Northgate Council – July Bulletin

Northgate Council – July Bulletin

We are pleased to introduce our July bulletin. In our bulletin this month there’s news about our new Head Boy and Head Girl team, pictures from our Art and Design exhibition and plenty of links to recent blogs and Northgate News interviews.

We hope that you are able to take some time to have a look at all the goings on at Northgate from the last month and enjoy seeing what we’ve been up to. Please share with your friends and family via our Facebook and twitter pages.

Miss Theobald (School Council Coordinator) + Northgate School Council.

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Women in Engineering Challenge

Women in Engineering Challenge

Last week a team of Year 8 students attended a ‘Women in engineering’ challenge day in Norwich, with students from a number of other schools. The challenge focussed on skills for energy.

Esme, Seren, Amilie, Kyra and Maisie tell us what they got up to. ‘We started the day by having a talk about renewable energy, designing and engineering. Then we had to construct and plan how to make a wind turbine. We had to think about the size and length of the propellers as well as the shape of the base. Our goal was to have the most spins of the turbine in a set amount of time.’

‘Next, we had a talk about nuclear energy, how nuclear power plants work and what jobs they offer. For this task, we made a pylon. We decorated it and made it fit the theme of renewable energy. Afterwards, when it was all over, awards were handed out. We also had the opportunity to ask any questions we had. The day was really fun and we had a great time. We learned lots about the jobs available in the field of renewable energy.’

Team Northgate races electric car at Lotus Test Track

Team Northgate races electric car at Lotus Test Track

On Sunday 19th June, a team of Northgate students headed to the Lotus test track at Hethal to race their electric car. Louie, one of the excited team members, tells us about the experience right from the beginning.

‘It all started when we were designing what the car would look like: what colour, what shape should the nose cone be etc. We settled on a sliver outside which had the old plates turned inside out. It looked really cool and we went for the name “silver arrow”.

It came to making the nose cone and we designed it to be made out of foam and to be a quarter-cylinder shape with plastic covering its front curve. This took about 2 sessions and eventually we got it done. We put a big Northgate logo on the front.

Another of our plans consisted of making the chair more comfortable and easier to get in and out. We slotted a block of foam in the back and cut some lines for the seatbelt strap. On the side of the car’s inside we lined it with polystyrene and made sure we didn’t move around while driving.

Testing day – 15th June

After school we went out with the car to test it out with all the driving gear on. We also were testing mine and Ollie’s team radio.

We went round the running track and past the trees and then went back the same way. Everyone got to be either pushed or the driver of the car.

Near the end when the battery was running a bit low, Paige had stopped halfway round her drive. So, we had to push her back up the hill and to the crew!

Me and Ollie stayed behind and were given the task of replacing the battery. We got it in and out fine and screwed everything in and we tested to see if the horn worked.

But then, and I don’t even know how it happened, one of the red wire screws started glowing orange and then caught fire! Luckily Mr Logan put it out fairly quickly and saved it from a lot more harm.

Race Day – 19th June

‘Today we arrived at the Lotus test track and had a look at the track and some of the new Lotus cars. We met Mr Mottley and Mr Logan at our area and had our car scrutinised so that it was ready for the race. We headed out for some pre-race testing to get used to the track. The other cars there were insanely fast, well some of them. For the first race me and Joe were driving. Each driver is only allowed 45 minutes out of the 90 minutes in the race and then you have to pit and change drivers. I was in the second stint and I think the 2nd one is better because you can just breeze past everyone. At one point I was wheel to wheel with a car exiting the pits and we were next to each other round the hairpin. Then at the turn before the straight, the other car braked early and tried going down the inside line, but I had a better exit out the corner and took the position! It really was a great day – we all had a lot of fun.’

A big well done to the team – those who drove in the race and those who helped design and make the care back at school. Also, thank you to Mr Mottley and Mr Logan for giving our students this amazing opportunity. We are please to report that the Northgate team finished a very respectable seventh out of the 23 schools that took part!

