As a way to make the 6th form common room more of a personal social space, some of the year 12 and year 13 students have been working on designing a mural to brighten up the space. The theme was ‘our future’, and we discussed the idea of growth and development, future careers, and the part AGGS plays in all of that. We chose a blossoming tree with various career paths and future options written on the petals. The birds represent development and are flying away from the tree, becoming more unique as they leave the AGGS nest – these birds are also dotted around the common room walls. The project was lead by one of our art teachers, Miss Silver, and pupils worked well as a team with the art department to make the project a reality. This week, in our final week of term, the painting of the mural has finally been completed! We are all very pleased with the outcome, and proud of our new common room space. 😊
The Trafford Ogden Partnership is just over a year old and AGGS is proud of its status as the Ogden hub school. Like all of the partnerships sponsored by the Ogden Trust, its aim is to “make physics matter”, and brings together physics departments from local schools. We decided to finish the academic year with a day’s celebration of physics and to show Y12s some possible “destinations” provided by their A level physics.
The venue for this event was Altrincham Grammar school for Boys’ spectacular Physics centre and presenters were asked to lead a 30 minute activity as opposed to delivering a lecture.
Several of the presenters were recent AGGS students who were “gently” persuaded to come along and with their stories of: research at CERN, using neutrino detectors to monitor and prevent developing countries building nuclear weapons, building stable structures and polymer research. Maria Violaris and Clarissa Costen provided a Q and A session about studying physics at Oxford, and gave a talk on entropy. Tamzin Owen demonstrated a cloud chamber using dry ice and Kerry Abrams provided a hands-on activity about extruding polymers.
There was a local theme with Salford’s Acoustic Engineering Department being represented by Professor Trevor Cox who demonstrated some cutting edge sound technology used by the media. The Graphene Centre at Manchester University sent along two PhD researchers, Georgia Kime and Fiona Porter, who showed how this material will change the future. Professor Ian Morrison from Salford explained how important hydrogen will become as a future fuel. Paige-Marie from Cavendish Nuclear led a discussion group on the vital subject of assessing and limiting risk in nuclear power stations.
Lloyd Cawthorne introduced students to the Isaac Physics website which aims to develop problem solving skills on-line. Some of the girls from AGGS had met Lloyd at the physics master class in Cambridge earlier this academic year.
The Institute for Research in Schools, already familiar to several AGSB students (who have plans to launch a particle detector by balloon), was introduced to the wider Trafford audience.
Other presenters were: Dave Cotton (astrophysics), Laura Thomas (IRIS), Laurie McClymont (CERN), Jen Wilson (spectroscopes); Toby Lord and Clive Humphries (Civil engineering and structures.)
The day ended with Dr Kerry Abrams (ex AGGS) talking about her educational journey from abandoning A level studies, through FE with young children, study for degrees and now a post at Sheffield University in materials, with a consistent love for learning.
The whole event was extremely well received by the 120 or so participants and there was a real buzz in the atmosphere during the event with students getting to know each other and getting involved in the activities. The water rocket launches were particularly well received. Some quotes from students were “engaging, challenging, inspiring”; “I had a really good day; I was able to talk to current people in STEM careers, met like-minded people and had an insight into A2 physics, as well as participating in fun challenges”.
AGGS physics department
On Saturday our Year 12 Mock Trial team took part in the Sir Rhys Davies School Mock Trial Competition in the Manchester Crown Court, and competed against 11 other schools including Withington Girls and MGS. Our barristers (Caitlin M, Emily L, Celine B, and Hannah S) were all commended for their fantastic advocacy and professionalism and our witnesses (Aisha C, Emily S, Hana S and Anisa S) all put in star performances. The jury members were all very organised and impartial. The girls worked really hard and were truly excellent. They won every single one of their trials but missed the final by just a few points. It was a great day full of excitement! Congratulate to the girls on their brilliant efforts.
On Monday 7th and Wednesday 9th November, year 12 and 13 – accompanied by Miss O’Hara and Mrs Willmott – took part in a workshop exploring the evolution of the English language from Old English to the modern period. Pupils were given exclusive access to a range of first and second editions of texts such as The Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare’s first folio, The King James I Bible and Johnson’s Dictionary. Pupils were fascinated to discover the changes in spelling, punctuation and written styles that had taken place over the years and were given a history of the importance of the printing press in the standardisation of English as we know it today. Pupils were also treated to a tour of the library’s beautiful Victorian gothic architecture and interior and all agreed it was just like being at Hogwarts! Roma and Mrs Willmott particularly enjoyed getting in to the role of Victorian gentlemen in the library reading room.
