Recent Events

Vijay Patel Shares the Secrets of his Success with Sixth Form

PHOTO Vijay Patel jpgVijay Patel, a highly successful international businessman who runs a pharmaceutical business from Basildon, visited our 6th formers earlier this term to give the benefit of his wisdom and experience to students.  Vijay’s insights into entrepreneurship and the sharing of his life journey from humble beginnings to becoming a major player in the global pharmaceutical industry were much appreciated by the audience.

Vijay Patel’s talk was very good.  He gave some very useful advice that I hadn’t really thought of before and It has really motivated me to think more and plan for my future.

He was really different from some of the other speakers we have listened to - he told us about his life story and his career path, making us realise we could achieve something like that too. It was especially fascinating to learn how Vijay started off in life and how his success grew. Overall the talk was very accessible and contained parts that could prove useful for everyone present.

Year 12 student

 

 

Lessons from Auschwitz

PHOTO Auschwitz

Sixth form students who visited Auschwitz:  Louise Tribe, Alicia Brown, Ciaran Vere and Katie Giddings share their experience with peers.

During the summer term, four student representatives from the Sixth Form engaged in an insightful programme presented by the Holocaust Educational Trust, which included a poignant one-day visit to Auschwitz in Poland. The students visited both Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps during their visit, engaging in the history of the Holocaust through the powerful atmosphere that remains there. Additionally, the students met Zigi Shipper, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, whose testimony enriched the students’ compassion immensely.  On their return, the students shared their experience in a presentation to the Sixth Form, with the ambition to promote awareness about the Holocaust.

 

Chemis-tree

The A Level Chemistry class of 12CCH made a festive Chemis-tree in approach to the festive holiday period. We used a range of chemicals to construct our tree, including potassium permanganate, potassium dichromate, and nickel nitrate, as well as a selection of different indicators such as, phenolphthalein, methyl orange, and universal indicator to show the different colours. An example of one of our colourful ‘baubles’ is a aqueous solution of potassium bromide with a lead iodide precipitate, which we made by reacting lead bromide and potassium iodide. This gave a bright yellow precipitate that we hung on our tree.

Happy Holidays from the Atoms Family

(Jake Benstead, Tom Betts, Jack Bleach, Ryan Chandler, Josh Douibi, Millie Eldridge, Keely Harris, Freddy Heppell, Jake Hillion, Alex Hughes, and Niamh Shelley…And Mr Bashford).

 

Maths Fantastic @ Billericay 6th Form

 

Staff and some of the students from 2016 cohort and where they are heading to

Back row L to R: Mr Jonathan Pead (Lead Practitioner in Mathematics), Jemima Morgan (A in Maths and B in Further Maths; Maths with computer Science at Cardiff University), David Jackson (A*s in both Maths and Further Maths; Mechanical Engineering at Warwick University), William Hemsley (A in Maths and B in Further Maths; Maths at Surrey University), Matthew Gilchrist (A*s in both Maths and Further Maths; Physics at Bath University).

Front row L to R: Miss Alderson (KS5 Coordinator till summer 2016), Dr Priya Pavan (Deputy Head of 6th Form), Kieran Hewitt (B in Maths and C in Further Maths; Maths and Statistics at Reading University), Mr Abbotts (Head of Mathematics Faculty)

With 7 A*s in A level Mathematics and 2 A*s in A Level Further Mathematics, students at the Billericay School in South Essex have performed very well in the summer 2016 exam series. Of course, this isn’t the 1st year with great results, A Level Maths students have performed consistently well over the past several years. The comprehensive school was awarded Maths and Computing specialism in 2003 which converted to an Academy in 2011.

Mr Jonathan Pead, a Lead Practitioner in Mathematics at the Billericay School, says ‘we have a great team of Maths teachers who provide excellent support to our students to achieve their best as well as deliver a plethora of enrichment activities to enhance their mathematical experiences’. Many of the recent school leavers have gone on to read Mathematics at institutions like Warwick, Bath, Reading, Loughborough and Surrey Universities.

One such enrichment activity on offer this year is the Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclasses organised by Dr Priya Pavan, Deputy Head of 6th form. The Royal Institution, famous for its CHRISTMAS LECTURES, is a charitable organisation which oversees many extracurricular activities led by top experts from academia and industry for keen and talented young people in mathematics, engineering and computer science all around the UK.

