Blog post by Nampet • July 3, 2024

Year 10 has flown by. I can hardly believe we’re so close to breaking up for summer; or that this time next year I’ll have already finished my GCSEs.

GCSE Geography Field Trip

After the Easter holidays, our GCSE geography group enjoyed a field trip up to the Peak District in Derbyshire. Our aim was to study the River Dane and see if it followed the Bradshaw model; where rivers progressively increase in width and depth along their course. As such, we formed our hypothesis and set out to measure the river in six different locations; also using flow-metres to plot the velocity of the water. 

Considering it was April and a national park, we were pretty lucky not to be rained on while working, although slippery mud still meant it was challenging underfoot and to hike up from the nearest road. This was more than made up for by beautiful views along the peaceful, lush green valleys; secluded away from busy roads and the daily grind. 

We stayed in a local Youth Hostel, Ravenstor, a namesake for the crag famed for the most ferocious climbs in the park. The hostel had surprisingly good food, in particular the full cooked breakfasts, which really set us up for days in the hills. 

Being reminded the trip was educational – not recreational – we were kept up late analysing and presenting our data by our teachers. The third day saw us driving back to Norfolk, rather tired, but pleased the trip had been a success.

UK Schools Challenge Competition

Since my last post, we progressed further in the UK Schools Challenge competition. I’m pleased to report that my team and I carried on winning matches – eventually making it to the quarter finals. We lost our final match by just a few points, even though we were in the lead for the majority of it. Unfortunately we just couldn’t match a boy from another team, with a wide and obscure knowledge of former US President John F Kennedy!

Although we were slightly gutted not to win, the whole process has been challenging and rewarding; widening our knowledge of various subjects, while giving me the experience of leading a team. Each round tested our patience somewhat, but with perseverance we managed to progress further than I had initially expected. I feel getting as far as we did was a good result. It has boosted my confidence to compete against strangers and give things a go even if you get things wrong.

Work Experience at Lambda Films

This week, I completed the first of my three work experience placements. I spent three days at Lambda Films; a Norwich-based film and animation company. 

The co-founder Ryan made me feel at ease right away on the first (very early) morning; as I’d not met them in person beforehand. We toured their rather cool offices and editing suite, set on the top floor of a converted church, overlooking Norwich city and the River Yare through the treetops. 

The first task was to load up and get out on the road for a shoot with his team; working for a client over in Cambridgeshire. This entailed consecutive 5am starts to get loaded, travel down and get set up in the studio ready for the days’ filming, which was for the upcoming launch of an exciting but secretive high-end product. It was eye-opening to realise just how much work goes into setting up a professional studio shoot; how time-consuming it is to adjust the lighting and filming conditions to the exacting requirements of a client. This provided me with firsthand insights into the professional world – I really enjoyed pushing the camera dolly around and getting hands-on with some serious equipment. 

My time with Lambda Films helped me work on some important soft skills, such as teamwork, communication, and time management. I feel I was lucky to have been able to work with such dedicated and hard-working professionals, who still managed to remain so relaxed and friendly throughout really long days. It was a great opportunity to apply some of the theoretical knowledge from my Computer Science course to a real-world setting, while understanding the dynamics of the workplace in a small company.

Upcoming Work Experience at Aviva

My next technology work experience at Aviva is coming up quickly, so I am eager to learn more about how tech is used within far larger corporations. I look forward to meeting professionals there who can offer guidance and some mentorship on possible career paths.

Preparing for Grade 8 Ballet Exam

In addition to more academic pursuits, I’m currently preparing for my Grade 8 ballet exam. Ballet has been a significant part of my life for many years, and reaching Grade 8 is a milestone I am proud of, as it is the last grade I have left to do.

It feels surreal, having worked all the way from primary ballet to the last grade, starting long before I began school. Grade 8 is slightly different as it does not just focus on technique, but more on artistic expression and presentation. Accordingly, the dances are all conducted as solos, so it is more of an overall performance than just a routine assessment.

Joining the RAF Cadets

Recently I decided I would like to broaden my horizons outside of high school and dance training. I contacted my local RAF cadets to attend their upcoming open evening, and liking what I saw signed up the same night. I am currently two weeks into induction training. So far we have been learning about the history of the RAF and their associated cadets, as well as practising drill. There was also a sports evening where I played rounders, cricket and a hybrid of netball, rugby and american football.

Although it’s effectively a youth scheme that’s supported by (but not part of) the RAF, the military is still a very different culture to anything I’ve done before. There’s much to quickly learn about the customs, uniforms and ranks. Luckily a friend and I had already taught ourselves the phonetic alphabet when we were bored one day at school, which has turned out rather handy now!

Duke of Edinburgh Programme

Coming from Year 10 in a girls’ school it’s pretty interesting to be training alongside young people up to age 20 in a mixed environment. Also learning from those younger than me, but who are experienced in fieldcraft and new disciplines. There is the chance to continue my Duke of Edinburgh with them. It’s quite a big commitment with two training nights per week, plus weekends and weeks away, perhaps abroad if I’m lucky. Although our cohort is not fully enrolled yet, I’ve really enjoyed the process so far.

Summer Exams and Results

With the end of the school year came summer exams, and after looking at my results it is safe to say I am very happy with what I achieved after my first set of mocks. I am particularly pleased with both my Latin and Computer Science marks, where I achieved 88% and 98% respectively. As Latin is a particularly difficult and somewhat cryptic subject, I was most proud of what I managed here, even though it wasn’t the highest mark. In English Literature I just scraped a 7 (similar to an A/B in old GCSE marks), which is still good but I had hoped for higher. On reflection, I find it hard to write and analyse language within time constraints, so this is something I hope to improve on over the next year and hopefully push that score up to a 9 (now the highest grade).

Looking Ahead to Sixth Form

Looking ahead to sixth form, I have already been to my first open day, with another booked in next weekend. I’m developing a clearer picture of what I want to do, even if it means travelling further, or we may even need to move home. But it is all exciting, so I look forward to reporting back and getting my applications in early.