78 lower 6th biologists and geographers and 7 staff set off to the Isle of Wight for 4 days at the end of the spring term for the PGL centre for our ecology work at various sites around the island, including Biology practical assessments and Geography coursework data collection.
On the first afternoon students settled into their log cabin accommodation and the centre (the site is called Little Canada, as the Canadian Army moved in after WW2, so all the accommodation is based on Canadian log cabins!).
Saturday took us all to Parkhurst Forest to study woodland succession and sampling techniques with the PGL ecology instructors were very good, with the students working in groups of 6. In the afternoon the geographers and biologists went separate ways, with the biologists completing a practical assessment followed by a chilly afternoon on the beach with the sun setting, tide going out to study marine zonation (or better known as rock pooling!); The geographers went off to Ventnor to look at the sea defence project that is preventing cliff erosion.
On Sunday it was the River Medina day, sampling all the way from the source to the mouth of the river, sampling the water quality, aquatic organisms, measuring water flow, depth and height – a few nearly went swimming as well and had very wet feet! We caught a few fish as well, but not any eels which are returning to the Medina.
On Monday the groups went different ways again, with all the geographers heading off to Freshwater bay to look at the coastal formations and the biologists went red squirrel hunting back at Parkhurst, as well as studying woodland management techniques. Unfortunately the red squirrels must have heard we were coming and stayed away.
Then it was time to return to CCHS, back on the Wight Link ferry to Southampton. The bus drivers got us home quickly and entertained with some DVDs they kindly brought along. Throughout the trip they put up with our muddy boots, ecology equipment, singing and trips all over the island with good humour and kindness and we are very grateful to Michael and Richard. Overall the students packed a lot of work into the 4 days, were a delight to take away and came home very tired!
On Thursday 16th April, Mary Beadles, an ex CCHS student who is now studying for her masters at Cambridge university, came to give a talk to about 30 students in years 11, 12 and 13 about comparative cognition, which compares the way animals and humans think. She talked about many things, such as how animals use tools to find food, for instance, in tests crows are able to use sticks of differing lengths in order to retrieve a piece of food from a container. She also showed us some fascinating videos of other animals and birds, including a video of Alex the parrot, who was able to identify various different objects and colours and even count the number of objects he was shown.
The talk was incredibly interesting and inspirational for anyone wishing to study biological sciences or animal behaviour at university.
On Monday March 2nd Lesley Gill from the charity LEPRA gave Year 7 a talk about the charity’s work and, as in previous years, inspired the students to raise money for the charity. In fact so inspired that this year a phenomenal £4,217 (and 5p) was raised which is the highest amount ever achieved by CCHS. To further put this into context, very few schools raise in excess of £2,000 with the majority raising £1,000 - £1,500. So, a brilliant effort from Year 7 and we would also like to thank parents for their support.
Two weeks after her talk, Lesley returned with a fitness coach to run a workout session with Year 7 as a thank you from the charity. As you can see from the photos, the students were as enthusiastic on that occasion as they had been in fund-raising.
Year 7 student, Alex Jones, came first in an art competition to design and produce an innovative and contemporary mixed media textile-related piece. Over 240 students entered the Textile Challenge, sponsored by the Braintree Warner Textile Archive, from colleges across Britain and Ireland.
Alex’s piece was of a jungle scene with an exotic bird, a giraffe and a lion and was inspired by three pieces in the exhibition in particular: Vanessa Bell Stripe, Bouquet and Huan and Giraffes.
Entries were judged by professionals from the textile, design and heritage sectors including Mary Schoeser, internationally acclaimed textile historian and author; Katem Wigley, Archivist at the Warner Textile Archive; and Patricia Christie, Chair of TEXERE (Textiles Education and Research in Europe), part of the European Textiles Network.
Congratulations to the nine Year 13 Biologists who took part in the British Biology Olympiad 2015 competition last week. This is a national competition organised by the Society of Biology that has content going beyond the A Level syllabus which is very challenging and over 6000 students in the UK took part in January.
In the Olympiad exam, all students have been placed: Fatema Mohsen (13MS) was Commended; Safiyya El Diwany (13BH) and Caitlin Greenland-Bews (13KB) both achieved a Bronze Medal; Laura Gathercole (13EG), Isobel Jones (13MS), Jessica Underwood (13DA) and Victoria Bush (13EG) all achieved the Silver Medal; Kate Hann (13HG) and Charlotte Flannery (13BH) achieved the top Gold Medal. This is a tremendous achievement by all the girls.
On Wednesday 28th January, a team of Year 11s took part in the Rotary Youth Speaks Seniors Competition at Colchester Town Hall.
Saffron Blacker eloquently charmed and humoured the audience as Chair by introducing the team’s topic under the title of ‘The ‘F’ Word’.
Lauren Barlow almost brought me to tears as she delivered a strong and moving message about her views on feminism. She engaged with the whole audience and rightfully won the Best Speaker award.
Aurora Barclay-Ede performed a powerful Vote of Thanks and was praised by judges for her wonderful voice.
Up against the CRGS team speaking on ‘Sexism in our Society’, we were pronounced the winners and selected to represent the local area at the District round at Chelmsford Town Hall on the 11th March. We were told by Rotarian Tony Dutch that it has been a long time since the Best Speaker and Best Team award have gone to the same school.
Well done girls for all of the hard work and dedication.
Mrs E Clark
On Wednesday 16th December, all of the Year 9 visited the Natural History Museum. The day was divided equally between Geography and Biology.
Students used the ‘Volcanoes and Earthquakes’ and ‘Restless Earth’ galleries to explore the impact that natural hazards have on people’s lives.
The Biology focus followed the ‘Cocoon Experience’, a KS3 self-led tour through the Darwin Centre which explores evolution suing some of the millions of specimens held at the museum
The topic for year 8 dance lessons is “Dancing Around the World” and as such covers a wide variety of styles from different countries and cultures. Included is the Brazilian Capoeira, the Greek Sirtaki and the Haka from New Zealand. This year the highlight for many girls was the traditional and contemporary Indian dancing delivered by Jaymini Bedia.
Jaymini came in and delivered a wide variety of styles of Indian dancing to all four year eight classes, and included information about the history of each dance. The year 8 girls clearly enjoyed the sessions and learnt a lot from them.