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Year 13 trip to CERN

In February this year, the Year 13 physicists flew to Switzerland for the annual physics CERN trip. The trip is centred on CERN itself and the opportunity to see the Large Hadron Collider, which is at the forefront of modern physics. However, we also got the chance to see the very best of the beautiful city of Geneva.

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Our time in Geneva began in a fantastic and very classically Swiss fondue restaurant, which was a great introduction to the food and culture. The next day was spent touring Geneva – by foot and by boat! We saw some famous landmarks, including the Jet d'Eau geyser in Lake Geneva (459 feet high) and the St Pierre Cathedral (with excellent views and photo opportunities). We also had the chance to visit the shops, allowing us to get a taste of Swiss chocolate.

The highlight of the trip, however, would have to be the visit to CERN. Seeing the CMS detector in real life was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it was truly amazing. We also learned about some of CERN's most recent projects and even saw the main control room! The day was finished off with a pizza and bowling (at which I was definitely the worst), which was a really fun way to spend our last night there.

Overall, we had a fantastic time in Switzerland – it was both an amazing experience and a great deal of fun! To future Year 13's, whether you're taking physics to A2 or not, I would highly recommend going – we had a great time that will always stay with us.

Ellie Griffiths

Year 12 Visit the Houses of Parliament

Parliament

The day began at 7.30 am on the concourse of Nottingham Station. All pupils arrived in time to catch the 7.55 am train to London St Pancras. On arrival, we caught the underground to Leicester Square and then walked through the famous streets to Covent Garden. There, pupils were awarded some free time and we all had brunch. From Covent Garden we walked along the Embankment, past The London Eye and up to the Palace of Westminster. The session began with a tour of the Palace and as parliament was not sitting, we were able to actually stand (but not sit!) in the House of Commons, touching the despatch box and seeing at first hand where many famous politicians had both triumphed and also met ill-fated ends. We were then taken to a Committee Room and the inner workings of parliamentary government and executive scrutiny were explained. Our guide continued to show us around Westminster, taking us around the corridors of power and explaining the day-to-day workings of parliament. After this, we re-convened in the Grand Committee Room where we debated with another 6th form from Reading. We were required to advocate the roles that committees play in the parliamentary process in an attempt to justify their existence, our opponents on the other hand painted a very different picture in terms of their lack of value for money and inability to have any real influence on government policy as their findings are not binding. With the debate well and truly won by Rushcliffe, and the School from Reading sent packing by the intuitive introductory contributions from Masie Caro, the notable rebuttals from Charlie Mcshane and the exquisite final summary by Emma Jenkins (amongst others), it was off to the House of Lords to watch a debate on the NHS in the UK today. Once our time at Westminster was completed, we walked through Parliament Square, up Whitehall and past Downing Street before stopping briefly at Trafalgar Square for a late lunch. It was then back on the tube and train, before arriving back in Nottingham at 6pm. A fantastic day had by all many thanks to all that attended!