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Round Up

St Albans School Student’s Research Wins Accolades R

esearch by a St Albans School A level student into a protein called Asparagine that can impact motor and brain function in humans has

been praised by judges at the Young Scientist of the Year Awards in Birmingham. Ellen Piercy was selected as one of the top three from 2,000 original

entries and 200 finalists at the Big Bang Fair at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. While many A level students spent their summer relaxing, Ellen spent

five weeks at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, cloning a gene in wheat in order to study the Asparagine protein. When this accumulates in the grain, it can create a carcinogen when it is cooked which can affect motor and brain function. Given a display space at the NEC, Ellen spent five days talking to the

public and judges about her work, before she gave a half hour presentation to industry experts: “It wasn't as intimidating as it might seem,” she says, “as they were all really interested in what we had been doing and were very helpful and friendly. “I have learned a great deal about how to present my work and

communicate key scientific information. I also learned so much while at the fair, as the projects varied so widely. It was fascinating to learn from each other.” The project was Ellen's second stint at Rothamsted after work

experience at the research institute, and she also worked for two weeks in a cancer research laboratory. She hopes to go on to read Biological Sciences at Durham University and is keen to progress into the world of scientific research. The Headmaster of St Albans School, Jonathan Gillespie, says this result

is an indication of Ellen’s fantastic dedication to a subject she is clearly very passionate about: “Ellen is to be congratulated for the application she has

Dance City Student in BBC Young Dancer 2015 1

6 year old Connor Scott from Blyth, currently studying at Dance City and Gateshead College is through to the Contemporary dance Category Final

of the first BBC Young Dancer 2015. BBC Younger Dancer 2015 is a new national dance award run by the BBC

for young dancers aged 16–20. The award is broadcast on BBC Four and BBC Two and showcases the very best of young British dance talent. Dancers enter in one of four categories: Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop and South Asian dance. Connor is the youngest of those nominated in the Contemporary Category. Connor joined Dance City’s Centre for Advanced Training (CAT), in 2011

and is also studying on the Level 3 Dance Programme delivered jointly by Dance City and Gateshead College. The CAT offers a contemporary dance training programme for young people from the North East region who are 10–18 years of age who demonstrate exceptional talent or potential in contemporary dance. It is part of a national network of CAT’s delivering non- residential, pre-vocational, professional dance training funded by the Department for Education. The Level 3 course, equivalent to 3 A Levels offers

shown to Science. To come third in a nationwide competition such as Young Scientist of the Year is a tremendous feat, and everyone at the School is immensely proud of her achievement.”

a varied dance programme including ballet, jazz, urban and contemporary and aims to prepare young dancers for a career in the industry. Past students of both courses have gone on to prestigious specialist schools such as Rambert, Trinity Laban and The Place as well as joining leading dance companies. BBC Young Dancer 2015 culminates in a Grand Final at Sadler’s Wells,

when the winning dancers in each category and two wildcard places will compete for the title. The Grand Final will be judged by a leading panel of dance experts; Artistic Director of New Adventures, Choreographer and Director Matthew Bourne, Choreographer and Dancer Mavin Khoo, Choreographer and Director Wayne McGregor, English National Ballet Artistic Director Tamara Rojo, Dancer and Choreographer Kenrick Sandy, and Alistair Spalding, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Sadler's Wells. The Grand Final will be broadcast live on BBC Two on Saturday 9 May. Connor Scott said: “Being part of this award has been an amazing

experience and opportunity. To dance alongside such a talented group of people is an honour in itself and I am very grateful for all the help I have received from my tutors at Dance City and Gateshead College which has helped to get me to this stage in the process.” Neville Campbell, Head of Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) at Dance

City said: “This a tremendous achievement, particularly as Connor is only 16 and is

the youngest in his category. Coupled with the fact that he has not yet started vocational training, makes it even more exciting. Connor has always worked with a great determination to master his technique and from the moment I heard he was entering BBC Young Dancer I knew he would be up with a good chance of getting through. Whether or not he takes the prize, he has already proved that he has what it takes to compete at the highest level. Everyone at Dance City, and the whole of the CAT team are looking forward to seeing the final outcome and wish him luck for "the big day". The final of the Contemporary category will be broadcast on Friday 17

April, 7.30pm on BBC Four.

42 April 2015

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