Science Stretch and Challenge Session – Thursday 28th November

December 20, 2013 in Past Events

This session was designed by Dr Shaun Donnelly (MA Oxon) Head of Science at Blue Coat School, who  put together a series of challenging and interesting research tasks and experiments for Biologists, Chemists or Physicists who have applied to study any science at Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. Taking the theme of ‘super-foods’ as its starting point, the three hour session gave students a real taste of undergraduate level science work. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with students commenting most positively on the level of independence they were required to demonstrate in order to solve problems.

“We were given a range of starting materials” said James, “and a desired outcome. But there were no instructions about how we might solve the problem. We had to work it all out ourselves.” Other comments were just as revealing:
  • “I liked that you gave us some equipment that was unnecessary. It made the day more challenging.”
  • “I found it really interesting, it was something different from the specification”
  • “It was good that the teachers didn’t provide too much help as it allowed us to think more”
  • “Lab technicians were amazing”
  • “I thought it was great!”
The key feature of the session was that students were given questions, time and resources, but no answers. They worked purposefully and inquisitively to seek solutions, working in mixed school teams and sharing ideas and experiences. Coming a matter of weeks before some of the country’s most challenging interviews for degree-level science courses, the session gave students a chance to experience working outside the A level curriculum, and will be food for further thought and research for many of them.

Approaching Challenging University Interviews – November 21st

November 25, 2013 in Past Events

Miles Hewstone of Oxford University came to The Blue Coat School to discuss university interviews – the pitfalls, challenges and processes that students go through. Prof Hewstone focussed specifically on the interview process for Oxford University, but there was a good level of applicability to those applying to all prestigious university courses.


STEP (Sixth Term Extension Paper) – October 17th

November 25, 2013 in Past Events

Our STEP (Sixth Term Extension Paper) Maths event took place on October 17th. Students from 5 schools across Greater Manchester attended the session, which was run by Peter Mitchell, Oxford educated Mathematician and ex-Head of Maths, an expert vastly experienced in running online workshops as well as bespoke sessions like this one. Feedback has been uniformly positive, and further sessions are being planned for the summer term.