On Thursday and Friday last week, 160 Year 8 students participated in a visit to Safety Works in Newcastle.
Our students participated in several workshops led by Tyne and Wear Fire Service, St. John’s Ambulance and Tyne and Wear Police. These workshops included: fire safety in the home, drugs and alcohol awareness, first aid and railway danger.
The students took part in many interactive sessions. By the end of each workshop they had learned: the basics of first aid, how to look after each other in challenging situations, how to stay safe on the Metro system and how to avoid anti-social behaviour. They were given a talk by the Tyne and Wear Police Force who led a question and answer session on the realities of taking drugs in society.
Our Year 8 students really enjoyed these workshops. They were given lots of information to help them keep safe, including dealing with challenging situations. Thank you on behalf of all the students and staff who participated in this unique experience.
As Christmas draws nearer, marking a major milestone in the progression of the school year, a group of enthusiastic Year 10 students turned their attention to their futures.
Now a well-established annual event, our students attended the Christmas Maths Lecture Series offered by the Further Maths Support Programme, an event designed to inspire the next generation of mathematicians by giving them a flavour of some higher level mathematics and where it could lead.
The series, held at the beautiful Teesside University Campus, consisted of two talks, given by two very enthusiastic and engaging presenters. The first talk looked at “Maths in the Movies”, in particular how companies use CGI and animations to create realistic effects in films. Some of these areas of maths are often studied at school, at Higher GCSE but especially at A-Level, and they are sometimes the focus of questions about real-life applicability. These techniques are invaluable in this industry, and also in designing computer games, and in fact mathematics is listed as essential for any budding effects specialist, even before programming and art.
The second talk explored the concept, history and development of numbers, prompting many thoughts, offering many insights and evoking many rounds of laughter. Some of the things that we take for granted, like negative numbers and zero, were not always part of everyday life let alone higher mathematics, and this talk challenged some of the preconceptions of the students present.
Overall our students were left with a small taste of the wider possibilities and grand sense of opportunity that being highly mathematically literate can lead to in addition to the satisfying sense of wonder that can come from studying mathematics to a higher level. Watch this space for future maths events and inspirations.
Christmas Creativity and Community a Collaboration between Lord Lawson, Equal Arts and Shadon House.
Year 13 Performing Arts Dance Students Visited Shadon House, Birtley on Tuesday 6th December as part of an ongoing Community Arts project. Working in collaboration with Equal Arts, Lord Lawson dancers have brought to life the creative writing of the Shadon House residents.
Over the past term the students have been exploring two stories based upon a fictional character named ‘Bella Stella’ devising an impressive physical theatre performance piece based on the ideas in the stories. The students premiered the piece at the Academy Christmas Coffee afternoon event and again during the Shadon House visit.
During our visit the residents were also treated to a Christmas vocal performance by Beth Keenan, a Christmas Carol sing a long and a discussion with the students about how the performance was developed.
This has been the most challenging but worthwhile project the students have been involved with. Watching the pure joy of all involved highlighted the importance of creativity, community and collaboration within education. An ethos that we are proud to celebrate at Lord Lawson.
Lois Scott and Beth Keenan Year 13 Dancers said of the experience:
“We found the Shadon House Performance a really inspirational day. It was a new experience for us performing in a new space, we found it a rewarding challenge. The Shadon House audience were the most encouraging and happy we have ever performed to. We can’t wait to visit again soon.”
The final Performance of Bella Stella, along with other performances based on the work of the Shadon House Residents will be performed at the Academy Christmas Showcase- ‘Christmas, Past, Present and Future’ on Thursday 15th December at 7pm. Tickets are available from the Academy Reception for £2.00 each.
The event was captured by Made in Tyne and Wear TV crew who interviewed the students about their experiences with the project.
Tune into ‘The Lowdown’ on the Made in Tyne and Wear TV Channel on Tuesday 20th December at 7pm to see the whole news story. To find the made in Tyne and Wear TV Network search TV Channels – Sky 117, Virgin 159 and Freeview 7.
Thank you to Olivia at Equal Arts and Shadon House for inviting us to perform and giving us such a warm welcome, it was our pleasure to perform for you all. This was a fantastic way to kick start the festive season and we will definitely be visiting again soon with some new performances to share.
To find out more about the amazing work that Equal Arts do within the local community please visit www.equalarts.org.uk
Subject Leader Performing Arts
Year 12 and 13 Chemists benefitted from a talk given to them by Magnus Bebbington, a lecturer at Heriot Watts’ School of Engineering & Physical Sciences; Chemical Sciences last week. Magnus’ research is aimed at developing new methods of synthesising one type of molecule where two mirror images are possible. These are known as optical isomers. This branch of chemistry is especially important in the development of drugs, as one mirror image can be beneficial while the other can cause serious problems. The most well documented example being thalidomide.
Magnus’ lecture introduced the topic to our year 12 students in an accessible manner, using Alice Through the Looking Glass as a context. What would looking glass milk taste like? For our year 13 students it was a useful revision session, with additional examples and information to those they had discussed in their usual chemistry lessons. Students were given samples of the two optical isomers of limonene to smell. One is the scent in lemons, the other the scent in oranges.
