Press Release – September 2018

Leading independent school, Portland Place School has launched The Strive Programme – a highly creative and ‘out of the box’ learning initiative designed to harness a pupil’s curiosity and deepen their interest and engagement in a particular subject through closer study.

A refreshing alternative to the traditional learning environments, and acknowledging that by cultivating creativity through enabling students to use their imagination and develop their personal passion or particular interest, Portland Place School prides itself on facilitating creative outputs in all aspects of school life.

It has introduced Strive to empower and inspire their pupils to choose their own specific topic for further study. Whether this may be an active interest in a far away culture, a fascination with an unusual sport or a love of novels by a favourite author, students will be encouraged to develop through this forward thinking programme, a real love of learning.

Benefitting Year 7 pupils upwards, Strive aims to stretch student learning far beyond the classroom – inspiring, motivating and setting their own direction. Strive can go on to form the basis for an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) Level 1 which is the equivalent of half a GCSE, and can be taken over one or two years depending on which year you are in.

Julia Findlater, Deputy Head (Academic) at the Marylebone-based Portland Place School explains: “We are immensely excited about the potential of Strive. We are keen to provide our children with the opportunity to explore topics and issues further, to develop a sense of questioning and curiosity.

“When we are curious, we see things differently, making connections and experiencing moments of insight and meaning, all of which provide the foundation for rich and satisfying life experiences. This is an amazing opportunity to undertake rigorous research into a topic of particular interest. This is about our pupils making a choice, not us, as their teachers!

“The research project a student chooses can be realised in a number of creative ways other than just an essay or a portfolio.  Students can explore their interest in, for example, Spanish by producing a cookery book and a delicious meal.  The aim of Strive is to give students the freedom to explore and express their research in whatever format they want, within reason, away from the traditional book-based outputs of the classroom. So, they could: make a film, create a piece of theatre or dance, produce a website, curate an exhibition, make an artefact.  The final expression of their research is totally open ended.

“Further benefit also comes from the opportunity for the the pupils to be acknowledged with our own Strive awards that we will be organising at the school, as well as the formal EPQ qualification that accompanies the scheme.”

Portland Place School is a leading independent co-educational school for children aged 10-16, located directly in the heart of the City of Westminster. It was founded with a particular purpose in mind: to be an alternative to the intense, large, examinations focused independent day schools of which there are many in London.

The school ethos is to be small, nurturing and be relaxed, encouraging and enabling those who attend to achieve their very best academically, with space to develop and express their creativity and athleticism.

It is also building a contemporary dining facility and developing a larger multi-functional performance area.