Academic Enrichment

Whether a child excels in academics, Art, Sport, Design and Technology, Music or Drama, there is plenty on offer beyond the curriculum to enrich and supports their talents. As well as a variety of enrichment activities, guidance and support are crucial to the scholarship programmes.

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a research qualification for which students undertake research into a topic of their choice and then develop a product with their findings. This product can be a 5,000-word written report or an ‘artefact’, such as a film, play script, lecture, exhibition or piece of art. Throughout the project, students set their own deadlines under the guidance of a supervising teacher, with whom they meet on a weekly basis. The project concludes with a verbal presentation, to a small audience, during which students honestly review their EPQ journey. At the end of the project, students should have learned how to manage their time, complete research effectively, reference sources accurately and present to an audience with confidence.

Due to the independent nature of the EPQ, this qualification acts as a useful bridge between A Level and university-style study. It is looked upon very favourably by most universities, including Russell Group establishments. The qualification carries up to 70 UCAS points. Students at Sutton Valence tend to begin their EPQ in January of their Lower Sixth year, aiming to complete by Christmas of the Upper Sixth. To ensure that a student is suited to the independent-study aspect of an EPQ, they are asked to achieve a high average class-effort and prep-effort grade in their first full School report; the exact details of this requirement will be explained to students when they begin their Sixth Form study.

Below are just a few of the opportunities and support networks that are already in place as part of our enrichment programme which, in the last ISI inspection, was rated as “excellent”:

  • The Extended Project Qualification is an opportunity for students to develop their research skills whilst being awarded the AQA Level 3 Qualification, equivalent to an AS Level. Students in Lower or Upper Sixth can select a topic of their choosing and submit either an essay or artefact.  In order to further the development of key skills, students studying the Extended Project Qualification are assigned a supervisor to assist them extend their research, presentation and referencing;
  • Model United Nations is an integral event in the Michaelmas Term calendar where students compete against other schools, testing their knowledge of current political affairs as well as their debating skills.  Debating and Public Speaking are specialist areas for the pupils of Sutton Valence,  they have often been highly commended for their skills in the South East competitions;
  • The Westminster Essay Competition operates for students at the end of their Fifth Form and is currently judged by the Oxford Professor of English, Dr Nicholas Perkins. Students are allowed to compose an essay on any topic of their choosing;
  • Prospective Medical and Veterinary students benefit from an activity where they prepare for the challenges that go with such competitive courses.  Sessions extend scientific knowledge and give them an understanding of the tests (BMAT, UKCAT etc) they will have to sit when applying to university;
  • Challenge Days and visits are run in a variety of subject areas from the Faraday Project to the Magistrates Court and are designed to extend learning and understanding of everyday scenarios;
  • Theatregoers is an activity for Sixth Form students involving termly outings to London to see a variety of different West End shows;
  • For those of an artistic persuasion, a selection of the School's best artwork is hung at the United Westminster School's Exhibition in London every year;
  • Competitions and quizzes are common place in the SVS calendar. Academic Scholars in the Third to the Fifth Form are asked to take place in a weekly current affairs quiz, whilst those in the junior years are set the Macdonald Current Affairs Competition. The English department regularly encourages applications to the BBC 500 Words competition, as well as titles set by Oxbridge.


As well as furthering pupils through enrichment activities, there is plenty of support on offer to help students fulfil their potential. Pupils awarded an academic scholarship are mentored by the Head of Academic Scholars, Dr Grindlay, who regularly reviews scholars’ progress. Scholars are expected to perform within the top ten in their cohort and support and guidance is on offer to help ensure this is achieved.

In other scholarship disciplines regular meetings are arranged as well as trips and visits by external agencies.


Oxbridge is a highly competitive arena and at Sutton Valence we want our pupils to be fully supported in their application. Visits from admissions tutors at Cambridge and Oxford are invited to speak to both students and parents alike about the application process and requirements, and visits to the universities are also arranged. Students wishing to apply for Oxbridge are assigned a subject mentor to further their subject specific knowledge, as well as attending weekly brunch meetings with other candidates. Roadshows and workshops are also attended by students with Oxbridge aspirations.

Contact Us

Sutton Valence School

North Street, Sutton Valence, Kent, ME17 3HL


Tel: 01622 845200


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