News

May


Year 9 Holocaust Survivor Visit

The school was privileged to welcome Holocaust survivor Gabriele Keenaghan to the school on Monday 8th May. Gabriele spoke very movingly to a group of our year 9s about her experience of the 'Kindertransport', her escape from Austria, the disappearance of her Jewish father and her reunion with her Christian mother after the war. This gave the students a real insight not only into the Holocaust but into the experiences of refugees and the importance of the welcome they receive in the countries where they take refuge.

The students were clearly inspired as they went on to produce very impressive posters about some of the Holocaust survivors who have gone on to achieve great things, leading us to ponder the question what great human achievements were lost with the 6 million and more murdered by the Nazis. The survivors the students discovered ranged from Nobel laureates like Primo Levi, Daniel Kahneman and Francois Englert through British Olympic Weightlifter Ben Helfgott to the inventor of the Transformers, Henry Orenstein! These posters are going to be displayed in departments around the school, appropriate to the survivor's achievements, as a reminder to all in the school community of the events of the past and of what can be achieved even by those who face the greatest of challenges in their lives.

May


Duke of Edinburgh

Whitley Bay High School's Bronze Duke of Edinburgh students undertook their first ever expedition travelling from Simonburn to Stonehaugh over the weekend of 6th-7th of May. For many, this was the first time navigating using only a map and compass as well as carrying everything they needed for their 2 day trip on their backs. All groups faced a range of terrain from farm tracks to the open countryside of Northumberland National Park.

Yr 13 Economics Trip

After their first full day of walking, all students had to pitch their own tents, cook their own food and spend a night under canvas. Despite a chilly night, everyone awoke ready for their final day of walking putting their map reading skills to the test once again. All of the groups worked together and although being a little tired, all students successfully navigated themselves back to Simonburn, completing their practise expedition.

Yr 13 Economics Trip

May


Changes to the School Day 2017 -18

The Governing Body has agreed to consult with parents on some relatively small changes to the organisation of the school day, to take effect from September 2017. We will also be consulting with students after the Easter Holiday but this letter provides you with an opportunity to discuss the proposal with your daughter/son.

A recent survey tells us that we currently have a significantly later finish than most secondary schools in not only North Tyneside but in the North East generally. Whilst the proposed changes outlined below are individually relatively modest, we believe that cumulatively they will bring certain benefits:

  • Increase student participation in after school enrichment activities
  • Allow students to have a gap before participating in their evening study or other activities
  • Outdoor clubs will be disrupted less by the winter evenings
  • Sports fixtures can continue during the winter months
  • Students will have more time to conduct independent learning in the approach to exams or other high pressure points in the school year
  • Many Sixth Form students who have part time employment after school can have additional study time before they start this work
  • As the exam season approaches we put on breakfast and after school revision sessions. This currently makes it a very long day for students
  • Younger students can return home in relatively light conditions during the winter
  • Students who have younger siblings will be able to assist in collection and care arrangements
  • For our staff this means that time will be structured more purposefully to assist them with lesson planning and assessment and to enable them to continue to offer a range of extracurricular clubs and enrichment activities alongside additional subject support.

Our proposal would be to start school at the same time, but finish at the new time of 3.15pm. The 20 minute adjustment would be acquired from 5 minutes at break, making this 15 minutes; 10 minutes at lunchtime, making this 50 minutes and 5 minutes from period 4. Period 4 is currently 5 minutes longer than all other lessons as it was historically used as a second tutorial. This is no longer the case and students are registered in lesson during period 4.

We are aware that many students use local amenities during lunchtime, but we believe that 50 minutes is ample time for students to continue their regular lunch habits, indeed leadership staff have trialled the 3 main routes several times and returned to school in more than enough time for the prompt start to period 4. We are also discussing with North Tyneside Catering Services the potential to increase service capacity during break and lunchtime to allow more students to stay onsite for lunch, should they choose to do so. Staff also fed back that our lunch time clubs will not be impacted by this small reduction in time. The tables below outline the current school day and our new proposed school day.

April


Your Big C and Me

Year 12 students handed over a cheque for money earned during the entrepreneurial '12 wishes' fundraising activity. Students raised money through activities such as leg waxes, a common room juke box, cake stalls, a bag pack and leg waxing. Ellie Naseby in Year 12 accepted the cheque on behalf of the charity. We are very proud of how the students raised such a substantial fund in such a short period of time.

