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More Able Learners

Grammar School Intake (GSI)

The school’s Grammar School Intake (GSI) programme started 4 years ago and targets students who can work around grammar school standards. The aim of the programme is to provide a grammar school curriculum experience within our outstanding, inclusive and caring comprehensive school. This includes studying a particularly challenging curriculum in class, in addition to being invited to participate in opportunities outside of class.

Students are selected to be part of the school’s GSI programme on the basis of their Year 6 SATs scores and CATs scores. Parents of students selected to be part of the GSI programme will be invited to a GSI Information Evening in the autumn term of Year 7. The purpose of this evening is to give you more information about the plans we have for your son, throughout his wider school life as well as in the classroom.

Many subjects offer your son the chance to undertake independent tasks, outside of the classroom, to develop his learning in that subject area. These include a Book Review club in English, the UKMT which is a national maths competition, and Medical Ethics debates in Science.

In addition, a programme of exciting trips and experiences is planned to stretch and challenge your son throughout his five years at Woolwich Polytechnic. Last year, Y7 GSI students visited the Emirates Aviation Experience at the O2, to learn more about the aviation industry. Y7-9 GSI students also attended a GSI Maths Puzzle Day where their problem solving and teamwork skills were put to the test! In the summer term, Y9 GSI students went to Kingswood Activity centre for an overnight revision trip, where they gained lots of new experiences, such as abseiling and zipwires, in between preparing for their end-of-year exams.

Year 10-11 students are offered dedicated ‘7-9 Clubs’ before and after school to help them reach their full potential in their GCSEs, in addition to various other trips, projects and clubs throughout the year.

Year 11-13 students become part of the dedicated Top Achievers’ Programme, which is for the most academically able students in the year group.

We also encourage collaboration between GSI students in each year group. In collaboration with Lloyds Bank, a group of 24 GSI students from Y7-12 take part in an annual ‘Hackathon’. This year, the students had to work in mixed year-group teams to design and pitch a technological solution to mental health issues. These were then presented to a senior manager from Lloyds at their head office in the city, which was a terrific opportunity for the students.

The Access Project  

Woolwich Polytechnic began working with The Access Project in 2018. The Access Project is a charity that combines tuition and in-school mentoring to support gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve the highest possible grades and compete – successfully – for a place on some of the most competitive university courses in the country.

Students selected to join The Access Project's 4-year programme from year 10 onwards are paired with a volunteer tutor from a wide range of professions to receive free 1:1 subject tuition for an hour a week throughout the year. In addition, Access Project students benefit from a dedicated member of The Access Project team, who works at Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys two days a week to offer expert advice on A-Level choices, university applications and academic development.

Access Project students attend regular workshops arranged around their timetable and enjoy visits from speakers and outings to top universities. In addition, all Access Project students are given exclusive access to work experience and super-curricular opportunities, as well as a free subscription to Uplearn and AITutor. Students not chosen to be part of the Access Project's programme can still benefit from support with applications, admissions tests and interviews through The Access Project's Medicine and Oxbridge societies.

Across all the 35 schools currently working with the Access Project, students on the programme are more than twice as likely to end up at a top university than those of similar ability who were not on the programme. In a 2022 survey of Access Project students, almost all participants feel that the initiative has helped them become more confident (97%), more independent (98%) and more positive about their future (95%).

For the students at Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys, those enrolled on the Access Project typically apply to and receive offers from at least one top university and eight out of ten students will meet the grades needed to secure a place at one of these selective institutions.


Etonx: courses go beyond the curriculum – Etonx helps students gain the skills they need to achieve their goals. From critical thinking to LNAT preparation, this online platform is free to all students on the scholarship programme.

Cambridge Outreach: this link is used to facilitate students’ familiarity with the learning environment at Cambridge and includes a university visit for 12 students.

Top Achievers’ Programme 

In parallel with the Access Project, Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys runs a dedicated Top Achievers’ Programme (TAP) to support the most academically able students from years 10 to 13. In years 10 and 11, our TAP coordinator will meet with students to understand their ambitions, to discuss what A-Levels they should consider and prepare them for the university application process. As much as possible, these students will be included in all the opportunities that are available to those in the sixth-form.  

In the sixth form, the most ambitious students – those applying to Oxford or Cambridge or on track to meet the grades necessary for a super-selective course in medicine, dentistry or veterinary science – will be paired up with Dr Derin Balogun, a Cambridge graduate with expertise in the university application process. She provides personalised support for our selected TAP scholars, helping them to hone university applications, practice for interviews and prepare for any additional admissions tests their universities require (such as the University Clinical Aptitude Test or UCAT). Dr Balogun has helped many of our students achieve their potential, with several students every year now securing places at Oxford or Cambridge and at medical and dental schools around the country.  

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