Magnus was then happy to answer any questions our students had, either about the subject of chirality or about student life, followed by interest in post graduate studies.
We had the pleasure of welcoming both year 5 classes from Kells Lane into our science department on Monday 5th December to take part in a lesson looking at chemical changes. The students initially watched demonstrations which showed colour change, gas production, smoke and flames. The purple flame produced when glycerol reacted with potassium permanganate was particularly popular, although the smoke produced caused a few wrinkled noses. These demonstrations met two objectives, firstly to show them different examples of chemical changes and secondly to emphasise safety issues before they carried out activities themselves.
Following a brief safety discussion students carried out a mini investigation watching silver crystals grow on a copper Christmas tree, before the main activity of producing hydrogen gas. The students worked sensibly, following instructions which resulted in all groups being able make and test several tubes of hydrogen. The concentration on their faces then subsequent excitement when their tubes of hydrogen elicited a ‘pop’ was a joy to see.
The finale of the session was to set fire to a hydrogen balloon, then fire hydrogen rockets, in the form of bottles with hydrogen and oxygen, across the room. Although I did tell the class I was teaching that they would make loud bangs, none of them anticipated quite how loud, causing a variety of responses from gasps and hands over ears to giggles. One thing was clear, one wasn’t enough and they cheered as each rocket flew across the room. Both classes responded very enthusiastically when asked if they’d enjoyed themselves, which was a particular relief for me, given that my daughter was in the class I taught and had told me I had better make sure it was good!
Recently a team of dedicated and talented young mathematicians took their enthusiasm on the road to participate in the Regional Heat of the Senior Mathematics Team Challenge.
Having enjoyed great success in the Individual Competition last month the quartet – Emily Jones, Nathan Hewitson, Tom Haigh and David Baxter – put their collective experience together to contest the team version of the annual event ran by the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust.
Flying through the first two rounds – the group event and the cross number – with excellent scores the team were on course to enjoy the Academy’s highest ever finish at the event before eventually being awarded a very respectable top-ten finish after the conclusion of a fiendish Relay.
Aided by the Further Mathematics Support Programme, who have provided our Academy with wonderful resources and enrichment opportunities, our students possessed the skills and experience necessary to compete with some of the sharpest mathematical minds in the region, meaning that they were very pleased with their performance.
There are many other upcoming events for other members of the Academy to test their mathematical mettle against the elite from other schools as well as enrich their knowledge, so please check the calendar for dates and details.
Photographs are courtesy of the Further Mathematics Support Programme.
On Friday the 11th of November 28 of our year 10 students were fortunate enough to visit the center for life for a special event on malaria.
In the morning they learnt about what causes malaria and created computer models to simulate its spread. By building in more and more layers of commands the students were able to create a model in which the mosquitoes bred in ponds and were attracted to humans close enough for them to ‘smell’. They then were able to simulate a variety of different control measure. While some of our students had great fun from creating models in which hundreds of mosquitoes were hatched and everyone was infected, the general consensus were that simple preventative measures such as draining ponds and using insect repellent drastically reduced the spread.
Next we heard from scientists at York Univeristy who have been working on creating a new breed of the plant we currently make malaria medication form. They explained how difficult it is to make enough of the drug as less than 0.1% of each plant can be turned into medicine currently. It was interesting to find out how many people had been involved with the project and how long it had taken them to create the new breed of plant. It was also amazing finding out how small the seeds were-2000 seeds would weigh one gram!
We finished off with a trip to the motion ride. All in all it was a fantastic experience for everyone involved and a real opportunity to see how science is being used outside the classroom to better the lives of millions of people around the world.
Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy are delighted to announce that we have successfully achieved the nationally recognised ‘BIG award’ for our anti bullying work. The BIG award is awarded across the country by the Bullying Intervention Group to local authorities, groups, schools or services that demonstrate excellence in bullying intervention.
The process was rigorous in identifying the effectiveness of policies and practices currently used at LLOB in regards to anti bullying. The Bullying Intervention Group indicate that to achieve the BIG award a school must be able to;
- Demonstrate that they are working to an externally agreed standard
- Have consistent and embedded good practice throughout
- The school must fully include all children and young people
- Tailor their bullying intervention work to suit their needs
- Ensure that every child is enabled to fulfil their true educational potential and enjoy their community activities, without fear of being bullied.
The Bullying Intervention Group released the following statement;
‘Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy take all forms of bullying very seriously. They have various strategies in place to ensure that their students can learn in a safe and happy environment. They involve the students, their parents/carers and the wider school community in all of their work. They have a completely up to date and comprehensive anti-bullying policy. I am delighted that they have now achieved the BIG Award for Excellence in Challenging Bullying.’
Val McFarlane, Director, Bullying Intervention Group.
The Bullying Intervention Group were extremely positive about all of the work that Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy conduct to keep their students safe. It is further recognition of the ongoing pursuit to be a world class academy and a place where students want to be. Congratulations to everybody who helped throughout this process and to everybody involved in bullying intervention at Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy. Thank you also to the Bullying Intervention Group and their support throughout the process.