Dr Pavan set up the Essex 6th Form Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclass series for year 12 students which sees 27 bright young mathematicians from different schools in south Essex attend the Saturday morning sessions at Billericay School. ‘I am really pleased. This is not just for our students; we have students from St Martin’s School, Appleton School, The Sandon School, Tendring College and King Edwards Grammar School. It’s a fantastic opportunity. I hope students from many other schools will take part in years to come’ says the Imperial College London alumni, who volunteers her time for numerous STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related enrichment activities within the school and Essex County.

1st Saturday of this series saw Prof Alan Davies leading a session on ‘approximations of pi’ followed by the Royal Institution’s own Samantha Durbin delivering a session on mathematical modelling. On the 3rd weekend, former intelligence analyst Lucy Jordan, now a Maths teacher at the Billericay School, introduced the students to writing codes using RSA – an encryption algorithm widely used for secure data transmission.

 

Prof Alan Davies explaining Viete’s formula for approximation of pi

The following week’s session was a particularly special one as the presenter Thomas Prince is an ex-pupil of the Billericay School. Tom left school in summer 2008 after achieving 6 A grades at A Level and headed to Trinity College, Cambridge where he graduated as a Master of Mathematics with Distinction. Tom has just recently completed his PhD in Algebraic Geometry at Imperial College London.

 

Dr Prince talking about geometrical shapes

A week later, Naomi Steadman from TFL led a session on Network Modelling, where they looked at traffic flow and designing the junction near Bounds Green tube station. Last of the sessions was on Financial Risk Aversion and was delivered by Jon Payne, whose teaching career is just starting the Billericay School. Dr Pavan, who put together the programme, is grateful to all the presenters for volunteering their Saturday morning to enthuse youngsters to study Maths at higher level. She is also indebted to some of her ex-students who have come into talk to the participants about their experiences of Maths at University.

While mathematics is a popular subject at A Level amongst students, many of them don’t choose to study Maths at university. Maths, Physics and Design and Technology are some of the key secondary subjects facing severe graduate teacher shortages. So it is great to see the Billericay School, what used to be a ‘grant maintained secondary modern’ in its not so distant past, with its ability to pool resources from staff and ex-students alike, to provide ‘grammar school type’ enrichment to its current cohorts!

Please contact Dr Priya Pavan if you like your school to take part in the 6th Form RI Masterclasses in Essex for either Mathematics (Autumn 2017) or Computer Science(Spring 2017).

Students presenting their 'forest fire' models

Students concentrating on a Saturday morning

Students trading wholesale gas as part of Financial Aversion lecture

About the Ri

The Royal Institution’s (Ri) purpose is to harness science for the maximum benefit of society. Home to eminent scientists such as Michael Faraday, Humphry Davy and Kathleen Lonsdale, its discoveries have helped to shape the modern world. Just as importantly these scientists recognised the importance of sharing their work with the wider public.

Today it continues its mission as a registered charity providing science education and heritage activities for people of all ages and backgrounds across the UK and around the world. These activities include the world-famous CHRISTMAS LECTURES; public talks from the world's greatest thinkers in its historic lecture theatre; a national programme of Ri Masterclasses for young people in mathematics, engineering and computer science; hands-on science workshops in its L'Oréal Young Scientist Centre; animations and films from its award-winning Ri Channel and the preservation of its scientific legacy through the Faraday Museum and archival collections.

 

Sixth Form Student Visit to Auschwitz

 

Sam, Heather, Bertie and Alex

In April this year, 4 Year 12 students from the Billericay School were selected to visit Auschwitz in Poland as part of a project organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust. Samantha Redhead, Heather Wiles, Bertie Morley and Alex Maas learnt first hand about a dark and painful period in history. The students will share their experiences and reflections with the rest of their year group later this term.

To me Birkenau was the true shock; the size, the desolation, the disturbing efficiency of the design – the complete industrialisation of genocide.

The displays transformed horrific stories to the harsh reality; rooms full of human hair, luggage, the fingernail scratches left on the walls... A child’s shoe, laced with fabric flowers, against a backdrop of 43,000 others.

There’s a presence around Auschwitz. Entire families disintegrated. Executed. Wiped out, as if they never existed. The unimaginable pain, loss and despair they suffered. All in hatred and in the name of profit. That leaves a stain, one you can feel.

The 3 main Auschwitz camps are estimated to have been responsible for 1.5 million deaths. Yet attempting to quantify the inconceivable is submitting to the attempt at reducing these individuals to nothing, to a mere number. The visit concluded with a memorial showing the images of thousands involved; what stood out was not the immense loss of life but the culture which existed beforehand, and continues today. It is this individuality that truly matters; each person lived before the tragedy, and they should be remembered as people, not victims. This celebration of Jewish culture and the process of rehumanising the Holocaust is not just an act of remembrance, but more importantly an act of defiance.

