Academic Enrichment

Millfield Sixth Form pupils listen to an Academic Enrichment event
Millfield students in a science lab as part of the annual Biology and Psychology Symposium
Millfield teams from the Senior Debating Finals with Tessa Munt in the Johnson Hall in Street, Somerset
Millfield students perform in the annual Festival of Languages
Millfield Art students in an academic enrichment talk in the Atkinson Gallery

For Years 9 - 11, there is a vibrant range of enrichment activities offered by each department. These include the Maths Society, Science Club, Millfield Writers, the Year 10 Enterprise competition, Computer Programming Club, the Festival of Languages, the Year 11 Physics Challenge and the Debating Society. In addition, top academics from all age groups are invited to attend Eureka!, which meets fortnightly to follow an informal critical thinking programme.

In Sixth Form, students may complete a research project in the first weeks of their Lower Sixth year, designed to introduce them to research skills and to sources of information and opinion that they might not ordinarily encounter in the course of their studies. Sixth Formers then have the opportunity to work for the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), which allows students to develop a range of skills that will prepare them well for university life and to begin to explore a particular area of specialization.

Our Sixth Form enrichment programme, known as the Minerva Lecture Series, consists of lectures and events hosted by academic departments and by the Academic Society. These are all designed to inspire curiosity and a spirit of enquiry by exposing students to material that is quite distinct from the taught curriculum.

Enrichment and trips
We support our students in a large number of external competitions, including Olympiads in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Linguistics and Informatics, the Intermediate and Senior Mathematics Challenges, the Millfield Maths Challenge, the Naval Engineering Challenge, the English Speaking Union Public Speaking competition, European Youth Parliament, Model United Nations, Bank of England Target 2.0, the Omnibus Translation Competition, and essay prizes offered by Oxford and Cambridge colleges. We also run a rich programme of trips to performances, exhibitions, lectures, and debates.

Oxbridge applications

Preparation for Oxbridge applications is a process that really begins the moment a student arrives at Millfield.  Every aspect of our curriculum is designed to stretch and challenge all students both inside and outside of lessons to prepare them for applications to some of the most competitive universities in the World.  An array of extra-curricular activities, seminars, external speakers and clubs allow each student to extend their academic interests outside of the curriculum, and a mentoring programme is in place to support our most able students (Top Academics) to channel their efforts appropriately right from the beginning of their Millfield Career.  Students are encouraged to and regularly participate in academic competitions including Olympiads and University Essay Competitions, activities which help to build the type of academic CV sought after by competitive universities.

The Old Millfieldian Society gives us access to a network of old students who are currently connected with or studying at Oxford and Cambridge, meaning that current students are connected with a wealth of prior experience and expertise.  Many students use the network to facilitate appropriate work and research experience to support their applications  For students in Year 11, a day trip to Oxford provides the opportunity to experience Colleges and Departments first hand and to meet current undergraduate students and tutors.  In Year 12, students are invited to spend a night in Cambridge, enjoying a lunch and dinner in different Colleges and meeting a range of OMs who are current Cambridge students or alumni.

In the Sixth Form, our Oxbridge Programme specifically supports those students making an Oxford or Cambridge application.  The Programme is overseen by our Head of Academic Extension, Dr Abbie Pringle, who has both an MSc in Neuroscience and DPhil in Psychology from Oxford.  Dr Pringle was also a researcher and Teaching Fellow at the university for several years prior to embarking on her school teaching career.  Candidates are supported in all aspects of their application including their personal statements and extensive interview preparation via regular meetings both with Dr Pringle and with an allocated subject specific mentor who oversees their broader academic exposure, facilitates regular critical discussion, and helps students to prepare for Admissions Tests.  Preparation culminates in an Oxbridge Preparation Day which is co-organised with Wells Cathedral School and brings together candidates from across a number of local maintained and independent schools to engage in seminars and mock interviews.

"Academic Extension is about giving students something different to do, such as tasks that really get them thinking and engaged in the lesson. Going beyond the syllabus is an important aspect of provision for academically able students."

Abbie Pringle - Head of Academic Extension