for.


Henry Box Alumni Students: We have a list of 28 Henry Box Alumni students who are either now at university, doing apprenticeships or are now working and have offered help to any of our students who need it with applications, personal statements, or mentoring. During lockdown they were able to support over twenty of our students from a variety of year groups.


Trinity College, Oxford: We have close links with Trinity College, Oxford and arrange a variety of activities with them.


In 2019-2020 these links were:

Event Year group Number of studnets involved

Critical thinking course

A day’s course into critical thinking using artefacts from the Bodleian Library.

11 6

Festival of Ideas

A festival run by Franklin Scholars looking at community projects.

9 8


An online mentoring course run by medical students at Oxford.

12 2

Rivers, Towns and Gowns

An Archaeological Research Project (sadly cancelled due to Covid 19)

10 8
Interview workshops for Oxbridge Candidates 13 6
Personal statement workshop 11 and 12 30


Sixth Form

We have high aspirations for all our Sixth Form students and support our Higher Prior Attaining students in applying to Russell Group Universities. This support includes the Extended Project Qualification which allows our students to embark on a largely self-directed and self-motivated project. Students must choose a topic, plan, research and develop their idea and decide on their finished product.

We encourage creativity and curiosity. A project topic may be directly related to a student's main study programme but should look beyond the specification. A finished product may take the form of a:

  • research based written report

  • production* (e.g. charity event, fashion show or sports event etc)

  • an artefact* (e.g. piece of art, a computer game or realised design).

*A written report must accompany these options.

Students must also record their project process in their Production Log. The process of recording and completing a project is as important as the finished product. Both the Production Log and Product will be assessed. The EPQ is equivalent to half an A level and is co-ordinated by Mr Carl Tysom.

In addition, we offer the following opportunities in the Sixth Form:

  • Individual help with UNIQ Summer School applications

  • Visits to Oxbridge link colleges

  • Preparation for Oxbridge Entrance exams and mock interviews.

  • Regular academic mentoring from tutors


Updated September 2020





Page Downloads Date  
Scholars Programme 2022 07th Jul 2022 Download