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School helps put a stop to derogatory language

School helps put a stop to derogatory language

A campaign run by sixth formers at Watford Grammar School for Girls have made a campagn to help stop derogatory language used by the students. Watford Grammar School for Girls has made a campaign to try and stop their students using this sort of language in their school.   The campaign is run entirely by students and the school have put up posters to remind the students that this sort of language is wrong. Jessie from the Head Girl team said “ We felt there was a problem especially between girls putting other girls down, and to promote feminism, we need girls to stick together”  she also said that if we keep on promoting the idea on posters and assemblies, it will have an effect and has been beneficial so far. Most of the students said that their discussion time on the subject had a very helpful effect.  Misha said that "it gives awareness as to how these words can hurt people's feelings and encourages people to stop using them". On the other hand, one student thought it was unhelpful. Layaan said: "I dont think it was helpful because it doesn't stop people from using the language."    .

Kissing your parents: right or wrong?

Kissing your parents: right or wrong?

Psychologist, Dr Reznick, says that it’s wrong to kiss your child on the lips.  The debate of whether it is right or wrong to kiss your parent/ child has been around for a while now. Most parents will see it as a simple act of love but Dr Charlotte Reznick has warned the mouth is a very sensitive area which “can be stimulating” and later cause confusion for children. Parents say kissing games are fun to play with your kids to show affection, but is kissing your child on the lips going too far? At the age of about 3 or 4 you should stop kissing your parents as it could be stimulating and cause your child problems in the future To children, a parent kissing them on the lips seems awkward and disgusting. Most children don’t like to kiss their parents because it makes them feel uncomfortable. Alice said that it’s acceptable to a certain extent to kiss your parents. Misha said that some people over react to kissing their parents on the lips or take it the wrong way.  Mrs Smith said “it’s perfectly ok! I have always kissed my children; it’s what good parents do to show affection However Miss Chan had a different view, personally I feel uncomfortable with kissing my kids on the lips. If my kids want to kiss me on the lips that is fine. I don’t outwardly kiss my kids on the lips; I usually go for the cheek.  .

BADGER CULL CONTINUES FOR ITS SECOND YEAR TO PREVENT TB

BADGER CULL CONTINUES FOR ITS SECOND YEAR TO PREVENT TB

In Somerset and Gloucestershire, the second year cull is under way with a new target—badger cubs. Badgers are being killed to stop the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) in cattle because last year more than 26,000 cattle were slaughtered in England. The government insists culling is the right thing to do but have announced a scheme to vaccinate badgers next to the two cull areas. Many people (local residents and charities) do not agree with the cull and say it’s not needed. ‘The vast majority of the badgers being culled are, in fact, healthy and uninfected, and in many cases have natural immunity’ say the charity, Badger Trust. ‘ Culling badgers could result in other potentially infected badgers moving into the area to take over the territories, thus potentially spreading the disease.’ Badger Trust also say to get involved, people can ’Join in any anti-culling lawful protests and meetings’. ’It should be common sense to stop the culling now’ say Badger Trust. On the other hand, farmers want to see the badger cull rolled out to other parts of the country as they are worried about their cattle. The reason badger cubs are being targeted next is because in early summer, the cubs will be out of their dens and easier to catch and shoot so it is more likely the cull will hit it’s target. However, scientists think killing the cubs will have less effect then killing the adults. Recently according to computer modelling, increased cattle testing would be more effective in stopping bovine TB than shooting badgers. This suggests that frequent testing could save more cattle but also help us to understand why testing is more effective.    .

'Dippy' skeleton cast to be replaced by blue whale skeleton at the Natural History Museum

'Dippy' skeleton cast to be replaced by blue whale skeleton at the Natural History Museum

'Dippy', the diplodocus dinosaur cast is to retire in 2017 after 110 years at the Natural History Museum. The fragile skeleton model contains 356 plaster cast bones which were constructed over a period of 18 months and was unveiled in the museum on May 12 1905. The empty space left in the entrance hall will be filled by an 83ft long blue whale skeleton that will be suspended in a diving motion. A student, aged 13 said that " it would be amazing and breathtaking to see a whale diving down towards you". The whale was bought for £250 in 1891 and is a real whale skeleton. During the Blitz, the Diplodocus was taken apart and stored in the museum's basement to avoid any damage as it is a fragile cast. Dippy is well-loved by many children, hence the name was given by them and although he is being replaced, he will never disappear. There are even plans to make a weather-proof copy of him so that he can be placed outside in the museum's garden. "Dippy is unique and it will be sad to see him move from his position." said another student. The female blue whale skeleton beached at Wexford on the Southeast coast of Ireland in 1881 and every single bone is present after being cleaned and catalogued. Since whales are an endangered species, she is a valuable addition to the whole collection and is the real, life-size skeleton. It is currently hung in the mammal section. There is surprise and outrage on social media including petitions trying to save Dippy as many people do not want Dippy to be replaced..

Sanitary products’ high price results in girls’ low attendance

Sanitary products’ high price results in girls’ low attendance

Girls in the UK aren’t attending school because they can’t afford sanitary products. Usually we hear about women in third world countries not affording sanitary products however it is happening right on our doorstep. After Freedom4Girls were contacted by a school in Leeds about this issue that resulted in girls’ low attendance, BBC Radio Leeds interviewed a teenage girl, who said that she taped toilet paper to her underwear and missed school "every month" because of her period. Another girl said she wrapped a whole tissue roll around her underwear to keep it dry until she got home. Moreover she said “my mum was a single parent and she had five mouths to feed, so there wasn't much leftover money in the pot to be giving to us." This raises a question: should free sanitary products be given to those with financial problems? It would be ideal, however it would be quite difficult to provide. NHS could provide sanitary product but they might want to invest in other beneficial things.  “It would be smart to give sanitary products to people with lower income, “said Miss Hibbert, health and welfare officer at WGGS, "but we all know the government is struggling with funding. This may be the reasons why sanitary products are taxed." However, why are men’s’ shaving items tax free and labelled as essential while sanitary products are called luxury items.   Throughout the country, some teachers provide their students with these items with their own money as families are increasingly under financial stress. To help their students, some schools obtain free donated sanitary products for certain year groups from sanitary product manufacturers. .

BBC News School Report 2012

BBC News School Report 2012

That time is upon us again, it is the BBC News School Report Day 2012. 12 Gifted and Talented Year 8 English pupils have been selected by their teachers as this year's news team. The girls are currently beavering away at producing text based and media articles ranging from international to school based news. Let's hope they can meet the 2pm broadcasting deadline! We wish them all the very best of luck!.

Details of Britain’s Budget Leaked to Internet

Details of Britain’s Budget Leaked to Internet

The details of Britain’s moving market budget were published on the Internet by a reporter at a London newspaper minutes before George Osborne stood up to give his speech in parliament on Wednesday. A copy of the front page of the London Evening Standard, containing details of future tax changes and borrowing, were published on Twitter a quarter of an hour before the British chancellor rose to his feet. The editor of the Evening Standard, Sarah Sands, apologised and said the paper’s journalists were ‘devastated’. She said that a junior journalist had leaked it onto twitter. Details of the budget are supposed to be kept secret until the chancellor has briefed Parliament on its contents. “He almost needn’t have bothered coming to the House because the whole budget, including the market sensitive forecasts, were in the Standard before he rose to his feet,” Ed Miliband told a reporter. Osborne has ordered the Treasury to review why sensitive information about the budget is given to the Press before briefing Parliament after the leak. After what is the first budget leak since 1947, Joe Murphy, the political editor for the Standard, issued an apology on Twitter saying that “We are so sorry to the House of Commons, to the Speaker and to the chancellor for what happened.” The junior editor has been suspended from the paper while they investigate. Sands said that “We have immediately reviewed our procedures. We are devastated that an embargo was breached and offer our heartfelt apologies.” The paper – like all London papers for decades – had been briefed on the chancellor’s speech, on the condition that it would be under an embargo and keep it secret until the chancellor sat down. Budget leaks are a serious business, having the power to undermine Parliament and move international markets. But Gordon Brown’s former spokesman, Charles Whelan, had attested that since the creation of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook this sort of thing had become more common. The consequences of Wednesday’s blunder have yet to be seen – but after being suspended from the paper, the junior journalist is already seeing the consequences of breaching an embargo..

Cats Protection Crisis

Cats Protection Crisis

The number of cats at the Watford and Three Rivers branch of the Cats Protection has reached a ‘crisis point’, according to the Watford Observer, due to the economic crisis and many cats not being neutered. This has been happening in the run up to Christmas and after especially. Many people believe to have had ‘just not enough money to feed them’. Most cats are sent to the Cats Protection or the RSPCA, but others are dumped on the doorstep of their local Vets. Carol, a Vet who works at our local Vets surgery, says that this is ‘quite risky, as many surgeries just put them down. Obviously we try not to do that, and try and advertise for new owners ourselves. Of course, some cats are just too old and it would be kinder to put them down’. It is also believed that some people hear cats yowling on the street and believe they are strays when really they are just outside cats. These people ‘rescue’ them by putting the cat outside the local Vets surgery or taking them to an animal’s charity. Out of the public that we interviewed, more than sixty percent said that if they heard a cat on the street, they would think it was a stray. Carol also mentioned that many people give food to greedy cats that often live in the next street and think it is a stray. Amanda, a fosterer for Cats Protection, said that the same thing happened to the cat she is currently fostering, Arnold. Now he has had to be put on a diet. Amanda says that ‘we expected him to be crying out for food, but he really is very quiet’. The Cats Protection have said that the reasons for this crisis could be that: Adoption inquiries have fallen by 55%. Give up a cat and ‘report a stray’ requests have increased by 34%. Previously, when phoning the Watford Branch, you would be put straight through to Linda Tyrrell. Recently this was changed to being greeted only with a recorded message saying that they are unable to take any more cats in, and mentioning phone numbers to call if you want to foster or adopt. Luckily this is no longer the case. Cats Protection believes that the way forward is for more people to foster or adopt and more people to neuter. This lessens the number of unwanted kittens..

LIFE MORE STRESSFUL FOR WOMEN?

LIFE MORE STRESSFUL FOR WOMEN?

A huge difference in stress levels between men and women could be the possible cause of long-term health problems according to the Psychological Society’s new scientific study; a worry to the students of Watford Grammar School for Girls. This discovery was based on the YouGov survey of 2,078 people, asking them about their level of stress depending on certain key life events.  They found that on average, women were 9-10% more troubled about serious illness and money problems than men, 13% more worried about the possibility of moving to a larger house and were 24% more nervous about terrorist attacks. However, when it came to childbirth, men and women were equally worried. Key findings also mention Scotland being the most stressed area and the South East of England, luckily, being the least stressed. After asking WGGS students about their views on how their higher stress levels could possibly cause long-term health problems, one said, ’it is quite concerning that the level of stress women are under is not being noticed more if it is the cause of some long-term mental health issues. Shouldn’t the government be taking more steps to assist with problems such as this?’ A teacher also mentioned that, biologically, women have a stressful personality and that previously, gender roles were extremely stressful for women but now, with a balance between genders, it is less of a problem going forward. The aim of this project is to raise awareness of the effects of stress on the body as this could have a real impact on women's health and the well-being of WGGS students. Also, according to a study by US researchers, brain activity is said to be a 'key in stress link to brain activity.'.

Annual book week a great success at WGGS!

Annual book week a great success at WGGS!

From Monday 5th to Friday 9th March, Watford Grammar School for Girls saw the annual rebirth of Book Week, an event jam-packed with activities relating to English that inspired our minds to read more. We were made aware of the fact that many children do not own a book, and book week was the perfect time to address the issue and promote reading campaigns. We were also very privileged to be visited by two award-winning authors: Anne Cassidy and Marcus Sedgwick who talked to us extensively about their novels. However, the anticipated book week dress up, undertaken by the year sevens on Wednesday 6th March was the spotlight holder. Some of the teachers also got involved. One of the biggest events of the day was an assembly that was held by our Headmistress where we all got a look at the immense effort used in some of the costumes. Some of the most intriguing costumes were called up to the stage to explain their identity, the most memorable being a horse from Michael Morpurgo's book "War Horse", a Mad Hatter, Cleopatra and a weeping angel, amongst many other bold costumes. They were showcased again when the year sevens held a fashion show in the gym, where the incredibly hard decision was made by the teachers to pick the best.  The Mad Hatter was victorious.   The students also had the opportunity to purchase a book, courtesy of a visit by local booksellers and we also received a book token to extend our reading even further. It was a very enjoyable week for all the students and we all certainly cannot wait for next year’s surprises!   .