Yr 13 Economics Trip

March


Year 13 London Economics trip

Year 13 Economics students recently travelled down to London to gain a real insight into the current political and economic landscape. Students were given a special access tour of Parliament from our local MP Alan Campbell where they watched a live debate from the public gallery and asked questions with a member of the shadow treasury. Students then went onto visit the London Eye and the Bank of England in what was an action packed and thoroughly enjoyable day.

Yr 13 Economics Trip

February


New York City

The annual Art and Media trip to New York took place again this February with 28 students visiting the big apple over President's weekend. The itinerary was packed with a trip up the Empire State building as soon as we touched down at JFK!

Friday saw a trip to Queens to the Museum of Moving Image, then The Metropolitan Museum of Art for the art students and Madison Square gardens for the Media students. The groups reunited at the Hard Rock Cafe before going to see The School of Rock on Broadway.

Saturday, the Art students visited the world famous Chelsea market, while the Media students went to NBC studios at the Rockefeller centre, and the home of the world's biggest media company, Comcast. After shopping on 5th avenue, we reconvened at the Museum of Modern Art for a feast of Goya, Picasso, Dali and Pollock. From there, we watched the sun set while we skated in Central Park followed by people watching at Times' Square.

On Sunday, we made our way to Bowling Green where we jumped on the ferry to Ellis Island, via Liberty Island, home to the statue of Liberty. We walked back up through the financial centre of Wall street, up toward the 9/11 memorial site where students reflected on the atrocities of nearly 16 years ago. We headed into mid town and Washington Square where the street performers and bohemian shops sparked interest, before heading back to Times' square for the final bit of souvenir shopping.

Our final day, Monday, we took the subway from Grand Central Station to the Museum of Natural History, before returning to the hostel to collect our bags, check out and make our way to the airport for the night flight back to the UK.

An incredible time was had by all and some genuinely memorable experiences made.

February


Iceland

The Iceland trip over half term allowed 37 students and 5 teachers to experience some of the most unique and awe-inspiring tectonic and coastal features in the world. During the trip students completed a hike on a glacier using crampons and ice axes, swam in the famous Blue Lagoon and visited an active volcanic mountain. One of the most spectacular events was the phenomenal Northern lights which was equally as memorable as it was beautiful. Relaxing in the natural geothermal features such as geysers, hot springs and mud pools was also a brilliant way to end each day.

Iceland trip

January


Into the Woods

This year’s school production was the fabulous Into The Woods. This magical piece of musical theatre is renowned for its challenging songs and its subtle mix of comedy and pathos. It involves a complex plot which both emulates and satirises the characters and themes present in popular fairy tales

This is a demanding production for both singers, actors, musicians and technical crew but the entire cast and orchestra rose to the challenge magnificently with outstanding performances in every role and exceptional contributions to the final productions values.

Over 100 hard-working, committed and talented students from all year groups came together as singers, actors, members of the orchestra, technical and backstage crew and marketing team to create a magical world in the woods which enthralled and delighted audiences over three nights.

Into the Woods cast

January


Fantasy Subjects Season 2

The final Fantasy Subjects season came to an end the week before Christmas where students were competing to take part in a tour around St James’ Park with Peter Beardsley. The students were invited to attend the event at the stadium by the ex-Newcastle and England football player after being impressed with the students at the end of ‘season 1’. The initiative involved students refining study skills in selected lessons in order to make progress with their learning.

Rugby stars

January


F1 Schools Finalists

'Invictus' are the Whitley Bay High School team that are set to compete in the Professional Class at the National Finals of the ‘F1 In Schools Competition.’ The Finals where they will be competing against schools across the UK will be held at Silverstone Circuit between 29th - 30th March 2017. 'Invictus' qualified after achieving the fastest car and coming second overall at the Regional Finals which were held at Nissan Sunderland on Friday 13th January. During the competition the students were required to design and manufacture a model F1 style car, produce a presentation to a panel of judges, create a pit stop display and produce two A3 portfolios showcasing engineering design & development and business and enterprise. What a fantastic achievement for all involved.

Invictus team

January


Year 11 National Netball Finalists

The U16 netball team came 2nd in the County Finals for the second year running, qualifying for the regional finals which took place at Blue Flames on 28th January. They were up against 7 other strong teams from the North East. They began the tournament with a solid win, however their second match was very tight and the girls had to really show a lot of resilience and determination throughout the game. This was the only match they lost and they went on to record wins against Newcastle High School, Durham High, Ponteland, Barnard Castle and Whitburn. However, the tournament was so close that it came down to the last match, where possibly four schools could qualify. This did not phase the girls and they played an amazing match beating Durham High. Whitley Bay and Newcastle High School were the top two schools to qualify with Whitely Bay coming second only due to goal difference. The team now travel to Welwyn Garden City on the 18th March to compete in the National Schools Finals. Good luck girls and well done on this fantastic achievement!

