Aspire is an innovative programme devised here at CNS by Miss R McLean (Assistant HOY 12) solely for the Year 12 students to inspire and promote enrichment of their skills and knowledge. It has three key components where completion of any combination of the three will lead to either a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.

The first component is attendance of at least one of a variety of talks from external speakers that have been scheduled for the Autumn, Winter and Spring terms. These talks, from successful professionals in a range of careers, aim to encourage the students to look outside some of the conventional career pathways, markers for achievement and personal fulfilment, by engaging with alternative routes to success. We have already welcomed Matthew Long (the MD for Luton Hoo) and have Tori Roddy (Trustee for MIND), Heather Pratt (Learning and Development Manager in the Cabinet Office) and Dave Whiteley (Owner of Adventure Days UK – outdoor pursuits; climbing, DofE etc…) visiting us next half term.

The second component is the students leading their own seminar on a topic of personal interest. These seminars have been researched and entirely led by individual students with issues as diverse as sport, genetics and criminology being discussed. It is quite a brave and bold move by those involved to lead on something that they are passionate about, and hope that others will share their interest or even challenge their views. Attendance by other students is optional, but necessary for the seminars to be effective. Both attendance at the talks from the external speakers and participation as the tutees in the internal seminars is rewarded through the programme.

The final component is our very own Aspire Journal (see the link below!); the idea here is for students to research and present in a written form on a topic of their choice. This formal article will hope to stimulate debate and interest in an area, that as yet, students may not have had much information about.

We already have a number of students that have achieved Bronze status and even one with Silver! We look forward to presenting all those qualifying students with their awards at the end of the Easter term.
One hopes that this programme is the beginning, for those students that participate, of seeing the value in pushing themselves beyond their studies and engaging with the vast potential for success that is available to them all!

Our very first edition looks at three entirely contrasting topics; Raising Autism Awareness, The Nocebo Effect and The Price of Entertainment. The Journal is then published quarterly to show off the articles written therefore allowing their peers to be enriched by the new knowledge that is presented, stimulated by the questions it poses, and inspired to look into their own interests in more depth.


Aspire Journal #1