On 12th July we welcomed neuroscientist Dr Guy Sutton to Simon Balle to deliver his Brain Day to Psychologists and Biologists, pushing the students beyond their A Level studies and giving them a taste of what is happening in universities.
Philippa who studies both subjects writes:
‘Brains for psychologists was the first talk of the day, we were taught about brain and nerve cell structure and functions we found about many interesting studies currently being conducted such as the Human Connectome Project. Then we went online and looked at ‘Mouse Party’ and ‘Lick a Rat’ to see the effects of drugs on the brain and how maternal care can lead to normal future development. We then had a session on schizophrenia where we learnt about behaviours and abnormal brain functions which could lead to schizophrenia. Finally we watched a brain dissection, held parts of the brain and saw parts within the brain that we otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see.
Brains for biologists went further in depth to the mechanisms which caused neurons to work and synapses to fire, it was very interesting going above what we were learning. Other projects we got to hear about were bionic body parts to help amputees and parapalegics to move body parts again using their brains electrical signals.
Overall the day was very interesting and a great opportunity to ask lots of questions to a professional in the field of neuroscience.’
As many of you may know, I teach two Y7 food groups each week. This week they celebrated the end of their 12-week course by having a ‘feast’! A number of students baked at home, demonstrating the new skills they have acquired and following home recipies.
A truly impressive ‘cake-shop’ with lots of lovely appetising cakes, biscuits and savouries on display. I hope they continue to cook over the summer holidays so that their familes and friends can also enjoy. Well done all!
Most of our team of 15 Student Librarians went on a visit recently to Leaf, our local children’s bookshop/cafe, to enjoy some refreshments before choosing some new stock for our Library. This has become an annual event and as well as supporting our local bookshop it helps to give the students ownership of their Library.
Many thanks to Mr Belsey and Mrs Lawrence (volunteer librarian) for accompanying the students and a huge thank you to all the Student Librarians, without whom we wouldn’t be able to give such a great library service!
Y9 have finished making their laser engraved storage cases which were a great success and included a variety of decorative techniques. To finish off the year they were given the task to design and produce a range of summer holiday postcards using their own travels as inspiration.
Batik is a particularly challenging technique when trying to achieve this level of detail and the students should be extremely proud of their achievements.
Please see below a report about the Y8 trip to Paris written by student Elise Ainge
‘Thirty Y8 students and four teachers set off to Paris for five days in June. We were extremely lucky with the weather and on Wednesday temperatures got up to about 30 degrees – so it was sunglasses and sun cream all round. Over the course of the week we visited many of Paris’ world famous attractions and monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Sacré-Coeur and beautiful gardens like ‘Les Tuileries’ & ‘Le Jardin du Luxembourg’. Also, the boat trip we took on the Thursday enabled us to get a glimpse of many other beautiful areas that we would not have been able to fit in.
I especially loved the Parisian architecture, particularly the Parisian apartments. We also got to make our own chocolate at a ‘chocolaterie’ which was great fun. Each morning we had French lessons and the best bit of these for me was watching the film ‘Un Monstre à Paris’. The itinerary was very busy and we walked A LOT, but it paid off as it was a unique experience and we got to see a lot of Paris. We even managed to fit in a small shopping opportunity! The accommodation was very modern and the people were very friendly. Overall, the French trip was a wonderful experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it.’
Throughout the year we have been privileged to work with the primary team in delivering science lessons to both the Y1 and YR classes. Y1 have been over to the Science department for two lessons on light and plants in the autumn and summer term. We have also run lessons for them at the Larch centre on Habitats when they were studying this with their teachers.
This term both reception classes came over to us for an outdoor exploratory lesson on mini beasts, a topic they have been studying during the summer term. In addition to the more formal lessons that have be planned and coordinated in line with their syllabus we have also spent time with Y1 building bird boxes and with reception toasting marshmallows on a fire.
Thank you very much to all the staff involved in making these lessons a valuable learning experience and exposing our primary classes to some of the scientific equipment we use at the secondary school.
Last Thursday we were joined at All Saints Church by over 150 students and their parents to celebrate academic achievement in all subjects across all the year groups. Awards were also given to students from the Larch Centre.
There were special awards which included Heads of Year Awards, the Community Award and the Headteacher’s Award.
Our guest speaker for the evening, Ellie Lovegrove, spoke passionately (and entertainingly) about the importance of practice and self-belief. Ellie, a former student, started learning the trumpet aged 7 and now has a very successful career as a trumpet player. Music was provided by our brass ensemble and our Chair of Governors made the closing address. Although a ‘formal’ occasion everyone was delighted to be part of the celebration.
Y9 have begun their study for GCSE Literature already.
To explore the characters of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, as well as starting to learn quotes, 9D1/En have decorated some masks to show their understanding. We think they are very impressive!
Last week our annual Simon Balle Careers Fair took place in the school hall. Over 35 companies were in attendance; ranging from the banking industries, construction, armed forces, fire brigade, and many more. Students from Y12 attended during the first hour followed by Y10 students, with many staying on afterwards.
Students really enjoyed the day gaining valuable insights into the world of work and the range of opportunities available to them.
Last week we welcomed Mr David Rudd,Library Manager from our local Hertford Library, to talk to all our primary students. David promoted the annual Summer Reading Challenge which runs15 July- 9 September in public libraries.
The theme this year is ‘Animal Agents!’ and students are encouraged to read at least 6 books and discuss them with library staff. For further information please go to www.animal-agents.org.uk
We encourage all our students to read as much as possible over the summer. Good luck with the Challenge!