 Uner 16's Netball

January


Rugby Stars

Following last years’ achievement with the Year 9 boys rugby team finishing within the top 16 school nationally, we started this academic year with the goal of emulating our previous success. The now Year 10 team competed in the North East round of the National competition. Here we faced local schools where we advanced to the next round as North East champions. In November we took part in the county rounds playing schools from South Tyneside and Northumberland where we qualified for the regional final as runners up. The regional finals took place at Kingston Park in the last week of term where we faced two schools, King Edwards Morpeth and Whitburn. After two hard fought games seeing us win one and lose one, we finished runners up narrowly missing out on advancing to the national finals.

With a new cohort of Year 9's joining Whitley Bay this was a fantastic opportunity to expand our rugby programme further. The Year 9 team experienced dual success in both codes of rugby. Firstly they advanced through the group stages of the Rugby Union County Cup to reach the semi finals where they faced Ponteland. After what was a tough away fixture our Year 9 team reached the County Cup final where they faced Newcastle School for Boys at Kingston Park. On what was such a fantastic occasion, the boys came across a well drilled NSB team on the day which proved to be strong but in true Whitley Bay style the team stuck together and enjoyed the experience where they finished runners up.

Building upon the earlier season success the Year 9 team were entered into the National Schools Rugby League Championship where they qualified for the county round as North East champions. They were faced with a strong Churchill team but over the course of the 60 minute game Whitley Bay came out triumphant to progress to the regional finals as county champions. The regional finals where once again held at Kingston Park where we faced Eaglescliffe. In yet another tough fought game we were narrowly beaten to finish runners up in the Regional round.

January


Year 11 St James’ Park Event

On the 7th January all of Year 11 attended a conference at St James’ Park. Students were required to dress formally as you would in a professional setting and they didn't let us down. They all looked absolutely fantastic! During the course of the day students listened to a motivational speaker, attended revision and study skill workshops and had a job interview. This was a very memorable day and students have fed back that they felt motivated and ready for the hard few months ahead; indeed their attitude and effort was exceptional. This was especially true for the interviews which involved local businesses and employers and feedback regarding the standard of our students’ performance was excellent. The day marks the final run up to the summer exams and students were a credit to the school throughout the day.

Year 11

December


Rise and Read Initiative

Following investment from the Trust Fund, the English Department and the Library have launched a new reading initiative to encourage a group of Year 9 boys to develop a habit for reading for pleasure. Based on research that cites reading as one of the most important factors in student attainment, the project involves students meeting every Wednesday morning for silent reading over breakfast in the Library. The students taking part have been nominated by their English teachers and also get to keep their chosen book when the project comes to an end. At the launch of this event, staff reading role models talked to the students about their favourite books and why reading was important to them. We'll be running the initiative with a new group of students after half term. Happy reading and well done to those involved!

Rise and Read event

December 9th


We're in the Top 10

Whitley Bay High School is delighted to be recognised as one of the top 10 schools in the North East by The Sunday Times and Evening Chronicle. The Evening Chronicle uses 25 different criteria as part of their ‘Real Schools Guide’ to give each school an overall judgement. The Sunday Times also confirmed this as part of their ‘Parent Power Survey’ which agreed that we are one of the best schools in the region. We are very pleased that the hard work of our students, parents, staff and governors has been acknowledged.

Chronical live article

Sunday Times article(You will need a subscription to access The Sunday Times article)

November 16th


Crystal Clear Linguist

Pupils at Whitley Bay High School were delighted to welcome world renowned linguist and English Language expert Professor David Crystal to school for a day of lectures. Pupils were also given the opportunity to pose individual questions around English Language A Level to Professor Crystal. Whitley Bay High School was proud to host the event and to be able to invite pupils from across the region to take part in the day’s activities, with over 80 A Level English Language students from the North-East involved in the event. Pupils had the opportunity to get to grips with some of the more complex elements of the subject from the expert speaker with over 100 books to his name.

