Ilkley Grammar School student wins highly prestigious essay Competition


Ilkley Grammar School student wins highly prestigious Franklin Society Essay Competition 2020 organised by Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University


Every year, Murray Edwards’ science society, the Franklin Society, hosts an essay competition for Sixth Form students. The competition aims to encourage students to explore scientific issues beyond those covered in the school curriculum.


This year the competition has been won by Polly Bridges from Ilkley Grammar School for her essay on how vaccines work and whether a vaccine can be developed to protect against COVID-19. In the essay Polly explains the different types of vaccine, how they are produced, and how they protect against disease. Afterwards, she outlines a few of the vaccines in development which are front-runners in the battle against COVID-19, including the Oxford University project that is currently in human trials. Polly argues that with the world focused on developing an effective immunisation, as well as the number of different vaccines that are in development, it will be inevitable that science will eventually catch up and a successful vaccine will be found. The question we are all asking is: When?


Mr Gutch, Director of Post-16 at Ilkley Grammar School said: “We are hugely proud of Polly’s significant achievement in winning this competition with an extremely well-constructed and timely essay on a topic that is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Polly has put her time during lockdown to excellent use, working on enrichment and extension activities alongside her academic work. We congratulate Polly on her deserved success. Well done!”


In recent months teachers at IGS have provided Year 11 and Post-16 students with a range of enrichment opportunities alongside the ongoing delivery of the core curriculum. Wider reading lists in every subject are now available to all via the Post-16 section of the school website.


Since lockdown, in addition to the core curriculum, Post-16 students at IGS have also been provided with free access to virtual work experience opportunities with companies such as PwC, a leadership course run by EtonX, Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), talks run by Speakers for Schools as well as courses run by the Virtual College and the History and Philosophy of Science department at the University of Leeds.


This week Year 12 have also had their virtual Next Steps week, exploring the full range of Post-18 pathways. This has included live speakers from Oxbridge, Russell Group universities and the Police, as well as the opportunity to attend talks on degree level apprenticeships, personal statements and student finance.


The Post-16 team would like to congratulate all those IGS students who have shown such resilience, adapted creatively to the situation that has been imposed upon them, and who have taken the opportunity to explore beyond the curriculum that continues to be provided each day.

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