Socrates once said ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’ and our bespoke programme, coined in the great philosopher’s name, intends to foster that mentality. Indeed, a key aim for the programme is to instil a way of thinking that will stay with our pupils beyond the programme, to challenge the world around them, and to reflect on what really fascinates them.
The Socrates Programme offers an exciting array of lectures and workshops for our scholars and to any other girls who wish to apply for a place on the programme. These lectures and workshops promote a wide variety of topics, including the environment, the arts and technology. The programme runs during the first two academic terms.
The main aim of the programme is to give pupils the opportunity to meet and engage with a variety of leading experts and be inspired to create a final piece reflecting their chosen area of interest, which will be submitted in the spring term with a written rationale of under 2000 words. Through the Socrates Programme, pupils gain the confidence, support and recognition to think for themselves and plan their own independent research, while receiving regular guidance from their own individual mentor and inspiration from guest speakers.
Pupils who join the programme have complete freedom to create a final piece in whatever form they choose, whether a short film, play, article, model, display, essay or even a robot. The most important premise for all submissions is that they reflect the interests of the pupil and demonstrate a development of an initial idea and regular reflection throughout the process.
The Socrates Programme is exciting addition to the Lower and Middle School curriculum which gives every pupil the opportunity for stretch and challenge beyond their timetabled lessons. It is compulsory for all scholars and optional and open to all pupils in years 7-9.
Every school should have a Socrates programme or something similar. The idea of allowing pupils to develop key learning skills through whatever interests them most lies at the heart of a modern, relevant approach to developing a life-long love of learning. Nothing matters more. Bravo to the educators at Sydenham High.
– Christopher Lloyd, author, lecturer and CEO, What on Earth Publishing
Workshop & Lecture Dates for 2022-23
Christopher Lloyd, Historian and Founder, What on Earth Publishing
Carol Maxwell, Founder and Director, Max Made Me
Dee Jupp, Technical Advisor in International Development
Pamela Strigo, Civil servant, International Trade
For more information please contact our Socrates Programme Coordinator: Ms Belardo
Past Lecture Reviews
- Imogen, Year 10
I was lucky enough to be part of the Socrates project from year seven to year nine. In year seven, I was eager to get started and was very interested when the opportunity of Socrates arose. I loved that I could do anything I wanted, and the project focused on finding out the origin of my house and links in my family which was something I was eager to find out. At first, I felt overwhelmed with this new responsibility, however, there was plenty of support from my mentor at the time and all the teachers involved. For the second year, I made a project on the impact of COVID 19 and most recently, I did an environmental project in my garden.
Throughout this experience, I learnt many skills and lessons. The most important being to not give up and to listen to the advice of others because without the people who were crucial to the outcome of my project, I would not have been able to finish it. My organisational skills were definitely needed! The lectures also really helped spark interest and inspiration. Hearing everyone’s advice and stories were so helpful and moving.
I would recommend the programme to everyone as it is so rewarding when you finally finish!
- Megan, Year 10
During the three years I took part in the Socrates Programme, I learned so much about the world around me, outside of school and inside school, not only through the incredibly interesting and fun lectures from various inspirational people, but also from my mentors guiding me through. Not only did Socrates allow me to explore interests I already had, but it developed my skills to be more fit for the future, for my life outside of school. I learnt how to manage stress, how to manage my time effectively to complete all tasks, but also how to turn a fun hobby into something more meaningful as well as enjoyable. In lectures, I learned about people’s real experiences, but also about fun and interesting jobs I may consider taking up. My favourite lecture was probably one we had about bees, as I love bees and I thought it was very interesting to learn about them in more depth, along with a small jewellery business talk we had. Through Socrates I achieved so much, I created three great in-depth projects reflecting my different interests every year, my personal favourite being my year nine piece about video games and mental health due to the fact I got to educate many parents about how to control their children’s gaming time and how that will affect the child. Overall, I believe Socrates is a great learning opportunity for anyone who wants to get a head start on their future and learn how to manage future stress, which I believe everyone should aim to do!
- Ruby, Mentor
From taking part in KS3 to mentoring a younger student when I was in Year 12, the Socrates Programme has taught me vital skills in research and development of ideas. Participating in the Programme allowed me to learn about topics that I was curious about but did not have the ability to fully explore in lessons and it also helped me discover my passion for sustainability in Science. Having the opportunity to mentor a student with their own project was extremely rewarding as it was wonderful to see their progress and improvement throughout the project with my guidance. I would highly recommend older students take the opportunity to mentor as it builds confidence in leadership and improves your communication skills whilst also helping another student. Overall, the Socrates Programme has helped guide me towards my future career and also given me the chance to build a connection with younger students and positively impact their school lives.
- Leah, Mentor
As a mentor in the Socrates programme I helped my mentees identify and explore their initial thoughts and ideas, before they narrowed these down and each chose their final project to pursue. I supported and encouraged both my mentees throughout this process, providing advice and suggestions to develop their work further. I found it rewarding to watch them grow in confidence and take control of their work. It was important for me to listen, let them lead, and only help when required. I learnt how to facilitate and give constructive feedback.I found this to be a valuable experience and a good opportunity to form relationships with younger students and gain mentoring skills that will prove helpful in the future.