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KS4 Aspiration Programme

  • RG Coaching Groups – Year 11
  • Peer Mentoring
  • Kings College School partnership
  • Senior Aspirations
  • Target Medicine: Become
  • GCSE Reinforcement Sessions
  • Curiosity Club
  • Layers Creative Community Project
  • CoachBright - Mentoring Programme

Year 11 Students who are working from a 4-5 boundary and a 7-8 boundary were invited to attend GCSE Reinforcement Sessions at Kings College School in Wimbledon across January and February.



Layers Creative Community Project

LAYERS is a community platform founded in 2017, dedicated to learning and sharing ideas behind a variety of creative processes, whilst exploring their impact on society and culture as a whole.

Year 9 students were invited to showcase their own photography, visual art or literary work in a public exhibition held at Htown Studio in Hoxton after working with industry professionals in a weekend workshop.

Rijanth Ruban said that the experience was “really great because of all of the amazing people I met and very useful in helping me see what it takes to have a career in a creative industry in London. I now understand how competition it is and also how to present my photography work.”



Target Medicine: Become

Become is a one-day event for Year 9 and 10 students of African-Caribbean descent or Mixed Black backgrounds to explore what it might be like going to university and studying medicine.

The idea of this event was developed by four UCL Medical Students from Black African and Black Caribbean backgrounds who want to change the low representation of students from similar backgrounds within the field of medicine.

A number of students from St Mark’s have been successful applicants in 2019.



Curiosity Club

The Curiosity Club is a program that offers 5 high attaining female students the opportunity to explore a career pathway that is of interest to them. With the Curiosity Club mentor, students investigate something they’re curious about, leading to a self-initiated meeting with an industry professional of their curiosity area in the local community. In the past this has led students to interviewing employees of The Ministry of Sound, Battersea Cats & Dogs and Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, to name a few!


In 2019, all 5 students involved in Curiosity Club completed written feedback stating an increase in self-confidence to pursue career pathways. All 5 students also established possible work experience for Year 11 with the expert in their chosen field. There is a second group of Year 9s currently taking place in the next round of the Club.


Sabrina Abdi said of her experience: “I found the trip very helpful as it showed me what I need to do and achieve in school in order to become a Judge.”

Blessing Gnapi said: “I developed and improved my communication skills, my confidence and I was able to meet someone in the field of work (psychology) that I want to pursue in the future. It was a fantastic opportunity and I think all of my questions about work in the future were answered.”



Russell Group Coaching class

•Thirty Year 11 students from each year group are selected based on their prior attainment or Progress 8 scores. Progress 8 was introduced in 2016 and aims to capture the progress a pupil makes from the end of primary school to the end of secondary school. It is a type of value added measure, which means that pupils’ results are compared to the actual achievements of other pupils with similar prior attainment. These thirty students comprise a “Russell Group” Coaching class, with the specific focus on exploring career options and potential University pathways. St Marks Academy understands the crucial importance of beginning discussions around post-16 and tertiary education early, so ensuring our students have a clear idea of what they are working towards through KS4. Research by the Sutton Trust shows that:

• Independent school pupils are 7 times more likely to gain a place at Oxford or Cambridge compared to those in non-selective state schools, and over twice as likely to take a place at Russell Group institutions.

•This discrepancy is attributed to a lack of information in many non-selective state schools about the variety of courses available to students once they complete their post-16 studies. Working with the Academy Careers Advisor and their Coaching teachers, students in a Russell Group class can access key information about university pathways.

•Structured mentoring and tutoring programmes have been found to be beneficial for highly able students. Such programmes could be run in collaboration with local universities, to allow students to access advice and support. If partnerships are not possible, schools could instead run a mentoring programme between older and younger students within their school.


CoachBright Mentoring Programme

  • In the Autumn term of 2019, 17 students have undertaken the CoachBright mentoring programme which sees graduates from University College London support Year 11 pupils in a subject of their choice. St Mark’s students have benefited from 1:1 mentoring and individualised support from the graduates which has supported their progress and instilled confidence. The programme culminates in a Graduation ceremony in December.

“The CoachBright experience has been great as I was able to get the one to one support that I needed. Also, I was able to talk about my strengths and areas for development in my chosen subject. The mentors were extremely kind and helpful and are willing to help me reach my personal goals. I am very happy with this experience and found it very valuable”. – Sandra Arsante, Year 11 pupil.

Kings College School partnership

•10 students from Years 9 and 10 respectively are selected to represent St Mark’s in a three year long programme with King’s College School. Students attend a number of sessions across the academic year, focusing on exposure to a broad range subjects such as Chinese and Archaeology. There are also enrichment experiences, such as trips to the Globe Theatre, as well as the ability to work with high attaining students from four other partner schools in the sessions which are designed to further challenge and inspire students.

Viktoriya Pavlykivska said “It’s good that we have the opportunity to meet other students from other schools and the course teaches us skills for our exams in an engaging way, such as trips to the theatre for set GCSE texts.”