Principal’s Blog – 6th May 2016

  • An Oilternative to Fossil Fuels Image 1
  • An Oilternative to Fossil Fuels Image 2
  • Sir Roger Bannister


Biomass – An ‘Oilternative’ To Fossil Fuels

In the future, we will run out of fossil fuels, and we use these to generate electricity at the moment. We need to find other reliable ways of getting enough electricity. There will be other challenges though. At Minsthorpe we have a group of students who wanted to find an energy solution that would help with all the other problems we will probably face in the future. These will include having enough space for everyone to live, not having enough resources to make things, and having a clean fresh supply of water for everyone. By 2050, fossil fuels will have probably have been almost wiped out altogether leaving us with problems if we are to generate power. This is why we could use biomass energy to power them – we already use this at the college. Let’s face it, electricity is one of our main life needs, and we won’t be able to use it if there aren’t any fossil fuels, so we need to find an alternative energy source and biomass seems to fit the bill.

The student proposal, entitled ‘An Oilternative to Fossil Fuels’ has been entered for the Shell Innovation Award for 2016. It is a brilliant idea that uses the cleaning power of wetlands to produce clean drinking water and to produce biomass materials to generate fuel to replace fossil fuels. They have explored this idea with Natural England and the college has been given a grant from Leeds University to build a working prototype of the wetland cleansing area for people in the college grounds. The challenges of global warming and sustainable living will be solved – or not – by this generation and it is great to know that we have such concerned students here at Minsthorpe who are proposing some really innovative solutions.

Year 11 Progress Files

Friday May 6th was an important day for Year 11 students as they received their Progress Files. As they approach the end of their compulsory education these files are records of their achievements to date and a place to detail their achievements in the future. This record is aimed not only to report on progress and achievements in school subjects but also to indicate the range of qualities and activities which have contributed to the general development of the student, both in and out of college and it will be useful when it comes to applying for jobs, apprenticeships or entry into Further Education.

This is the first of a number of important Rites of Passage that students will go through in Year 11 – others will include The Prom and GCSE Results Day in August. As we approach the final push for GCSEs it is vital that all students use the time left before the examinations start to give themselves the best possible start to the next phase in their lives.

The Four-Minute Mile

On May 6th 1954 at the Iffley Road Track in Oxford, England, medical student Roger Bannister became the first person in recorded history to run the mile in under four minutes. Bannister was running for the Amateur Athletic Association in Oxford against runners from the university in their annual match. He ran with two friends, who paced him, and then sprinted the last 200 yards, for a record time of 3:59.4.

His story is an inspiration to us all. Bannister was born in Middlesex on March 23, 1929. His parents couldn’t afford to send him to school, so he ran his way in, winning a track scholarship to Oxford, where he studied medicine and was a running sensation. He caused a furore in England when he declined to run the 1500 meters in the 1948 London Olympics so he could concentrate on his medical studies. He did run in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, but finished fourth and, because of 1948, the British press scorned him. He then resolved to break track and field’s most famous barrier, the four-minute mile, a feat many believed to be impossible. However, Bannister had limited time to train as he was enrolled at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School. So, he would run 30 minutes most days, focusing the rest of his time on his study of neurology. His story is the reason why we encourage education, hard work and self-belief at Minsthorpe – they do pay dividends.

Ray Henshaw