Commonwealth Observance Ceremony 2013

Commonwealth Observance Ceremony 2013

2 Billion People. 54 countries. One very special celebration: The Commonwealth Observance Ceremony 2013 On Monday 12th March, Ms Towe, an English teacher at WGGS and the Head Girl Team consisting of Ru, Louise, Nikki and Amy travelled to Westminster Abbey for the first time and got to experience the Ceremony first-hand. They described their experience as ‘an honour, a very exciting trip and a pleasure to see Heads of States and royals personally.’ The theme this year was ‘Opportunity through Enterprise’ which focused on celebrating the innovation, hard work and creative thinking of citizens throughout the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, the Queen was unable to attend and deliver her message as she continued to recover from an illness that left her hospitalized. However, the event still had some sparkle with enthralling speakers including John Agard, the flamboyant poet and Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group. It is tradition at WGGS very year, for the Head Girl Team and a selected teacher to go and witness the event. Ru said that she always looked forward to each year’s Head Girl Team’s assembly and also mentioned that this event wasn’t taught in school and so it was a huge surprise. Also, once the 1 000 school children has been selected from both primary and secondary levels, they had to enter a competition and write a piece on the theme.    Throughout the afternoon there were performers from across the Commonwealth including Beverly Knight MBE, the Queen of British soul and the world renowned Choir of Westminster Abbey to bring a commonwealth-based musical edge to the ceremony. Overall, the afternoon was a delight and a one-in-million opportunity with fruitful benefits, and Ms Towe with the Head Girl team both agree that it’s an opportunity you shouldn’t miss..

EU REFERENDUM:WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

EU REFERENDUM:WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

EU REFERENDUM: What Happens Next? Will the UK Sink or Swim without the EU? Voting amongst the UK will take place on June 23rd 2016 and it will be decided whether or not the UK will be part of the EU or not. On June 23rd 2016, a decision will be made by the public, regarding if the UK should still be part of the EU. On this set date voters will have the chance to decide, whether they would want to stay with EU, or leave. The outcome of this decision would affect the UK, Europe and even history. A referendum is a vote that has a “yes or no” answer and whichever side gains more votes wins the debate. The European Union was formed just after World War 2 because of the thought that countries working together would be less likely to go to war with each other. It is a group of 28 European countries which often trade with each other and they have their own laws and regulations. Our Prime Minister, David Cameron, has taken drastic steps to win over the European Union leaders. David Cameron talks about Britain being stronger and safer, in a reformed Europe. He says that Britain can survive on its own but can be better together. On the other side of the scale, six Tory MP’s (the leave campaign) pledged their commitment and would be campaigning for the country’s exit from the EU. Some local residents and workers gave their thoughts and opinions on the EU referendum while shopping at INTU shopping centre, Watford. Mrs O’Connor, who has lived in Watford all her life, had this to say about the EU referendum. “I feel the UK should leave as we are a small island who can only cope so much with the influx of migration, also the schools and hospitals are suffering.” Mr O’Sullivan, who is a market trader at the Watford market, also gave his opinion. “Trade is the biggest issue for me during the referendum, I feel the restriction of free movement of goods within Europe could be very bad for Britain.” Mr Bradley, a customer at Halifax, is a ninety year old war veteran. He was one of the last people interviewed, “In my view I feel Britain is losing its sovereignty and should leave.” After to speaking to a number of people in Watford, some politicians also gave their view on the EU referendum. Richard Harrington, MP for Watford Conservative party, gave his personal opinion, “EU is the best way to protect our jobs and maintain our security it is better to remain inside a reformed European Union.” He also felt that the migration and housing problem will not be solved by the UK exiting the EU. He commented on the trade and economy being at a risk if UK exited. Another important person who was interviewed was Baroness Sal Brinton, the Liberal Democrat party president. Sal Brinton said, “If we leave the EU we will move into a limbo for at least two years whilst the exit package is agreed.” She also feels that leaving provides more problems than just the economy like the European arrest warrant which helps with major crimes this would be unsolved. Sal Brinton believes that the UK is strong in the EU and the EU will be stronger with us in it. We have asked multiple people and they have also given their opinions. Deputy Head Miss Tai said that: “If we leave the EU many people will realise how much the EU has an impact on us as a country. Restricting the workforce would be bad because we need the workforce to be flexible. Also, products will be more expensive and it will reduce the range of goods. However A person who said they would like to remain anonymous had a different view on this, they said, “We should leave because we need to be independent and if something goes wrong we cannot blame the EU.” Another person who would also like to remain anonymous agreed with this, and said, “There are good and bad points. There would be benefits if we restrict migrant workforce. Our sixteen and seventeen year olds will not be able to vote in the EU referendum, this is a real shame as it is their country as their future. There will definitely be a long wait until July 23rd 2016, when the final decision is made and to see what the future holds for Britain. THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS.

Marcus Sedgwick Interview

Marcus Sedgwick Interview

Marcus Sedgwick visited Watford Grammar School for Girls on the Friday 9th March to talk to the year 8 girls as part of the Book Week. From how he constructs ideas to travelling abroad, Marcus said that it can take several years to write a book, despite the actual writing merely taking a month. He said the time consuming part of his job is the research which involves travelling to the setting of his book, reading old novels for inspiration and watching Star Wars. “My favourite book when I was younger was definitely a book called Gormenghast which is a magical trilogy similar to Lord of the Rings”. He said his books are incomparable and choosing a favourite is like choosing your favourite child; it is impossible. “There are different things I like about individual books, but I don’t have a favourite.” But the best part about being an author? “Every time my book gets published in a different country I get paid again. I don’t translate the books so I get paid for doing nothing-it’s great!” Some of Marcus’s most famous books include My Swordhand Is Singing and Revolver, and we wait with anticipation for his next book..

Learning Pen to Get Your Grammar Right

Learning Pen to Get Your Grammar Right

This ‘Lernstift,’ (or ‘learning pen’) has been programmed to vibrate when it spots that its owner has made a spelling or grammatical mistake. It requires no special paper or ink, and all started with a German father watching his son playing with his toys. This revolutionary invention was inspired by the motion sensor on a toy helicopter. If these helicopters are able to fly around using motion technology then a pen with the same programming would be able to recognise what is written, when calibrated to the owners handwriting. It can be wired up to an app to give more detail on the mistake that was made. It is able to take in the context of what is being written, similar to voice recognition. Many teachers would happily allow this in their classrooms. Mrs Sutherland, Head of English told us it would make students more aware of the accuracy of their writing and would help them proofread without actually having to read their work through. Mr Cattini, a Technology teacher said that it would mean that pupils can work more independently. Also, Miss Barr, a Geography teacher said that ‘it would help with their sentence structure and spelling.’ Trisha, a year 8 student said ‘I think it would help me make less mistakes in my writing. It might also be good for improving my confidence especially in languages work. It would help me when I was learning vocabulary and let me make corrections easily.’ Maisie, a student said ’my spelling would be improved when I am writing. It could also reduce stress on teachers when they are marking. It would improve my work and make it neater and mostly correct. It could also help with my handwriting in my books.’ Miss Barr also thought that it would slow learning down and they won’t ask about their grammar in order to learn from their mistakes she also didn’t think it would help children with disabilities as they would become alarmed at the vibrating, so she suggested that a light comes on instead to be subtle and not alarming. She also made the point that little kids might see it as a toy and make mistakes on purpose because they like the feel of the vibration. Mr Cattini explained that pupils will still need help and support from teachers if school rules about mobile phones mean that the correction app can not be used and therefore pupils wouldn’t know how to correct their mistakes. Finally, Mrs Sutherland made the point that it might make those students who make mistakes more conscious and stop the flow of their ideas if it’s constantly vibrating. New models will be brought in the summer and stocks will be supplied publicly next year..

Young Drivers Shown the Red Light

Young Drivers Shown the Red Light

A new law has been proposed that young people aged 17-24 in the UK should not be on the roads after 10pm. This is in order to decrease the amount of accidents caused by young people as they have caused 1/5 of them. This could save £224m and cut casualty numbers by 4,471. Teenagers will have to wait a year longer than currently before, before they are allowed to take their driving test. New drivers would also face a curfew between 22:00 and 05:00 unless a passenger aged over 30 was in the car.  It recommends a one-year "learner stage" beginning at 17, during which drivers would have to total at least 100 hours of daytime and 20 hours of night-time practice under supervision. Learners can then take their test at 18 and, if they pass, will get a temporary licence and have to display a green "P" plate. Other proposals under consideration for young drivers are a ban on all mobile phone use, including hands-free phones, and a lower alcohol limit. After the 12-month probationary period, when they are being checked on, drivers will automatically graduate to a full licence and unrestricted driving. Mrs Meerabux thought it was “ridiculous” to penalise responsible drivers because of irresponsible people. Instead maybe people aged 17-18 should have a limit.  They shouldn’t introduce this law because parents encourage their children to drive so they can be more independent. She also said that responsible drivers are safer on their own. She told us that young drivers might have more accidents because of their lack of experience, peer pressure and showing off. Also that it’s true of young males. As an alternative Mrs Meerabux suggested putting a little black box under your car to monitor your speed or introduce similar machines. Elise, a sixth former at WGGS, thought it would be a good idea because it would cut down the number of casualties but it might reduce freedom for young people. She said that 24 is a fully grown adult and if they work night shifts or have children then it would be hard to work around that. Elise said that young people have more accidents on the road because they have less experience, they drink and boys are more prone to immature things. Instead of enforcing this law Elise thought we should educate people about road safety and make people more aware of this issue. Mr Gibbs, a driving instructor of IDT driving school. He agreed with the proposed law, because ‘some of the most common accidents that occur after 10pm involve young drivers with other young people in the car and when no other vehicles are involved.’   He thought that ‘any legislation that decreases the amount of accidents caused by young people must be an advantage.’ One disadvantage is that the independence of young drivers would be curtailed and they would need to continue to rely on parents driving them to and from late night parties. Research has shown that one of the main reasons that so many young people have accidents is because the decision making part of the human brain is not fully developed until the age of 25. Consequently this together with driving in the dark, drink and drugs, lack of experience, peer pressure and other distractions can cause delays in reacting appropriately to the road and traffic conditions. Similar to Elise's view, he feels that ‘More education is needed, beyond that required to pass the driving test, in how the internal and external influences on young people can affect their driving,’ so that they can develop strategies which will minimise the causes of accidents and so that they will also understand the potential consequences of not applying these strategies. Overall, young people may have to adapt to this idea, and it may have a significant impact on road deaths..

Printing progess at WGGS!

Printing progess at WGGS!

WGGS has recently launched a new printing system and there are mixed emotions as to whether it is improving the school or not. A month on, how have WGGS managed with this change?  Some people may think this system is hard to use but others find it a great investment. Miss Leonard, a teacher at WGGS thinks that this new system is benefitting the school because it gives you more control over what you print and we can now print A3. You can now go to pick it up anywhere in the school. Miss Leonard doesn’t mind having to walk to printers to get to them and thinks that they have been installed so the school can save money and be more technically advanced. Before she may have tried to print a PowerPoint but it would print pages which were unnecessary so it would waste paper. However some disadvantages are that in the mornings or at break there may be a queue to print and it is crowded. Students of 8D thought that it is benefiting the school greatly for similar reasons to Miss Leonard. They will also save electricity because the printer will not be continuously printing work that will soon be thrown in the bin. Some people like that you don’t have to go to the stables to top up credit, you can simply use Parentpay.You know that nobody will take your work accidentally at the printer or that you will accidently take their work which makes you feel less anxious. However it is good to know when and where your document is to be printed.  Luckily, you can print out what you want anywhere in the school ‘and you can print A3 now which is cool’ said a pupil. Unfortunately, the machines are very expensive to set up and confusing to operate at times and the 48-hour time restriction and slow processing of work can be a bother. A handful of 8D did not like having to walk really far to the printers because it wastes time, but most believe that the advantages of the printers out weigh the negatives so it is worth it to walk a little bit more than before to help the environment. ‘The printers used to be in different rooms anyway’ a pupil stated. ‘It’s good quality printers so it’s worth getting up’ said another. Overall, teachers and pupils believe that WGGS has saved time, money, paper and electricity with this change and it has definitely changed our school for the better and made us more ‘technically advanced’. By Jodie and Gemma.