You can see a video clip of the team racing round the circuit below.

Northgate News Team – Interview with Mrs Graves

Northgate News Team – Interview with Mrs Graves

Members of our Northgate News Team have decided to find out a bit more about staff at Northgate. Damien, Year 11 has completed his final interview as part of the News Team, by speaking with Mrs Graves. Mrs Graves teaches English at Northgate but is also Head of Year 7 and Transition. She may be a familiar face to our upcoming Year 7s as she completes transition visits this half term. Here’s what she had to say.

Did you always want to be a teacher?

I didn’t always want to be a teacher. I thought about being a vet, but I am squeamish so that didn’t last long! I also considered being a police officer. I knew I wanted to do a job where I made a difference to people and I love English, so that’s why I became a teacher.

If you didn’t teach, what other job could you see yourself doing?

That’s a really difficult question. I enjoy writing, so I would love to be an author. Or a jeweller because I like sparkly things!

Who is your favourite author and what is your favourite book?

Again, a tricky question because there are so many. Favourite author: a tie between Jane Austen and Margaret Atwood. I couldn’t choose a favourite book: I would have to have about ten on the list!

What is your favourite poem to teach?

My favourite poet is Carol Ann Duffy. But my favourite poem to teach at GCSE is probably ’Remains’.

Do you have any hobbies outside of school?

I don’t have lots of time for hobbies outside school at the moment. But I enjoy yoga, baking and gardening.

What do you enjoy the most about being a Head of Year?

The thing I enjoy most about being Head of Year is helping students to become confident and settled at Northgate. It is so rewarding.

Describe Northgate in 3 words

Caring, community, ambitious.

Do you have any pets (if you do, what are their names?)

I have a cat called Branston. He is very handsome and very gentle, but he also likes Wotsits and cake!

Tell us about the Literary Society that you run – what can students get up to?

At Literary Society, we create beautiful writing. We have completed a project on Holmes and Kable, which is the incredible story of two of the First Fleeters in Australia, originally from Thetford. Our work was displayed in Thetford Guildhall. We write poetry and short stories and we’re currently working on pieces for the Summer Showcase. We also go on theatre trips: ‘A Christmas Carol’ this year, and more planned for next year.

Would you like to stay as an English teacher in the future- if not what else would you like to teach?

I have taught Media Studies in the past, as well as English. But I can’t imagine teaching anything else; I love my subject.

What is our favourite cleaning product?

I think my Year 11s all know the answer to this! It has to be Zoflora 🙂

A big thank you to Damien and Mrs Graves for doing this interview – it is always nice to find out a bit more about our Northgate staff. Our upcoming Year 7s will see Mrs Graves a lot over the coming year as she sees them through their first year as Northgate students.

Erasmus Adventures in Italy

Erasmus Adventures in Italy

Just before May half term, a number of our Year 9 and 10 students were fortunate enough to travel to Italy as part of the Erasmus programme. Working with students from Germany, Italy and Spain, they had a jam-packed programme for the week. Blake and Emmanuel have written a diary for the week to give you an insight into what they got up to.

Travel day! We met at school at 7.45am and had a minibus take us to Stansted. We got through security and waited for our flight. Once we landed the Spanish group were waiting for us. We then had a 2-hour coach journey. The Spanish are very friendly and we joined them in their singing!

We got to the hostel and they had prepared some food for us. The weather was very warm! There was thunder heard in the mountains but only a little rain.

Gathering data for our presentation
A stream that feeds into Lake Garda

Monday 23rd May

We had breakfast at 7.00am, then walked to school for 9am. We had some ice breaking activities with all the other ERASMUS students and teachers from Germany, Italy and Spain.

We were then briefed on the activities and goals we would achieve throughout the week.

Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals, about our cities was our main focus, in particular about the sustainability of the town Riva.

There was a supermarket opposite the school where we usually bought our lunches, then we walked along the lake and had a paddle!

