Spring Newsletter, Week 2

It has been a week of new beginnings and old faces. We have had a chance to meet more students who plan to join us in September. Thank you to staff for giving up an evening to work through this process. We also hosted an alumni evening, bringing back together some of our past students to talk about their wonderful careers and experiences since leaving us. It was an inspiration. These young people have moved on to incredible things – critical care nurses during the pandemic, NHS scientists processing COVID tests, doctors, robotics engineers, environmental scientists and project analysts. They all talked so fondly of their time here and how it has prepared them for the future. They had great advice for current students – take the opportunities even if they don’t seem immediately right for you. It made my heart swell with pride at their confidence, accomplishments and the brilliant opportunities they have secured since leaving.

Notes this week:

Notes for this week:

Positive LFD Tests & Changes to isolation Periods: It is no longer necessary to take a confirming PCR test if you have taken an LFD test and tested positive.

From Monday 17 January, people who are self-isolating with COVID-19 will have the option to reduce their isolation period after 5 full days if they test negative with a lateral flow device (LFD) test on both day 5 and day 6 and they do not have a temperature. For example, if they test negative on the morning of day 5 and the morning of day 6, they can return to their education or childcare setting immediately on day 6.

When reporting to school a positive lateral flow test for a student, please give us this information:

  • The date of the test
  • The 6th day as confirmed by track and trace

COVID Numbers Update: Numbers of positive cases in staff and students are currently low which is testament to regular testing and uptake of the vaccines. Please do continue to complete Lateral Flow tests twice weekly to ensure we catch any asymptomatic cases as early as possible. Thank you for your continued support.

Travel Updates: Merseyrail have announced a reduction in services from Monday 17th January as a result of the impact of the Omicron variant. Trains will be running on a half hourly service. Please do check the cancellations list to see how this affects your usual travel plans. You can view the new timetables here: https://www.merseyrail.org/plan-your-journey/30-minute-timetable.aspx

Applications Update: We have had a record number of applications for places for September again this year. If you are keen for a younger child to attend, or have friends and family who are keen to secure a place, please do encourage them to complete their application while places are still available.

Highlights this week:

Artsmark Award: We have started our journey to becoming an Artsmark school. Awarded by Arts Council England, the new Artsmark will support us to deliver even more high quality arts and cultural education. As an Artsmark school, we will gain access to exceptional resources and cultural organisations.

Archi-Tech Network Challenge: Hi, I am Louis Newman and I recently created an animation for the Archi-Tech Network. The Archi-Tech Network is a platform designed to promote discussion, collaboration and education between the gap of architecture and technology. They held a challenge to create a 3D animation using their logo and so for my animation, I used the 3D modelling and animating program, Blender. I immediately saw that the logo is made from individual pixels and wanted to incorporate it into the design. Each pixel is animated individually to move on the Z axis (up and down) randomly to give an interesting effect. After animating, I made a metal-like texture, then rendered. After the whole process, ATN posted it on their Instagram. I really enjoyed this challenge as it made me move away from the style of animating that I’m used to, taking more of a simplistic approach. https://linktr.ee/architech_network

Ignite: In English, Ignite have moved on to start their module about Power and Conflict in our Society; they will be considering such things as the pandemic and recent news events. Last half term, Ignite students spent a week writing poetry about Empowerment for a competition. We have received news this week that 21 of them have been selected to feature in the Young Writer’s poetry anthology! We are very proud of them. In maths, students are collecting and representing data. Historians have been studying the causes of World War One. Year 9 have been comparing Video and Direct Laryngoscopes. So far everybody is finding the video technology helpful and find that the device provides a better view. This is a great teaching tool to help students to understand airway anatomy before using a direct laryngoscope.

Year 10: Chemists have been exploring separation techniques and have completed a distillation to extract water from ink. In maths, we are focused on circumference and area or perimeter. In English, students have started Language paper 1 and are considering how to analyse fiction. They are also completing the power and conflict anthology for literature. Our scientists have welcomed the return of the Scanning Electron Microscope and starting practicals with it. Our engineers have been looking at waves and ultrasound. Ultrasound is a frequency that is above 20,000Hz. We have been learning how echo location using ultrasound can be used to find a heartbeat in the womb, an internal crack in a wind turbine blade and fish from a fishing boat.

Year 11: In English, students are reviewing their recent PPEs and considering how they can develop and improve. Historians have been studying Hitler’s take over of Austria. Sociologists have started their final topic called Social Stratification. They will learn about the intricacies of how society is structured and the affect this has on life chances and achievement. In maths, students are considering either direct and inverse proportion or basic probability.


Games Designers: On Tuesday, Steve Sopps (Development and Production Director at Excalibur Games) gave a talk to students on Trust, Truth, and Excellence – The life and Times of a video games designer. The talk gave an overview of Steve’s experiences in the financial industry and the games industry, where he looked at the similarities and differences in both professions. Steve went on to look at different cultures in different styles of studios from AAA to indie, how excellence was achieved in each of these environments by developing trust amongst the staff and always speaking the truth, even if sometimes it wasn’t pretty.

Programmers: Year 12 Programmers are starting to explore and gain a working understanding of Windows Presentation Foundation. Year 13 Programmers completed one of their unit exams this week and their focus now shifts towards two new units, Software Engineering and Project Management.

Creatives: Students will be starting their public exhibition unit next week, and details for their exhibition (this summer with several citywide corporate sponsors) will be released soon. Year 12 Art students are working on observational drawing to practice foundational skills and prepare university portfolios. Year 13 creatives are participating in second round of mock university interviews, where they will present portfolios and answer questions in professional dress.

Medics/ Dentists: Students have been looking at managing a Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) this week. They have learned some basic ECG interpretation skills and used a combination of medications to diagnose and manage a patient until the Cardiac Intervention team can take over.

Physical Scientists: Year 12 Chemists have been looking at Periodicity, which is the trends seen in various properties across the Periods and down the Groups of the Periodic Table. Y13 Chemists have been studying carboxylic acids, and also revisiting the reactions of alcohols. They have undertaken a required practical in which they make propanal and extract it from the reaction by distillation. Year 13 Physicists have been looking at the motor effect, which is how much force is induced in a current carrying conductor when it is placed into a magnetic field.

Life Scientists: Dr Andrew Lee, Centre Manager at Bragg Centre for Materials Research and his team have analysed the DNA nanostructures prepared by our year 12 students during the DNA Origami project. The results brought a smile to all of our faces, especially the students. This IRIS pilot project was the first time that school students have built their own DNA nanostructures and we are so happy with the results.

Student Leadership Team:

It’s been a quiet week for our student leaders but we are about to embark on lots of exciting opportunities and start to plan the year books for year 11 and 13. We are also going to look into the possibility of a rewards scheme for students to celebrate excellent commitment to learning.

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