Sixth Form

Mar 20

Model United Nations Conference

Picture2On the first weekend in February the Redcliffe 6th Form Debating Society went on our annual pilgrimage to the Model United Nations Conference at Kingswood School in Bath. This was Kingswood's 23rd conference and the fourth year that we have attended. It attracts over 600 students from mostly private schools across the UK as well as schools from the United States, Germany, Russia and The Czech Republic.

Model United Nations (known as MUN) provides students with an exciting opportunity to learn about the challenges facing the world today. Participants organise themselves into delegations, before being assigned a country to represent at the conference. They must then seek to reflect accurately the view of that country in a series of debates on international issues. The students who take part not only become more aware about the issues confronting the wider world, but they also develop important skills, such as how to communicate effectively to a large audience, how to think on their feet when confronted with the unexpected, and how to work collaboratively with others.

This year we took 21 students, who represented the countries of Egypt, Panama, Thailand and Lithuania. They each participated in one of the committees (Human Rights, Political, Economic, Health, Environment, Disarmament, Africa and Middle East) and then participated in a 'General Assembly' disaster scenario which they had to resolve. The committee agendas included the situations in Somalia, Burma, China, Syria, Iran and Palestine; combating international terrorism; fair trade and the global economic crisis; combating obesity and AIDS; climate change and sustainable farming; nuclear proliferation and child soldiers; education and clean water in Africa; religious freedom, torture, internet freedom, the death penalty and the rights of women.

This was our most successful year in terms of awards. Huge congratulations are due to Alice Thomson for being the best delegate in the Environment Committee and to the Egypt delegation as a whole (Ana, Jo, Alice, James, Ally and Leonie) for their commendation. Alice managed to be voted most likely to become a dictator and start WW3, as became a master of weaving various Egyptian proverbs into speeches. AlsoPicture1 commended as delegates were Henry Atkinson, James Nash, Naomi Wilkins and Chris Flossman; and Jeremy Budd was voted the most passionate delegate in his committee. A number of students wrote resolutions to be debated and some of them were passed. One of the highlights of the whole event was Chris Flossman, with a crown on his head, having been voted by the committee to take over the chair for a period, speaking from the podium in a fake Lithiuanian accent and selling the charity wrist-bands he had brought with him to a queue of delegates!

James Nash narrowly avoided being ejected from his committee on a number of occasions for being so awkward, but said “I feel I have learned quite a lot about Egypt, and also had to think quite a lot about the problems with the internet to write a resolution on it; I feel I have a much better understanding of them now.”

Dominic Dee said that “For me, the emergency crisis situation within the Health committee itself was the most enjoyable part of the debating, not least some people began to realise that the weekend was drawing to a close and decided to take things slightly less seriously. The time spent outside of because the school was obviously very enjoyable too, spending time with people who I haven't done much before.” We went out for a meal on both nights and games of Empire and Mafia were played fairly late into the night.

Richard Cheng highlighted the value of meeting new people that you usually wouldn't meet, the serious nature of the topics involved in the debates but also the light hearted moments with joke amendments or resolutions proposed which then receive a debate too (the Africa committee debated a resolution to send in the A Team and the Order of the Phoenix to solve a particular crisis situation). “Speaking in front of hundreds of people and proposing my resolution which got passed was really satisfying, although the research required to write a resolution is really immense”.

Ollie Norman said that “The whole weekend was a really interesting and worthwhile experience. I particularly enjoyed lobbying, and coercing people into signing my resolution. The debates, especially ones about subjects with which I was more familiar with, were great, and having my resolution selected for debate was a real achievement, albeit sparking a frantic 5 minutes in which I garbled a speech, and sent copious amounts of notes to other delegates, attempting, not without result, to get a delegate to support me. It wasn't all serious however, and the ensuing debate about the logistics of a forced labour camp in the Antarctic was fun. Probably what I learnt most of all was that international relations (if this model UN was at all realistic) can be a real barrier to addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the world.”

If their passion and moral commitments are anything to go by maybe this generation of students can do a better job of solving them than the current people in control.

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.