On Thursday 21 March, year 12 and 13 students attended a talk given by Angela Harrowing. Her current job is as a civil servant, working at the heart of Parliament. Angela began her talk detailing her journey to her current job, which was particularly interesting since she admitted that she has not sure of what career to go into. This was a part of the talk that all students, not just politics students, had complete interest in since many of us are about to apply to or attend university and the pressure of knowing what to do after this stage can be overwhelming.
Angela proceeded to tell us what the Cabinet Office does and why it is important. This was particularly interesting to me, despite learning it within my politics syllabus, as it brought the job of working in the Cabinet Office to life and gave me more detail. A particularly interesting fact that we learnt during the presentation was that as a civil servant working in a government office you are not allowed to discuss your political views but you are still given the right to vote. Another thing that struck me during the talk was how inspirational it was. Many of the politicians and leading figures of politics are male so it was both refreshing and encouraging to be able to hear a woman speak of her success in her career working in UK politics.
Angela ended the talk by answering some questions from pupils and students such as “What is your day to day life like working in the Cabinet Office”. This allowed all the students to hear of what a job in the civil service could potentially entail and perhaps inspired some of us to pursue a future in the civil service.
Friday 22 March saw over 300 pupils gather to hear from Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Dr Broadbent, describe the function of the Bank of England, such as ensuring that banks are safe and inflation is stable, and talk about choosing a career path. Dr Broadbent began by explaining that a central bank is designed to preserve the value of and safety of money and how important it is as a central clearer to facilitate the smooth distribution of payments from consumers to banks. He explained that most money is held as deposits rather than the physical coins and notes that you might imagine represent most of the money in the country and introduced the fact that a new character will be appearing on the £50 note very soon!
Dr Broadbent then went on to discuss his thoughts on career paths and his belief that it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a plan, using several quotes as examples, including: “Everyone has a plan till he gets punched in the mouth.” (Mike Tyson). He advised everyone to follow things that they are interested in and see where it leads – he particularly endorsed studying economics!
The session concluded with a challenging Q&A section led by a panel of sixth formers who had prepared their own questions as well as reading questions sent in by pupils in the lower years. Topics included Brexit’s impact on the economy, how he would manage Venezuela’s economy, the gender pay gap at the Bank of England, China, the treatment of women and ethnic minorities in the banking industry and many more. After his grilling, Dr Broadbent spoke to a small group of scholars over afternoon tea, where they were able to ask further questions and find about more about his job.
Dr Broadbent launched our Lecture Series, which will see prominent speakers across a range of industries speak to our pupils each term. We hope that exposure to a range of experts will broaden the aspirations of our ever-ambitious pupils.
A group of pupils enjoyed a trip to The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park as part of their studies. The Museum is an independent charity housing the world’s largest collection of functional historic computers, including the rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, and the WITCH, the world’s oldest working digital computer. The museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.
The museum runs a highly successful Learning Programme for schools and colleges and promotes introductions to computer coding amongst young people, especially females, to inspire the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.
The guides were very informal and friendly. When they found out I was in sixth form they talked in more detail to me which was very good and I was able to see some extra parts of the museum. They explained all the information in detail and the activities, for example coding on the old and new computing, were very interesting and engaging.
– Bethany, year 12
I enjoyed the Bletchley Park trip because it combined history and computing. We were able to see what is inside computers and how they have evolved since they were invented. This was interesting as we could see the computing behind the programmes that we use in lessons.
On Monday evening the 21 finalists of this year’s #700STEMChallenge writing competition gathered to hear the final placing of their entries. We had even more entries this year, from schools across the country and so the judges had a hard decision to make as we had such a phenomenal range. The pupils had the choice to write around 700 words on any topic within Science, Technology & Engineering or Maths and then the entries were shortlisted into under 14, under 16 and under 18.
The evening kicked off with a fabulous presentation from Cyprian Njamma, Director of SEI Investments, discussing his path from school in Nigeria, through to Oxford University and how his passion for maths transferred to physics and then on to finance. He talked through the importance of maths to the financial industry and his passion for its universality, transferability and power in communication and was asked several probing questions about his role. Our year 12s launched a table quiz to test the STEM knowledge of pupils, parents and staff and we heard from our second judge, alumna and airline Captain, Olivia van Lieshout who spoke about the life of a pilot, from training through to receiving command and the decision making involved on every single flight that simply can’t be replaced by autopilot! She also shared easyJet’s campaign to encourage more women to train as pilots and how the airline now has 16% female pilots compared with the industry level of 5%. Her message was clear: if you’re interested, try a flying experience – you’ll catch the bug! As she had to fly early the next morning, she then presented her awards for the Technology & Engineering category. Our final judge, alumna, Consultant Cardiologist and Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, Professor Diana Gorog spoke about her journey to Medicine and how she chose to focus on cardiology & the importance of combining compassion and strong communication skills in her work. Final message: do what you enjoy & reach for the stars!
Nominees and essay titles
(listed in alphabetical order by surname) Science
Radiocarbon Dating The Shark That Time Forgot
– Emily Boland, Streatham & Clapham High School
The Discovery of a New Microscopic Vessel in the Leg Bone
– Gabrielle Hobson, Sheffield High School
What is changing as the Moon moves further away?
– Maya Vyas, Streatham & Clapham High School
Stress: its effect on the brain – Ashwini Garneti, Sheffield High School
The Periodic Table – Julia Grzywacz, Wimbledon High School
Why is glass transparent? – Asiya Qureshi, Northwood College for Girls
LIGO: The ultimate streaming app for Black Holes
– Samar Al-Haddad, Notting Hill & Ealing High School
Will doctors ever become extinct due to the existence of artificial intelligence?
