It is a time of change in the science department here at Vinehall School.  Staffing is yet to be finalised for September, but I am sure that the faculty will remain at the top of its game. Also, the new syllabus that Year 6 are following has introduced some new material; for example, we now study evolution and inheritance at this stage rather than later on in Year 8 and the pupils study scientists such as Mary Anning and Charles Darwin and how their research and ideas influenced the current models of adaptation and survival of the fittest.

Higher up the School, Year 8 are stepping up their preparation for their end of year examinations and we are all very impressed with their efforts, their last two years having been disrupted by the current pandemic. They have shown great commitment and we all wish them well in the next few weeks. Their engagement and drive during both periods of lockdown have been commendable.

Year 7 are currently active in the laboratory, with a phased return to practical work now permissible, and are studying the techniques chemists use to purify and isolate different phases of materials – such as solids from solutions and recovering solvents from mixtures. One student even managed to produce some of the best crystals I have seen in my teaching career – all credit to him.

One of the experiments performed is distillation and the students separate ethanol (alcohol) from a fermentation mixture.

With the advent of spring, the school ponds are teeming with life and the juniors have been enthusiastically dipping the pond and examining the aquatic life that they find.

Phil Smith