Live on BBC Radio Newcastle

The new academic year got off to a great start this week with BBC Radio Newcastle dropping in to talk to our Head Girl and Deputy Head Girl about the value and importance of women’s right to vote.

The interview took place in our Advanced Study Centre with the girls ‘going live’ at 8:50 (link to the show Despite being nervous Claudia and Phoebe provided thoughtful comment on such an important issue. The girls were joined by Penny and Philippa Supporters and educators around the Women’s Suffrage movement. Penny is part of the Morpeth-based Emily Inspires group and Philippa, a third generation descendent of Emily Davison.

Whilst being interviewed live on local radio was both nerve wracking and exciting, it was a great opportunity to see and discuss modern broadcast media. Laura from Radio Newcastle discussed the importance of work experience within the journalism industry. Indeed, the technology that was used was surprising… and iPad and microphone!

Adventures of King Edward’s Alumni

This summer, two King Edward’s alumni – Yasmine Shafiq and Elwin Marshall – will be volunteering for eight weeks with the Cambridge Development Initiative (CDI). . CDI is a registered charity and student-led organisation which works in partnership with local government agencies to improve the well being of communities in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Operating in Dar Es Salaam’s informal settlements, where residents earn under $1 per day and lack access to adequate sanitation, the CDI Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) project implements a sustainable and community-centred solution. The WaSH project prevents water-borne illnesses by training and employing local technicians to build safe simplified sewerage systems, along with toilets. The new Year 13 students will recall Yasmine’s inspiring assembly linked to work experiences and enrichment and Year 11 students may also remember an assembly last Christmas from Yasmine about her previous work on this project.

To promote this initiative’s economic and environmental sustainability, the CDI WaSH team aims to offer biogas as a renewable alternative to charcoal. Since 2015, CDI has been testing biodigestor technology, which turns waste collected by the sewerage networks into biogas. CDI intends to ensure the continued benefits of the project by transitioning from the current biodigestor model to one that is locally sourced through a Tanzanian supplier. This shift will enable community members to efficiently undertake repairs while creating a social enterprise through which biogas sales will fund the construction of new sewerage networks. To accomplish this goal, CDI need to raise an additional £2,000.

Any donations, however small, from KEVI students, applicants, teachers or parents would make a huge difference to the impact that the CDI WaSH project could have this year. Please have a look at the JustGiving page for more information about the project (including impact reporting, photographs and video links) and consider donating if you can:

Year 10 Work Experience Success

The week after the half term break continues to be our focused Careers Week for Year 10, where students are offered the opportunity to take part in Work Experience. We are proud of the fact that we are one of few schools locally who continue to offer ‘traditional’ Work Experience for our pre-16 students, indeed coordinating 300 work placements is quite a task!

As a proactive member of the National Pilot programme for Good Careers Guidance, that has see our views, knowledge and experience influence the Department for Education’s National Careers Strategy, we fully support the assertions that students should:

  • have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace (Benchmark 5)
  • have first-hand experience of the workplace to help their exploration of career opportunities and expand their networks (Benchmark 6)

We have had some hugely positive feedback from the students and the employers who hosted placements. From us, as a school, we would like to express our gratitude to the students, parents and employers who supported this process and made the week so worthwhile.

For the small number of students who did not attend placement, there were a full range of career-related activities going on in school. Use the #CareersWeek2018 on Twitter to see some of the things students got up to.

We hope the week has induced some self reflection for students as they begin to formulate their career plan. Once they arrive back in September students will be asked to think about their Post 16 future and begin the Sixth Form/College/Apprenticeship application process. We have excellent personal guidance available through our Student Mentor, Janet, where students can discuss their ideas.

KEVI Science Gardens: Past, Present and Future

The development of our three Science gardens depicting the past, present and future has been inspired by one of our Alumni, Alan Davison Emeritus Professor of Environmental Biology (Newcastle University).

Alan became a Foundation Governor to the school later in his life and as he moved into retirement, his passion and drive to continue working with the school, helped us to find new ways of enriching the learning experience for our students and galvanised us into action.

The Present: The Mulberry Science Garden

Between 2014- 2016 we worked with Alan and utilised his expertise and knowledge to develop the first science garden. With support from Brims Construction Company, 4 raised beds were built and Alan designed 10 different environments with particular plants in each section for students to study. Additional help came from Wyevale’s ‘Heighley Gate’ Garden Centre and Morpeth Town Council in looking after the plants and maintaining the new space.  The final step to completion was with the science charity Opal who helped us to begin a small wild meadow area.

