Chester Schools Together: Masterclass success


Collaboration and creativity were the order of the day when the second series of Chester Schools Together Masterclasses was held over three weekends in January.

The students from King’s, Bishops’ Blue Coat and Blacon High School worked in mix groups in each school, producing some wonderful individual and group work in projects focusing on journalism (Bishops’), chemistry (King’s) and DT (Blacon).

Chester Schools Together is a partnership between King’s, Blacon and Bishops’ and is dedicated to providing creative and innovative ways for students to come together in both a social and academic context, as well as driving wider strategic projects that benefit students and staff across all three schools.

Students taking part in the Journalism Masterclass at Bishops’ set up their own busy newsroom and tasked themselves with researching ideas for articles and features for a student newspaper that they felt reflected the issues of interest to their peers.  

Over in Blacon High School, students collaborated in small groups to explore the different techniques involved in graphic design and technology, producing some beautiful pieces and using specialist equipment to enhance their designs.

A Chemistry Masterclass in King’s gave students the chance to try their hand at a series of practical experiments, including making their own aspirin. The highlight for many was taking part in an initiative by Lancaster University, which challenged them to construct then propel custard rockets a distance of 8 metres. 

Greg, from Bishops’ High School, set the current record of 6.5m!

Head of Chemistry at King’s, Dr Cook, who ran the three sessions alongside a number of colleagues and dedicated Sixth Form helpers, said: ” The students had a great time during the three weekends of the Chester Schools Together programme. In every session, whether they were making molecular models and synthesising aspirin, assembling and firing custard rockets, or researching and carrying out chemistry demonstrations, it was great to see students from different school working well together.”

Mr Hartley added: “I have always felt that bringing pupils from different schools together to work collaboratively on challenging projects provides exceptionally powerful learning experiences. As well as the technical learning that takes place in the subject and topic itself, the young people involved will also learn a great deal about teamwork, communication and working systematically with perseverance through a complex process to reach a common solution.

“It’s also always great to see the pupils enjoying themselves so much in school and making new friends in the process. For most participants, the masterclasses will be really memorable experiences that they will recall fondly in the future, knowing that they played a unique and key role in their personal development and new friendships.”