Fifteen Sixth Form boys recently took part in a one-day online event run by the Royal Institution to discuss topics raised by projections of our shared futures, on themes such as sustainability, science, society and empowerment. At the same time they learned more about the topics of the upcoming Christmas Lectures; Planet Earth, our oceans, atmosphere and the geology.

Upper Sixth Former and head of the school’s Biology Society, Jamie Norris, who was at the helm of the group of Bedford School boys, galvanised interest amongst his peers after seeing the Royal Institute advertise the event, known as the RI Youth Summit, in their weekly newsletter, which Jamie receives as a junior member.  

Jamie told us, “I thought it would be a good opportunity for the Lower Sixth to kick-start their extracurricular work to contribute to their personal statements, so I proposed the idea to Mr Beale.”

His invitation proved extremely popular with 15 places quickly taken up. Jamie’s role was to then guide the boys on what to do in the session including assisting with setup of accounts and highlighting good sessions to attend.

The event itself comprised a serious of virtual talks focusing on climate change, with subsequent discussions in chat rooms. The focus of the chatrooms was to generate some popular questions that will be asked of the scientists leading the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.

“The event was good if not slightly hectic at times. The discussions were frequently thought-provoking and it was incredible at times to just sit back and watch the chat move so quickly, a melting pot of opinions and perspectives,” Jamie said of the event.

This sort of extracurricular event is really important for boys; not only does it provide them with a broader knowledge of their subject matter, but it also provides them with a solid start to the wider work they need to undertake as part of a strong university application.

Going forward Jamie hopes to promote the Christmas Lectures themselves so the boys can see the answers to the questions discussed. Additionally, the idea of an essay competition based on these lectures has been voiced.

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