April 16th, 2015

Chemistry students at The Sixth Form College, Solihull spent a full day at The School of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham over Easter for a Redox Chemistry masterclass.

The College has a long-standing association with the University of Nottingham and takes students to visit every year. Those with ambitions to study Chemistry at university are invited to complete project work with the university and benefit from the expertise of their staff, including Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff, famous for his Periodic Table of Videos.

The practical work the students undertook involved volumetric analysis of various vitamin C sources, including tablets and fruit juice. The students had access to equipment they would not have an opportunity to use at College, such as infra-red spectroscopy, ultra violet spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. They took samples of aspirin that they had made at College and these were run on a mass spectrometer to confirm the purity and quality of their product.

Trevor Irving, Assistant Principal at College and a former University of Nottingham student, commented: “This was a great masterclass and the scientists at Nottingham were impressed with the quality of the aspirin the students had produced at College.”

Hilary Woodward, Curriculum Leader for Chemistry at the College, added: “We thank staff at the University of Nottingham for welcoming our students into their laboratories. Using their superb facilities is a wonderful opportunity for the students and they all thoroughly enjoyed the day. They are looking forward to returning in June to present their findings.”

The students will have the opportunity to attend the University of Nottingham Open Day when they return to give their PowerPoint presentations on the project. This takes place on Friday 26 June.

Get Caught Reading at Saint Paul’s

April 16th, 2015

Staff and pupils at Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe have taken part in a “Catch Me Reading” programme which is designed to promote a reading culture and really get students engaged in any form of reading. 

Initiatives, to encourage and develop the pupils’ enjoyment of reading, so far range from: 

  • Staff visiting form rooms to catch students reading and then awarding small prizes
  • A Catch Me Reading campaign for students to upload photos
  • Raising the awareness of reading areas around school for students to just relax and read
  • Part of the chapel has been refurbished into a reading hub
  • Reading clubs for all ages have been launched
  • An Accelerated Reading programme has been promoted to improve student reading ages 

Andrea Williams who is leading the campaign at Saint Paul’s explained: “Obviously, we would love that students read books, but we just want them reading so we are raising awareness of reading, be it Manga comics, magazines, online article etc. We know it will take time to encourage non-readers and weaker readers but the more we push, hopefully, the more enthused students will be. At the moment it is still in its infancy but we are hoping that, in time, students will become more receptive and automatically bring books into school.” 

Ms Williams added: “The hope when everything is up and running is that carrying a book and reading becomes a second nature to our students.” 

“At Saint Paul’s, we encourage all of our students to read, not just in lessons but also for pleasure,” commented Mrs Fiona Minshall, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s. “We have put together a number of initiatives to help our students not only understand the importance of reading but to also help them gain an interest and passion for reading. We are working with parents to encourage reading at home we are positive we will have many happy, keen readers.”