Tesco Chief Executive Quits

Tesco Chief Executive Quits

Richard Brasher is stepping down after only a year of his job as boss of Tesco’s. This is following news that Tesco’s market share has dropped below 30%. This was caused by Tesco’s first profit warning in 20 years. Tesco has announced that it will focus on its online shopping and improving existing stores instead of building new ones. Supermarket  Feb 2012  Feb 2011 Tesco  29.7%  30.3% Asda  17.5%  17.5% Sainsbury's  16.6%  16.5% Morrisons  12.2%  12.3% The Co-operative   6.3%  6.7% Waitrose  4.5%  4.4% Tesco recently spent £500m on price cuts but the initiative failed to raise enough money to raise share prices. The sales period over Christmas was the worst one in approximately 20 years. Philip Clarke who is taking over from Richard Brasher denies having a row with him. Mr Clarke said "He will leave behind a UK business which has very strong plans for improvement and, over the last two months, these plans are beginning to show progress, in line with our expectations. "I am more determined than ever that these improvements in the UK will result in a better Tesco and an even better shopping trip for customers." Two-thirds of Tesco’s income comes from the UK but more and more shoppers are finding Tesco’s competitors cheaper. But whether they can rise to the challenge and defeat the opposition is down to Philip Clarke. But will he suceed? Only time will tell..

BBC News School Report - the wait is almost over...

BBC News School Report - the wait is almost over...

Students from this school will be making the news for real on 27 March 2014 as they take part in BBC News School Report. We aim to publish the news by 1600 GMT on News Day, so please save this page as a favourite and return to it later. The pupils will also be presenting the news live to the whole of Y8 at school at 2pm on that day! Meanwhile, take a look at the stories we have been working on since October..

BBC News School Report 2014 is underway!

BBC News School Report 2014 is underway!

Watford Grammar School for Girls' BBC News School Reporters are hard at work choosing and researching their stories for their live broadcast at 2pm! Check back later to see their stories.  .

Head girl team and WGGS teachers sit just a few inches from the Queen

Head girl team and WGGS teachers sit just a few inches from the Queen

On the 9th of March, the Head gGrl team and two teachers from WGGS were invited to attend the Commonwealth Day ceremony at Westminster Abbey, to celebrate the Commonwealth of Nations. Commonwealth Day is held annually on the second Monday in March and is attended by the whole Royal family. As well as the royal family being present, there were also young ambassadors from each country involved in the Commonwealth, holding up their flags and representing their countries. This year the Commonwealth Day was dedicated to young pupils. The theme was: 'A Young Commonwealth'.  The head girl team, Mrs Joyce and Mr Bevan were privileged enough to be invited to this special occasion by Dame Helen Hyde. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and they enjoyed it very much. Mr Bevan, bubbling with excitement, explained to us that he felt 'very odd' yet very grateful and honoured. When Mr Bevan found out that he would be attending (less than a week before) the Commonwealth Day ceremony, he said he felt 'disbelief, joy and gratitude'. Overall, he felt that the whole event was immensely 'inspiring' and he said that the most memorable part of the day was when he sang the National anthem directly to Her Majesty, as she slowly proceeded in front of them.  Mrs Joyce, who also present at the celebration, said that it was a very 'moving and exciting' day. Beaming with pride, she told us that she was 'a few inches, nearer to centimetres' away from the Queen. She said that the most memorable part of the day was the first entrance of the Queen and that if she got the chance to do this all again, she would look forward to the 'motivational speakers' the most. She expressed that it 'exceeded her expectations' and that it was a 'unique occassion'. The Deputy Head Girl, Claire, told us that she especially enjoyed listening to the young speaker from Sierra Leone, PJ Cole, because it really inspired her to appreciate what she has. She said "I felt that it was a very significant day, as it promoted unity and encouraged children to have values. It spread the message of acceptance and equality around the world." She also expressed that she was excited about 'wearing the boater hats'. She described the event as being 'spectacular and celebratory' and that it 'surpassed her thoughts'. In conclusion, the Commonwealth this year was aimed at young children and was an unforgettable experience for all those that attended..

The Future Solution, For An Endless Supply Of Drinking Water

The Future Solution, For An Endless Supply Of Drinking Water

Bill Gates has drunk a recycled glass of water, which was human sewage five minutes ago, to publicize technology, he reckons could provide clean water and electricity in the developing world. The Microsoft founder played a major role in the project, which was welcomed by WaterAid. He said that it could particularly help in urban areas. The billionaire businessman, Peter Janicki, and charity boss, Bill Gates, have revealed a machine that turns human waste into clean, safe drinking water, whilst generating power in the process. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded the project. The charity is trying to raise awareness of a major problem in poorer parts of the world, where over 2.5 billion people worldwide lack clean, drinking water and cannot access fresh water. Without clean water, there is a very high risk that disease can spread too easily, and put many lives, especially children’s, in danger.  According to a report released by the World Health Organization and Unicef in 2014, data, which was collected two years earlier, showed that billions of people did not have “improved sanitation facilities”. A company in America has produced a machine, which is called an ‘Omni-processor’. This machine not only gets rid of poo, but also converts it into drinking water, ash, and produces electricity to spare. The engineers are hoping that if they can get it working in developing countries, it could save millions of lives every year, since poo is the one thing we all produce, so nothing will go to waste, and there will be an endless supply! Bill Gates watched as the human waste was fed into the processor, before drinking the end product from a glass, and was 100% satisfied that the water was safe, having studied the engineering behind it. He said: “The water tasted as good as any I’ve had out of a bottle. I would happily drink it every day!” The developer of the Omni-processor system, Peter Janicki, explained how the machine worked. First, the raw “sewer sludge” is boiled in the ‘dryer’. During the process, the water vapour is separated from the solids. Those solids are then put into a very hot fire, producing steam to drive the engine, and producing electricity for the system’s processor, with some to spare for the local community. Finally, the water is put through a cleaning system to produce drinking water. Turning waste into drinking water is a genius idea; because people who live in less-economically developed countries can be prevented from developing more diseases, mentally and physically. Diseases caused by poor sanitation kills as many as 700,000 children every year. This machine can develop safe, affordable ways to get rid of human waste, and can stop many of the deaths, and help more children grow up healthier. WaterAid said the introduction of this type of machine could “help to facilitate the need to complete the sanitation cycle, by developing a market for the creation of a sustainable service.” The company are hoping for the Omni-processor to go ahead in Senegal later this year, and they are also hoping to begin sending working plants to India and other countries soon after.  The Omni-processor can change millions of people's lives and will hopefully become a worldwide, successful solution to clean sanitation in the future..

Father In Search Of Answers

Father In Search Of Answers

Geoff Dunsmore the father of Chris Dunsmore is determined to find if his son ‘died in vain’? Geoff travels to Basra following his sons’ footsteps in did my son die in vain. The BBC documentary engages us in Geoff’s on -going journey for answers about the death of his RAF reservist son Chris who was killed in 2007. On 18th April 2007, Chris Dunsmore wrote about his relief as he had luckily avoided being killed in a rocket attack. “I’m lucky to be alive” he wrote joyfully.  Three months later his diary had sadly come to an end, his diary was found charred and the edges burnt to ashes.  Geoff has never believed for a second that Chris died in vain, saying that his son believed in what he was doing and believed in why he was going to Iraq. Geoff’s journey explores the ways in which how his son died and exactly where in Basra. He finds out the impact of war to the soldiers and to the residents of Basra. And, in the sullen, dusty heat, he reflects on his son, his son’s life and sadly his death  Geoff visited the base in Basra where Chris was killed, on the day he was packing to return home for two weeks’ leave. “Talking to these families has made me question not Chris’s involvement but the wider picture,” he said.  Documentaries like this are seen as ‘un reviewable’ as it is such an emotional programme. The reviewer’s little bag of adjectives (“moving”, “thought-provoking”) hardly seem equal to the job of evaluating such a huge and horrible subject matter.  I wouldn’t presume to answer the question in the programme’s title. All I can say is that I’m glad it was made. I just wish it hadn’t had to be..

Compassionate pay for all?

Compassionate pay for all?

  The loss of a loved one or a close relative can really bring you down. However the loss of your child might only get you between 2-3 days off to grieve. Should workers get paid for compassionate leave?  When the son of a father that had sadly passed away in his arms, John was utterly crushed. However just after a couple of days of grieving he felt pressured into going back to work.  According to the government a “reasonable” amount of time should only be between 2-3 days to grieve the loss of a family member. Often this time should be used to prepare for funerals or to actually attend the funeral.  “One reason for not creating a bereavement leave entitlement is that individuals take different periods of time to grieve” said a Government spokeswoman. However the length and pay status of the time off depends on the employee's contract and the judgement of the employer. Generally bereavement leave - also known as compassionate leave - is usually between three to five days.  Saddened employees usually feel this time just isn’t enough; therefore workers take time from their annual leave and holiday time or alternatively take sick leave to bury their loved ones.  Herd, who has been steadily campaigning to change the law since her son Jack died, says that the lack of legislation leaves employees at the mercy of their bosses.  "One lady I met had lost her father and took her five days off, and within three months her mother had died. The company told her she had already used her bereavement entitlement and was expected to come back to work," she says. Furthermore a builder, lost his daughter to sudden infant death syndrome and was expected back five days later, she adds. Of course bereavement affects some people for the rest of their lives and others not at all. However some people need to get back to work immediately and avoid isolation at home, says counselling psychologist Emmy van Deurzen. There's also the consideration of whose death would qualify for bereavement leave.  But Herd says that above all there needs to be public debate..

BBC scores goal for female netballers

BBC scores goal for female netballers

Watford Girls are delighted at BBC TV showing English netball for the first time, as the English Roses take on the Australian Diamonds in the International Quad Series. On Sunday 5th February, English netball was shown for the first time on BBC television, the International Quad Series continued. In the past, English netball matches have been displayed on a minor Sky Sports channel. Being a national television channel, BBC is another step up for England Netball Association. The English Roses challenged the Australian Diamonds at the SSE Wembley Area, seating 12,500, but after putting up a tough fight were beaten by one goal (46-47). Netball is England’s biggest female sport, with 92,000 affiliated young women, and despite being an Olympic recognized sport (a status gained in only 1995), it has still never been played at the Summer Olympics; the main reason that it isn’t an Olympic sport is that it is mostly played by females. Female sport has progressed rapidly since the very beginning. Due to sexual discrimination, women’s rights to even sports came very late. It took until 1900 for the first 19 women to compete in the modern Olympic Games, where they could only play tennis, croquet, and golf. By 1908, among 2008 athletes, there were only 36 female athletes who could now compete in archery, sailing, skating, tennis, and water motor sports. In 1940, Mary Denise Rand was the first British woman to win an Olympic medal. Today, women make up 45% of athletes. James Oyesola, a 20 year-old sports coach currently working at Watford Football Club, has provided us some extra inforrmation on the subject of women's sport. 'There does seem to be a different attitude towards sport from girls and boys, but really it depends on how you've been brought up and in what environment.' He also says that about 99% of the reasons why kids enjoy sport is simply because it's fun.' In terms of female sport he says that 'younger girls tend to enjoy more sport than older. In today's society, you look around and see men's sport. Boys grow very physically different to girls so by their teenage years PE is completely seperated. To improve young women's view of sport, there needs to be more funding for female sport and activity as well as more encouragement from both genders'. Four 13-year-old girls from Watford Grammar School gave their views on women’s sport. Their opinion is that ‘Women’s sport doesn’t get enough attention’; ‘it isn’t as talked about’; it is ‘under acknowledged and a lot less people are willing to join’. Fifty girls were asked how many of them actually enjoyed physical activity and 26 did, about half of girls. They enjoy sport because it is ‘fun', helps them 'make friends’  and one student replied that it 'makes me feel healthy and fit’.  Another said, 'I feel positive, mentally and physically healthy.’ They felt to make it more fun it should ‘be encouraged more’ , ‘less competitive’ and  ‘more to do with friends than being assessed’..

