Earlier in the month a group of Year 13 Biology students enjoyed a trip to Exeter University and spent the day in a microbiology lab, doing some interesting research, as well as having a chance to look around the university. Ethan Cobb and Dom Cork describe what they were did:
During our trip to Exeter University we took samples of our saliva and performed a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) to amplify a specific part of our DNA. We spent the day in the lab using the university's apparatus including some new equipment such as the PCR machine which provided an interesting insight into what lab work at university may be like. At the end of the day, we analysed our results using ultraviolet light to see if we were AUX-/AUX+ Homozygous or Heterozygous. Throughout the day, we were also given a tour of Exeter University’s facilities such as the sports centre. In conclusion, it was a really engaging and insightful day.
We were delighted to welcome visits from two of our former pupils to talk to the pupils about their fascinating and highly relevant careers in marine environment and research. Whilst Charlotte Walker (95-08B) is studying for a Phd, based between the Marine Biological Association and the University of Southampton National Oceanography Centre, Josh Beech (06-10B) has recently set up his own company Nurdle, which traps and sorts waste plastics from the ocean, with the idea being to ‘upcycle’ the plastic – making it into useful items for reselling.
With the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans threatening wildlife, Josh spoke to the Year 9 Duke of Edinburgh pupils who have been making sun-catchers from plastics that Josh’s company have been gathering from the oceans, to sell for charity. The students will also be volunteering for a beach clean and will be attending the launch of the Plastic Free North Devon campaign, run by Surfers Against Sewage, this Friday, in Braunton.
Charlotte spoke to some of the senior Biology students about her fascinating research into phytoplankton, single-celled photosynthetic organisms that float in the light-filled layers of our oceans. Phytoplankton are integral to life on Earth, forming the base of the marine food web and producing 50% of the oxygen in our atmosphere through their photosynthetic activity. She described her career journey, from its beginnings, studying Biology at West Buckland, through a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Exeter, moving then into marine biology and taking up a post working for the Bahamian National Trust in 2012.
It is always such a benefit to welcome back former students and to hear about their careers and aspirations.
The U13 girls’ hockey squad played really well in this week’s In2Hockey county finals held at Blundell’s, just falling short of qualifying for the regional rounds after losing to the hosts in the semi-finals.
The team finished second in their group, on goal difference. Their first match Exeter School ended in a 0-0 draw, followed by a good 2-0 win against The Maynard. Sidmouth College were next, resulting in a 2-1 win, after which they faced the eventual group winners, Mount Kelly, which ended in a tight 1-1 draw. They finally beat Colyton School 2-1 to progress to the semi-finals against Blundells.
Despite some excellent defending, the team went down 3-0 and were therefore denied the chance to qualify for the regional rounds.It was an excellent performance by the team with some notable match play by a number of players