Yr 7 Breakthrough Event

What’s the greatest breakthrough in human history?
Young students inspired by York’s nationally recognised school partnership

What’s the greatest breakthrough in human history? was the exciting question posed to Year 7 pupils from across York’s secondary schools. Was the greatest breakthrough fire or the invention of numbers? Could it have been the Enigma Code or planting the first seed? Was it the printing press or developing aqueducts? In a high energy afternoon, presenters gave their pitches to persuade Year 7 students that their breakthrough was the greatest. The pupils then worked in teams with further evidence and trainee teacher mentors to debate the question. Just as they thought they had the answer, they were challenged to think differently about what we mean by human progress. ‘I liked being able to debate with other students from different schools, it was fun,’ was a comment from one student as he left. ‘We really had a good time and this has made us think about getting involved in future things like this’ was another comment.

This Year 7 Breakthrough event is designed to enable York’s new secondary age pupils to find out how much serious learning fun the ISSP has to offer. Chair of the ISSP Heads’ Steering Group Trevor Burton said: ‘This was an excellent event where it was really good to see students and staff from different schools working together.’

Renowned Classicist Peter Jones to visit St Peter’s, York

‘Quid Pro Quo’ – Peter Jones

Monday 17 October, 7pm – All Welcome!

Renowned classicist Peter Jones, from the University of Newcastle, will speak on what the Romans’ life and culture really gave the English and our language. He will take us on a fascinating journey along the highways and byways of Roman life and culture, telling the amazing stories behind the original Latin meanings and uses of hundreds of our everyday words.

Public Lecture Tickets are FREE & can be booked through Eventbrite. Google: Eventbrite St Peters School York

Please either print off your ticket or display it to us on your smartphone or tablet on the evening.

Students & teachers from schools across Yorkshire and members of the public are very welcome!

If you have any access requirements, are hard of hearing or would like to request a reserved row for your group please get in touch with Mrs Sue Jenks (01904 527322) events@stpetersyork.org.uk

The school is on the A19 in Clifton, just north of the city walls, with plenty of parking. (YO30 6AB)

Refreshments will be served after the lecture & there will be an opportunity to buy Peter Jones’ latest book and meet him.

Why ISSP? A York student on what ISSP means for her.

When I was asked to write about my experiences with ISSP, the first prompt question I was given was: “Why do you keep coming back?” As I read it, I really hoped that it was asked with a tone of intrigue, rather than with the subtext of ‘why can’t we get rid of her?’, because in all honesty I’m not sure they can. I attended my first summer school when I was 11, I turn 21 this September, and I’m still hanging around. What have I done in those 10 years? I hear you ask. I have attended 2 summer schools, helped at 4, spent a term learning Chinese (I can still say hello, how are you, and sing an off key version of Happy Birthday) and got to spend a few weekends drawing dead pheasants.

So, why do I keep coming back? ISSP masterclasses have offered me opportunities to learn things I wouldn’t have even thought about approaching on my own, and give me access to people, resources and places I wouldn’t have otherwise. In the art masterclass I took in year 11, we were allowed into St. Peter’s art studios, which meant I got to use print making equipment and have my work shown in a space that my own school simply couldn’t have provided me with. Although the things you learn in an ISSP masterclass aren’t going to be things you’re tested on in end of year exams, they really do end up being useful. Lessons I learnt about negative space in the art course I took in that first summer school have continued to inform my choices in illustrations to this day. At last year’s summer school I got to be a part of a course on ‘The Gothic in Literature’, which although it was aimed at a group of students a little younger than myself, actually served to give me a tentative base for an essay written only last term. More importantly, however, more than a few times a year I get to whip out a multicultural version of Happy Birthday.

I’m now going to have to get a bit sentimental with you, so apologies, I promise it’ll be brief. Firstly, the one word that lurks around the sell of all group situations, especially for young people, and that’s friendship. 10 years later, I’m still friends with people I met in my first summer school, I even see some of them around at uni, which is great as I’m a bit of a social recluse. Secondly, we have the warm fuzzies factor. It’s really pretty awesome seeing new groups of young people getting to the things I loved when I was their age, and getting to be a part of making that experience is even better. Although, you do have to overcome the occasional demoralising moment of ‘wow, these kids are so much smarter than I was at (insert age here)’.

On a more serious note, it can be difficult being labelled ‘clever’ in school. You end up with a bizarre complex about failing (because you don’t know how to and no one ever expects you to), the honour of being a pseudo-human-google for your friends, and occasionally a real talent for thumb twiddling. But, however daft it may sound, ISSP masterclasses, workshops and summer schools offer you a place to be ‘clever’ without the baggage. They’re all about finding what drives you to keep working at a subject and then giving you the resources and the push to build yourself into a better vehicle for that knowledge.

That said, I think if you asked me “Why do you keep coming back?” in person, the answer would probably just be “because it’s fun”.