Petitions grow nationwide for sign language in the curriculum

Petitions grow nationwide for sign language in the curriculum

With currently 11 million people in the UK with hearing loss, the British Sign Language is currently fighting its way to be a part of the National Curriculum. In 2003, British Sign Language was recognised by the government as a language in its own right and although it is not a compulsory language to teach, schools are still free to teach it aside from teaching another compulsory language. Recently, a petition was been held for BSL to be a part of the curriculum, however, so far just under a quarter of the 100,000 signings needed to be considered for debate in Parliament have actually been signed. At Watford Grammar Girls School, French, German, Spanish and Latin are the languages of which at least one must be taken for GCSE, however, on hearing about the idea of learning sign language in school most think that they ‘would find it very interesting’ and that ‘it is important to understand and communicate with each and every one of us so that ‘every child can get the same opportunities in their childhood as each other’. On average, 13-year-old girls only know one or less people with hearing loss. A famous childhood programme, ‘Mr Tumble’, is one of the only children’s programmes to incorporate sign language, as well as teaching the viewers. Nine out of ten Watford Girls could say that they used to watch ‘Mr Tumble’ and that there should be ‘more programmes’ like this. Many could even remember some of the basic actions to this day. Watford Girls sixth-former, Zahra, knows and teaches sign language. (She currently runs the Watford Girls Sign language club.) Compared to the languages that are taught at WGGS, it is ‘much easier’, ‘the grammar is very different’ and ‘it is very much more to do with facial expressions- hence- the concept that speaking sign language prevents wrinkles when you are older’. On asking about her thoughts on the BSL petition, Zahra disagreed despite her passion with sign language ‘because it is something that you can learn on the side as a hobby.’ Zahra herself has learnt sign language on the side of learning her Modern Foreign Languages at Watford Girls yet she is still ‘fluent in the language as well as understanding it’. In terms of the future, ‘sign language interpreters earn a lot and I am definitely considering going into the health side of British Sign language’..

Confirmed Statue in Honour of Graham Taylor

Confirmed Statue in Honour of Graham Taylor

The Watford FC's manager, Graham Taylor has recently passed away, however that doesn't mean that he isn't still both remembered and respected by the local community.  It has finally been confirmed that his legecy will be commemerated by a new statue. But what do the people at our school feel about this? Graham Taylor was one of Watford's best coaches as he lead them to victory on a number of occasions. We have collected a few views from students of Watford Grammar School for Girls on how they feel about this future memorial.  "I feel that it's good that we are getting a new statue of him as he was widely respected and an amazing manager.  It is very well deserved."  "I think its good as he was the only Watford manager who made Watford do well in its football career.".

Gender Inequality

Gender Inequality

Gender inequality is a major problem faced by women all over the globe in their everyday lives and although most societies strive to rid this attitude it is still occurring to this day. With emphasis being heavily placed upon keeping fit and healthy, by the government and media, most people nowadays either try to have regular daily exercise or own a membership for their local gym. However, when a female paediatrician from Balsham, Cambridgeshire, joined Pure Gym she was surprised to find out that the eight-code digit she had been given to enter the changing room had failed and she could not enter inside. Upon contacting staff she was told that because she was registered with the title 'Dr' the computer system had automatically assumed that she was a man. She was told that the system in place could not be altered and that she would have to lose her title. Dr Louise Selby, 31, was left speechless and was outraged by the Cambridge gym's archaic attitude and blatant sexism. The gym has apologised for any offence caused and says that they are trying to fix the computer bug that created the issue. We find gender equality everywhere but this issue has been predominantly focused around the workplace. A survey in 2013, by the law firm Slater and Gordon, found that 60% of working women had experienced inappropriate behaviour from male colleagues. Another survey, by Opinion Matters, of 1000 working women and mothers in 2014 revealed that 36% feel they have experienced prejudice because of their gender. This is true in nearly all professions, including teaching. Upon speaking to the Director of Teaching and Learning at Watford Grammar School for Girls, Miss Hart, I discovered that she was one of the women subjected to gender inequality. 'I was 1 of only 3 women teaching in an all-boys school and all of the male teachers told me I should have been at home.' She also said that her male colleagues used to mock her gender by leaving 'knitting patterns and cooking tips' on her desk. When asked how to combat this issue for future generations, she told me that the best way was to 'educate boys and girls' and to not be afraid to 'speak out' when it happens..

Zumba! Dance Yourself Healthy!

Zumba! Dance Yourself Healthy!

IS ZUMBA THE LAST STRAW FOR OBESITY AND CARDIAC DISEASE? Zumba is a Latin-inspired fitness progamme which helps people of allergies to improve their health in fun and exciting ways. Britain is Zumba’s second biggest market with more than 4.8million people regularly attending community fitness and dance groups each year in England alone. There are many health benefits to Zumba. The hip and waist actions help to improve weak immune systems by building them up to became stronger. In addition to this, Zumba supports to increase bone density, thicken muscle tones, shape your body, decrease body fat and blood pressure as well as anxiety and depression and allows you to have better control over your blood sugar levels. So what’s not to like? I attended a local Zumba class and asked the participants why they attended. One lady said, ‘I benefit quite a lot actually because, it’s fun, exciting, and enjoyable but at the same time, I lose some calories and it helps me from getting cardiac disease. Honestly, Zumba is worth it because, in a way, it helps you to stay alive.’ Statistics back up her view. One hour of Zumba burns between 400 to 600 calories; therefore, helps to reduce weight. Obesity is a major healthproblem in UK for example, in England, in 2010; a survey was carried out to find out the level of obesity from different age groups. These were the results:  ‘62.8% of adults (aged 16 or over) were overweight or obese 30.3% of children (aged 2-15) were overweight or obese 26.1% of all adults and 16% of all children were obese.’ Recently, I interviewed Nikki Clark, a qualified and professional Zumba instructor and from her experience, she reported that many of her students have lost weight from when they first started: ‘I have noticed several changes. Women feel that they have lost weight because their clothes are too loose for them and many women, who feel stressed, overcome that feeling once they have done Zumba.’ Another major benefit of Zumba is prevention of cardiovascular disease, a major disease which involves the heart and the circulatory system. It is the biggest killer in the UK (bigger than breast cancer) and in the survey which took place in 2009, around one third of the population suffered from this disease and died. Here is one solution available: do Zumba! Government The Government advises everyone to do at least one hundred and fifty minutes of exercise per week in order to stay healthy. One of these exercises could be Zumba. They also recommend that we should have a healthy diet that is balanced. So, overall I conclude that Zumba does help obesity and cardiac disease because of the aerobic moves but, from the interview with Nikki Clark, she feels that Zumba can support these issues but is not the only solution. So, what do you think? Remember: the more exercise you do, the better benefits you get! Zumba is a way to achieve this!!.

World Famous Violinist Visits WGGS

World Famous Violinist Visits WGGS

Dr Tasmin Little OBE had visited Watford Girls School, on Monday 11th March, to not only provide them with a professional master class but has also inspired many girls. Dr Little is an English classical violinist, who had travelled to every continent in the world, along with her Stradivarius violin. On Monday 11th March, she visited an academic school, Watford Grammar School for Girls, to tutor a group of specially chosen pupils about stringed instruments. As well as this, she also inspired them and coached the chamber and the senior string orchestra. Ms Bridges, the Head of the Music Department, said that: ‘We were very privileged and her visit brought huge rewards to the school. She was an absolute inspiration to all of us which will take our orchestra to a new level.’ Thanks to Dr Little’s techniques and advice, the spring concert which took place on Tuesday 19th March at Watford Grammar School for Girls, had been a great success, providing the audience with pleasure and entertainment. The spring concert included music from the school Glee club, the choir, orchestras and many other programmes involving individuals and groups from Watford Girls. A student from Watford Girls reported that: ‘The atmosphere of the concert was  vibrant and the music played reflected the theme of spring. Overall, my experience was fantastic’ From this, we can definitely define that Watford Grammar School for Girls is a school full of music and is extremely lucky to have had a famous violinist visit the school!.

Is the online world 'killing off' bookshops?

Is the online world 'killing off' bookshops?

During January of 2015, it was reported that the number of independent bookshops in the whole of England, has fallen below 1000 due to the rapid growth of Amazon and E-books. The bookshops that have provided novels, information books and more, for years and years, are gradually disappearing; 400 over the course of 2012, 67 in London alone during 2013, with the numbers increasing in later years. Many bookshops that have shut down that have graced the streets of Britain since the early 1900s, such as the Ilbis Bookshop in Banstead Surrey (thought to be the oldest bookshop in the county), that had been going for 76 years. Another victim is the Lion and Unicorn Bookshop in Richmond, South-west London, which had been a successful bookstore for 37 years. This bookshop was lucky enough to Roald Dahl as its guest of honour at its opening, which some people say makes it ‘even sadder’ that it's closed. But why are so many popular bookshops closing down?  Bookshops may be perfectly good and acceptable, but is going out to a bookshop (where you have to queue up, and pay, and travel home afterwards) easier than clicking on a ‘order’ button on websites like Amazon? Our society is constantly looking for the best option of doing something, which means that when an easier thing does arise, everybody forgets about the old method. It appears that this is a case,  with bookshop numbers halfing in the last 7 years. It is arguable whether this is a good or bad thing... Denise, mother of 4, says, ‘I remember buying countless books for my kids when they were younger from bookstores, and how they loved to curl up on a chair in the atmospheric shop, devouring each page. It makes me sad to think how my grandchildren won’t experience the same’.  On the other hand, a school teacher from Hatch End, Mrs Maguire says, ‘Although I love bookshops, I see that there are more practical options- we just have to accept that rather than clinging to old habits.’ So, it has been made clear that the online world is causing the numbers of bookshops to steadily decrease. It has been predicted that there will be fewer than 500 bookshops in Britain by 2020- but the sales of Amazon books and E-books will be even greater by that time.    .

'Flying Cars' to be gracing the skies by 2017

'Flying Cars' to be gracing the skies by 2017

On March 17th, 2015, it was revealed by a Slovakian company, that they’d finished building a prototype for a ‘flying car’. The company (AeroMobil) swear that their flying cars will be in the air by 2017, with a limited amount of 1000 cars at the most. The prototype (slightly larger in size than a BMW), both drives and flies, simultaneously. However, some people argue that it’s too similar to a plane- which completely eliminates its Unique Selling Point of being a car that flies, rather than a plane that drives. Despite the strong opinions of those against the Flying Car, some have admitted that it does have an outstanding difference to a plane. It has a very short take-off, consequently not needing a runway: not only this, but it can take-off from paved streets or parkland. This new invention can reach an amazing speed of 160kph when driving on ground, yet can also fly at 200kph (when using its twin propellers). But the AeroMobil company won’t trust anybody with their Flying Cars; you have to have a license to pilot a plane, plus be able to pay up the huge fee. The cost of a Flying Car isn’t completely fixed yet, but those at AeroMobil say  that it’ll be ‘under £1million’ but ‘in the hundreds of thousands’. Those owning both a license and the cash, will be playing ‘tug-of-war’ to get the small stock of Flying Cars, says car-lover Mark Maguire  .

Squash Player pretends to be a Boy

Squash Player pretends to be a Boy

Maria Toorpakai Wazir has a promising international squash career ahead of her but has been bought up in a region where girls are not treated equally. She was brought up in a region which is very conservative, and she was highly discriminated for the way she dressed for her sport. Maria has always dressed differently from the other girls. As she grew older she was always getting into fights and believed that’s how she made friends. Her father then channelled her aggression when she was 12 to sports such as weightlifting. Her father was scared to say she was a girl, because in Pakistan weightlifting is a male sport. After training for just a few months she was entered into a boy’s competition and won. Her boy's name, Shamsul Qayyum Wazir, meant she could take part in any sport she liked. She changed sports to squash for growth reasons. She applied for the Peshawar academy run by the Pakistani air force after one month she was found out to be a girl. People started to bully her badly. She said on a report for the BBC “They used to tease me, use bad language. It was unbearable and disrespectful-extreme bullying.” But she never gave up. Her hard work continued and she managed to win several junior championships and she turned professional in 2006. The following year she received an award from the Pakistani president. The extra attention bought trouble for the family. The news of her wearing shorts caused disgrace to her family. A letter was left on her father’s car saying there would be consequences if she didn’t change. There where snipers around the court and she says that she couldn’t play because it could kill thousands. She then had to play in her own bedroom causing her many injuries. The only way she could continue would be training abroad. So every day she applied for academy’s abroad. She received an email from John Power a former squash legend inviting her to be taught personally by him in Canada. She is now currently Pakistan’s top female player and ranks 49th in the world. Her family hope this will change the way that girls are seen in Pakistan and believe they can bring change to the country..