November 11th


Remembrance Day

For this year's Remembrance Day, we as a school focused on the centenary of the Battle of the Somme alongside remembering all those who have lost their lives in service of their country. The service began with Anna Wardle reading 'On Somme' by Ivor Gurney. This poem focused on the fear soldiers in 1916 would have felt during one of the bloodiest battles in British history. Following this, students involved in both the Air Cadets and St John's Ambulance paraded into the quad led by Kai Korzonek. The quad was filled with pupils of all year groups paying their respects, as the two minutes silence commenced with Simoen Sayer and Toby Attala playing the Last Post. Following the silence, our headteacher, two cadets and representatives from our first and middle schools lay wreaths around the remembrance stone. Molly Glover then recited 'Just a common soldier' by A. Lawrence Vaincourt. To end the service, the school choir led by Mr Baldwin performed 'Abide with me' followed by a beautiful duet of 'Bring him home' performed by Rebecca Banks and Christopher Charlton.

Remembrance Day

November 2nd


Great Whitley Bake off

Year 9 students have took it upon themselves to become the next top bakers in North Tyneside, participating in ‘The Great Whitley Bake Off’. Each week students are set the challenge of creating some of the finest bakes around, including: biscuits, muffins, scones, sponge cakes and the good old traditional sausage rolls. Students have excelled themselves as many have prepared ingredients at home and presented the guest judges with some signature bakes using innovative flavours and unique designs. The competition will end with our ‘Christmas’ showstopper in the next few weeks

Great Whitley Bake Off

October 21st

 

Football Focus

Newcastle United might not be in the Premier League this season but a select group of Year 11 students have been competing at a top flight level in their GCSE subjects this half term. Eleven staff as coaches have teamed up with the thirty three students to make a real difference to their performance inside and outside of the classroom. Points have been awarded for a students displaying a variety of role model attributes in lessons culminating in a weekly league table for both students have staff.

The initiative even caught the eye of Newcastle Untied themselves with top coaches from the club Ben Dawson and Peter Beardsley attending the school at the end of the half term for our Monday Night Football inspired reflection on the students work ethic in this crucial GCSE year.

October 20st

 

Diversity Week

Whitley Bay High School has long been committed to its pledge of "All Different, All Equal", and in the last week of this half term we launched a 'Celebrating Diversity. Week'. Students may have noticed some of the small changes made from staff wearing rainbow coloured lanyards to the twitter logos of all the schools accounts carrying some fabulous artwork. Videos on the theme were streamed into the main hall during break time and all students spent time in assembly reflecting on what diversity means. The weekly tutorial asked students to consider their place within a global community and different subject lessons throughout the week touched on the key themes. The school was also pleased to display material from the 2015 visit of Sir Ian McKellan on behalf of the charity Stonewall with his signed pledge going on display along with that of hundreds of other students and staff. Photos of his visit highlight his core message along with some fabulous artwork donated to the school by artist Aissa Tyler. Celebrating Diversity week has hopefully underlined the school's core belief that such artificial distinctions as gender, race, sexuality or disability are not what is important but instead, to paraphrase Dr King, "the content of your character."

October 6th

 

National Poetry Day

WBHS's National Poetry Day celebration has become a much anticipated event in the school calendar and this year was no exception. Students from every year group recited favourite poems (and in some cases their own original writing!) to a packed audience in the Library. From Carol Ann Duffy to W.B. Yeats, the world of poetry was represented in all its forms, as was the diverse and varied range of human experience with poetry that provoked thought, generated laughter and inspired creativity.

The audience was blown away by the talented readers, whose performances really drew out the power and impact of their words. The contribution from so many students made for a genuinely memorable event which lived up the expectations of all those who attended. 'I've been coming to this event for 5 years and it never fails to inspire me,' said Harriet Todd, Year 13. 'I really loved the variety of the poems - it was great to hear so many fresh ideas.'

September 22nd

 

Welcome Year 12

Year 12 began the new term with an induction event designed to introduce them to Sixth Form life at Whitley Bay High School. Students were encouraged to step outside their comfort zones to take part in activities from circus skills to an enterprise challenge whilst meeting new people. The event was a real success and we were really proud of how our new Year 12 collaborated as a group.

In lessons students have also been introduced to the ‘DRIVING’ test, which is an acronym for seven of the core skills which we see as being vital to success at A level. They are working closely with their teachers to ensure they begin to develop and hone these skills during the first four weeks of sixth form. Good luck to all of our students and we hope you are successful on your new courses.

September 16th

 

Welcome Year 9

The theme for the cross curricular project this year was ‘Magic and Mystery’ which aimed  to combine enquiry based learning, creativity and team work to create an exciting start for all year 9 pupils to Whitley Bay High School. 

