The Carrington Award

The Carrington Award was developed at Wycombe Abbey to help girls achieve not only academic excellence, but to also prepare pupils for the broader challenges of life and work beyond school. The School’s founder, Dame Frances Dove, had the vision that education was more than classroom teaching – that Wycombe Abbey should equip girls to take leading roles in professional life. The Carrington Award Programme aims to give pupils a range of skills and knowledge needed to survive and thrive in the real world. Drawing from the latest theories and research, alongside the contributions of university academics and business leaders, the programme ensures the development of skills required to excel at university and in future careers. The programme develops skills across four ribbons:

Leadership, responsibility and global thinking
Confidence and self-reliance
Creativity and vision
Critical thinking and intellectual curiosity

The Carrington Award Programme is taught through a mixture of small classes and lectures by external experts over four periods per week throughout the Sixth Form. Teaching methods emphasise small group discussion and debate which are central features of learning at university. The weekly lessons provide a theoretical perspective, but many of the ribbon skills are best developed through practical application.

Opportunities are provided to work with pupils from other local schools, the following events are included as part of the programme:

Management Conference (now in its 29th year) is a two-day business simulation, which is designed to simulate decision-making processes adopted by business owners.

The Leadership Summit introduces the challenges of leadership and gives every pupil the opportunity to lead their team in a practical leadership task. These include planning a response to a forest fire and crossing a “piranha-invested” river with barrels and planks.

The Communications Conference (CommsCon) requires pupils to run a company communications team in the midst of a public relations crisis, working under time pressure to draft press releases, engage with social media and be interviewed on television news by professional broadcasters.

The Academic Forum asks participants to explore the discipline they hope to study at university, exploring some of the most current debates in academic thinking and research. Pupils also have the exciting chance to pursue an intellectual passion outside of the confines of exam specifications. All pupils complete an independent, university-level study of around 5000 words, either in the form of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or the University Preparation Project (UPP).

The Carrington Award has been designed to match the high ambitions of Wycombe Abbey girls, building skills required not only for the Sixth Form, but for the next step to university and professional life.