The garden has been a great success with staff and students enjoying it and using it all year round in a variety of subjects. Alan died in August 2016 and to honour him we are continuing his work with the development of a further two science gardens. In the future we will host community events and invite the public in to view our special gardens. The first public event is planned for this summer to commemorate the death of our famous Morpeth botanist William Turner.

The Past: The KEVI William Turner Garden – under construction

Alan’s interest in local history has led us to explore our past and recognise the possibility that William Turner, the famous botanist, physician and theologian who was educated in Morpeth, may well have been a former pupil of our school. The King Edward VI School began life as a church school in the Morpeth Chantry back in the 1300s and was later re-founded (1552).  As a boy, William Turner (1508-68) lived in Morpeth and received his early education here before leaving for Pembroke Hall, Cambridge.

To develop our Turner Garden, we have worked closely with the Friends of William Turner Morpeth group (FOWTM) and received expert advice from plant historian Dr Marie Addyman. The preparation work began in 2017 and with everyone’s help; we have now completed the first phase of planting with recognised plants from the 1500s.

The Future: The Carbon Capture Garden – 2018 – 2020 project

Alan’s interest in the future of the environment has led to us furthering our links with Newcastle University. With the help of Professor David Manning and his Research Assistant Kevin Stott from the National Green Infrastructure Facility, School of Engineering, Urban Sciences Building, we are now embarking on a two year scientific project to develop a Carbon Capture Garden. This garden will be a site of experimentation for students and will be based on the knowledge that the NCl University team have acquired during the development of their ‘SUCCESS’* project.

Click here for a list of plants used.

KEVI STEM Champions

Girls STEM eventThirty Year 9 Girls took part in an amazing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) event hosted by ACCENTURE at St James Park. A total of 400 girls attended the event representing 40 schools across the North East. The event was also replicated in London and Manchester, and various cities across the world.


Girls STEM Event activity

Activities included a workshop to design and build a wind turbine and an “ideation” event where the girls had to come up with innovative ways to reduce food waste. The girls also had time at an Innovation Fair where they had the opportunity to experience many different STEM projects including experiencing virtual reality, electronic workshops, robot racing and much more.

The highlight of the day was the awarding of prizes for the most efficient wind turbine – KEVI designs won 1st and 4th position with Chantry 3rd place – a fantastic achievement for the Three Rivers Learning Trust!

Girls STEM Event - winning team

National Careers Week/National Apprenticeship Week

This coming week sees the return of these hugely successful annual events. In school we are supporting them in a number of ways. Assemblies for the next week will be ‘futures’ focused and there are a wealth of resources for students and parents on the KEVI Careers site, do make sure you explore these.

Over the course of the week there are a number of exciting opportunities which have been arranged for students: visits, workshops and talks. The full programme can be viewed on the KEVI Careers site, via the National Careers Week 2018 page. This information has been shared with all students and they have been asked to sign up for the various events. As places are limited, students will be notified whether they have gained a place the day before. Places for events will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

In the spirit of Careers Week, we are aiming to raise awareness of opportunities that can enrich the learning experience and enhance any CV. The National Park Authority are running an eight week, New Naturalist programme which leads to a John Muir Award. This opportunity is open to Year 9 and 10 students, and will really develop their knowledge and skills of nature, conservation and biodiversity in the local area. Any interested students should see Mrs Johnston before Friday 9 March.

You can also follow us on social media or search twitter using #NCW2018 and #NAW2018 to gain further insight into the breadth of events during the week.

King Edward’s Inspires 2017

Once again, thanks to the huge support we receive from many of our alumni, businesses, colleges, universities and training providers, our annual KEVI Inspires event was a phenomenal success – the best one yet! We have a variety of exhibition stands, as well as an in depth workshop/presentation programme.

The event attracted support from a wide range of organisations from across various sectors and a wide geographical area, from London to Dundee! We are immensely grateful of the support provided and are proud that our school can deliver such a unique and valuable event for our students and their parents.

This year, we were delighted to invite colleagues from Berwick Academy Sixth Form and The Church of England Academy. We have developed a range of careers provision with these schools, as part of our work and inclusion on the National Career Benchmarks Pilot programme. Feedback from Berwick in particular was outstanding, with their Head of Sixth Form saying that her students are ‘talking about possibilities and opportunities they never knew existed!’ This really captures the essence of the event and is what makes it special.

Next year King Edward’s Inspires will be held on 22 November 2018 and we have already had pledges of support from many of the organisations present this year, which is phenomenal. Further developments next year could be the inclusion of a sector specific panel discussion with industry experts… watch this space.