Summer Newsletter, Week 13

What a year!

I want to start by saying a massive thank you. Firstly, to you parents. You have held it together through what has been the hardest year in memory for many of us. You have kept your children up, maintained their education, looked after families, friends, your community, you have coped with the anxious situation around jobs and furlough. You have made our job that much easier by being an unwavering support to the school. You have been gracious of last minute changes, quick turnaround communications and offered us kindness at a time when facing your own worries and challenges.

I want to say thank you to my amazing staff team. I see it even more in challenging times, that we are a team. Nothing has been too much to ask. I appreciate how hard this has been, and how tired you are. Please do go home to your families and take some time away to rest and recharge. You have been wonderful this year and I am so grateful.

And finally to all my amazing students. Thank you! You have been brilliant. Many in education have talked of their students surviving the year. You have not been surviving but shining. I have seen you all grow. You have become more resilient, more independent, more self aware, more community aware. And you have not let your opportunities pass by in a wave of excuses about how hard things are. You are becoming incredible adults and will go on to do incredible things. I am proud of everyone of you.

Enjoy this summer break. Take time to relax. We will back to do it all over again in September.

Notes this week:

    • We have sent out a Return to School letter with all the current details of our plans for September. We of course have a plan b, plan c and plan d should the situation and guidance change between now and the end of the summer break. We will be in touch before we return to school to confirm the details. Please do keep an eye on the website and our social media over the break and we will do our best to keep you informed of any changes as they happen.
    • Leaver hoodies and Year Books can be collected on Results Days. We can’t wait to see you all again for a final send off.
    • Information on results days, grades and the appeals process is available on the websites.
    • Reception will be manned over the Summer Break, but we will be asking our Senior Team to take a break until the 9th August. There may be a short delay in replying to your queries. We will come back to you as soon as we can after the 9th August.
    • If your child tests positive for Coronavirus on or before the 19th July, please do let us know as usual.

Highlights this week:

Congratulations – Runners Up: Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize

Massive congratulations go to Aakash, Monas, Tamino, Mateo and Jayden, their team, “The Real Meal” and their product, “Plasticivore” for being placed as one of three Runners Up in the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize and being awarded a £5000 prize for our school. Congratulations also go to the amazing Dr Dyer and our fabulous ex-student and Lab Manager, Sarah Linkman for supporting our students to make this happen. You are an inspirational team!

The judges commended the teamwork clearly shown in this project and were impressed by the forward-thinking concept. They believed the project was innovative and showed a lot of work to develop an alternative solution to a common problem, and were particularly impressed with the team’s prototype that works in real life.

Highlights this year:

Amy: My highlight has definitely been the way we have all risen to the many challenges this crazy year has thrown at us. It has been so lovely to see ignite grow and develop their English skills in preparation for GCSE in September; they especially loved studying the play DNA and we definitely have some budding actors in our mix!

Jonathan: While looking at respiration with my Yr12 Biology students, we had to consider how to measure the rate of respiration in a variety of animals. One student became particularly fascinated by this idea and, during their research, discovered a paper from the early 1990s that looked at the respiration rates of crabs. In the paper, the scientists did something that I will never forget. They built miniature treadmills for crabs and had the crabs running (sideways!) at a rate of roughly 12cm per second for up to 2 hours! The discovery of this led to a class wide discussion ranging from the ethics of the investigation to the Health and Safety implications of a crab on a treadmill (Were there miniature airbags to cushion a crab who may become exhausted and fly off of the treadmill?). So is the highlight the crabs on a treadmill or the Yr12 students who have made teaching Biology a pleasure for another year. I’ll let you decide!

Dan: I think my highlight of this year has to be A Level physics with my year 13 class. Over my time as a teacher (a few years now) there are some groups that will stick with you. This group of year 13s was the first group in the school to do a live online lesson during lockdown 1, and because of their dedication and hard work they have completed the entirety of A level physics, generated some excellent exams scores and will hopefully get some excellent grades. Online lessons have been a big part of all our lives over the last 18 months and I have spent a lot of time on google meets talking to students, teaching them, and laughing with them. It has shown me with the correct effort, attitude and application that progress doesn’t stop in a pandemic … you just have to try and be innovative and learn as you go!

Steph: One of my highlights was our field trip with yr12- a walking tour of the Liverpool Biennial in the brief window we could go! We went to exhibits at FACT, the Bluecoat, Lush, and Tate. It was wonderful to see students so engaged with contemporary art, and to see friendships forming out of lessons.

John: Well, being placed as Runners Up in the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize has to be my highlight this year. It has been a real pleasure working with such a creative, motivated and talented group of young scientists and engineers to develop an innovative product to tackle the problem of single-use plastic pollution. They thoroughly deserved to win this award and it is such a wonderful way to end the school year

Kev: One of the highlights for me was seeing how amazingly well the students in my yr10 class switched to online lessons at each point of the year, and not only used this as a way to learn programming in a different style, but actually took this as an opportunity to further specialise in the subject by diverging into separate disciplines. At one point my year 10 class were taking part in a live programming session via an online IDE in which the class was using three different programming languages; Python, C#, & C++. The level and scale of these students being able to cope with the demands of the different languages at such a young age and having the opportunity to work on their own platforms and in line with their own interests has led to some excellent developments in their programming skills. One student completed his final exam in C++ and was able to use this highly technical language to devise his own data structures as part of his practical assignments. Another year 10 student used his skills in C# to build a program that uses advanced OOP techniques, including custom defined classes with inheritance and encapsulation.

Junior Leadership Team:

The Junior Leadership team wishes everyone a very relaxing summer!

We have had a fantastic year and achieved so much despite the constraints of the covid situation. We have adapted really well to having our meetings virtually. We are pleased to see the impact we have had on the local community. We have engaged with external companies on improving the local area both in its environment and public transport. We have also focused in our  meetings on empowering girls and how we can support girls in STEM careers but also in feeling safe in our community.

We have developed the Little Library which will be moving to a new location, we have taken part in a 6th form Student Voice which has helped guide developments of the new CUC6! Our students are able to project the thoughts of their peers and have their views listened to. We worked hard over the Christmas period to support families in our school community who needed extra support and to bring enjoyment to students through hosting wellness week activities.

The JLT produced world class LQBTQ+ and Black History Month resources as well as offering mental health awareness support. The impact these have had have been significant.

We look forward to developing so many exciting ideas from September and if anyone is interested in joining the JLT please feel free to email Mrs Bonnesen and ask! There are lots of roles suited for all students from both schools for years 9-13.

Stay safe this summer and we look forward to welcoming you back for a new school year in September.