Students have read the ‘War Horse’, ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’, ‘The Book Thief’, ‘The Screwtape Letters’, ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’, and ‘The Death of Ivan Illyich’. They have studied people trafficking, completed extended projects and ‘Independent Research Initiatives’, and have explored philosophical development enquiries and still found time to watch and study the films Up, Avatar, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, Gattaca, Breakfast Club and The History Boys. They have completed ethical research, philosophical questioning about existence and purpose in life, debated genetic engineering, examined personification, had in depth sessions on their UCAS applications and university choices, and enjoyed many debates.
And yes, they have played games. Games to make them think, to sharpen their minds, to teach them strategy, to equip them with thinking tools, to help them cope whilst under pressure and to challenge them in many ways; and they have also played them for fun!
Octagon is also packed with extra-curricular events and more than often everyone is invited to attend these, not just the Octagon students.
Over the last year they have experienced a Gifted and Talented study day in Oxford (on nanotechnology, law and justice, and business ethics), a Politics debate (BNP), a lecture on the interface between Science and Religion, a 6th form ethics conference in Oxford, a lecture on the Design argument in the science labs, a cultural evening of beer and wine tasting at The Chequers, a lecture on the advance in science and designer babies, an Oxbridge trip to Trinity College Oxford, film nights (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Hotel Rwanda), a lecture on Rwanda and the genocide, an American History lecture, a visit to the Ashmolean museum, lunch at Pierre Victoire in Oxford, a superb apologetics lecture by Michael Ramsden, a visit to The Imperial War Museum in London, and the play in the school hall on Dr Faustus.
This has had a huge impact upon the school. Many students are now aspiring to be in Octagon. The junior years look up to it and want access and parents ask constantly about their children joining it.
The buzz of what we do in lessons and at events spreads around the school and in turn this should raising academic standards which will be shown in improved grades and entry into high quality universities. However, the true impact that Octagon has upon the lives of the students will be immeasurable.
Octagon is staffed by Mr Stannard who is Head of Octagon and Mr Eyles who teaches the year 7 to 9 age range. Mrs Raccio also plays a huge part in the success of all that happens.
It is the dream job of any teacher to teach the best minds in the school and at KHS this is seen in the thrill of learning and ability to adapt to whatever is put in front of the Octagon students.
There was great praise for Octagon in the recent ISI inspection, and to get such high commendation was fantastic and was down to the hard work of the students. The lessons observed were brilliant and it sends out the high academic reputation of the school for many years to come.