Finally, we went back to school for a workshop with a professor from the university about systematic thinking, it was very tiring but nevertheless interesting.

We finished school at 6pm then had gelato (ice cream)!

Dinner was at 7pm, and then it was time for an evening stroll by the lake.

Gardens by Lake Garda
By Lake Garda

Tuesday 24th May

It was a 9am – 6pm day for us. We were at school for the majority of the day but also went around town conducting interviews. For lunch we went to the supermarket, again! We ate lunch in the garden by the lake.

Later on, we walked to a gelato place then walked around the town away from the lake.

More gelato was eaten before dinner! After, we went for another stroll along the lakeside.

When we got back we had dinner. As we finished, there was thunder and rain! So much rain that there was dancing in the rain. Such a fun evening!!

Riva del Garda at night
Buonconsiglio Castle Museum

Wednesday 25th May

In the morning we went into school to continue working on the project, and finished off some interviews. Lunch was in various places as we went off in different groups.

Then in the afternoon we went to Trento, a mediaeval town. We went round the towers that are from the 1400s. It was a really beautiful city and the landscape surrounding Trento was even better!

After dinner…….we had GELATO! (there’s a theme here!!)

Buonconsiglio Castle Museum 14th century art
Buonconsiglio Castle Museum

Thursday 26th May

We had breakfast then some of us had an interview at 8.45am. From 9am – 12.00pm we worked on our presentations further. Lunch was at 1pm, then at 2pm we started to finish off our presentations. After this Professor Scolozzi checked them all. It was a very hardworking day with lots to do.

After school, we needed to relax, so we walked 4km along the lake to get pizza. Quite ironic, isn’t it? Then we walked back along the lake, returning to the hostel. We were aching and tired after that long walk.

Walking to Torbole for pizza
On Monte Baldo
Chilling with the German students on Monte Baldo

Friday 27th May

It was an early morning for us as we had to get to the town hall for 8.30am. At 9.30pm the public meeting began with a welcome from the Deputy Mayor. We then presented our research and findings plus ideas and solutions. We had to include BOTG an iceberg model and cycle connections plus use Loopy to show how different elements link together and how one change can affect the others.

After the presentations we went to catch the 11.40am ferry to Malcesine. The ferry called at Torbole, Limone and then Malcesine. We then had a short walk uphill to the cable car to ascend Monte Baldo.

We had to ride in two cars to get to the top. It was awesome to be so high – the clouds were below us! There were lots of hang-gliders jumping from the top! It was the hottest day of the week – about 30 degrees, but it was much cooler on the mountain.

We got the ferry back and had our meal at the hostel. Then, as the last adventure, we got the funicular railway to the Bastillion – an old fortress on the mountainside, overlooking Riva. We got to see the whole of Riva at night time which was amazing.

Presenting to Deputy Mayor Town Hall
At Riva Town Hall giving our presentations

Saturday 28th May

In the morning, we said goodbye to the German group as they left early to catch the train. After breakfast we went shopping – and had our final gelato of the trip. A quick trip to the supermarket and then saying goodbye to Antonio, the Youth Hostel manager, we got our bags and headed to the bus with the Spanish group.

We shared the bus to Bergamo where we said goodbye to the Spanish as they travelled on to their airport. The flight back was amazing as we flew over part of the Alps Mountain range.

It felt good to be back on English soil. The cold, however, was expected yet an unpleasant shock compared to Italy’s immense heat.

It was the best trip ever!!

In front of Trento fountain

A member of the Erasmus programme wrote an article about the work completed by the students. Part of it can be seen below:

On the Friday morning in the central setting of Palazzo Martini the students of the Liceo Andrea Maffei school and their peers (from Dortmund Germany, Dereham England, and Benegamin Spain) who are part of the Erasmus Plus project presented, to the municipal administration, a case study concerning a future Riva del Garda, being more aware of the behaviours of tourists and citizens, guaranteeing its conservation. 