The initial assembly launched the ‘Magic’ side of the project which included a guest magician, a look at the history of magic and clips of contemporary magic.  Students were encouraged to collect stickers for achieving particular skills such as enthusiasm, asking questions and independence with both individual and tutor group prizes rewarded. 

The ‘Mystery’ side of the project was introduced the following Monday in assembly and this involved all year 9 students investigating a secret code to a box that had been found in the school grounds.  Throughout the week students were given clues crack the code on the box which were linked to six possible staff suspects in their core lessons. 

Other events were held around school during tutorial, break and lunch times to sustain year 9’s engagement with the theme.  Highlights included a staged argument between two suspects in the quad, a tutor quiz, magic tricks in the library, and a press conference.  Lessons throughout the core subjects were planned around the ‘Magic and Mystery’ theme and were designed to give students a taste of our learning styles whilst being both fun and challenging. 

The week concluded with a final assembly where the identity of the mystery magician was revealed and success rewarded

 

August 30th

 

Evan Ward achieves 9A*s after battling with cancer

On this year’s GCSE results day, Whitley Bay High School student Evan Ward achieved an incredible 9A*s which is a remarkable achievement in any set of circumstances. However, Evan has been battling with cancer for the last two years and balancing his school work and revision with regular hospital treatment, making his results even more astonishing. ‘I did much better than I expected and I am very pleased about it!’ said Evan when he came to collect his results with his friends. ‘I am especially surprised about my A* in History when I thought I would get a B! That is a great surprise!’

His hard work and resilience has been a true inspiration to the staff and students at Whitley Bay High School. Headteacher Steve Wilson paid tribute to his success, ‘This is an incredible achievement reflecting Evan’s outstanding ability, incredible hard work and sheer resilience and determination to be successful. He is an inspiration to us all.’

August 25th

 

Outstanding GCSE Success at Whitley Bay High School

One of the country’s top schools improves results yet again.

Whitley Bay High School students have achieved another set of outstanding results. Whitley Bay High School was named by the Government as one of the 100 highest performing schools in the country for their 2015 GCSE results and Steve Wilson, Headteacher, said, ‘I am pleased to say that these 2016 results are even better.’

88% of students achieved a total of 5 or more A*- C grades with 78% achieving 5 or more A* - C grades including English and Maths. A huge 91% of a year group of 350 students achieved A* - C in English Language and 85% achieved A* - C in Maths. Science results were equally impressive with 90% achieving at least two A* - C grades and 100% achieving A* - C in the 3 separate sciences of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Such stories of success, hard work and outstanding teaching were repeated across the school. Joe Turner also achieved an incredible 11A*s: ‘I felt very nervous this morning before coming into school but I am really happy about my results now! I am particularly pleased about my A*s in French and English Literature. I am excited about next year as I’m enrolling in Whitley Bay High School 6th Form to study English, French and History.’ Joe was supported by dedicated and hardworking teachers, whom he was keen to thank. ‘The teaching at WBHS is brilliant,’ he said. ‘I felt very supported in my learning, the teachers were always available to help and were generous with their time. They gave me all the help and support I needed.'

Steve Wilson, the Headteacher, said: ‘I am so pleased for the students and their parents. These results reflect the very hard work of our students and the dedication of our teaching and support staff. A combination of excellent teaching and fantastic support has allowed our students to thrive and achieve outstanding results that will set them up for the rest of their lives. I would like to congratulate the students. I am delighted for them and their families.’

August 22nd

 

Whatever next?

Prospective Post 16 students & their parents often ask us about where our students go after leaving Whitley Bay High School Sixth Form. The answer is – all kinds of different and diverse places from world famous educational institutions to local apprenticeships; we seek to help them find the pathway that is best for them. Below is the first of an occasional series highlighting what our talented students get up to next.

Watch out fashion world - Jessica Moore is coming!

Congratulations go to former Whitley Bay High School student Jessica Moore (2008 – 2013) who has recently graduated from Central St Martins in London with a First Class Honours degree in Textiles Jessica’s Dad contacted the school to thank teachers Justine Chapman, Clare McClean and Alice Robertson for inspiring Jessica to reach the top.

Jess said: “The final year of my degree was very much self-directed. The whole course is obviously mostly creative but we were definitely encouraged to consider the wider context of design and all of the things that influence and change how the process works. I wrote my dissertation on Kanye West, looking at systems of class and their relevance in modern popular culture. My tutors thought it was a bit of a joke and had no idea how I was going to put him into a scholarly academic context but in the end I've been put forward for an award- still awaiting the result and Kanye himself has even caught wind of the project and wants a copy! I don't believe it.”

