Reducing Reliance on Oil and Gas

In the Autumn term, year 11 were learning about Organic Chemistry, the study of carbon-based molecules. A key aspect of this understanding is how oil and gas formed and how we use these resources. During the Spring term, year 11 are learning about the chemistry of the atmosphere, including the greenhouse effect and how greenhouse gas emissions affect global climate. 

To help tie these two units together and give the girls an insight into a new career path, we had a Zoom call with Tina Beadle, an Energy Consultant who specialises in advising large companies on how they can achieve their net zero targets. As well as explaining why these targets are so important, Miss Beadle was able to talk about life as an energy consultant. The session gave the girls some excellent information that helped to broaden their knowledge beyond the curriculum. During the Q&A at the end, the girls asked some interesting and insightful questions and came away from the session with a greater appreciation of the challenges and opportunities of working in the renewable energy industry. 

Mr Coogan

Science Department

Science Club – Chemistree

We have had so much fun in Science club this term. Students have taken part in a different activity each week.  We started off making and racing balloon rockets in the first week.  Students then went on to explore the Science behind Oobleck from the Dr Seuss’ book ‘Bartholomew and the Oobleck’ during the Festival of Literature and Language. At Halloween, we created flaming ghosts and last week, students built their very own ‘Chemistree’.

Miss Forrest

Kielder Forest

On the 18th of November 2022, 36 students and 4 members of staff from PGHS left school early and went on a science adventure weekend up in Northumberland to Kielder Forest. Once we arrived at our accommodation (Tarset Tor), after a quick stop at Tebay services, we collected our luggage and headed up to our bothies (small cabins, each with a kitchen, living room, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom). It was fun to stay with friends and was so cosy, even though it was muddy outside! Once we had had time to settle in, we then headed down to the main bunkhouse, where the teachers made us pasta – which was delicious!

During the weekend, we visited the observatory on the Friday night. We wrapped up warm and we arrived about 7pm. We had the opportunity to have a lecture about space, the universe and cosmology by a wonderful group of staff who specialised in astronomy. Furthermore, we were then fortunate enough to hold a meteorite and look through a microscope to see a sample of a rock. Once the sky had cleared, we were able to look through a telescope and look at Mars. The observatory has one of the darkest skies in Europe, so we were fortunate enough to see the Milky Way and see several shooting stars. We also all got together to have hot chocolate which was very nice!

On the Saturday, we then went to Kielder Water (which is the largest man-made reservoir in England) to a scout activity center (Hawkshirt) where we had the opportunity to do abseiling or zip lining, kayaking and paddle boarding. The first activity my group did was zip lining, and everyone will agree when I say the view of the lake was amazing from up there! Going down was a bit nerve-wracking but was so fun.  We then changed into wetsuits and did kayaking.  It was quite hard as it was windy and we did some games and challenges to help us learn. Our instructors were also extremely friendly and funny which made the experience even better.

We went back inside to warm up and had a bit of lunch and more hot chocolate before going back to do paddle boarding. We went on the paddleboards in pairs.  We did team games and even attempted standing up! As you would think, almost everyone fell off (including me) but a certain pair probably broke a record and fell 5 times! We all really enjoyed ourselves, despite being cold (about 3 °C) and wet and went home with amazing memories.

We also had the opportunity to jump off the jetty.  Everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly and there were nothing but smiles and laughs that could be seen or heard all around.

Once we got back, we chilled in our bothies while we waited for the pizza to arrive from a local takeaway. After we had had our pizza, we played games such as Uno (the longest game to ever exist) and Cluedo, which became very competitive. We also had a few games of pool before we toasted marshmallows at our camp fire.

Mrs Honeyman

Associate Assistant Headteacher and Curriculum Leader for Science

This was a memorable experience, one that I will never forget – Rebecca S.

We all went home with amazing memories I know I’ll definitely keep forever – Phoebe B.

Overall, the weekend was absolutely amazing with lots of memories made. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat – Freya A.

It was a great trip which I would go on again if I could! A special thank you to all the teachers for organising the trip and making sure we had an amazing time – Maryam M.

Overall this trip was a wonderful learning opportunity and a tremendous amount of fun for us all. The staff, (Mrs Honeyman, Mrs Arrowsmith, Miss Parker and Miss Avery) were all lovely and made this trip amazing for us all – Vidyha P.

Kielder Forest Trip 2023 (Year 9 and 10)

Kielder Forest – Nov 3rd – Nov 5th 2023

I would like to present an amazing opportunity to your daughter. On November 3rd to November 5th 2023, we will be going to the heart of beautiful Northumberland.

This will be a 2-night stay and will involve two main activities. All food/drink and transport are included.

On the Friday night we will visit Kielder Forest Observatory ( where we will take part in a 3-hour private hire and exclusive tour of the observatory, which is Europe’s largest and award-winning Dark Sky Park.

The students will get the opportunity to talk with qualified astronomers who will present a tailor made tour/presentation (linked to the GCSE spec). The students will get to use the telescopes to observe a range of objects, including craters on the moon, distant galaxies, nebulae and star clusters and this date is timed well to study and explore the Aurora and the winter constellations.

