My Experience at Westminster School
Matthew, a former pupil of St Peter's attended the Platform programme at Westminster School, which is an annual academic enrichment programme for gifted and talented Year 5 pupils from the maintained sector primary schools in London.
In the year 2017, when I was in year 5, I was nominated to participate in a programme in Westminster. The main purpose of this programme was to prepare students for independent and grammar secondary schools.
The programme was so beneficial as I learnt many skills from a variety of subjects. The main subjects that we studied were non-verbal & verbal reasoning, maths and English. Additionally, we studied music, social skills, history. In fact, they were very exciting.
In maths we were tutored by an excellent and friendly teacher of Westminster school called Master Matthew. He helped us through many tricks and methods that would help to solve many difficult mathematical word problems. Every session, we would receive a primary maths challenge sheet, with no expense! I thoroughly, enjoyed these; they acted as workbooks after what we were taught in the lesson. Towards the end of the sessions, another teacher was called in to cover and offered us a problem-solving book that she’d created with over 100 problems inside. They were extremely exciting and interesting puzzles that I would recommend to many people.
Mrs Verney taught us English and Reasoning. I was not particularly strong in English, so It was more beneficial for me. We mainly studied the structure of essays and how we could develop our points to create a good essay. The techniques I learnt in the programme; are techniques I’m being taught in year 7. However, English was not just based on the structural part, it also improved my oral skills and got rid of many of my poor daily language habits. We did many speaking and listening tasks; this has built my confidence and I believe it will go on to help me to speak in front of many people without fear. In addition to the many aids we received, we also received booklets that helped increase my vocabulary, sharpen up my grammar and broaden my explorative and creative mindset Thus, my creative skills has improved immensely.
We were given a set of books that we were handed at the end of every session to read for next session and be questioned on it. These books helped me to pick my preferred reading styles and inspired me to continue reading. In reasoning, we were given written methods on how to solve every type of questions and many workbooks that we could practice.
Across the programme we also did some cross-curricular activities such as drama and physical education. We tried out new games that I had never tried before and deeply enjoyed it. After the first part of the day we had short breaks where most of us would go and play a massive football match. We were able to learn to communicate and work as a team without personal coaches. This developed my teamwork skills.
I am grateful to Mrs Bahlol, my headteacher and her deputy, for selecting and supporting me. I benefited from this programme and believe it was a privilege to represent Saint Peter’s on this programme. The programme led me to succeed in my 11+ exam and enabled me to attend Alleyn’s independent school in Dulwich.
Mathew Afram Opoku