York ISSP, York Human Rights City and The University of York look forward to welcoming students on Monday 11 June & Wednesday 13 June 2018 for the latest Human Rights workshop. Participants will learn to discuss and debate Human Rights issues based on real people’s experiences. The topics that will be dealt with range from the use of food banks and women’s rights to the right to an education and the right to a home.


School Partnerships Take Centre Stage

Tom Arbuthnott School Together 2018
More than 130 delegates have gathered in York for a major conference designed to promote partnership working between state and independent schools.

The Schools Together conference attracted representatives from across the country, including staff from both primary and senior state and independent schools, the Department for Education, universities, multi-academy trusts, the New Schools Network and charities including Springboard and the Ogden Trust which work to improve access to quality education. Representatives from school umbrella bodies, including the Independent Schools Council and the Girls’ Schools Association, were also in attendance.

Tom Arbuthnott, Chair of the Schools Together Group and Director of Outreach and Partnership at Eton College (Photo above), said: “There is a vast amount of partnership work taking place between state and independent schools, benefiting thousands of pupils every year – but much of this work is going unreported and unremarked. The Schools Together conference is an outstanding opportunity to share ideas and best practice, and provide advice to schools on how to extend their activities.

“Working together, and learning from and inspiring each other, is the only successful route to successful partnership. I am delighted to have the support of the Department for Education and the Independent Schools Council in bringing so many schools together.”

The event was hosted by the York Independent State School Partnership, which is an equal partnership of nine state and three independent schools, and has been hailed nationally as an example of best practice in school partnership work.

Leo Winkley, Head Master of St Peter’s School and Chair of the York ISSP steering committee, said: “We have witnessed at first hand in York the difference that real, sustained collaboration can make to young people. Our partnership work here is not only inspiring pupils and staff by providing them with many more opportunities than we can ever offer individually, but there are also early signs that participation in partnership activities can in itself help to increase academic attainment for some pupils. Successful partnerships require wholehearted commitment and a genuine sense of mutual benefit, but where they are working well, they add value for everyone involved.”

Summer School 2018 Year 7&8 Workshop Descriptors

Letters and numbers have personalities. They can look friendly, angry, playful, romantic and even scary!
But where did all these letter designs, fonts, come from? Why do we like certain fonts and not others? Who designs them?
Jasper Johns, an American artist, used letters and numbers in his artwork to encourage us to appreciate them as objects of beauty, with delicate shapes and details. By overlapping them, drawing into them, shading inside them and around their outlines, Jasper Johns created intricate, abstract pieces, with familiar shapes we easily recognise… as easy as ABC.
In this workshop, we will explore letter shapes and create dynamic drawings, all leading to a large scale relief piece cut from foam board. You’ll need a steady hand with a scalpel and ambition…see you there!

What is out there? What would a life inhabited planet look like? How do we observe these places? AND even if we do spot one, how do we even get there to say “Hi!”? Step forward the topic of this masterclass; Astrobiology. A unique blend of chaos and intellect.
Across the four days you will explore:

  • The mesmerising world of Physics which includes;  the manufacture and use of telescopes, investigate the construction of rockets, blowing up balloons with colourful gas in them.
  • The breath taking world of Biology which includes; the building blocks of life, evolution and natural selection and extra-terrestrial appearance.

The only requirement for this masterclass is a passion for science and all things crazy.

CLASSICS & STEM –‘Myths & Machines’
Think Myths are Marvellous?
Think Machines are Magic?
Think Maths is Magnificent?
Then this is the course for you!
Combining Classics and STEM, you will learn about the myths of the Trojan War and Odysseus’ epic journey home. You will also learn about what life was like in the Roman Army or for a Roman chariot racer. On top of that, you will spend some time myth-busting – considering how an ancient city could actually have been taken over or what ancient monsters were really like.
This workshop would be ideal for anyone interested in History, the Roman world or considering taking the ISSP GCSE Latin course, as well as those who like taking on the practical side of Science or DT.