Alex Maas, year 12

Cheap and Healthy Eats - Cooking Tips for University

Many of our year 13 students are headed for university at the end of the summer, leaving home for the first time. Acquiring life skills are an all important part of their preparation for this big step in their lives, and so we approached the Food Technology department at school to see if they could help students with some of these…

Ms Mutsure volunteered to plan and organise a session in which sixth formers could learn about shopping on a budget and preparing healthy and nutritious meals. This culminated in students producing a delicious and attractive stir fry which took a short time to create, but left plenty to spare with extra portions for another time.

The group was very appreciative of this opportunity to practise their skills and think about balancing time, cost and nutritional value when preparing meals on a daily basis at university. Not only that, but students also said how much they had enjoyed the session, and that they now looked forward to this aspect of life away from home with increased confidence. Thank you to the Food Technology department for offering this opportunity.

Ms Fiona Smith

Head of 6th Form

 

Arsenal's David Dein Visits the Sixth Form

Daniel Brock, Emily Drake, Katie Staines, Tom Smith, Ben Smart and Daniel Wolfendale

David Dein visited our 6th form earlier this term, joking at the start that he was wary, knowing he was on West Ham territory! He soon had the audience fully engaged as he proved a friendly and accomplished speaker.

We leant how David joined the Arsenal Board in 1983 and was made Vice-Chairman in the same year. He rose to Vice-Chairman of the Football Association and served on numerous UEFA and FIFA Committees. During David’s reign, the Club won a total of 18 trophies! These days David spends much of his time speaking in schools and prisons as well as businesses – and we were very pleased to take up the opportunity offered by the Speakers for Schools Programme to hear David speak at our school.

David’s speech was very inspirational as he explained how his career had developed from his early life, and how he went on to help Arsenal sign key players as well as introduce new technology to the game. He went on to describe his career at the club from 1983 to 2007. He held a 16.6% share in the club and told us how he has dealt with some of the biggest names in football. David spoke of the value of education, and gave an example of the value of him learning French from an early age which helped him speak to new players, making them feel welcome.

As students we found David’s visit inspiring because it showed that if you work hard enough towards what you believe in, you can achieve and succeed in life. David gave some examples of obstacles he faced which presented difficulties for him, but he overcame these through pure determination and dedication. From this everyone can learn and take on board his work ethic towards achieving their own goals. It was a great session – a very good speaker with an important message for us all.

Freddie Tunbridge, Daniel Bailey, and Andzelika Daujoutaite

Career Crowd

Career Crowd delivered a morning session to sixth form students interested in finding out more about the variety of options post 18, including apprenticeships and emplyment.  A packed hall saw studentsparticipate in a fully interactive session, culminating in lively student presentations.

Anglia Roadshow

Sixth Form students benefitted from the Anglia Roadshow bus whose staff informwd year 12 students about Higher Education options, whilst also giving tailored help to year 13 students writing their personal statements for university applications.

"The Anglia Roadshow bus really helped me as I want to apply to an American University and wasn't exactly sure how or what the options would be.  I was given advice on how to apply and where I could get financial help.  They also gave me information about completing a study year abroad in America whilst attending university in the UK.  All this really helped me with the choices I am making." (Ellie Cook (Year 13) applying to study in the USA).

Visit from Imperial College, London

The term so far has been a busy one for our sixth formers, packed with activities and events designed to help prepare our students for life after leaving school.

University applicants have been helped by practice interviews delivered by Jane Marshall from Imperial College, London. 

"My application to UCL and Cambridge will definitely involve interviews for a place on the course.  The mock interview with Jane was extremely helpful, giving me an insight into the types of questions I could be asked.  These are usually subject-based, requiring you to think outside the box, for example "why is a city like a cell?"  In order to aid my interview skills further, I have also had tutorial-style discussions with chemistry teachers and other students on topics beyond the typical A level syllabus to extend my knowledge further."

Lizzie Hawkins (Year 13) applying to UCL and Cambridge

 

Roadster

All Year 12 students were invited to Roadster, a day organised by Essex Highways and staffed by a range of professionals including the police and fire brigade.  The students received valuable lessons including driver and passenger safety as well as drink and drug awareness.  Some students were even able to have their first driving lesson on the school tennis courts.