Salters Festival

On Tuesday 16th May, Alina Abbas, Oliver Hill, Kayden Ramsden and Annabel Wagstaff took part in the Salters Festival of Chemistry. They competed in The Salters Challenge and The University Challenge. In the Salters Challenge, they were solving a mystery by testing for different ions and using paper chromatography. In the University Challenge, were creating different colours of ‘paint’ using hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide solutions in different proportions. They were judged on their practical skills, problem solving skills and how well they worked as a team. The challenges were followed by science demonstrations and a prize giving  ceremony.

The team were fantastic and achieved 1st place in The University Challenge, winning prizes for the school. They were a pleasure to take on the trip and were a real credit to the school.

Rocket League

Last week saw the culmination of almost three months’ hard work with the inaugural SJF eSports Tournament Final taking place.

Rocket League (basically football in cars!) was the tournament game of choice and almost 150 pupils from Year 7 – 13 took part.  The two finalists, Year 11’s ‘Veracity’ and Year 10’s ‘Mansfield FC’ were both on top form coming into the final with both teams not having lost a team through the group and knockout stages of the contest.

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The gathering crowds knew they were about to witness something special and both teams didn’t disappoint as each game in the best-of-three final featured some outstanding gameplay from all involved.

After two games, with each team winning one game each, the assembled masses were on the edge of their seats knowing that only one team could be victorious.  With tensions mounting (and some tempers fraying) the pressure was certainly palpable as the combatants took to the arena one last time.

After what seemed like an eternity, the mighty gladiators of Team Veracity emerged victorious, with a score line that really did not justify the incredible endeavour shown throughout by both teams.

Both finalists and losing semi finalists will now make the long journey to London where Veracity will take on the best of what other UK schools have to offer in an attempt to be crowned the first ever UK eSports School Champions.

But what is esports?

eSports is an evolution of multiplayer gaming. It is the practice of playing video games competitively. Players perform either solo or in teams (depending on the game) and winners are awarded prizes; which for the world’s best can reach into the millions. Professional arenas and live tournaments are organised, with thousands attending to watch live matches and millions following a live stream online.

What does this have to do with education?

The event is designed to engage and inspire students with computing technology and the creative digital sector using a medium and a platform that they are already very familiar with. By using the medium of games, students are introduced to and given insight into a new world of career opportunities developing in the UK. In addition, students are very much at the forefront of the entire tournament, with many taking on the responsibility of organising much of the regional heats.

The teamwork and collaboration required to play the game along with the strategic thinking required to win the game, provides creative links to help develop computational thinking skills. The game itself is a strong hook for further cross-curricular computing opportunities and ongoing work. We want the participants to think beyond the enjoyment of the game, to the people who have utilised their expertise in computing and creative technology to successfully build a game that is enjoyed by millions globally.

From encouraging students to engage with education to careers education, and cross-curricular creative computing lessons, to planting the seed of alternative career paths, eSports is a cutting edge and highly motivating educational experience for all those involved with it.

Every pupil involved in every team has behaved impeccably throughout the entire tournament.  An amazing amount of sportsmanship has been shown throughout and it has been a joy for me to be a part of an event like this, allowing pupils of all ages to participate in the same event.

Roll on next year!

WBD Reading Quiz

A group of enthusiastic Year 7’s participated the World Book Day Reading Quiz at Huddersfield Town Hall.

Lots of fun was had even if we didn’t win this time round!  Maybe next year.

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Speed Dating Success for St John Fisher Students!

Local NHS community healthcare provider, Locala Community Partnerships CIC, invited Health and Social Care GCSE students from St John Fisher Catholic Voluntary Academy, Dewsbury to take part in a ‘speed dating’ session with healthcare professionals.

Around 30 pupils aged 15-16 years attended the Dewsbury event, to find out more about healthcare professions. Practitioners ranging from health visitors, physiotherapists, pharmacy technicians and alcohol nurses had a 10 minute ‘date’ with students, which involved introducing themselves and their roles, before being asked questions about their backgrounds, daily routines and for careers advice.