ISSP Newsweek
As the former Washington Post President and publisher, Philip L. Graham, once said: “Journalism is the first rough draft of history”.
The media influences and shapes our lives on a daily basis, from the stories we hear and read, the pictures we see and the programmes we watch, but what actually goes into reporting the news? In this workshop you will be introduced to the fundamentals of reportage and get to hear and experience this first-hand through a workshop with a published journalist. Later, you will explore how the media affects us by looking at how stories are reported from different viewpoints, the influence of social media and the impact of images on our emotions and opinions.  Next, you will learn to question the reliability of what you read and consider the impact of the writer’s agenda on what is (and isn’t!) reported. Finally, working collaboratively with the other students in the group, you will create your own online newspaper which will draw together all the aspects of the masterclass and allow you to create your own “first rough draft of history”!
If you are interested in communicating with the world through the written and spoken word, social media and the power of carefully chosen and devised images, this is the workshop for you.

We will study the weird and wonderful bits of maths that you don’t see in school.
For example, imaginary numbers, cryptography, fractals and much more.
We will also show how the maths can be used for practical applications in Computer Science with programming and the use of MicroBits.
There will be loads of challenges, stretching problems and a lot of fun!

PSYCHOLOGY – ‘Magical Mind’
An opportunity to get an insight into Psychology and how our growing understanding of the human brain might affect your future in intriguing ways! This workshop gets you involved in interactive demonstrations and activities based on some of the most up to date scientific research. We will carry out our own experiments and consider the nature of evidence and validity.
You will be introduced to the mental tools that allow you to cut through the neuro-nonsense in the media so that you can sift out the really useful neuro-scientific findings and techniques and put them into practice. Indeed you will start to be able to see the difference between Science and Pseudo-Science in general.
You will learn ‘mind control’ techniques both ancient and modern – including practical tips and tricks that you can use yourself!  Plus, you will learn a little about how stage magic works, through an understanding of information processing in the brain, perception and hypnosis. You will practise practical skills such as memory feats and ‘positive psychology’ for well-being. You will find out how to measure and reflect on your personality to make the most of your capabilities. You will explore how you could maximise your own mental health towards peak performance and becoming the best possible version of yourself.

Summer School 2018 Year 9&10 Workshop Descriptors

Psychology is the science of the mind and the human mind is the most complex machine on Earth. It is the source of all thought and behaviour.
In this workshop we will look at how psychologists go about studying the mind as well as digging deeper to improve our understanding of some key behaviours. These will include sleep as new research has finally provided us with an understanding of the purpose of sleep (which used to be one of the biggest mysteries), understanding the concept of truth (and becoming lie spotters!) and carrying out a research project into an area of your choice.

The Journey
“A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place.”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The idea of a journey offers rich fertile ground for artistic endeavour. Journeys punctuate our lives and are often recorded in photographic forms, these days in a digital format. There is a rhythm to a journey, a beginning, an arrival, some time spent in another place, a return.
In this workshop we are going to link together images in sequences to create stories. Those sequences will be developed from photographic sequences provided by staff and students themselves. There is no set requirement that any person needs to be present in the photographs, but it is a requirement that these images are from a primary source.
We will create storyboards to explore the idea of a journey. These drawings will be developed onto a larger scale using woodcut printing techniques. We will use the work of such artists as Angela Harding and Clare Leighton as inspiration which will help steer students towards an illustrative style. Students will be encouraged to develop two separate outcomes using two different but linked techniques, an illustrative graphic story and at least one large woodcut print, changing scale for a final piece.

More information is available, please get in touch if you would like to know more.

Ever questioned who made the pyramids? Or what makes the Earth so special? Or how did a single cell, over millions of years, eventually become the large sack of skin which stares at you in the mirror? One answer is that it could be aliens. Why not? It’s no more crazy than the Theory of Evolution. But, has that little statement just stirred something up in you? If yes, then sign up to Exoplanetology at this year’s Summer School and together we’ll use every scientific tool at hand to answer all the questions above plus work out the big question; Why are we all here and who/what is responsible for it?

Intersecting Identities: Exploring Gender, Race and Sexuality in Poetry, Drama, Lyrics and Prose.
Our focus will be on exploring the ways artists and writers – particularly those belonging to marginalised communities – have represented their identity through their work and what this can tell us about human experience.
We will create our own drama, poetry and prose exploring themes of personal interest to us and we will share some of our writing online for a wider audience. This might appeal to you if you are interested in social justice, LGBT issues or just enjoy English, Drama and RS at school and would like the space to analyse, discuss and be creative with like-minded folk.

