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Inaugural World Schools' Conference

 

Inaugural World Schools Conference

Teenagers from schools across Bristol got together at Redmaids' High before half term for this inaugural event to debate and discuss causes and possible solutions to some of the world’s most pressing social, economic and political challenges.

The inaugural World Schools’ Conference – devised, organised and hosted by Redmaids' High – brought dozens of Sixth Formers together to hear from experts on various subjects, including the melting polar regions, plastics pollution, terrorism and human rights, and nature conservation.

It began with a keynote address by Andy Fletcher, founder of not-for-profit organisation Life, the Universe and Everything Inc. Andy, who talks on physics and cosmology, including relativity, black holes, and the Big Bang, laid out the need for critical thinking and not simply accepting things at face value.

Led by Redmaids’ High Assistant Headteacher, Jon Cooper, the event was designed to enable Year 12 students to develop their international understanding at a time of extensive global challenge and change.

Mr Cooper said: “These students will be the leaders of tomorrow and with so many serious world challenges before us, they need to be knowledgeable problem-solvers, and capable of critical thinking in order to effect change.

“We brought together a host of eminent scientists and experts to help stimulate healthy debate through informed discussion, and ultimately to aid greater understanding of these important global issues.”

Other keynote speakers were:

  • Ilma Stankeviciute of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, who talked about the circular economy, which involves minimising waste, reusing materials, and regenerating natural systems, and
  • Rachid Hourizi, of the University of Bath, a computer science expert who discussed how to address the shortage of digital skills in the UK population.

Hour-long workshops were also delivered by specialists from the University of Bristol, Bristol Zoological Society, Amnesty International and Bristol-based educational consultancy the Sustainable Hive.

Year 12 student Saskia said afterwards: "I found the address by Mr Hourizi from the Institute of Coding surprising, as he highlighted staggering statistics which showed the increasing need for people with computational skills in all types of employment. I think that this requirement is something that we should all be aware of while in school."

Also in Year 12, Grace said: "The first speaker's talk was really helpful for Theory of Knowledge which we learn in the IB Diploma. It opened up new ways of thinking and made me really consider how we can trust what we experience, and our place on the planet and in the universe - which is what TOK is all about."

 
Date Posted: 4 November, 2019

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