On Thursday 30th September, thirty Year 12 students from the London Academy of Excellence (LAE) visited Eton College for a day of exploring the museums, careers education, university preparation, critical history, and lunch with thirty Year 12 Etonians.
After arriving at Eton from Stratford the students were split into three groups for a round robin of activities. The first group was taken on a tour of Eton’s foundation buildings with Mr Shirwani, who discussed critically analysing the buildings through the lenses of class and gender. The second group headed to Queen’s Schools to meet Mr Fussey for a Careers Education session. During the class the students learnt about the Japanese concept of ‘ikigai’ meaning ‘life’s purpose’ and Mr Fussey encouraged students to not only pursue a career which they are skilled at but one that also brings them joy and inspires them. The last group were led by Mr Day, learning more about university applications. Students were led through a series of questions which helped them understand where they were in the process of choosing a course and university. They studied their own motivations for wanting to study the course at university, considered alternatives to university and studying abroad. Mr Day also introduced the students to the idea of ‘super-curricular’ activities – those that take the subjects beyond the curriculum.
During the day, the students also visited the College’s Collections. The Collections staff asked each student to discuss an object which intrigued them in the Verey Gallery, walked back through time the in Museum of Eton Life, and each found a starting point for a research project in the Natural History Museum. Ideas included studying coral for use in preventing skin sun damage, researching the patterns and structures of shells though mathematical equations, and investigating a specimen’s heritage and ownership through the lens of cultural politics.
For break and lunchtime, the LAE students met with thirty Etonians. Each student had a ‘buddy’ from the other school and the highlight of the day was the time spent chatting and eating together. One LAE student fed back that “meeting people from Eton was a nice experience, seeing people from different backgrounds and their college experiences”. The Etonians enjoyed meeting the LAE students and fed back that they would have liked more time to spend with them.
In the new year, thirty Year 12 Etonians will have the opportunity to participate in the return visit to LAE. These visits are a high point in the yearly calendar of our partnership with LAE and we hope the friendships made between students continue beyond this trip.