The annual trip to the superb Academy Conferences gifted and talented conference took place once again in the glorious surrounding of Oxford Town Hall.
Mr E Bailey the school's Most Able Gifted and Talanted Coordinator has been organising our involvement in this extracurricular opportunity for a number of years and what was once a minibus full of sixth form students has now swelled to a coach full of 48 students from Years 10 to U6 all keen to demonstrate that a mind once truly stretched never returns to its original dimensions.
Mrs Baker, Miss Mutimer and Miss Mursell also accompanied the trip and were lucky enough to hear lectures from top academics on topics drawn from Philosophy, Maths, Psychology and Science including the following topics:
‘What Dreams May Come?’ – Julie Arliss
‘Rock in 11 Dimensions: Where Physics and Guitars Collide’ – Dr. Mark Lewney
‘The Psychology of Outstanding Achievement’ – Dr. Christopher O’Neill
This was followed by a debate on the monarchy where students were invited to step up and take the microphone in front of hundreds of their peers from state and private schools. It was great to see Oliver Vasallo from Year 10 bravely step up and confidently share his opinions with the hall.
Some thoughts from our students who attended the trip:
"All the lectures that I was able to see were unique and gave the listeners a new perspective and an ability to ask more questions. If I had to pick a single lecture that interested me the most, it would have to be "What dreams may come true?" by Julie Arliss. I found this piece especially eye opening as it explored broad, philosophical aspects to life - in particular what is there to see after life. The fusion of scientific studies and religious beliefs was an engaging take on this topic with conspicuous attention to detail. Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable time and didn't fail to spark curiosity."
Richard Year 11 student
"In my opinion the best lecture of the gifted and talented conference was the 'Rock in 11 Dimensions: Where Physics and Guitars Collide’ presented by Dr. Mark Lewney, closely followed by ‘What Dreams May Come?’ – Julie Arliss and The BIG Debate: “This house believes that the monarchy should be abolished”. I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Mark Lewney's lecture as it was an inspiring way to express the physics of sound by using his phenomenal skill with a rock guitar to convey how string vibrations might answer questions about the Big Bang. His hands on demonstrations helped to engage the audience in thinking in multiple dimensions and the nature of reality and string theory.
Overall it was a truly inspiring experience and his brilliant explanations and demonstrations helped me to understand how this could answer some of the mind-bending questions of the Big Bang and give us a glimpse of what the universe was like in its first trillionth of a second."
Leo Year 10 student
"I personally found that the most engaging lecture was the psychology of outstanding achievement. It was fascinating to learn about how self regulation can have such a dramatic impact on your success in the future. As well as, the effectiveness of 10,000 hours of deliberate practise and its effectiveness on achieving outstanding results and progression within any field of study or work. It really helped me to consider how best I can work in order to maximise my own success in the future."
Nat Year 10 student