On Thursday 17th November lunchtime, 23 students from Years 9-13 took part in the BEBRAS Computational Thinking challenge, solving problems such as the one below.
Everyone acquitted themselves well, and six students have qualified to go through to the next round in March:
Ellie F (Y9), Beth G, Isabelle H, Miranda W, Martha W (Y11) and Stephanie L (Y13). Tabitha H achieved the best mark in Y10 who compete in the same category as Y11.
Dr Salman Al-Azami delivering a talk on ‘Religion and the Media’ and a career in linguistics
Between 31 Oct -11 Nov, we held our Year 12 ‘Careers Fortnight’. The aim of this fortnight was to provide Year 12 students with resources and information to help them to make a better informed choice about what they might wish to do post 18, whether it be university, an apprenticeship scheme, a gap year or employment.
Activities included a trip to Lancaster University, where students attended a talk about how to choose a university, tour of the university campus and a sample workshop or lecture. We were also delighted to welcome a number of visitors into school, who kindly volunteered their time to offer practice 1:1 interviews for each student in Year 12.
Thank you to all of those who were involved in making this such a success.
“We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist . . . using technologies that haven’t been invented . . . in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”
On Friday 4th November, Frantic Assembly came into school to work with GCSE and A-Level Drama students. The girls worked with an experienced practitioner who explored ways to approach devising drama using physical theatre as a style. Students explored contact work such as lifts and learnt a number of techniques which can be used as a starting point for a performance. Frantic Assembly reinforced the notion of collaborative theatre making in which all performers are part of the theatre making process whether they are in the scene of observing, keenly watching for new ideas and points for development. Based on feedback from the students, the girls got a great deal out of this workshop and are now inspired to use what they have learnt in their own pieces of theatre.
The first computing trip to San Francisco has been a huge success and they all arrived safely back into Manchester airport on Saturday the 29th October. It has been an extremely busy week visiting all the local sights; Alcatraz, bike ride over the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito, Fisherman’s Wharf, NASA, Stanford University, Computer History Museum, Tech Museum of Innovation, cable car ride, Lombard Street and Coit tower. We also managed to fit in a trip to Westfield Shopping centre, Stanford Shopping centre and Macy’s; you can’t visit America without a visit to the shops.
The girls enjoyed visiting Google and Microsoft and were inspired by the talks given by four women who work at Microsoft; they were also treated to a free lunch at both!
The behaviour of the girls was fabulous throughout the week.
A massive thank-you to Mr. Osborne, Mrs. Barrow and Mrs. Carradus for their hard work and good humour. A special mention to Mr. Osborne for his excellent map reading.
Year 12 student, Katie H, has won the GHS National Schools Championship 10 mile Time Trial, which was held on Saturday 10th September at Dunnington, Warwickshire. This is a Cycling Time Trials (CTT) annual event and is named ‘GHS’ after a key patron of the CTT who was influential in expanding the time trials. Katie’s amazing winning course time of 24m 33s at an incredible average speed of 24.44mph secured her ‘GHS Manchester and District Schoolgirl 10mile Time Trial champion!’
Katie currently trains/races at Manchester Velodrome representing Sportcity Velo. She also races for a road team Racing Chance Foundation (http://racingchancefoundation.com/) and next year will be competing nationally in Junior age category.
She has been competing nationally for the past 5 years on both track and road (circuits) and has been invited to attend numerous British Cycling ‘Regional/National School of Racing’ training days.
Finally, Katie has just received her first set of lab test results from MIHP and not surprisingly, she is physically and physiologically in excellent condition. Her lab performance/results were comparable (if not better) to most premier league footballers in terms of her endurance and aerobic capacity and she was able to produce more power (watts) on the bike than current Tour De France winner Chris Froome for a similar test (albeit for a shorter duration)!
We were delighted to welcome our new Year 12 to the sixth form on Friday 1st September. Students took part in an induction day, which involved team building sessions with the RAF, the army and the marines, as well as some time getting to know their form group and form tutor. It was lovely to see so many of our own students returning to the school, as well as a number who joined us from elsewhere.
We are very much looking forward to working with these fantastic students over the next two years and wish them lots of luck for their sixth form journey.