MATHEMATICAL PROBLEMS (and Computer Science Solutions)
We will look at advanced topics from different areas of mathematics including algebra, number, calculus, mechanics and statistics.
As well as deriving and proving the concepts we will then look at how they are used in Computer Science and will do some game making, programming and develop our own AI systems.

Summer School 2018

Following our successful summer schools from 2013 to 2017 we are pleased to announce that once again we are holding an academic summer school this year, for able, interested and motivated students in year 7 to 10 from our 12 partner schools across the city.

The summer school is 4 full days from Tuesday July 24 to Friday July 27 at Manor CE Academy and will take the form of an extended masterclass with the young people studying one subject over the 4 days.

Flyers are being sent out by schools with information about how to register for the launch meeting which is on Tuesday 1 May. If you have not received this by the 13 April,  and would like to attend, please get in touch.

Thoughts About Masterclasses Eleven Years On…

As our 12th masterclass programme is about to start, it’s time for reflection.

Providing a programme of masterclasses is where the York ISSP began. It is in essence what we were set up to provide; extended academically and socially challenging masterclasses for able young people from across the City. Who could have predicted that 11 years on we would have developed in the way we have, always with academic challenge at the heart of everything we do.

The masterclasses have developed in their format from year to year but some things haven’t changed. They remain an opportunity for extended learning yet are not taster sessions. Students who come with enthusiasm to masterclasses in year 7 are still there in Y11, enjoying and benefiting from the experience. We remain indebted to the commitment and expertise of the staff from the partnership schools who, in their free time, lead masterclasses in subjects about which they are passionate and who provide such wonderful and often life-changing opportunities for our young people.

One thing which has changed and improved is the venue(s) for the masterclasses. In our fist masterclasses young people were scattered around the city in different schools and other venues across York, for example the University of York or Art Gallery. This was very difficult to manage and students and parents had no real idea of the size and scope of what they were involved in. Since 2015 we have used just 2, geographically close, schools – one for each age group. They are both boarding schools, which are fully functioning on Saturdays, and are in central York making things simple and straight forward for all involved.

This is the fourth year too that we have linked all masterclasses together with a question as a theme. We began with ‘What is a Human?’ followed by ‘What is the Future?’ (a challenge for the History teachers, but, as usual, they rose to it with aplomb),’ What is Beauty?’ and this year ‘What is Truth?’ We are offering masterclasses with titles as diverse as ‘What makes Maths true’, ‘The Quest for True Sound’, ‘The Truth in What We See’ and ‘What is Truth in the Post-truth Era of Politics’.

This year we have almost 400 young people in years 7-11 from across 12 schools due to attend. These figures are similar for each of the previous 11 programmes. Over the next three Saturdays, students will experience 9 hours of academically challenging sessions led by teachers from across the Partnership schools. We have 30 teachers involved this year. For Y9-11 nine different masterclasses are on offer, and students will spend their time on one subject, or an aspect of a subject, not normally taught to this age group. Students in Y7&8 have chosen one from a choice of 3 groups and will experience a variety of subjects over the 3 weeks. There are 12 classes this year for this age group. They all grapple with the question: What is Truth?

It’s socially challenging for many of the students as we expect and encourage them to talk to each other, to exchange ideas and thoughts, all this in a school most of them don’t know, in a class with students they don’t know and taught by a teacher most don’t know. All hugely challenging to some but they seem to love it… 60% of those in Y9-11 involved this year have been involved in ISSP events before.

Student (and parent) feedback, both formal and informal, is something we take very seriously and use it to help shape what we provide. Of course it makes everyone involved feel good when we read: “It couldn’t possibly be improved, it’s perfect just the way it is” and “Just make it go on for longer”. It is, though, a positive thing to also get constructive suggestions, especially from the students. For example in 2017 students said: “It would be good to have a session where we could discuss with people in different classes what we’ve all done and learned”. This year we are providing exactly that for Y9-11 at the end of week 3 along with a social event – a meal together.

Each year we wonder whether we should have the masterclass programme again; the number of students signed up for this year gives us a message, loud and clear. Yes, we should. There is a huge thirst for learning in York, for academic challenge, for bringing young people together regardless of where they go to school. Young people benefit and that is the most important reason to do what do.

Annette G Aylett
York ISSP Coordinator