Challenge Club


The Challenge Club is a programme aimed at our most academic students in years 7 to 9 and aims to:
  • Prepare students for different styles of teaching in Higher Education
  • Provide the inspiration to attend a leading university
  • Ensure the opportunities they receive rival the best state and independent schools.
  • Challenge our most able students academically
  • Ensure our students have the right information to make the right decisions for Higher Education
We select our students through a mix of academic data (CATS/ SATS/ KS3 Bands) as well as teacher recommendations.   It is a great opportunity to be selected for the Challenge Club and parents and students should be fully aware of the requirements of the programme when initially selected and any concerns by parents should be flagged up to Academic Mentors in the first instance. The Challenge Club has 3 main elements as listed below, all designed to challenge and reward students:
  1. Challenge Club Seminars
  2. Academic Research Project
  3. Challenge Club Passport

How do we keep in contact?

We expect our Challenge Club students to be proactive and independent in keeping in contact with their lead teacher for deadlines and information.  Messages will be sent to students’ school email address, Insight messages to parents, tutor daily bulletins and finally the Challenge Club noticeboard which is located between the main hall and the languages classrooms.

What rewards are involved in the Challenge Club?

Students in the Challenge Club are certainly rewarded through the opportunities given to them through the seminars, the passport and the year 9 university trip.  Once the Academic Research Project is completed and marks submitted, students and parents will then be invited in to attend a Presentation Evening in the Spring Term.  On this evening students will receive their certificates and feedback and any students achieving a ‘First’ will receive an additional prize.  After the presentations students and parents have the opportunity to look at all of the work produced as well as listen to some sample presentations. In the summer term the students then participate in the Challenge Club Passport and once more are able to achieve different levels of recognition and prizes for their efforts.

How can parents help?

  • Encourage them with their project by helping them think of an interesting angle for their project – make it unique and exciting even ground-breaking!
  • Discuss their research with them and offer alternative research methods
  • Help them follow the guidance for referencing their findings
  • Support them to try new activities as part of the challenge club
  • Nurture a debating environment at home
  • Ensure they stick to the deadlines and are aware of seminar dates emailed through Insight.

Challenge Club Seminars

Throughout the Academic Year we will be providing seminars on skills that we think will help students in Higher Education or further careers and also assist the students in successfully completing their Academic Research Projects.

These will be delivered by university students, senior leadership or external speakers and they will take place in a meeting room (room 12) rather than classrooms to be more in line with business meetings and university seminars. Sessions may include topics such as:

Research Development Skills Project Handling Presentation Skills Interpersonal Skills Debating Skills

In addition to this year 9 Challenge Club students will have the opportunity to attend the University of Nottingham to get a flavour of university life.

Further details of times and locations of these seminars will be communicated through school email once confirmed. All students are expected to attend all seminars and catch up on any work missed but we will ensure the seminars fall on different days to avoid impacting the same lessons.

We are put on this planet only once, and to limit ourselves to the familiar is a crime against our minds The Academic Research Project is an essential part of the Challenge Club which provides academic rigour and develops the important research and independent skills needed in Higher Education, apprenticeships and future careers. Students will be given a choice of academic topics to select from to which they will need to submit their thesis title.  A seminar will be run to guide students in this first initial process. An example of 2016-2017 Project titles can be seen here. 1.Academic Research Project 2016-2017

What format should I present my work in?

You should present your findings in 2 formats:                              d 1) In the style of a written project: e.g. presented in a ring binder, booklet or in essay form.                                                 , 2) In the form of a 2minute presentation. The presentation will be carried out in front of your tutor group and will be assessed by either your tutor, your Academic Mentor, your Head of House or a member of the Senior Leadership Team.  This must include a Power-point presentation and a ‘speech’ to accompany the presentation.  Although this may be nerve-wracking – remember this is the Challenge Club and you will only grow and develop if you challenge yourself to new situations!  We will also provide a seminar on presentation skills and how best to captivate the attention of your audience!