Focused on sustainability, the fundamental theme for the United Nations 2030 Agenda, the project lasted a week and saw many interactions. The students had a workshop from Dr. Rocco Scolozzi, of the University of Trento, to learn about different methodological tools to aid the prediction of future scenarios. “After two years of the pandemic, the students were able to work together”, explained Maria Chiara Betta, a lead teacher with Laura Benzi, “sharing ideas and experience, they learned to be a team and built friendships.” The task was to rethink Riva in terms of environmental and social sustainability. The depth and the synergy of the group allowed them to get produce excellent work.

“The administration believes in working together with students”, said Deputy Mayor Silvia Betta alongside Vittorio Ferraglia, managing director of the school, “we must pursue inclusive and sustainable actions in respect of the environment as we are the custodians of the are destined for the new generations. We listen with interest to the reflections of the young people who analysed Riva through their eyes, a few identifying the negatives as well as the positives, this helps us to preserve what we have.”

Group Photo at school Liceo Andrea Maffei

View from the ferry

Year 9s take on Global Underwater Challenge

Year 9s take on Global Underwater Challenge

Mrs Simms, from the Science Department, tells us about a recent Global Underwater Challenge, sponsored by the Smallpiece Trust, which some of our Year 9 students took part in.

‘Being the current national winners from the last competition, held in 2019, it was an honour to be asked back to compete with a new team of Year 9 pupils. The competition was held at a conference centre in Norwich with 7 other teams from schools in Norfolk and Essex. The day started with lots of excitement and nerves as we were welcomed by the event holders and Trish from Global Underwater as the national winners. The pressure was definitely felt; however, it did not stop our team from getting stuck in. They all chose their roles within the team, from team manager, marketing manager, pitch representative, programmer, engineer and designer.


They were the first team to be able to program their Lego Evo robot to follow the black line successfully in order to navigate around a bed of coral, avoiding hazards in order to pick up plastic from the ocean. Including some very tricky tight corners and some difficult lighting situations. Our wonderful programmer and designer were even able to complete the extension tasks given by the organisers.

 The marketing team decided that the USP was to provide a cost-effective robot in order to help university students study the plastic pollution in the ocean. They set up a non-profit organisation and would fund their robots in a charitable way. They designed a logo, brand and television advertisement for their product. They had several hours to complete everything but the time went very quickly. The brand logo was based upon our school logo, combining the N with showing the ocean before the robot, with pollution, and after the robot without the pollution, which also tied in nicely with the name of their robot.

Then it was time to pitch to the room of judges, teachers and schools. Our team was fantastic, they spoke clearly and passionately about their project. They had clearly practised their pitch and all appeared very confident on the stage. They presented every aspect of the challenge and all of their work was of a very high standard.

Congratulations to Alderman Peel who won the regionals. Although we did not win the competition this year, the standard of the teams was incredible and I am so proud of our Year 9’s. They were amazing, worked so hard and really well as a team, in my opinion they were the best team there!

 So, if you are reading this as a Year 8, this could be you next year. Trying to win back our title!’

Chris, one of the team, gives us his take on the day:

Our challenge was to design, build and market our ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) for the use of cleaning up the oceans. For each role in the team, we had a list of activities to complete to gain points. As the engineer, I was a key part in the building and designing of the robot, along with the coder, designer and team manager.’

‘For our activities we had to navigate a coral reef map with a black line as the path. For this we used an ultrasonic sensor, a colour sensor and a touch sensor. The colour sensor allowed our ROV to follow the path by sending out light and calculating the amount of light reflected back, as darker colours absorb more light. The ultrasonic sensor allowed us to stop before a collision and know the distance from an obstacle. It did this by sending out ultrasonic sound waves and calculating how long it is taken to receive them back after bouncing off another surface. Lastly, we had the touch sensor, this also helped us to stop before a collision but instead of sending out sound waves, it had an extended arm that when pushed against something it would trigger the sensor stop, and go back and around the obstacle.’

 ‘I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity and enjoyed working as a team to problem solve as I’m sure future teams will!’