One student, Lara Kiely, said: “I think the session has been really interesting as I have been able to find out about many different healthcare roles. Being able to speak to the practitioners has taught me so much more than reading a leaflet or looking online. Today has made me realise that there are opportunities to move around in a healthcare career too.”

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Bailey Chatha, another student, said: “Today has been brilliant. It has helped me understand what support patients need, which will help me with my case studies project at school and I’m really interested in finding out more about becoming a Physiotherapist.”

St John Fisher’s Head of Vocational Studies, Mrs O’Hare, said: “It was fascinating finding out more about the different roles and services that Locala provide, some of which I didn’t even know existed. The students really engaged with the practitioners and asked lots of questions. I think this session has been really valuable for them.”

Heidi Curry, Volunteering Services Manager, also attended the session, to give a short talk on the benefits of volunteering for Locala. Jo Swift, Locala Nursery Nurse, said: “I encouraged all of the students here today to volunteer, to help make themselves stand out from others when applying for healthcare roles.”

This event was part of Locala’s commitment to engage more with young people across Kirklees. Locala has also demonstrated this commitment over the last year by supporting ‘Takeover Day’, an annual initiative from the Children’s Commissioner which sees organisations across England opening their doors to young people to take over adult roles. Locala invited students at the event to share their ideas for this year’s ‘Takeover Challenge’, which saw a number of them keen to shadow practitioners, to get a taste of what it is like to work in healthcare.

As a community interest company and membership organisation, Locala values and welcomes the opinions of young service users and members of the community. Young people from across Kirklees are invited to visit the Young People’s Network pages on the Locala website, to find out more information and to have their say. The Network is also responsible for the content of this section of the website and regularly blog about topics such as body image and dealing with stress.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the Network can contact Youth Engagement Co-ordinator Emma Boyes at emma.boyes@locala.org.uk or find out more at https://www.locala.org.uk/get-involved/young-peoples-network/.

Well done!

Congratulations to our Sixth Form Debate team for winning their last pair of debates to allow us to qualify for the final round of Jordan Solicitors Debating Matters competition held in the auditorium of the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. Molly Reid and Catherine Bailey won their debate arguing that there should be limits to free speech on social media, which allowed James Sweeney and Zahran Abbas to compete in the Final where they had to oppose the motion that we should accept the risks inherent in contact sports.

Competing against Y13 teams, our Y12 team came second overall, which was a fantastic achievement. Judges such as Dr Elizabeth Clarke and the Rt Reverend Dr Tom Butler praised our team’s passion, enthusiasm and ability to challenge others’ views, think on their feet and respond with precision. They were a credit to SJF and we look forward to the challenge of competing next year.

Geography A Level

As preparation for the 6th form recruitment evening,  some of our current Year 12 together with a past pupil created a transect model of the Ainsdale sand dune. This is where they conduct their first of 4 fieldwork experiences on the 2 year course. During the course of the evening, they spoke passionately to both parents and pupils about the importance of fieldwork on the AQA A Level course.
Lizzie, our past pupil who left in 2016 having achieved an A in Geography is now studying Geography at University of Leeds. She gave pupils and parents an insight to both Geography A level and degree.
Many thanks to all involved
Ms Green

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Operation Christmas Box Appeal

Once again St. John Fisher Catholic Voluntary Academy students have excelled, bringing donations and filling shoeboxes with gifts and treats for the Samaritans Purse Charity Operation Christmas Child Appeal.

A group of Year 10 students gave up their break and lunchtimes to fill and wrap boxes and our Year 7 students helped to load them up ready for collection.

85 boxes and £70.00 to help with postage costs were handed over to help make a difference to less fortunate children throughout the world.

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Y13 Fieldwork

As part of their AQA A Level Geography course, Year 13 visited the sand dunes at Ainsdale on the Sefton coast on 22nd September. They studied the succession of the sand dunes as part of their Ecosystem topic and took a variety of data collection measurements for their GEO4A Geography Fieldwork Investigation.  

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