How do we mark the Academic Research project?

Students will be graded according to university grade boundaries for their written work and they will be marked by staff who have an expertise in the subject.
An example of the markscheme used in 2016-2017 is available below. 2. Challenge Club Academic Research Project Mark scheme For the presentation students will be given written feedback but no grade will be given.  The proforma for the feedback can be seen here.
  1. 3.Challenge Club Academic Research Project Presentation
Examples of the 2016-2017 cohort’s research work can be seen here.
Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. The Challenge Club Passport has been designed to develop student’s confidence and broaden their horizons and perhaps provide opportunities to learn or try something new both inside and outside of the classroom in a fun and competitive manner. Each activity on the passport is worth a certain value; 5 points, 10 or 20 points. These are the maximum points you can achieve for each activity. The quality of your activity/evidence will determine how many points you get for it. There will be an award given to you at the end of the process; which is based on how many points you achieve on the passport. Bronze award 60 points Silver award 70 points Gold award 80 points plus We will need to see evidence that you have completed each activity. Some activities will have evidence attached (e.g. if you read a book from the suggested reading list, your evidence will be the book review), however others are slightly more obscure to prove. Examples of the year 7, 8 and 9 Challenge Club passports are below along with the reading list. 5. Y7 passport 6. Y8 passport 7. Y9 passport 8. Recommended Book List Good Luck!
The Brilliant Club – by Lily Baxter Year 9 12 students in year 9 and 10 were given an opportunity to be part of the Brilliant Club. This enabled us to go to visit the University of Sheffield and the University of Nottingham, of which we got a tour of the campuses. Every one of these 12 students had to participate in seminars under the tutelage of a PhD researcher on the topic of Friendship in the French Revolution with the aim of writing a 2,000-word essay, which was marked by our tutor Grace using the criteria of a real university essay. Luckily, everyone passed and moved onto the graduation. The graduation event took place on Saturday 20th May at the University of Nottingham. Parents were also invited to come along to the graduation to celebrate and gain an insight on what happened throughout the course. Everybody thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they got a certificate and to wear a graduation cap. It was very fun; we got to experience how it felt to be an undergraduate at university.

The Scholar’s Program – The Brilliant Club

In year 10 we invite students to apply for an externally provided program by the Brilliant Club called the Scholar’s Program.  Students will be asked to submit a letter outlining why they would benefit from being selected and these will be judged by staff on criteria including spelling and grammar, presentation, originality and student competencies. This scheme offers two university trips including a graduation ceremony with parents and 6 sessions with a PHD tutor.  The attached PowerPoint shows the opportunities available in this prestigious scheme. 9. Brilliant Club Scholars programme This year our first cohort of mixed year 9 and 10 students completed the scheme and the below table shows their results.   Moderated Marks Report   Joseph Whitaker School – Grace Harvey – Final Marks – Spring Placements 2016-17  
Tutor Pupil forename Pupil surname Marks deducted for lateness Marks deducted for plagiarism  Final Mark Final Grade Status
Grace Harvey Sophie Arthur 0 0 64 2.1 Confirmed
Grace Harvey Samuel Smith 0 0 53 2.2 Confirmed
Grace Harvey Robert Herward 0 0 68 2.1 Confirmed
Grace Harvey Molly Bird 0 0 63 2.1 Confirmed
Grace Harvey Lucy Gabb 0 0 69 2.1 Confirmed
Grace Harvey Lee Chuter 0 0 63 2.1 Confirmed
Grace Harvey Lily Baxter 0 0 48 3rd Confirmed
Grace Harvey Ethan Morley 0 0 48 3rd Confirmed
Grace Harvey Amelie Frost 0 0 64 2.1 Confirmed
Grace Harvey Ali Akhtar 0 0 65 2.1 Confirmed
Grace Harvey Aaliyah Taylor-Nelson 0 0 58 2.1 Confirmed