A Read Through Time

A Read Through Time

The read through time is a challenge for 33 year nine girls at Watford Grammar School for Girls. They are going to have to read aloud for 12 hours, from 7’oclock in the morning to 7’oclock in the evening. They will be reading plays such as “the Odyssey”, the play version of "Pride and Prejudice", "Frankenstein" and "The Woman in Black". The event is to raise money for The Sparrows Schools Foundation in South Africa. The Sparrow Schools Foundation is part of a non-profit making Educational Trust set up in 1990. They help young people overcome problems caused by apartheid, disability, and HIV/Aids. The children there are academically, at least, three years behind there chronological age. The school offers an opportunity for these children to receive skills that will equip them for life. Mrs Richards the Assistant Head has been out to South Africa and knows how much this will help the children there.  She said “Working with the children was challenging, as most come from orphaned poor backgrounds. They rely completely on trying to raise money. They lack extreme educational resources. I think the Read Through Time is a brilliant idea, to link the importance of reading and the raising money for the books at Sparrows” The idea was thought of by Mrs Hastings. I managed to get an interview with Miss Dorsett-Bailey about how she feels about the event “I am very passionate about reading, and I couldn’t imagine life without books, or learning without books or even pens and paper. We often take for granted what equipment we have”    The girls will be sponsored money if they complete the challenge and aim to raise £5000.  You can sponsor them at www.justgiving.com/areadthroughtime                                .

Graham Taylor’s Funeral: “An absolute legend”

Graham Taylor’s Funeral: “An absolute legend”

On Wednesday 1st February, many football teams bid farewell to Graham Taylor, former Watford and England manager, at St Mary's church Watford, as he sadly passed away at the incredible age of 72. The incredible manager, whose favourable profession had never quite mended from his England team’s disappointment to succeed into the 1994 World Cup Football Finals, had yet endured the vital nit-picking of the media with his sense of dignity in whole. Throngs of people gathered around the towering, 800-year-old church, most dressed in the striking, distinctive colours of the Watford team in tribute to Taylor. In addition to shirts and hats worn on Wednesday, in the past couple of weeks scarves and flowers were laid outside Vicarage Road Stadium as a memorial to him.  Many shops were also painted or had some sort of acknowledgment towards the former manager, like ‘The One Bell’- a pub near the church. “He was an absolute legend!” replied one man who was arriving towards the church- kitted in a nice Watford jacket alongside his friend who was dressed in a vivid red jumper. “He was probably one of the greatest managers that Watford has had in terms of ‘roar achievement’ and mentality etc.” stated another young man. Described as a “kind” and “down to earth” man, Taylor was one of the most popular and successful managers Watford had ever had. Not only taking Watford from the 4th division to the 1st division, Taylor changed the whole atmosphere of the club making it a more family and children friendly place to watch football. In addition to that, he visited many schools and work places with the players in an attempt to make the fans feel more included. Many people, including famous football players like Luther Blisset, arrived from all around the country, came to pay their respects and say goodbye to the manager one last time. “He brought the ethos of being family I felt[… ] I went to the football in the seventies when it wasn’t a safe place to go to and he changed all that in Watford,” said a woman we interviewed in the High Street on that day. “A gentle man, friendly, a person you can talk to- he did a lot for charities!” “He was the sort that would put himself out in an evening to come and talk to sixty or so people, and as manager, top manager in the continent at times, you’ve got to give it to him all round- he was a wonderful person, a gentleman, wonderful manager…what more can we say!” Many people come back to the same statement about Taylor, being a kind, gentle man who cared a lot for the community of Watford. He made Watford a nicer, friendlier, safer place. He was very nice and hated racism and any rude behaviour. Once, during a match he told the spectators off for bad-mouthing and yelling inappropriate comments towards the opposing team! “I love this town, I love the club and Graham Taylor is the reason why!” The 72 year old died on Thursday 12th January from an unexpected heart attack.  .

Techy Glove Gives Hope To Hearing Impaired

Techy Glove Gives Hope To Hearing Impaired

At the London’s Wearable Technology Show – which was hosted this week- many incredible wearable gadgets were show-cased. Hidden away like secret gems the inventors finally came into the spotlight attracting many people. One of the most eye-catching displays was a glove that could change the life of deaf people. Technology is a very important aspect in our daily lives- it has simplified life in many ways and it provides easy access to information. It’s encouraged creativity and revolutionary ideas- including apps. Snapchat, Instagram and other social media are all aspects of technology. So overall technology is a very crucial aspect in our daily lives. So what about wearable technology? Wearable technology or ‘wearables’ for short is a massive breakthrough in this century. Many companies like Apple or FitBit are revolutionising the way technology works- from watches to cufflinks, even to fake tattoo’s, people are finding it convenient to have access to anything in a one swipe. But until now, the ‘wearables’ have only been made for our entertainment!   Two students from the ‘University of Washington’ have invented a new way to communicate to the hearing impaired. Navid Azodi and Thomas Pryor created  gloves, called SignAloud, that had sensors that could record movement and gestures that could transmit signals to a microcomputer in the glove. This glove can change the way we speak to the deaf- a young girl said that, ‘The glove is very good because we can communicate with everyone and it will finally make our community and the world closer.’ Thomas Pryor told the Huffington Post, “Many of the sign language translation devices already out there are not practical for everyday use. Some use video input, while others have sensors that cover the user’s entire arm or body. Our gloves are lightweight, compact and worn on the hands, but ergonomic enough to use as an everyday accessory, similar to hearing aids or contact lenses.”.

Chocolate Industry Under Threat

Chocolate Industry Under Threat

Due to the increasing demand for chocolate, the International Cocoa Quarantine Centre has recently been opened in Reading, Shinfield. The University of Reading, who already run large cocoa projects, were issued the job of helping manage cocoa plants and seeds inside of the ICQC. 3.6 million tonnes of chocolate have been produced yearly worldwide. However, this still proves not to be enough for us. At the cost of 1 million pounds, the greenhouse produces 400 varieties of cocoa plants to cater for our continuing request for this sugary treat. The cocoa plants that are grown in the greenhouses are isolated from any sort of disease or pest that could pose as a threat to the plant. Previously, 30% of cocoa crops have died due to exposure to disease. The ICQC aims to provide us with clean and safe cocoa for the chocolate that the nation seems to crave. The Reading region already produce the cocoa for 75% of our chocolate. Professor Paul Hadley, who is the cocoa project leader at the University of Reading has told us the key issue concerning cocoa improvements is “the supply of reliably clean, healthy, interesting cocoa material”. However, the sterile seeds plan on being shipped to almost twenty other countries and there is a large risk that the cocoa will become infected then. If these pests were to contaminate the cocoa plants, Prof Hadley tells us, it would “absolutely devastate the industry”. Therefore it is vital that this small yet important group of people continue to safeguard the future of the world's chocolate industry. Otherwise, we would all find ourselves in a world without the delectable treat we know as chocolate..

What is the 2015 Budget ?

What is the 2015 Budget ?

The Conservatives are hoping that the new budget announcement will help them win the next General Election. They hope that these cuts will encourage people to vote for them, however, it is evident that these cuts do not favour all. The main factors affected by Budget 2015 are the prices of alcohol, the prices of petrol, education, property buying for first time buyers and health care. Mr Thompson, teacher of History and Politics told BBC News School Report about his views on Budget cuts. He told us “The cuts are good; there is a need for them. However, some areas have been cut too much.” He was quite displeased with the cuts concerning education. He said “Schools are not getting their budgets protected and due to inflation there is less money for schools to spend.” Furthermore, it seems as though the NHS has been neglected with this campaign. Ed Miliband has accused the Conservatives of a “glaring omission” of the NHS from the budget. It is also thought that social services and the welfare state will also be cut. He continued his accusations by saying that the Tories had a “secret plan” to cut spending and increase the rate of VAT. Despite this, the Conservatives are still sticking with this campaign and believe that the general public will be in favour of it. To be more specific, George Osborne seems to be counting on the votes of the middle class citizens of the UK. He believes that these budget cuts will benefit them the most. First of all, there will be masses of cuts to the prices of alcoholic duty. For example, beer duty will be cut by 1p per pint and cider by 2p. Furthermore, the prices of petrol have also been frozen, meaning these prices will remain the same. It will also now be much easier for first time buyers to buy a property for the first time due to a new scheme called: ‘Help to Buy Isa’. It is hoped that this new scheme will help younger couples find their way on to the property ladder. However, these budget cuts are different. They are dependent on the election so we will only start to see any real change in May..

Pyjama Ban in Darlington

Pyjama Ban in Darlington

In Skerne Park Academy, Headmistress Kate Chisholm sent a letter home to her school, requesting parents not to wear pyjamas to school.  After parents started coming to school meetings and concerts, she decided to send a letter out, expressing her opinions that it was a bad influence on not just their children, but other children as well. Mr. Jon Gray, Headmaster of York House Preparatory School, said “In 20 years of working as a Head Teacher, I have never experienced this problem, but in a previous school I worked in, I had to write to parents on multiple occasions to tell them the principal did not feel it was suitable for parents to wear jeans on the school run.”  However, he also went on to add that he would not comment on a parent’s dress code, unless they were dressed indecently. A shopkeeper from Tesco, who did not wish to be named, said “I have seen a few people wearing pyjamas, especially in the morning and on weekends, but I do not think it is my place to comment on what people wear.” This is not the first time something like this has happened, though- A local supermarket has put out a notice asking customers not to wear night clothes to do their shopping..

Jammie Dodgers- not Vegan?

Jammie Dodgers- not Vegan?

Burton’s Biscuit Company, who make Jammie Dodgers, have decided to make the popular biscuits non-vegan. The company has now added milk protein to the original recipe, to add flavour to the original recipe.  However, many vegans are not impressed with this decision, and have taken to Twitter to start an online petition, which has over 3500 signatures. Eloisa, 12, in 8B said “I had not heard about this before, but I do not mind, as it does not affect me.” She also said that she thinks that the petition is a good idea, but “may not work, as if they [the company] have changed the recipe, it is not likely that they will change it.” Mrs. O’Neill agrees with her, saying “The company will not want to change the recipe again.” However, Monica in 8A says “I am vegan, and if the company changes Jammie Dodgers, it will just prove the rumour that a vegan lifestyle is extremely restricting and that you cannot eat most foods, which is not true.” She also said that the petition was a good idea, and that the company would lose profit if they keep the new recipe. The company are acting on customer reviews, and are also making the biscuits with less sugar and more jam. The biscuits will also be crispier..

American Elections Biggest Contenders

American Elections Biggest Contenders

American Elections Biggest Contenders The battle is heating up Since the last election in 2012, the main parties (the Democratic and the Republicans) have been putting forward presidential candidates to elect a new president. In the lead, at the moment, of the Republicans is Donald Trump winning with 458 votes and has won over three states in the last election. He beat his fellow contenders in Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii, in his attempt to become the Republican White House nominee. Trump is commonly talked about due to him widely voicing his opinion that many say should not be said. A lot of people dislike Trump because of this, finding his candour distasteful, whilst others find it a new and refreshing approach. ‘I think Donald Trump is insensitive to people’s feelings and is slandering a whole religious group just to get attention,’ said Gehna, which happened to be the majority view, however a few backed him up, one said, ‘I feel Donald Trump should win because he knows how to get a point across and that’s why he’s winning at the moment. Also, he doesn’t need a pre-written script [at debates] and takes hate very well.’ Despite his outrageous quotes and dislike towards Muslims and immigrants, Trump grows more popular by the day. Many people from these religious groups are now supporting Mr Trump; they even made a poster where Donald is sitting in a yoga position on a lotus with the "Om" symbol, looking a lot like the Hindu Gods Brahma and Vishnu. On the other hand, a lot of people in the UK look towards the Democratic nominee in the lead, at this point of time, Hilary Clinton, leading with 1,223 votes. Hilary Clinton gets a lot of criticism, one reason is because she believes in deporting child immigrants to Honduras, however she argued it was for their welfare and Clinton promised to make a path to citizenship “a priority for my first 100 days” in office. There is much speculation around the title of Hilary’s husband, Bill. If Hilary wins the presidential race Bill Clinton would not be known as the First Gentleman, but as President, so there would be two President Clintons in the White House. Clinton seems to be a favourite, beating Bernie Sanders by a mile; her votes tallying up to more than double his. Hiruni, a fellow classmate said, ‘I feel it is good a woman is taking lead and is a great example for all the women out there. #GirlPower.’ .

