Harris Academies
All Academies in our Federation aim to transform the lives of the students they serve by bringing about rapid improvement in examination results, personal development and aspiration.

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Purple Route

Harris Experience: Years 9-11 exposes students to a wealth of high-end academic and cultural experiences, ranging from world class art auctioneering with Christie’s Auctioneers to a trip to the Royal Opera House; from a day of Science in Action at Imperial College London to a bespoke day of lectures at Oxford University.  

Our Harris Experience students are taught to think independently, to express themselves effectively and to embrace learning for its own sake as well as to start the process of understanding their individual academic pathways.  

We hope that all Harris Experience students will enter a Harris sixth form, where they will automatically gain entry to the Harris Experience Advanced.  

Harris Experience Advanced: Years 12-13 is a Russell Group application programme providing expert guidance and individually-tailored academic opportunities for our most able sixth formers. The programme is aimed at students who have achieved outstanding grades at GCSE or who prove themselves to be making outstanding academic progress early in Year 12 and maintain this throughout their two years in sixth form. 

Purple Route: Years 12-13 is offered to our sixth form students who meet the necessary criteria. The aims are to: 

  • Increase the opportunity of Harris Academy Falconwood students reading at Oxford or Cambridge 
  • Increase number of students reading at Russell Group Universities  
  • Raise aspirations of all students at Harris Academy Falconwood 

We want to serve our students by ensuring they aspire to go to the top universities. By conducting research into the two top universities, we have developed a plan that will support our students when applying to either of these universities. When applying to Oxbridge they are looking for the following requirements for students to become a success:  

  • Academic ability and potential 
  • Course requirements met
  • Genuine subject interest, enthusiasm and motivation (super curricular activities – we offer opportunities for this)  
  • GCSE / A Levels (dependent on course) 
  • Contextual data – Area, school etc.  
  • Admission test / assessment 
  • Interview – here is something interesting, let’s talk about it
  • UCAS personal statements / Teacher references. 

Not all students will want to attend Oxford or Cambridge, possibly the course that they are passionate about may not be at one of these universities. The Purple Route has been designed to not only support applications to Oxford or Cambridge but also increase students’ chances of attending a Russell Group University and supporting them when applying to High Level Degree Apprenticeships.   

Our Offer: 

  • All students on Purple route will apply for Oxbridge* 
  • Residential of Oxbridge - we will organise for a weekend at either Oxford or Cambridge to give students a feel for university life
  • Lectures 
  • Designated curriculum time to support application – time within the planned curriculum where students can work towards applications, refining interview skills or reading around their subject
  • Societies to support application (Law, Politics, Journalist etc) 
  • Support with interviews/ personal statement 
  • Guest speakers (Past or Existing Oxbridge Students) 
  • EPQ (Compulsory) – The Extended Project Qualification develops writing skills necessary when completing university assignments. It is also equivalent to an AS Level.  
  • Support from subject specialist teachers

* Purple route students’ performance will be reviewed regularly. Purple route students should be the top performing students in their year group. 

Application to Purple Route 

Our criteria for acceptance onto the course is:

  • Grade average that puts students in the top 15% of students at GCSE performance level – Approximately 7+ Grade Average
  • Application form / Letter  
  • Open evening for Parents
  • Interview with Mr Street / Mr Papworth / Mr Hayes  
  • Conditional offer (Subject to Results) 

View the Purple Route presentation 

Purple Route - What our students say about It

Purple route is an experience which has given me access to resources I otherwise would not have had access to. For example, being able to visit prestigious universities such as Cambridge and Oxford. These insights into such institutions helped me grow my skills through debating and my confidence when communicating with others around me. Furthermore, in purple route you build connections with people and form long-lasting friendships. Purple route is not just useful in giving us the opportunity to enrich our educational prospects but is also an enjoyable experience that I highly recommend to others.

Sophia Parr (Current HAF and Purple Route Student) 

Without the support of purple route, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It wasn’t just a collection of meetings but an experience which extended beyond the classroom. From debates to presentations, networking with employers and two residentials to the most prestigious universities globally: Oxford and Cambridge. Purple route offers you unique opportunities which simply do not exist at other comprehensive schools. It pushes you to vocalise your thoughts and improves your delivery; I did not realise the importance of transferable skills like public speaking before purple route. Negative capability (the idea that learning exists only in what you don’t know) was challenging but hugely rewarding, the work I did was instrumental in deciding my university course.

Additionally, secondary to purple route, is the Harris Experience Advanced (HEA). This is a federation conglomerate of three who email an array of opportunities formative to the personal statement (PS), with further interview preparation and extensive guidance on PS editing. The work I did with the HEA included a series of philosophy seminars with LSE, a day shadowing the Law department at Barings, university lectures with UCL, and accession onto the Higher Aspirations Scheme with the University of Cambridge. The PS is a critical part of the university application, it is a display of diligence; a defining feature which sets you apart from other candidates, this resulted in me being interviewed by Cambridge and offered a place with UCL.

I couldn’t recommend purple route enough: join, join, join!

Lola Corneille (Current HAF and Purple Route Student)