March 28th, 2009
One hundred and twenty journalists hunted down stories, edited them ruthlessly and published them on the School’s website on BBC School Report Newsday. The day is a national event run by the BBC in which over five hundred schools participated. The entire Third form took part, honing journalistic skills and reporting on the day’s latest events, locally, nationally and even internationally. Text and video reports were created by students with their broadcasting skills being tested throughout the day. The reports were put up on the BBC School Report website that can be found here. Third form students found the day fascinating and exciting, as it gave them an insight into what the life of a journalist would be like.
Report by Ben Hamer
March 26th, 2009
The Guardian economics editor and co-author of Fantasy Island and the Gods That Failed Us, Larry Elliot OA, gave the second Economics Society lecture of the year. The talk was topically titled Recession or Depression? He began by outlining the five stages of a recession, described as, firstly the bubble, secondly denial, thirdly grudging acceptance, fourthly panic as seen in autumn’s bank failures. The final phase is psychological, where the economy is in recovery with people claiming that the country will never again see a recession as bad. Unfortunately, despite these pledges, this is never achieved.
Larry Elliot’s perspective that recessions are inevitable became apparent; most worryingly, he suggested that the major effects of the recession would last for a minimum of five years, with unemployment peaking at 3.5 million. He also commented on the current measures being undertaken by governments and suggested that the upcoming G20 summit in London would have to implement several policies, including controversially stopping tax havens and rebalancing the global economy. He predicted the most challenging problem facing the G20 summit is the disparity between European and American methods. The European schemes discussed included tighter regulation to secure the property market and prevent the transaction of risky hedge funds. In contrast, the American method is to focus on economic growth at any cost. These differences must be reconciled to ensure success.
Report by Eleanor Wells
March 16th, 2009
St Albans U13 Hockey team came tantalisingly close to the county title in the National U13 Mini Hockey Cup. The team competed with 10 other schools and clubs and won through to the final after winning a penalty shoot out against Broxbourne Hockey Club. The heroes here were goalkeeper Euan McGonagle, who saved three out of five penalties, and Robert Goldstone, who scored his two shots at goal.
In the first game of the tournament, St Albans had been drawn against Bishop Stortford College and an epic contest ensued with St Albans going ahead and then conceding two quick goals before being awarded a penalty. This was saved and the tournament started with a frustrating defeat. The team went on to win two group matches against St Albans Hockey Club (1-0) and Kingshott School (3-0) and had the best of a draw with Harpenden Hockey Club (0-0) but failed to capitalise on the many chances made.
The final gave a chance of retribution for the one defeat against Bishop Stortford and St Albans started brightly, creating some excellent chances and hitting the inside of the post only for the ball to ricochet safely away. Bishop Stortford came back into the final but could not break down a resolute St Albans defence. The game ended 0-0 with both teams having given their all. Three minutes of ‘Golden Goal’ extra time followed and Bishop Stortford College scored a well worked penalty corner to claim the game and the county title, but not without a fight.
The members of the St Albans team were awarded their silver medals and could rightly feel proud of their achievements against some very strong and more experienced opposition.
March 13th, 2009
Science and Engineering Week has brought a range of exciting activities to the School. First of all, Nicola Soper of EADS Astrium, based in Stevenage, spoke to the whole School in assembly about the company’s work in designing, developing and deploying satellites. She spoke about satellites used for communications, for television, mobile phones, GPS data and the military, but explained that her own interest was in designing satellites for deep space exploration. She went on later in the day to talk to different classes about her work.
Robots, video games and Formula 1 were all part of the fascination of the Big Bang Fair in Westminster attended by twenty one Third form pupils. The activities included a variety of practical workshops testing construction skills, reactions and cleanliness. The boys enjoyed the futuristic interactive robots and video games which included a Formula 1 racing experience. After the workshops, the boys watched a very amusing performance called Punk Science which tackled the issue of global warming. They were also able to meet Olympic rowing gold medallist James Cracknell, who was promoting the importance of engineering in sport.
These were also the issues at the centre of a presentation on Engineering the Olympics by Mark Reynolds, Board Director of Mace, the main contractor for the Olympic site in London. He spoke to the Engineering and Technology Society about the formulation of the London 2012 bid and how the IOC works towards the delivery of the Games. He demonstrated the scale of the project to develop east London and the associated infrastructure to host the 2012 Olympics. He answered the pupils’ questions about transport, sustainability and regeneration. Members of the Engineering and Technology Society are looking forward to a tour of the site in September.
March 6th, 2009
Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and twice Olympic gold medalist, visited Woollams to lend his support to the School’s sportsmen and women who hope to tour the UK and overseas. He was Guest of Honour at the School’s 17th Sports Tours Dinner held at the Woollams pavilion.
Lord Coe spoke with humour about his experiences in the worlds of athletics, politics and the arrangements for the Games in 2012. Also on hand was Race Director for the London Marathon, David Bedford, whose son Tom was a successful runner for the School. David and Lord Coe shared a number of reminiscences for the benefit of the captivated audience. Other speakers on the evening were football commentator and journalist Gary Newbon, and rugby international Martin Bayfield, whose speech about international rugby and the world sports touring was enormously funny.
Around 400 guests enjoyed the evening, giving the speakers standing ovations and bidding for lots in the raffle. The top item was an England running shirt signed by Steve Ovett, Steve Cram and Sebastian Coe, which attracted a final bid of £1700.
Since its inception in 1993, the Sports Tours Committee has raised over £447,000, sending 1,300 pupils on sports tours around Great Britain and the World. Major tours have been sent to South America, New Zealand, Fiji, Canada, the Caribbean, the United States and many parts of Europe. A number of sports have taken smaller tours around the length and breadth of Great Britain and Ireland.
March 5th, 2009
The latest offering from the Stephen Hawking Society was a lecture on the highly desirable conversion of scientific ideas into profits. Dr Arnab Basu, CEO of Kromek, addressed the issue of transforming ideas into marketable products. Giving examples of strange patents, such as a machine made to facilitate birth by centrifugal force, to current products being produced and sold by Kromek, the talk provided interesting listening throughout. Dr Basu discussed a wide range of issues involving both business and science, from X-rays to plastic explosives. An informative question and answer session followed the talk, a great deal of enthusiastic input given by students and teachers alike. The penultimate talk of this year will take place on 24th April, with the forensic scientist Dr Colin Wilson talking about the use of science to combat crime.
Report by Ben Hamer