Yesterday, Thursday 3rd April, we were proud to host a performance of If Chloe Can, a production by the National Youth Theatre of a play written by NYT graduate Karla Crome, of E4’s BAFTA winning Misfits. The play started life as a magazine featuring interviews with the world's most successful women, complied by Esther McVey MP, Minister of State for Employment. Both women are passionate about inspiring young women to achieve their potential.
Dow Chemicals offered us theopportunity to host the performance, designed to inspire girls to aim high and consider careers that often aren’t associated with women, particularly in Science.
The engaging performance took place with an audience made up of girls from Years 8, 9 and 10. As part of the production Esther McVey MP chaired a Q&A session, alongside successful female role models from Dow Chemical’s King’s Lynn plant and Debbie Moore, founder of Pineapple Dance Studios and the first female to found a PLC. Leanne Pero from The Movement Factory made up the fourth member of the panel. Initially the girls were reticent to stand up and say aloud what their career aspirations were, however, by the end of the session, the girls were jumping up! Many were inspired and stayed on to meet with Miss McVey and Ms Moore afterwards.
Dow Chemical’s involvement came about following a chance discussion between Esther McVey and George Hamilton, Dows Vice President Olympic Operations, at the time of the London Olympics. Several discussions later and Dow committed to support the If Chloe can charity for four years with the view of running the plays at schools located near or with existing relationships with their sites. King’s Lynn being one of Dow’s most active sites, was the natural choice for the first ‘Dow’ performance.
If Chloe Can, the stage play, was premiered to 1,000 inner-city school girls at The Lyric Theatre in the West End in November 2011. The stage play was endorsed by the Prime Minister at a reception at Downing Street and a host of MPs at a reception at Speakers’ House in the House of Commons. The version of the play that was performed at King’s Lynn Academy had been re-written especially to inspire young girls to consider a career in science.
Following the success of the If Chloe Can initiative, Miss McVey and Paul Roseby, Artistic Director and CEO of the National Youth Theatre, have created a male version of the magazine and stage-play called “You Can Do It” written by Luke Barnes, who stars in Game of Thrones, and we hope to be able to host a performance of this play to our boys in the future.
Esther McVey MP, said: “Study after study shows that seeing, hearing and meeting real life 'role models' is a great way of inspiring others to achieve their goals. That's why this initiative is so important and why so many people have given their time to support it. Huge thank you to NYT for bringing my work and book to life.”
Academy Principal, Craig Morrison, said “We were thrilled to host the NYT, Minister Esther McVey MP, Debbie Moore of Pineapple Dance, Leanne Pero from The Movement Factory and colleagues from the kind sponsor, Dow Chemical today. Our girls left the academy with an extra spring in their step, inspired and feeling proud of themselves and confident for the future. This was a truly memorable day for all who were involved and my thanks go to all who made it possible.”
As part of our Future First project, we hosted our alumni member and top Physicist David Barney on Wednesday 19th March. David works at the CERN Institute in Switzerland.
David moved to King's Lynn at the age of ten and attended Gaywood Park High School, as it was then known. Where he studied for his O Levels, followed by A levels. He did rather poorly in his A levels, which haunts him to this day! Nevertheless, David went on to Imperial College in London to study Physics at BSc and got a 1st-class degree, after taking a year out to work for the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell, near Oxford. He stayed on at Imperial to do a PhD in High Energy Physics, graduating in 1993.
After working for Imperial for a year he was employed as a CERN Fellow, a 2-year position and has been there ever since, as a permanent member of the CERN staff.
Currently Project Manager for a part of an experiment called "CMS" that was one of the experiments that found evidence for the Higgs boson back in July 2012. The part he is responsible for, called the Electromagnetic Calorimeter, cost about £100m to build and David has a team of about 300 scientists and engineers from all over the world working for him.
David enjoyed a tour of the academy building with Kings Lynn Academy Principal Craig Morrison, before he delivered an assembly to Year 10 and 11 students, where he talked about what he does at CERN and what it was like working as part of the team that found evidence for the Higgs boson July 2012. He then conducted a Question and Answer session with Year 10 and 11 Science students where he gave students advice about showing initiative and how his persistence paid off after writing several times to ask for a placement at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment on his gap year before completing his PhD in Physics.
David talked about his time at Gaywood Park High School, and the teachers he most remembers from when he was a student here, particularly in English and Science. His other message to students was never to get complacent about what they need to achieve in life. David spoke about the range of roles at CERN; including lawyers and film makers which identified with the career aspirations of some of students attending the Q&A session.
Michael Duleba, Year 11 student said ‘’the experience of meeting a former Gaywood Park High School student who has achieved so much was great. It helped me to decide what I want to do later in life and how I can achieve it’’
Adam Panter, Year 11 student said ‘’ It was good because it was nice to have something different happening in school and he also inspired me to just go for whatever you want to do in life’’
The Academy will be partially closed on the 26th due to industrial strike action from the NUT.
For full details, please see this letter.
Students and staff at King’s Lynn Academy are today celebrating the academy’s best ever GCSE results.
83% of students achieved five or more GCSEs at grades C or above, with 45% of students achieving five good grades (A* - C) including English and maths, an increase of 10% on last year’s results, when English grades were significantly affected by the last minute change to English grade boundaries. There has been a major improvement in grades in English, with 52% of students achieving a grade C or better.