Academic Society


The philosophy of the Octagon Society at Kingham Hill is to provide academic extension and enrichment to students with significant academic potential; it aims to motivate pupils to be enthusiastic about learning.

Octagon is Kingham Hill School’s Academic Society.

Octagon is a unique opportunity for pupils to be amongst other passionate and enthusiastic learners in a class. They are stretched and challenged academically to enable them to achieve their academic potential whilst being encouraged to pursue their individual interests. Octagon seeks to support the curriculum subjects through specific tasks and more general units of learning that will aid learning in all areas, whilst giving pupils a broader education outside of the curriculum. Octagon seeks to help its pupils to discover for themselves what they are truly interested in and allows them to delve deeper into the unknown.

Octagon allows pupils to extend their studies beyond the curriculum and offers pupils the opportunity to pursue individual academic interests as well as being encouraged to take part in debating, public speaking and critical thinking amongst other activities. Octagon aims to give pupils the skills that they need to be independent thinkers and to enable them to be proactive in all they do. Much emphasis is placed on the Trivium - Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic. Octagon is a society of roughly 60 pupils within the school and consists of seven classes (one per year group).

Octagon is a selective society:

At the start of each academic year, all new pupils in Years 7-10 and all returning pupils in Years 7,9 and 10 are invited to apply to be part of the society on the basis of the following:

  • Pupils must be nominated by at least one member of staff

  • Looking at pupils’ test scores (MidYis, exam results, common entrance etc)

If the pupils, having been invited, wish to apply, they must write a formal letter of application to the Head of Octagon. Successful pupils will then be invited to attend an interview with the Head of Octagon and another Octagon teacher.

The selective nature of Octagon ensures that there is a rigorous and competitive nature to the society and allows pupils to strive to be part of the society. Octagon plays an important role in the school in encouraging academic excellence and a thirst for knowledge. Octagon places very high expectations on pupils: expecting them to read widely, with intelligence and critical thought, to ascertain the truth for themselves and to seek to better themselves in all their studies. Octagon pupils are expected to be a positive academic influence on the rest of the school, promoting learning and the furthering of knowledge.

Octagon is a society where the pupils are urged to take responsibility for their own learning. Octagon has a Council of members which allows pupils to take an active role in what Octagon does both in and outside of school

The subject’s particular suitability for discussing moral, social and philosophical concerns is celebrated and explored by teachers at all levels.

Pupils are encouraged to read widely, with intelligence, enthusiasm and discrimination, and to be lucid and articulate in class discussions and on paper.

Pupils are constantly asked to share their knowledge and pass on all that they have learnt in their Octagon lessons or activities. Octagon seeks to be a presence around school that supports any pursuit of learning.

Lectures are given once or twice a term in which all pupils, both within and outside of the society, are encouraged to attend.

Pudding Club takes place once a term which provides a friendly forum for pupils to share their learning. This is compulsory for all Octagon members and they are encouraged to ‘bring along a friend’.

We have a Pizza Night in October each year which is an event to welcome all new members to the society and explains the aims and motives of the society.

We have an Octagon Annual Dinner in April which allows pupils to look back on all that they have learnt and achieved over the past year.

The department arranges cultural trips to Cambridge University, the British Museum and Library.

Pupils are also encouraged to take part in competitions. The Annual Chipping Norton Rotary Public Speaking competition is something the pupils greatly look forward to and this year is to be hosted at Kingham Hill School!

Helena Berkeley, Head of Octagon Academic Society

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