Playground Game

Playground Game

The very popular Playground game “Tig/It” has been banned in Christ the King Primary School, Leeds and have left parents shocked. The game had caused many “problems” with children’s clothes somehow being torn and other children left upset because of the game. Parents are shocked at this ban and feel that it is unnecessary to take such extreme measures, as it is an “enjoyable” game. Many disagree with the banning and are completely against it. A primary school student from another school felt that “it’s a really dumb idea because literally everyone plays and enjoys the game.” A parent has also said that, “it’s a really fun game and no-one deserves to miss the chance of playing this game. I used to play it as a child as well with all my friends and I do not think such extreme measures should have taken place.” However some people think that it was the right thing to do to ban Tig. A parent of three has said that, “I would have done the same in the headmaster’s position. Parents would have complained to the school otherwise, even if they’re not currently admitting to it. It was the right decision to make.” In banning the game “Tig,” other schools have begun to follow and introduce the same ban, including a school in Bristol..

Junior Doctor's Dispute

Junior Doctor's Dispute

The 3rd strike for Junior Doctors is currently underway over the issue of the new contract from the government. The government has imposed a new contract for Doctor’s working seven days a week rather than just five.  Junior Doctors feel insulted as they have been doing this long before this was even suggested and feel that they are doing more than actual doctors. There is a pay rise (13.4%) although in reality most doctors will end up earning less. It is also said that those who work extra hours (1%) could possibly “lose out on what they need.” Altogether, Doctors have had to cancel over 5000 operations for the two days. They are only coming in for emergencies in the A&E department. There has been mixed feelings about the dispute between the Junior Doctors and the Government Zara, a Sixth Former from Watford has said that, “I am with the Junior Doctors on this dispute. However, operations are really important and they shouldn’t really be missed. My mum had a major operation yesterday which she has been waiting for a couple of years. We were all really stressed but luckily, she managed to have it.” Bou, another student has also been impacted by the strike. “They’re doing the right thing but it’s an inconvenience to other patients. My Grandma’s appointment was cancelled because of the strike”   Miss Bateson also is siding with the Doctors. “I’m with the Junior Doctors because being in the hospital I’ve seen how busy it is and we are going to lose them if we stretch the hours for too long.” Miss Tai has said that, “I support their right to fight for something they believe in, but I also support the government.” Mr Fry thinks that they should not have had a strike, “Them being on strike is not good for people who need to go to hospital for appointments and operations.” “They’re kind of being a bit selfish.” Saoirce has said, “They became doctors to help others and now’s their chance. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about." Watford General Hospital has sided with the Junior Doctors and are taking part in the strike. They have decided to arrange a picket line outside the Watford General Hospital to prove that they are supporting the dispute..

A Curved Crisis

A Curved Crisis

  The recent decrease in sales of the French pastry forced Tesco to finally address the real problem that British customers were facing – an inability to spread toppings, such as jam, on croissants that are curved. Reportedly, a number of consumers had been suffering in silence for years on end, and felt like the attention from Tesco was long overdue. Problems such as ‘sticky fingers’ due to the reported fiddly crescent shape of the croissant were made aware of to the supermarket chain, and it was discovered that at least 75% of shoppers would prefer the ends of the curved delicacy to be sliced off! The new straight croissants that have been released were immediately greeted with open arms and smiles – an eager customer even stated that the lack of curves gave a sense of sophistication! The British can now enjoy their favourite pastries with a little more convenience. Unfortunately for fans of the new angular croissants, Tesco cannot please everyone, and sceptics of the ‘improved’ design have taken to social media to unleash a wave of mockery and outrage. Some even comment on how ‘croissant’ roughly translates to crescent. Sally says:‘This is hilarious, are people really that incompetent these days? Shows what we really need to be learning in school.’ Perhaps in a more rational approach, bystanders poke fun at the sincerity and seriousness that is brought to the table by participants who feel strongly about the subject matter. Ellie says: ‘A straight up scandal this is, I guess it curved people’s attention!’  .

Watford Cycles

Watford Cycles

In an effort to combat the rising obesity epidemic, Watford Council have made the decision to introduce a form of ‘Boris bikes’ with the intent of increasing overall exercise and fitness on the streets. Levels of obesity in the UK are noticeably rising – it is now estimated that 61.7% off adults are either overweight or obese, a rather shocking number for many when informed.  ‘That’s actually really high when you think about it; because you don’t really see many people that register to you as obese walking around,’ says Sally, ‘I guess it shows how fine the line is between being healthy, and unhealthy.’ Watford Council have undoubtedly noticed the overweight population though, and have released plans for a scheme that they hope will begin to get the community active –a version of the bikes dubbed ‘Boris bikes’ by the public.  The bikes were unofficially named this after Boris Johnson unveiled the original version – Santander cycles. They will abe vailable for all residents of Watford to use, and are hoped to reduce congestion on the roads as well as contribute to the nation’s fitness. An average of 30 minutes is planned to cost approximately £2, a rather large asking price in the opinion of a few. ‘The price is a little high for my liking – I would prefer using my own bike anyway, it would save me any embarrassment that comes with hire bikes’ says Ellie, an avid cycler. Despite a few negative opinions, a majority are excited for the instalment, ‘I am looking forward to being able to ride around Watford instead of having to take the bus everywhere, and it also makes me happy how the council is taking interest in the health of the community.’.

Mental Health Awareness Campaign at Watford Girls' School

Mental Health Awareness Campaign at Watford Girls' School

Watford Grammar School for Girls launched an eight-week mental health campaign to educate young people about the importance of mental health as mental awareness week approaches. Mental health week 2017 will take place from 8-14 May, however, the students at Watford Girls have decided to take this further by setting up an 8-week course to teach its students about mental health and to raise awareness of it. Every Friday, a different topic based on mental health is selected; ‘Myth or Fact’, ‘Positivity is Good’, ‘What is Mental Health?’ and many more! Children are chosen to participate in stimulating workshops as they share their opinions on mental health. During these activities, the children learnt the many truths behind mental health. Finally, after taking part in the workshops, they gave feedback to the class – teaching the rest of their form on what they learnt. Forms were asked the “What is Mental Health to you?” to discuss amongst each other. One child said: “People with mental health problems are slightly different and, therefore, are always judged.” Most forms, in the end, came up with the conclusion that people with mental health issues were poorly judged and were treated unfairly. Another thought-provoking question was “How would you feel if 1 in 4 people experience mental issues in their lifetime?” Another student, who asked to remain anonymous, stated “I am shocked since I don’t think I know anyone with mental health issues.” Headmistress of Watford Girls, Mrs. Wagner, and several of the Sixth Formers who helped to run the workshops were thrilled with the children’s commitment to the task and are hoping that the students will use the knowledge to become strong and helpful girls in the future.  This year’s theme on mental health week is “survive to thrive”, talks will be given online as well as in other schools and communities on how to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression..

Weekend Weather: Storm Stella

Weekend Weather: Storm Stella

Get your umbrellas ready and wrap up tight this weekend as Storm Stella is set to terrorize south west Hertfordshire.   The Met Office has issued a warning that the notorious storm, which caused devastation in New York, is bound to arrive on UK shores and gradually head up to south west Hertfordshire, bringing the rain, sleet and gales with it. During its time of terror on the East coast of America, this storm, which had claimed a few lives, had caused strong blizzards with winds of 70mph and left up to 50 million people hiding from the cold. However, its effect would be downgraded to only gales of 60mph and heavy rain. The weather reports over this weekend will be unpredictable due to the remnants of Storm Stella. Thankfully, it has been revealed that it will not be as threatening as Storm Doris had shown last month..

Mrs Hyde, Mrs Smith and girls from WGGS go to Rwanda

Mrs Hyde, Mrs Smith and girls from WGGS go to Rwanda

In the February half term Mrs Hyde, Mrs Smith, Mrs Hyde and girls from WGGS went to Rwanda to help new mothers living in poverty and taught them how to knit. They went to the capital of Rwanda, Kigali, and helped mothers in the slum area. In the slums, people live in harsh conditions. They have no access to running water and many women have no choice but to give birth on their own as there are no hospitals nearby. Mrs Smith and Miss Dorsett-Bailey are planning a baby shower in the summer for Rwanda, where they will talk about the difference about being a mother and the entrance fee is a pack of baby grows. They are also raising money and collecting items for “mama packs”, which are packs full of essentials for mothers with new-born babies. Mrs. Smith has said that she never had really seen real poverty and she felt very humbled to help them. She also said that she cried when they could knit a square. Even though they could not understand each other’s language they could still communicate with each other. She could at least teach them how to knit and use hand gestures. She quoted “You do not need to speak a language if you can hug.” Tharushi in 8B says that “I don’t think that the way these women are living is fair and they do not deserve that.  I think that the trip was a good idea.” In Rwanda, a lot of new-born babies die, because they do not have the right care. This is what the girls are collecting for.  They have held cake sales and many other events to help this cause..

Playing Computer Games is Good for You

Playing Computer Games is Good for You

  Oxford University have carried out an experiment on boys and girls between the age of 10 and 15 and research has shown that playing computer games makes children happier and perform better in their schoolwork. The test was on 5,000 children who played on console games such as Nintendo, Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStations or computer games for varying periods of time. It was concluded that young people played video games for a short time were happier and performed better in school than those who had never played or those who had played video games for three hours or more. They also found out that the children who played video games for less than an hour were better at interacting with people and were most likely to say they were happier.  It is also seen that they appeared to have fewer friendship and emotional problems than the other groups of children who played computer games. However, those who played for more than three hours did experience some harmful effects and those who played between one and three hours experienced no change positive or negative. Therefore, “light players” are proven to perform better. Eloisa in 8B says “I play games on my phone but I do not think it helps you because it distracts you and stops you doing important work” Ella in 8B said “It depends on the games you are playing. I think Puzzle and logic games are good.” Nearly one third of children spend between one and three hours a day playing computer games and between ten and fifteen percent spend more than three hours a day on electronic devices. .

Should Watford Grammar School for Girls wear slippers to perform better at school?

Should Watford Grammar School for Girls wear slippers to perform better at school?

 In a recent news report, we were intrigued that children in Findern primary school in Derby are being encouraged to wear slippers to school because research has said that this relaxed approach to footwear improves academic results.  If wearing slippers to school helps you engage better in class and attain better grades, like in Scandinavia and New Zealand, why shouldn’t Watford Grammar School for Girls do it? We conducted a small survey to gauge teacher and student views.  Mr Burns, a teacher from the science department didn't like the idea: “People are used to wearing uniform.  You go into an exam for example in uniform and you are in that school learning mode and you are just used to it, it is a routine. When you are doing work in formal uniform and enter an exam in your uniform you do better."  Teachers aren’t the only ones who aren’t keen on the idea of wearing slippers to school. One pupil, named Sophie, said we don’t need slippers to be smart. “When children grow up they won’t be able to wear slippers in the workplace so why should we teach them to wear them now?” questions Mae. “People could get bullied over the kind of slippers they wear,” said another pupil. Others would only like to wear slippers to school if they were also allowed to wear pyjamas and if it was a onetime occasion. However, there are also people who like this idea and there are also benefits. Another teacher said that  it could help pupils learn better as it is comfortable so pupils will be more relaxed. This can result in better achievements as they are stress free. Wearing slippers leads to more than just academic progress. For example the level of noise is reduced and the furniture lasts longer. Also, it means lower cleaning costs and improved hygiene. Moreover, this means no teachers complaining about the ‘wrong type’ of shoes. Overall it saves money for both the school and its pupils. An inspired teacher introduced Findern primary school students to this Bournemouth University-based research (a decade-long study).  One of its findings was that wearing comfortable footwear increased the likelihood of children reading, arriving early and leaving later.  It said that wearing slippers gives the children a familiar, homely feeling, which calms them. Feeling shoe-free may work for Findern, but we found that at Watford Grammar School for Girls, the majority thought that formal uniform is the best route, although wearing slippers might benefit other schools in the Watford area..