New Event ‘ISSP 7-8’

We have introduced a new series of events this year. Our intention is that ‘ISSP 7-8’ is a termly event for years 7 & 8 running from 7 to 8pm where high profile speakers will enthuse and inspire children through a 1 hour lecture. We are delighted that our first speaker is Damien Cruden, artistic director of York Theatre Royal.

‘All of York’s a Stage! How we bring stories to life: the role of the Theatre in the community’

Come and listen to Damian Cruden, explore how the theatre has become nationally renowned for its role in both telling York’s stories and involving so many citizens in its amazing projects including The Mystery Plays, Blood and Chocolate, and Fog and Falling Snow.

If you are interested in theatre, drama, the social history of York or the construction of vibrant and involved communities this is the lecture for you. Come and be inspired!

Date: Thursday 6th October

Time 7.00pm – 8.00pm

Place: York University

To register your child please get in touch with your child’s school ISSP contact  click here.

We are aware that the children in year 7 invited to the event will be new to our Partnership which is now in its 10th year. We provide high quality opportunities for able and interested young people across the city. Your child’s school is part of this Partnership and you can find information about who we are and what we do on our website: http://www.yorkissp.org and you can follow us on twitter: @yorkissp

York ISSP National Award Nomination!

We are delighted to announce that York ISSP’s Legacy 110 Project has been nominated by the Legacy 110 committee to receive a national award. The First World War Commemoration Awards recognise and celebrate the huge effort made throughout the UK by individuals and groups to commemorate World War One and give something back to their communities.

This all started with the IOE Battlefields visit in March 2015 when students and staff from the Partnership schools were motivated to do some follow up work and tell the wider community about their work. York ISSP has been nominated under the “Schools and Young People” category following their commemoration at The Minster and their work on an exhibition which is now in the Community Room at York Castle Museum.

We will find out in the next few weeks if we have been shortlisted and if so, an interview panel in London will follow. We will keep you updated.

The exhibition ‘1916: It’s more than the Somme’ is on display at The Castle Museum in York until October so please do take the opportunity to go and see the outstanding work that young people across the city have produced to mark the centenary of the Great War.

See below for the full story.


In March 2015, students from York Independent State School Partnership and other schools around York took part in a battlefield tour on the Western Front. On their return home the schools decided to do a joint city wide Legacy 110 project. Firstly, they organised a memorial service in York Minster and then followed this up with a public exhibition about the war at the Castle Museum in the city to commemorate the centenary of 1916…

York students have risen to the challenge. Following the memorial service at York Minster which was attended by over 200 people they wanted to do more. A team of around 14 young people from York schools have put together a fantastic display about the First World War and in particular, the events of 1916 to mark the centenary year. 1916 is understandably synonymous with the Battle of the Somme so in discussion with the Castle Museum, where the display is on show until the end of October 1916, it was agreed that they would focus their efforts on some of the other key events that took place in this significant year.


Kirstin focussed on the Zeppelin raids over York which took place on 2nd and 3rd May 1916, causing 9 fatalities. Her school, Millthorpe, has worked this year with The Mount School York and Clement Hall Local History Group to commemorate the centenary of the raid, you can find out more about it here: https://www.historypin.org/en/zeppelin-raid-on-york-2-may-2016/geo/53.951026,-1.088843,10/bounds/53.718442,-1.313376,54.18232,-0.86431


Angus drew on his extensive naval knowledge to focus on the Battle of Jutland, the only major sea battle of the First World War. Angus also spent an incredible amount of time making perfect handmade models of some of the battleships, battlecruisers and other naval vessels that participated in the battle. These really do have to be seen to be believed!

Angus said: “My particular strengths were the historical events of the naval Battle of Jutland. I concentrated and used my artistic skills to design, from the ships plans, some of the battleships of Britain and Germany that were present at the battle. They were all hand drawn and made and feature a brief account of the factual information for each ship. I am proud and honoured to be part of this project and I hope the visitors enjoy the exhibit.”

Alice and Ellen went to York Archives and worked with the local newspapers of 1916. They have made a fascinating resource that compares the events of 1916 with how they were being reported in the city. The differences are striking. At the same time, other students from Bootham School searched their school archives to uncover the story of conscientious objectors as a result of the 1916 Conscription Act, and further archival work was done by students from Manor CE Academy. They looked at back issues of the Rowntree Factory magazine, ‘The Cocoa Works’, and have brought new stories to light. Pietra and Martha from The Mount School put together a large map of the fighting in 1916, indicating where British soldiers were engaged, and wrote up stories of people whose lives were cut short in 1916 in the various theatres of war. Meanwhile, students from Eskdale School near Whitby researched the impact of the War on the port and York High students brought detailed work on the local Acomb memorial to share at the exhibition.


This has been a truly collaborative effort that has also helped local teachers improve their knowledge of the period. Through this exhibition, we expect the students to exceed their 110 people target by an unbelievable margin. They reached it in the first hour of the display being open and thousands more will visit over the summer. The exhibition is in the community room at York’s Castle museum and we encourage you to go and see it if you are in York this summer.