On the Saturday, they will participate in a multi-activity day at the local scout centre on Kielder Water ( from 9:30am till 3.00pm. Hawkshirst provides safe and exciting activities in the heart of Kielder Forest, which can include 3 activities – to be chosen at a later date by the girls who wish to attend.

All sessions will be run by qualified instructors and the centre provides all the safety equipment required and all instructional staff are first aid qualified.

The total cost of the trip will be approximately £240 per pupil. We will need to take an initial non-refundable deposit of £40 on January 30th 2023.  

We are offering 36 places and if you would like your child to be entered into the selection process, please reply by Friday 2nd December to Mrs Honeyman. Once your child has been offered a place, another letter will be sent to organise deposits, a payment plan and any other documentation.  

Please see the letter and terms and conditions which have been sent to Years 9 and 10 on Parentmail.

Mrs Rebecca Honeyman

Head of Science

Associate Assistant Headteacher

Educational Visits Coordinator 

Educake Science

Educake is an online package that the science department subscribe to. Many of you will be familiar with this package as it is used across all year groups to set science homework tasks but it is also an excellent tool for revision purposes. A quick search of the question banks relating to specific units of study at both key stage 3 and 4 will provide numerous questions with feedback bespoke to the revision priorities of the learner.

The leaderboard above shows the students who have utilised this opportunity most regularly during November.

Mr Knee

Science Department

Chemical Analysis

Year 11 chemists have spent the last half-term (when not completing their mocks), studying chemical analysis. This involves using chemical techniques to identify unknown substances, essential in various applications from drug testing to environmental analysis. In class, the students have carried out tests for common gases, used flame tests to reveal which metal ions are present, used sodium hydroxide to detect even more metal ions and used various methods for identifying anions. The ultimate aim is for the students to have the knowledge and skills to be able to plan and carry out a range of experiments to identify an unknown chemical in a systematic way .

Unlike many aspects of chemistry, trends and patterns are less obvious in the results of these tests, so we’ve focused on memory techniques. This includes a variation on the mind palace method to remember the gas tests, word association for the flame test results and, where possible, linking results to trends that we have already looked at, such as in the test for halide ions.

To finish the unit, I showed the girls the screaming jelly baby demonstration, asking them to identify the metal present in the compound. The distinctive lilac flame produced allowed the girls to tell me that a potassium compound must have been present in the reaction.

Mr Coogan

Science Department

NASA Artemis Mission

NASA have just launched its Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket in the world.  This Orion spacecraft is on its way to the Moon as part of the Artemis project. 

The spacecraft will travel approximately 40,000 miles beyond the Moon and return to Earth, taking 25.5 days to do this. 

The spacecraft includes a series of complex missions that will enable human exploration of the Moon which NASA hopes to then use for future missions with crew to Mars.

Artemis is being used to study the origin of the Moon, the history of the Earth and our own solar system. It is also to learn how we can live and operate on the surface of the Moon, with the plan to build an Artemis base camp on the Moon’s surface. The missions will also use new technologies and capabilities which are needed for future exploration of Mars.

Through the Artemis missions, NASA plans to land the first woman and the first person of colour on the Moon’s surface and this will hopefully be in 2025. 

Mrs Goodwill

Science Department

Science Club

Science club continues to be very popular with our large group of keen year 7 and 8 scientists. These students have been attending every Wednesday lunchtime to take part in a wide range of fun and exciting scientific experiments, investigations and challenges. Since the last Science club update, students have explored the properties of non-Newtonian fluids by studying Oobleck, created some spooky flaming ghosts, learnt how to catalyse an elephant’s toothpaste reaction, developed a technique to create unpoppable bubbles and learnt how to test for hydrogen using the ‘squeaky pop test’.

Science club is open to all year 7 and year 8 students. Anyone wanting to attend can just turn up and get involved on Wednesday lunchtimes at 12:45pm.

Miss Forrest

Science Club

Numeracy Frames

Year 10 have just started to study Quantitative Chemistry. It involves lots of calculations using the tricky concept of moles and a multistep calculation. To help the students formulate and lay out the calculations, we use a numeracy frame to help. Having to use multiple equations or the same equation in a different form to calculate an answer can be hard.  By using the numeracy frame, it allows students to work collaboratively and helps each other to gain the right answer.

They are used as prompts to show the students which step is next in the sequence. Since using these, I have noticed an increase in the number of students who can complete these questions with ease. They are now left at the front of the class but are being used less as they become more confident in the methodology. Great work, Year 10!  

Mrs Honeyman,

Curriculum Leader for Science

Rollercoaster Competition

This term, all of our year 10 Physicists have been studying the unit of Energy, so it’s time for our annual Physics competition!

Every year 10 Physicist has taken part in our annual rollercoaster competition. Each student was tasked with designing their own rollercoaster.

All the entries were amazing and the science department has been blown away by the creativity of year 10. We have decided to award a winner for each class and then an overall 3rd, 2nd and 1st place winner.  

Congratulations to all our winners!

Miss Forrest

  • Arts Council England - Artsmark Gold
  • Lancashire Socio-economic Equality Badge
  • School Mental Health Award
  • Ofsted - Outstanding Provider
  • Arts Council England - Artsmark Gold
  • Lancashire Socio-economic Equality Badge
  • School Mental Health Award
  • Ofsted - Outstanding Provider