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Oriel High School in Crawley closes to years 10 and 12

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In his letter the headteacher Philip Stack said:

“We are working hard to remain open, but that brings considerable challenges. Supply staff that we might employ through a supply agency are not available and we have an increasing number of staff who are absent from school. Some members of staff will be away for a fixed period of two weeks because they or a member of their household is showing a symptom and so they will return in the near future.

We also have members of staff who will be in selfisolation for a lengthy period of time because they or a member of their household has an underlying health condition and they are following the instructions from the government and the NHS.

We are now at the point where keeping the full timetable running across all year groups is not possible given the level of staff absence and consequently we are asking Year 10 and 12 students to embark upon home study from this afternoon which will increase our capacity to cover the lessons of absent colleagues with other year groups.”

He added:

“Our priority is to keep the rest of the school running which is asking a great deal from staff who are here, but in addition our subject leaders and their teams are putting together work plans for home study for other year groups should we send another year group home or indeed if we have to close the school. This must be our priority over and above trying to set work individually for a student who is well, but is in self-isolation. I hope that families will understand this approach and the demands it is placing on the staff here.”

Education

Crawley student crowned winner of national STEM competition

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A student from St Wilfrid’s Catholic Comprehensive School has been named winner in the Senior category of the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition, a national science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) initiative, supported by UK Research and Innovation, aimed at finding solutions to the greatest challenges facing modern society.

Claiming first prize, year 13 student, Rushil Patel, presented a project that uses offline artificial intelligence to accurately process a specific object or event in the world around the user, conveying limitless information in the most discrete way possible. Addressing the Grand Challenge of Artificial Intelligence and Data, the young inventor hopes it can help people with Autism not only identify, but also respond to perceived emotions.

Judged remotely by a panel of STEM experts, including representatives from Network Rail; AI architects, Arm; and Manchester Metropolitan University, Rushil was awarded first place thanks to his creativity and innovative way of addressing the Industrial Strategy’s Grand Challenge of Artificial Intelligence and Data.

Rushil, student at St Wilfrid’s Catholic Comprehensive School said:

“I am thrilled to have won the Senior category at the Youth Industrial Strategy competition. I really enjoyed working on our project and it was great to have the judges recognise the hard work and creativity that went into it.

“This competition has provided me with a great opportunity to get creative with my learning and it was incredibly rewarding to work on a project that could help solve one of the most pressing social issues today.”

With the live finals event cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, the competition organisers, the British Science Association and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) asked schools to create videos of students presenting their finished projects and the information they’d been planning to share with judges.

Rushil and his teachers have worked incredibly hard to help enable the remote judging, especially at such a challenging time for schools and families across the UK and deserve special credit for their efforts.

Tom Saunders, Head of Public Engagement at UKRI, said:

“As this AI communications device shows, today’s students have an important part to play in addressing society’s biggest challenges. I would like to congratulate Rushil on his fantastic winning project and wish all the finalists every continued success in the future.”

Caitlin Brown, Project Manager for the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition, said:

“The judges commended Rushil for his hard work, dedication and commitment to STEM. He thoroughly deserves to be crowned our Youth Industrial Strategy Competition Senior winner.

“We are thrilled with the level of engagement and interest we have received around the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition, and are excited to see all these students, and more, continue to develop their love of STEM.”

The winners and runners up were selected from thousands of students, aged between 11-19 years, from across the UK, who designed projects responding to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s four Grand Challenges: the Future of Mobility, Ageing Society, Clean Growth and Artificial Intelligence and Data.

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