– Madhulika Joglekar, Norwich High School
Neglected Tropical Diseases – Darcy Quist, Sydenham High School
Technology & Engineering
Is teleportation possible? – Tiffany Igharoro, Sydenham High School
Wind Turbine Rap! – Lara Kerr, Wimbledon High School
The Highs and Lows of Supersonic Passenger Planes – Elodie Owens, Sydenham High School
Light activated robotic stingrays: – Ella Bolland, South Hampstead High School
Virtual Reality: A giant leap for medicine – Aditya Chougule, Wilson’s School
Quantum entanglement and teleportation – Constance Harris, Norwich High School
Has the film industry accurately portrayed space? – Samah Mughal, Wimbledon High School
About Right – Eleanor Roberts, South Hampstead High School
Mathematics: The Order and the Chaos – Amia Guha, Oxford High School
What is the most beautiful equation? – Morgan Lee, Sydenham High School
Journey of the number zero – Elena Gupta, Wimbledon High School
Quantum computing – Joshua Soyke-Pinon, Dulwich College
Michelle Morgan is Co-Founder of 6 businesses and a parent at Sydenham High School. She kicked off International Women’s Day this morning – in front of her daughter and peers – by telling us her story. Michelle navigated through school but failed most of her exams and didn’t go to university. She talked to us about overcoming shyness, anxiety & lack of self-belief to build a multi-million pound business, Livity,. It was founded in 2001, after Michelle spent time at an ad agency that she managed to talk her way into, and is a youth-led creative network bringing brands and young people together, for the better. Livity was an experiment – a business that placed equal importance on profit & purpose.
Michelle openly talked to us about her struggles with depression and anxiety at periods in her life and how she only recognised what it was after reading Ruby Wax’s book Frazzled, which allowed her to go to her GP for help and to begin recovering after a particularly violent, physical and mental burn out. After discovering the language to talk about how she was feeling she used the stimulus of days spent in her pyjamas to create a new business giving PJs purpose! Pjoys offers beautiful organic cotton pyjamas as a blank canvas for internationally acclaimed artists. It aims to capture lots of conversations, ideally in their pjs, to make into beautiful, useful films that will sit on pjoys.co.uk platform and be a resource and inspiration.
Our purpose is to make mental health an everyday conversation. We believe that talking about our feelings and our mental health is critical to addressing the mental health crisis the world is experiencing. We’re creating Pjoys as a way to have and share everyday conversations about mental health. 1 in 4 people are affected by mental illness at some point in their lives and there are 450 million people around the world currently suffering from a neurological condition. But if 1 in 4 people are affected then what about the 3 in 4? We all have mental health.
You can read more about Pjoys on their website: pjoys.co.uk.
After many hours of hard work, we were delighted to hear that our year 12 physics students have been awarded third place in the Talent 2030 National Engineering Competition for Girls.
The competition was open to girls aged 11-18 and entrants had to identify some of the challenges of the 21st Century, choosing one to focus on and decide what to do about the challenge(s) chosen. Our year 12 students chose to design a sustainable refugee housing unit. The team had to review what they discovered during their research and evaluate what has been done already, and as part of this they produced a website showcasing their research and final design.
This showed real innovation and creative thinking as well as enthusiasm for STEM. The group has entered their project for a GOLD CREST award run by the British Science Association, which is equivalent to an EPQ. On Saturday 16 March they displayed all of their research, findings and designs at the Big Bang Fair at Birmingham’s NEC. Well done girls!
On Sunday 13 January, five crews from year 9 to 12 raced on the river Ouse in Bedford. From year 9 (J14s) Leah Collins, Elisa Morris, India Charlesworth, Xanthe Hudson and Julia Ortiz-Merzweiler (cox) raced 1500m. The quad came second in their division beating not only seasoned opposition but also crews that train on this particular stretch of river. The year 10 (J15s) quad, consisted of Jessica Lunt, Molly Penketh, Alice Dutton, Emily Coulson and Grace Dudzicki (cox) for the 2000m race and the J15 quad rowed achieved a new PB. The J15 double, Esme Burke and Morgan Lee, raced 2000m and showed great potential by coming third in their division. Our J16 double of Scarlett Angel and Felix Hornby raced over 2000m and they too got a new PB. Last but certainly by no means least was our J17 entry for the 2000m single, Sophie Hudson (year 12), who had an extraordinary day with two races, one in the J17 category, and the women’s adult crew race, coming a remarkable second in both.
– Mr Angel, Head of Rowing
This was an amazing day for our rowers and we share Mr Angel’s pride in these amazing athletes who have worked so incredibly hard to get to the standard they are at. Well done to all. Follow @sydrowing on Twitter to keep up to date with the team’s progress.
On Monday, year 12 went to South Hampstead High School to listen to Tim Marshall talk about his books. Tim Marshall is a former foreign affairs journalist turned award winning author for titles such as Prisoners of Geography and Divided: Why We Are Living In An Age of Walls. He was Diplomatic Editor and foreign correspondent for Sky News. After thirty years’ experience in news reporting and presenting, he left full time news journalism to concentrate on writing and analysis.
The talk focused on why humans build walls, using lots of current and historic examples, including Trump’s wall, The Northern Irish border and Israel- Palestine walls to review the innate human need for space and ownership as well as the issues these create. The talk provided an excellent opportunity to meet students from other school and how to take their own knowledge and research to another level. We finished the an opportunity to buy signed copies of the book and a meal in Wagamama’s which provided an opportunity to discuss the lecture.