Watford Girls Still Obliviously Eating Harmful Nutella®

Watford Girls Still Obliviously Eating Harmful Nutella®

The pupils at Watford Grammar School for Girls are still eating this popular spread but new research has linked palm oil to cancer.  Nutella’s® smooth, spreadable consistency is at risk because of the possibility of losing this vital ingredient. The European Food Safety Authority claims palm oil is more carcinogenic than any other oil - meaning it could lead to cancer.  This finding primarily affects Ferrero, the makers of Nutella®, because palm oil is one of the key ingredients which provides the spread with its creamy texture as well as (they say) enhancing its flavour.  With around a quarter of a jar of Nutella® comprising of palm oil, the product is under scrutiny by others. Ferrero denies the claims, saying their oil is of the highest quality and safe for consumption. In an informal survey of 28 students at Watford Grammar School for Girls recently, it was found that 15 students ate Nutella® and around a third of the class knew about its links to cancer, however only one student claimed she would now not risk eating it.  The other Nutella® eaters believed that, as it had had no affect on them so far, they felt it was safe to continue eating.  A student's mother commented: ‘I’m very surprised - I never knew that Nutella is harmful, I don’t know what to do, I’m confused, it’s hard to think; the kids love Nutella® and it's very popular as a spread and will be hard to get rid of.’. Many buyers of the spread have been further shocked after a Reddit-user shared a photo of the contents of a jar of Nutella® broken down to show its different components. The image shows that more than half of the jar is filled with white caster sugar and approximately another quarter is filled with palm oil. “Are they trying to kill us?” one pupil from Watford Grammar School for Girls asked. After showing this image to a group of fifteen pupils at Watford Grammar School for Girls, most of the girls were taken aback by the picture as only three pupils had actually seen the image before. The ones who saw the photo for the first time today were shocked and could not believe the breakdown of the ingredients. They were all initially shocked by how much sugar was in the jar but then more shocked when they found out the consequences of the second vital ingredient - palm oil. One of the girls said, “This is appalling! Have they considered our health and how bad this guilty pleasure is for us?” Another pupil said “I’m not surprised, Nutella® has never lied to us - there is an ingredient list on the back of their jars but you only understand the true content of what is really in there after you see blunt images, like this one.” Nutella® was created in the 1940s by Mr. Peitro Ferrero, a pastry maker and founder of the Ferrero company.  At that time there was only a little amount of cocoa because of rationing in World War Two - so Mr. Ferrero used hazelnut. Since then, Nutella® has been enjoyed by many - for breakfast or for a snack - for more than 70 years. Ferrero claims they provide their customers with the best ingredients for their products and are doing their best to conserve the environment when making this product. But that is only one side of the story. Whether for good or ill, Ferrero will not be changing their Nutella® recipe soon. So the next time when you are about to indulge in your favourite spread, you may not now find it quite so irresistible..

Five Second Rule Finally Favoured

Five Second Rule Finally Favoured

New research led this week by Anthony Hilton has proved that it is ok to eat certain items after they have been dropped on the floor for no longer than five seconds. Sandwiches, crisps, biscuits and dry toast have been given the all clear to eat after Anthony Hilton, a professor at Aston University, has conducted microbiology findings that show there may be a variance between the classes of object. This means to us that different foods can be left for different amounts of time without becoming harmful to our bodies. These food items can be left up to a maximum time of half an hour and no harm can be done to us. Hilton’s study covered typical floor types in bacteria and found that the dropped food would have picked up no more than 0.0004% of it. He will be demonstrating how the five second rule works at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham later this week. Other foods such as sweets, cooked pasta and doughnuts still follow the common five second rule and can be eaten before the time is up. Even though I presented Dorota, a canteen manager at Watford Grammar Girls School with the new findings she still adamantly said, “Regardless of this new research I still have to keep our standards high and we cannot afford to go by this.” She then went on to say, “Any food that comes in to us but falls on the floor, I still have to bin it” I also conducted research among a group of twelve girls at Watford Girls and eight of them guiltily admitted to picking up there last crisp that had fallen onto the floor and now hearing the news that it is safe; they were delighted and glad that it is acceptable. Is the five second rule no longer a myth?.

Greggs Bakery Blames Bad Weather For Fall in Sales

Greggs Bakery Blames Bad Weather For Fall in Sales

Greggs, the nationwide famous bakery chain, has blamed the bad weather for their fall in sales. The seller's profits fell 2.2% to £52m. The weather was particularly poor during the year, which was the second wettest in the UK since records began. This meant that less people completed their weekly shopping trips. “Frequent shopping trips are a particular feature of a daily purchase business like Greggs,” the chief executive, Roger Whiteside, said. A hopeful sign was the fact that total sales rose 4.8% to £735m as Greggs increased its wholesale supplies to the frozen food chain Iceland and motorway services operator Moto. Sales in stores open for more than a year were on a downward trend. Greggs said underlying sales were down 4% in the first 11 weeks of 2013, partly because of the heavy snow that was experienced all over the country during January.   Greggs is the latest string of stores to blame the bad weather for the decrease in sales. Other nationwide stores include Debenhams, Punch Taverns, the pub company, and Home Retail Group's Homebase. Greggs have said that the weather has been the primary contributor to their sales decrease, and have insisted that they feel that it has nothing to do with the recent horsemeat scandal. Derek Netherton, the chairman, said: "There can be no doubt that the trading environment will remain very challenging in 2013, with consumers remaining cautious and inflationary cost pressures affecting a number of our key commodities." Greggs are hopeful that their sales will increase again as the weather improves..

Family GPs Admit To Issuing Placebo Medicine

Family GPs Admit To Issuing Placebo Medicine

Recent surveys have suggested that most family GPs have given out placebo tablets to at least one of their patients. In a recent poll, 97% of 783 GPs admitted that they had recommended a sugar pill or a treatment with no real use for the type of minor illness that their patient has come to them with. The placebo effect is when a patient feels better, despite taking a medicinal substance with no purpose or relevant use for their condition.  But when it comes to their use in general medicine some believe their use can damage the doctor-patient relationship. The Royal College of GPs says there could be a place for placebos in medicine. Despite saying this, they do warn that some placebo treatments may produce side effects which could possibly include a resistance to drugs. One of the placebo tablets that have been used has been suspected to transmit viral infections. Approximately 1 in 10 GPs have admitted to issuing out sugar pills, or giving injections of salty water to at least one patient during their career, however 1 in 100 GPs confessed to doing this around once a week. Dr Jeremy Howick, co-author of the study that was carried out by the University of Oxford and the University of Southampton, said: "This is not about doctors deceiving patients."  The studies show that placebo use is widespread in the UK, and doctors clearly believe that placebos can help patient. Lots of doctors believe that using placebo medicine helps patients to overcome their illness. Dr Clare Gerada the Chairwoman the Royal College of GPs says that “there are negative effects regarding the usage of placebo medicine, as it is likely for the patient to overdose, for example, if you take too many vitamins, it will cause you harm” She also believes that “fobbing off patients with a non – purposeful treatment is unacceptable.” It looks like this will be a cause for debate for some time..

BBC NEWS SCHOOL REPORT - coming soon!

BBC NEWS SCHOOL REPORT - coming soon!

Students from this school will be making the news for real on 19 March 2015 as they take part in BBC News School Report. We aim to publish the news by 1600 GMT on News Day, so please save this page as a favourite and return to it later. In the meantime, please look at the practice stories we have been writing in preparation..

Conservative Crash

Conservative Crash

The Electoral Commission has fined the conservative party £70,000 over substantial expense concerns. The Commission reported “numerous failures” in reporting its spending in three by-elections in 2014 and the 2015 General Election. These include payment gaps of £104,000 and £118,000, although this was either not reported or incorrectly reported by the commission. The Party broke the rules by re-locating staff and campaigners from the National Headquarters to help boost local parties and their efforts as well as neglecting to maintain adequate records of expenses and receipts. Furthermore, there were no evident records of the expenditure on the national battlebus campaign that helped Mr David Cameron win a majority vote at the General Election in 2015. As well as this, the Tories did not involve statements or bills worth £52,924, and they were unsuccessful in their attempts to maintain accounts of the amount of invoice given to the three candidates in their by-elections of 2014, meaning the accuracy of the sums of money could not be confirmed. The Conservatives accepted this event and claimed that they had made an “administrative error”. A presenter also added that the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party have been fined previously, and “there needs to be a review of how the Electoral Commission's processes and requirements could be clarified or improved". But, the Commission's chief executive Claire Bassett told BBC Radio 5 that the inquiry had taken much longer than it should have because of "some difficulties" in obtaining information from the Conservative Party. The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Sir John Holmes said that the Tories failure to follow the rules of the election expense “undermined voters’ confidence in our democratic processes”. But senior Conservative MP Oliver Letwin stated that spending record "mistakes" were down to "human error", in an interview with BBC Radio 4 today, adding "I don't think you should conclude from this that there is some great conspiracy.” Twelve different police forces have asked the Crown Persecution Service to think about fines over election expenses, and at least three Tory MP’s have been questioned about their expenses by the Metropolitan Police.                .

Funding Formula Crisis

Funding Formula Crisis

  The British Government is introducing a new funding formula for schools that could leave WGGS with a £300K budget deficit to fill by next year. On the 7th of March 2016, the government launched the first stage of a consultation on a national funding formula for schools. The new funding formula is intended to resolve long-lasting irregularities in levels of funding. They decided that the reforms for the distribution of new funding should be fair, efficient and simple. However, this change has dissatisfied many people, including shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, who told MP’s in a speech at the House of Commons, “Make no mistake, this is a crisis.” She also accused the government of going back on its promise to protect school funding. Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union also said: “Funding cannot be fair if it is not sufficient. Even those schools gaining under the new system are likely to see those gains more than offset by the real cuts to school funding overall”. George Osborne, the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, has already implemented £900m in reductions. However, the National Audit Office has suggested that the current funding policy will force schools to implement cuts totalling £3bn by 2020. In a recent newsletter to parents, Mrs Clare Wagner has stated that the school “may have to find up to £300K in order to balance our budget next year, which is a great cause for concern.” She described the threat of cuts as “swingeing” and that without an increase in parental contributions to the Women of Vision Fund, there was a real possibility that the school’s rich curriculum would be negatively affected. In a recent interview, Mrs Wagner also pointed out that this is a “proposed funding formula, and it hasn’t actually been confirmed yet, so we are still looking at maybe’s.” She did describe the steps the school were taking to minimise the possible damage of these new formulas, such as reducing the utility bill, providing caretaking for local schools and, in the worst case scenario, cutting subjects. This is exactly what the school wanted to avoid, but the “number of subjects at GCSE and A- Level have already been reduced”. Because of this, now at A-level, Art History and PE are no longer available, which is of concern to the school community, as some fear that their subjects may be cut from GSCE and A-Level completely. Conservative MP for Watford, Mr Richard Harrington, however, supports the proposals, stating that “the current system for funding is unfair, meaning a school could get 50% more if it were situated in another part of the country. For example, a secondary school in Darlington receives an additional £40 per pupil with low prior attainment, while a secondary school in Richmond upon Thames receive £3,229 for such pupils. This is a difference of more than £3,000 and is completely unfair!” Mr Harrington believes that the new funding formula would “ensure that children with similar characteristics and similar needs attract similar levels of funding - regardless of where their families happen to live.” Although it seems as one school has to lose for the other to gain, Mr Harrington is confident that “it should mean that underfunding for certain schools will end in order to level the playing field – giving parents the confidence that every child will have an equal opportunity to reach their full potential”. In total there were 4,933 responses to the conference on the schools national funding formula. This consultation was a series of questions put forward by the government, based on the topics of reforming the funding system, the transition to the reformed funding system, the schools national funding formula, funding that will remain with local authorities and the future of the education services grant.  The largest percentage of responses received were from those who identified themselves as head teachers and principals (25%), followed by parents (18%) and teachers (12%). Although there was some strong support for the new funding system (74% of those who responded to the governments question on the principles for the schools funding system agreed with the principles identified), there have also been some disagreements as to whether the new and revised formula will really be as fair as expected. At this early stage, it is still only a proposal, but given the amount positive responses it has received, it is unlikely that the new funding formula will not take place, meaning that our school could really be under threat of serious cuts.    .

