APS News

The Turing Scheme

The Turing Scheme: Engineering Careers in Context

Alexandra Park School is committed to our international relationships and ensuring success for all of our students by providing free opportunities to explore, learn, and socialise, abroad. We have one more year on our successful Erasmus+ programmes, and as the sun sets on one adventure, the sun rises on another. 

turing 01The Turing Scheme is the UK Government’s new global scheme to work and study abroad. Alexandra Park School has been awarded funding to run a new Engineering Enrichment programme with our Year 12 students aimed at promoting the wide range of careers in Engineering. Engineering isn’t ALL planes, trains, and automobiles (although these are exceptionally necessary for the trips to run). Engineering is one of the widest ranging disciplines in the world; broadcast engineers, software engineers, product designers, civil engineers, chemical engineers, medical engineers, electrical engineers, mechanical, aerospace, sports, acoustics, environmental, biochemical …virtually everything you come into contact with will have been engineered. 

Not only is engineering wide ranging, but engineers report high job satisfaction, high salaries, and the opportunities to travel the world. This will form the focus of the Enrichment project as we encourage our students to thoroughly explore this possibility before making their post-school life choices.  

Y12 students will be able to sign up to the programme through Enrichment and participate in fortnightly sessions. These will be tailored to the students – from researching global problems we face and how to solve them, to coding, tinkering, designing, making, and breaking, anything and everything our students wish to focus on. STEM Ambassadors will be invited in to talk to our students and many students will choose to complete an EPQ or CREST Award – enriching their UCAS, apprenticeship, and job prospects. 

Their studies in school will culminate in a trip to either Copenhagen, Denmark, or Toronto, Canada, where we will spend time completing masterclasses with host schools learning what it is like to live and study abroad. There will be no or minimal costs to attending these trips due to the grant funding provided. In addition, we will visit institutions such as the Neils Bohr institute where ice cores from Greenland are stored, and the Perimeter Institute where engineers help scientists answer some of science’s biggest questions. 

Students who wish to take part will need to be studying one of: Maths, Computer Science, Product Design, BTEC Applied Science, Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. They don’t need to be set on a career in Engineering – merely interested by the possibilities. Students can sign up when they apply for their Enrichment choices. 

This our first time running a project of this nature, if any parents or people in our school community work in engineering or have interesting experiences to share (e.g. workplace visits or come in to talk) then do please reach out to Mr Marshall (jmarshall@alexandrapark.school).


Institute of Physics National Teacher Award

Congratulations to Henry Hammond, the winner of the Institute of Physics National Teacher Award.  The work he and the science team have done, developing Physics both at APS and across North London has been recognised nationally.  The Institute of Physics wrote a bio about Henry and we wanted to share some of this with you.  This is a well deserved accolade for Henry and the science Team.

Henry is a highly creative and enthusiastic physics teacher who has had a truly transformative influence on the teaching of physics at his school, seeing outstanding growth in the A-level physics numbers and a big increase in separate sciences at GCSE, and inaugurating many external teacher professional development projects for both primary and secondary colleagues, as well as technicians.
He runs the North East London Science Learning Partnership and two local Ogden Trust partnerships, delivers teacher subject specialist training, hosts interns and trainees, and supports the development and delivery of Ogden Trust professional development across England.

3…2…1… Lift-off? Erasmus+ reaches for the skies

I am sure we are all sick and tired of stories of Corona woe. I could lament that our trip to French Guiana (March 2020) with Erasmus+ was cancelled, and that 2 years of hard work by students and staff went up in smoke. Or instead we can celebrate, look back on our exchange trips to Copenhagen, Kos, Madrid, and here in London – and appreciate the masterful journey our latest Erasmus+ cohort took together.

Three years ago whilst ‘networking’ in a Danish ‘food and drink’ establishment, myself and our Copenhagen colleague, the eponymous ‘Mikkel Max’, hatched a daring plan. Surely in the days of modern computing students can build and program a small device to measure the effects of climate change? Surely in the time of Space X we can build a small rocket to launch this device as high as we can? And surely, in the time of countries withdrawing from international climate accords, we can bring together a rich and diverse group of global students to explore the science behind measuring climate change?

These were our goals, and we had such a success on the journey. In the most recent exchange in London the Erasmus+ students designed, created, and tested (by dropping from a drone), a device which successfully measured various aspects of atmospheric pollution. And whilst there is now a large lone rocket sitting in the science department, bereft of its opportunity to soar over the jungles of French Guiana, we know that in the future this rocket will carry a payload – hopefully in co-operation with other countries in a future Erasmus+ program.

So rather than going out with a bang – the project ends with the official, rubber stamped, signed in triplicate, slightly erroneously translated, ‘project feedback’ email from the EU. During the initial scramble of the first lockdown everything was tidied away, but not forgotten, and as we find balance in the ‘new normal’ we can think positively about the future again. Find below some quotes from the project summary and pictures of our two-year journey.

The innovative character of the project is considered high within High Schools. It is an ambitious project between very different partners geographically and academically.
Covid-19 is responsible for the project's abrupt ending, but the partners managed to finalize… when schools were closed all over the world.
The project must be considered a success, with evaluations from school partners, students and parents all highlighting the students' intercultural and professional benefits.
Three of the partners have already started a new Erasmus project from the experiences with coding and STEM from this project.



Physics makes the Century

100 years ago, Einstein gave his first lecture at Leiden University. To this day, the theories he invoked of “ether” and “undulatory theory” are still relevant to his contemporaries, albeit by different name. Now, our 100 strong cohort of APS physicists will follow in his footsteps.

With a department of passionate Physicists, both staff and students, APS is proud to break through the 100 A level students mark and educate so many young people in an exciting and ever-changing subject. With a shortage of Physics teachers across the country and the World, providing good quality Physics education to so many is no mean feat. Our school and our physics department look forward to being able to expand our intake even further in the coming years.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.