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Mar 8

Tom Finerty - gold award in the British Physics Olympiad

Tom Finerty - gold award in the British
Physics Olympiad

Tom Finerty (year 13) has been awarded a gold award in the British Physics Olympiad. This is a significant achievement, putting him in the top 150 sixth form physicists in the country. The paper covers topics above and beyond the A level physics course and reflects Tom's natural talent and dedication to the subject.

Tom is one of a growing number of students taking one or more STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects at A level. Our physics course has seen a huge increase in applicants in recent years and enjoys excellent success rates. We have asked Tom to outline his involvement in Physics as an insight for others considering this path.

Tom Finerty

"For me, physics is about describing the world around us in a fundamental and comprehensive way, often best achieved through the use of maths.  Being able to understand and explain why the world is as it is and how the world works is something that fascinates me and it is this that has fostered my love of physics.

Studying the A level Physics course at Redcliffe has continued to cultivate my love of physics: the teaching is enthusiastic and the wide range of topics covered extends to all areas of the physical world, from how to construct earthquake resistant buildings to the inevitable fate of the universe.  Since choosing to study Physics here, I have attended a series of physics lectures held at Cardiff University and a summer school at the University of Birmingham, both of which were highly enjoyable and helped to further my interest in the subject above and beyond the course.  The upcoming trip to CERN in Geneva this summer is another example of the opportunities available to Redcliffe A level physicists.
Miss Wales encouraged me to take part in the Physics Olympiad and, having not attempted the paper before, I thought it would be an enjoyable and challenging experience in preparation for university applications.  Therefore, I was both surprised and delighted to find that I had in fact achieved a Gold Award and, even more so, that this was the first the school had attained.

Last December I was fortunate enough to be offered a place to study Physics at Oxford University.  The interview and admissions process was challenging and stressful at times but I am grateful for the support that I received from the school at all stages of the application process, including help with preparation for the admissions test and after-school sessions in the run up to the interview.

My long-term plans are to go into a career in theoretical physics research and the opportunities that I have been offered during my time at Redcliffe have set me in an ideal position to achieve this.  My thanks go to Mr Gregson and Miss Wales for their help and encouragement."

Jan 10

Oxford Success Stories

Oxford Success Stories


The current Year 13 have done astoundingly well and broken all records in getting offers from Oxford University this year after a demanding testing and interview procedure. 12 students have offers, which from a year-group of 200 is a pretty stunning percentage. It includes 3 from Fairfield and students who joined us from St Katherines, Ashton Park, QEH and Downend as well as SMRT students. Now they just need to get the grades! This trumps our previous high of 11 Oxbridge successes two years ago and sets the bar very high for future years. As always, there were equally outstanding students who Oxford and Cambridge managed to miss, but who will be carrying on to other top Universities that can consider themselves lucky to get their hands on them. A further group of very able students have applied directly to Medical Schools and Russell Group Universities around the country.

This has been a very interesting year for University applications, with the increased tuition fees due to come in next year. Although we do our best to make clear that University isn't for everybody, and to support students in preparing for work or other forms of study if that is their choice, it has been striking that the significant majority of our students have not been deterred from applying, and can see the value in working hard to get into the best possible course and university that they can in order to ensure value for money.


If you want to know more about the new system, and to think through the pros and cons of Higher Education carefully, then there are some useful links in the 6th form area of the website.
Jan 4

RAG Week 2011

RAG Week 2011

This years RAG week was a huge success with nearly £3000 being raised for our charities - the Children's Hospital Wallace and Grommit Appeal and the Crisis Centre, which supports people who are homeless or struggling with addiction with food, advice and accomodation. The main events included the quiz night, the sponsored abseil and the dressing up days, but a significant chunk of the money came in through lots of smaller activities organised by particular students and tutor groups - cake sales, tea and toast morning, film night, raffles, naming a teddy bear, car-washing, busking, throwing wet sponges at teachers, and not to be outdone, throwing more wet sponges at the senior students.

The week always begins with worries about how much money is coming in but then the bags of cash start appearing from all over the place as people give generously and we always end up surprised by what has been achieved. This years fantastic group of senior students deserve massive credit for their amazing organisation and commitment, but this year was notable for more people getting involved and making an effort - which makes all the difference.

Jan 4



Just before Christmas the 6th Form students organised an abseil off the of the top of the 6th Form Centre building. 15 students took part, from most year-groups of the school, including some dressed as Father Christmas or Superman. The view from the roof was fabulous, as long as you were looking away from the building. Looking straight down was a bit more scary. Some participants had abseiled plenty of times before and shot down the side of the building in no time. For others this was a pretty major challenge and to overcome their fear was a major achievement.


Thanks to Undercover Rock for making it all safe and being so encouraging, and to Tom for organising it so meticulously. So far it looks like it might raise well over £500 towards the RAG week charities.

Nov 21

The day I Met HRH Princess Anne by Adrienne Day

The Day I Met HRH Princess Anne

Meeting HRH Princess AnneOn Thursday 3rd of November I had the huge honour of meeting and talking to HRH Princess Anne at Buckingham palace. Along with 125 other young achievers I was one of the lucky few chosen to attend this amazing event. I received the invite after being Cadet of the Year in St John Ambulance for Avon in 2010; I was then nominated to represent my county at a National Cadet of the Year Competition which I attended in February. As one of the youngest competitors it was a challenge and although I didn't get the title 'National Cadet of the Year' I have been the Avon representative for Cadets 9 months.

On the day of meeting HRH I had travelled down to London on the train along with my assistant commissioner, cadets and my mum. We met with the other chosen cadets and got briefed on how to talk, act and greet Princess Anne. "Ma'am like jam, not ma'am like farm". Our uniform was scrutinized and preened to perfect.

It came to about 16:15 and we were ready to march down Buckingham Palace road, we stood outside the Palace for photos before the gates were opened and we marched in. The tourists thought we were the next big thing so hundreds of photos were taken.

Once inside the palace our nerves began to build. We knew that at exactly 16:35 HRH would enter the room and we were the first group she would be meeting. Although we were offered some rather scrumptious food we avoided it, until she had moved on, so we wouldn't make a fool of ourselves or accidently spill our drinks.

Everyone fell silent as HRH entered the room. We were introduced one at a time and had to courtesy or bow (which ever was appropriate) whilst saying "Your Royal Highness". That was the hardest part over. She spoke to our group for around 6 minutes and then moved on to the next.

Meeting Princess Anne at the young achievers reception is one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. After all, it isn't everyday that a 'KNOWLE teenager' (Evening Post 7th November 2011) enters Buckingham palace to have light snacks and a chat to Princess Anne.

Adrienne Day