Challenge Club

What is 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 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.

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.

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.

Key Dates for additional sessions for the Challenge Club

Seminars with external speakers

DateSector/ ExperienceYear Group
Tuesday 19th MarchBusiness7,8 and 9
Tuesday 2nd AprilHealth7, 8 and 9
Tuesday 22nd JanuaryHigher Education7, 8 and 9


  • Year 9 trip to the University of Nottingham 11th February (all day)

Research Project


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 downloaded at the bottom of this page.

What format should I present my work in?

You should present your findings in 2 formats:

  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.


For the presentation students will be given written feedback but no grade will be given.  The proforma for the feedback can be downloaded below.

The following link may help with your research project on leadership:

Downloadable Documents

Challenge Club Passport


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.


  • Y7 passport
  • Y8 passport
  • Y9 passport
  • Recommended Book List



Good Luck!

The Brilliant Club

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


Across years 7 to 10, we invite students to apply for an externally provided program by the Brilliant Club called the Scholar’s Program.  Students will be selected by staff on criteria including ATL, previous entries into Challenge Club and progress as evidenced by termly reports. Due to the success of the Club last year, we will be running a year 9/10 cohort during Spring term and a year 7/8 cohort in Summer term.


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. Brilliant Club Scholars programme.