Although Jessica specialised in knitted textiles, 50% of her final degree was based on the urban environment. She says “my handwriting in design has obviously developed since A Level and I now have a recognisable style and aesthetic which is often very sporty, but it is still the same approach you taught me in the Sixth Form.”

Jess was nominated by her tutors for Texprint to showcase her work and was shortlisted as a first reserve in the top 50 graduates nationally. If you are interested in Jess’s work she is developing a website at this address: www.jessicamoore.design

August 18th

 

Outstanding A Level Results at Whitley Bay High School

Success in all subjects sends students onto bright futures

Whitley Bay High School Sixth Form students have again achieved outstanding A Level results. These include 22 students achieving 3 or more A*/A grades across their A Level subjects. A further 54 students achieved at least the ABB grades needed to send them to the top universities across the country. The average grade at A Level was very high - half way between a B and C. Headteacher, Steve Wilson said, ‘These results reflect the exceptional hard work of our excellent students and the incredible efforts of our staff. Our students and their families should be very proud of their achievements.’

Steve Williams, Director of Sixth Form commented ‘We are very proud of our students and the results they have achieved. What is pleasing is that we achieve these grades without being an examination factory – our Sixth Form students take part in a huge range of extra-curricular activities at the school and yet still go on to get these outstanding results. They are a credit to their families and this school.’

There were many success stories and moments of elation from the hundreds of students who turned up to collect their results. Bethany Wilson achieved an astonishing 4 A*s and is now planning to study Geography at Newcastle University, and Rachel Leedham bagged a remarkable 2 A*s and 2 As and is now heading to Cambridge to study Music. Lewis Blenkinsop’s 2 A*s and 1 A have allowed him to follow his dream to study Medicine at Dundee University.

Aine Singleton and Georgia Downey were also delighted with their results, both achieving 1 A* and 2 As. Georgia said “I am absolutely elated with my results I am over the moon! My family are on holiday at the moment but I rang them to tell them and they are so proud of what I have achieved. I have learned so much during my time here at Whitley Bay and it has been fantastic but I am eager to go to York University where I will be studying English.”

“I am SUPER pleased with my results,’ said Aine. ‘I got more than I needed and I just can’t believe it! I am sad to be leaving Whitley Bay High School because I have really valued my time here and all the support and great teaching I’ve received but I also feel like it is time and I am ready to start a new chapter.”

Headteacher Steve Wilson went on to say ‘We are very pleased that these results will allow our students to pursue their chosen future degree and career ambitions.

August 18th

Which North Tyneside school comes out on top in this year's Real Schools Guide?

Whitley Bay High School received a five-star rating in this year's guide sitting at 393rd place on the list of England's top secondary schools. Whitley Bay High School has received a five-star rating to earn the title of North Tyneside’s best state-funded secondary school.

Read the Full Article here

June 30th


Towns New Logo

June 27th - 28th


Year 10 Cambridge University Residential

Four lucky students visited Jesus College, Cambridge University this week as part of a year 10 Tyne and Wear residential. Not only did this provide the students with a fantastic insight into undergraduate life but also the chance to widen their horizons about the benefits university can bring.

Eleanor Dawson, Simeon Sayer, Helaina Sghendo and Sam Van Den Bos took part in the two day event, sampling a variety of different lectures based on their subject preferences of science or arts. Students collaborated in small groups with pupils from other North-East schools and discussed a range of academic topics and concepts set up by university lecturers and field experts. A tour of different departments and colleges highlighted what world class facilities really look like, including a tour around the Sir James Dyson funded ‘Dyson Centre for Engineering Design’ where there was an exhibition of a solar powered racing car engineered by some of the university’s current undergraduates.

In addition students were coached in ‘top tips’ workshops led by university student ambassadors talking them through the university application process; they also met a Cambridge University admissions tutor who encouraged them to start thinking about how they may like to start now to build up the kinds of experiences, reading, and voluntary work likely to appeal to Russell Group Universities. As well as having a guided tour around the grounds of the various Cambridge colleges, students also walked around the surrounding areas of the city to give them a flavour of what student life in Cambridge might be like.

The event was a truly positive experience for all of the young people involved; it was affirming and enjoyable. Among the North Tyneside group several students commented on how their original perceptions of Cambridge University had changed; they could clearly see the appeal of those famous ivory towers now and would consider applying four year from now if they get the chance!