WGGS' Heritage Lottery Fund

WGGS' Heritage Lottery Fund

A £4000 pound grant has been given to the WGGS History department by the National Heritage Lottery as a means of funding a weeks’ worth of activities all commemorating World War One. The HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund) plan to fund activities which will help students to understand more about the war by making pupils engage in activities planned by their History Departments. Year 8 went on a walk seeing all the war memorials in Watford and took part in activities at Watford Museum. This programme started in 2013 and will continue until 2018 – the years for the 100 year anniversary of the WW1. With offices all over the U.K, the HLF invest upto £375 million each year and give grants of over £3000 to schools who apply for it, they aim to give newer generations, such as ourselves, an idea of how the war would have gone, and the importance of the war as well as what it can teach us for the future. WGGS used some of our money for our new newspaper – The Front Line, which will be archived in an upcoming website run by the history department called ‘wggsremembrance’ which is expected to be up before the end of 2015.  We will be using our fund to create a new plaque commemorating WGGS’ contributions to the war as a hospital, more of the funding will be used to help the pupils through an annual week commemorated to World War One which will include cake sales, and activities for our partner schools like Watford Fields, Central Primary and Lawrence Haines among many others. These activities will help teach primary schools that are in partnerships with us about the war and how the war affected the places around them..

The Commonwealth Observance Ceremony

The Commonwealth Observance Ceremony

On the 12th March 2012 the four sixth formers in the Head Girl team at Watford Grammar School for Girls went to Westminster Abbey to attend the Commonwealth Observance Ceremony. This is an annual ceremony that celebrates the Commonwealth and it is part of Watford Girls tradition to send a few girls from the sixth form to visit it and be a part of the 1,000 school children that can go and witness the event. This year Akyeamaa, Ilana, Holly and Hemina, our head girl team, had the privilege to attend and have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The girls were amazed by the beauty of Westminster Abbey with its stunning architecture and highly decorative stained glass windows and patterned ceiling. The ceremony started with a procession of the flags from the different countries of the Commonwealth including Mozambique, Rwanda, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, India and all of the other countries that were in the British Empire. Afterwards, there were many interesting readings including one from Doctor Jane Goodall, a scientist, primatologist, ethologist and anthropologist and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. There were also many performances including a song about the commonwealth sung by a British opera singer, an African jazz musician called Hugh Masekela who sung a chorus of a Sesotho song and prayers from different countries in their native language. Although all the people that attended could see the famous rulers none actually met them. Despite this all of the girls really enjoyed the trip and would highly recommend it to anyone that has the opportunity to go. All of them say it really is a once in a lifetime event because as well as seeing the Queen, you see her family and presidents and monarchs from the other countries in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is a group of 54 countries that promote democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism, and world peace. Each year the leaders get together where the Queen gives a broadcast throughout the world. As well as this every four years when the Olympic games will take place, the Queen hands the baton to the first relay runner to start its journey before returning to the host country to signify the start of the Olympics. Overall, it is a great experience to attend the Commonwealth Observance Ceremony and to experience all of this first hand. All of the sixth formers would love to go again if they had the chance and they hope that the school’s tradition to send girls to the ceremony will continue..

Phones in school: Convenient or Distracting?

Phones in school: Convenient or Distracting?

With technology in our school reaching an all-time high this year, many students are keen for the ban on mobile phones to be reconsidered. There are two sides of the story: phones could be used to make our school an easier place to learn, but it could also create a distraction, with phones becoming something to deter from the main aspect of school. Some people feel that having a mobile phone around school is convenient. Students bringing in their own device for writing notes and studying would mean that the internet could be used instead of textbooks. This would reduce the money the school needed to spend. Further to this, many educational apps, which could be used in lessons, are available for free. Phones would also be good for safety as people would be able to contact their parents wherever and whenever. However, the other aspect of phones being allowed is clearly identified in these interviews with year 8 pupils. People wanted phones for ‘listening to music at lunch’, ‘taking photos with friends’ and ’using social media such as BBM and WhatsApp’: not quite such productive suggestions. The main thing preventing phone usage in school is the distraction it will provide. Phones already go off in lessons; would allowing them worsen this problem? Allowing this kind of technology could increase texting in classes, something that will not enable students to learn. There is also a problem with photos and content posted on the internet that could damage the students or the schools reputation, and potentially put people in danger. Mr Johnson, the School's Deputy Head called phones a 'severe distraction' and a 'nuisance in lessons'. He also touched on the factor of safety, saying people would 'be bumping into eachother and falling down stairs.' However, he did say that in the next couple of years the line between phones and tablets will be crossed, and a device that can both take notes and help with learning will be created. The issue of 'BYOD' (Bring Your Own Device) is being addressed, and he agreed that at some point in the next 2-5 years phones will be allowed in lessons. However, this would be strictly for educational purposes. He also said that the use of technology in lunchtimes would be unavoidable in this scenario, and would have to happen at some point, even if only under solid regulations. Although WGGS is speaking of allowing phones in the future, at the moment nothing is certain and phones are as of yet banned in school. However the benefits are clear and will at some point effect this descision and change school life forever..

Local news - Car Crash shocker!

Local news - Car Crash shocker!

Car crashes into Chester road house Yesterday a car crashed into a home in Chester Road at around 8:30 am, trapping the inhabitants. It went through the wall of the house and stopped at the table, having broken a family photo. At the time a father and son were preparing to go to school.  The mother heard breaking glass and at the time assumed her son had broken something, but when she saw the car come through the wall, she called the emergency services and said ‘Just send everything’. The car had blocked the front door and the family had to be rescued out of the back door. An ambulance had to treat the father for a shoulder injury, but apart from that the family was generally un-injured.                                                 Fire in Carpenders Park An electrical fault caused a house fire in Carpenders Park yesterday, causing a couple to flee from their house. A man was changing a light bulb when the electricity tripped, and when it returned a fire started. The emergency services were called at 3pm, but no one was injured so they all left around an hour later.                                                  School ratings improved Shenley primary school’s ratings have improved, and according to the headmistress this is because they have made the curriculum more interesting and fun, and made sure the students understood the consequences of being naughty. The ratings went from satisfactory to good, and the headmistress intends for the ratings to continue getting better.                           Over 100 children miss out on the school they wanted Over 100 children in Watford have to go to a secondary school that they didn’t want or chose. Across Hertfordshire 4.3%, or 484 children missed out on one of their ‘ranked’ places, although the country’s percentage of children that didn’t get what they wanted last year (which was 53%) has gone down. However, politicians have pointed out that the number of children going from primary school to secondary school has dropped this year, by 680 pupils. "One in ten children in Watford not getting a place in a school they requested is not acceptable", says Mark Watkin, the Liberal Democrat county councillor for Nascot Park.                                            Dementia awareness day A dementia awareness day in north Watford was held by the Watford Community Housing Trust, and was as said by a support worker from the trust ‘hugely successful, as over 70 people turned up and listened to speeches delivered by many people, including the Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust..

Prank Patrol

Prank Patrol

In recent years the emergency services have been receiving more and more hoax calls from the general public. These are clogging up the 999 line and making the response teams much slower to actual emergencies. I interviewed Nicola Lawrence of the Hertfordshire Police force about the offence of hoax calling.  Her main point was that hoax calls are not funny and don’t make you look big and clever at all. In fact it is a criminal offence and just like shoplifting or damage to public property you can go to jail if caught. Another shocking fact that she brought to light was that between March 2011 and April 2012 the police alone received 2081 hoax calls!  Also in response to my question of ‘Of the prank calls you do receive of what age group are they mostly given by?’ she replied ‘You may be surprised to learn that although the majority of hoax/prank calls are made by young adults, there are a high number made by individuals in the 20-40 age bracket – usually whilst under the influence of alcohol or other substances. There are also a number of calls made by individuals suffering with mental health issues and on these occasions we work with the persons care team to prevent re-offending.’ This proves that even though stereotypically when you think of hoax calls, you think of teenagers this is not always the case.   The reason must offenders commit this offence are varied are mixed. If it is the teenager who is involved then it is normally peer pressure or just trying to make themselves look big and clever. When it is adults they are normally under the influence of alcohol or another substance. I believe that more awareness of the problems hoax calls cause should be made as sometimes they have disastrous consequences!.

Smoking - Health risks marked in new advert.

Smoking - Health risks marked in new advert.

Most of us will have seen the graphic and hard-hitting anti-smoking advert by the Department of Health which features people smoking cigarettes with a tumour growing in the end. It tells us that just 15 cigarettes can cause a mutation that leads to cancerous tumours and marks a necessary return to shock campaigning. This somewhat shocking advert is aimed at all smokers, but particularly the young. Try to stop them before they start. Unfortunately statistics from the Department of Health showed that one third of smokers believe the health risks from smoking are greatly exaggerated. The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies says that smokers are still underestimating the damaging effects of smoking. It is still the single biggest preventable cause of cancer and causes about a quarter of all cancer deaths. Cigarette smoking increases your chance of getting any type of cancer. Passive smoking has been linked to heart disease, respiratory illness and lung cancer. It is particularly dangerous to children who are at a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome, pneumonia and asthma. A global study has estimated that passive smoking causes 60,000 deaths a year. One third of those killed are children often exposed to smoke at home. Lungs of children in this home environment may also develop more slowly. What’s more, pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke can pass the chemicals onto their babies. Cot death is five times more likely when there’s secondhand smoke around.  .

Sports News

Sports News

Football: England use DVD to avoid repeat of ’93. San Marino are joint bottom of Fifa's rankings at 207th in the world but England head to Serravalle today with respect at hand as they see Scotland fans in t-shirts reading ‘Gualteri 8 seconds’. This is as last time England were caught off guard and San Marino scored within 8 seconds of the match begining.  San Marino's team is made up of Olive-Oil workers, students and electricians, so what happened on that rather embrassing night back in 1993? Well the match didn't get off to a great start. A man named Davide Gualtiere scored within 8 seconds! Even though England went onto win the game 7-1, they came home the laughing stock of the UK. Cricket: Anderson to swing into 300 club. Burnley, famous for winning every football league there is (only Wolves as well) and now  one of their offspring is going to roll into Cricket's 300 club. The 300 clubs is an elite group of 3 people, Fred Truemen, Bob Willis and Ian Botham, who have taken 300 wickets in their career. James Anderson has taken 295 wickets and counting. Anderson is 6ft 2in, athletic and very light on his feet. 5 more wickets and he will become one of England four best bowlers of all time. Golf: Palmer angry at McIlroy no show. Arnold Palmer was angry and “frankly surprised” when Irish star Rory McIlroy didn’t turn up to the PGA tour in Orlando today. The veteran of American golf said "Frankly I thought hewas going to play,and I was as surprised as a lot of people when he decided not to play". McIlroy will instead be using this time to warm up for the next tour in Augusta. Woods in form again. Tiger Woods golf’s number one of 2 ½ years ago he is back on form, so watch out he might claim back the number one spot by the end of the week. School sports: The school has been doing very well in all winter sports this year with many great tournament results and wins. The stand out fixture result of the year is the year 8 A netball team coming second in the end of season tornament..

Should 16-17 year olds get a vote?

Should 16-17 year olds get a vote?

 The Conservative Party refuse to let 16-17 year olds get a vote in the next general election The party have recently stated that they refuse to let young people vote. The Conservatives admit that they think it is wrong to let them vote and that they should be able to vote once they are older. In the last general election 54% of 18-34 year olds voted compared to 75% of over 65 years old.  16-17 year olds were allowed to vote in the Scottish referendum but currently would not be able to take part in the election. Also, 16 year olds are able to join the army and taking on other responsibilities. Sajid Javid, MP for the conservatives, Minister for Equalities and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport shares his views:  ‘They would be too young to vote.’ And when we asked him how young people could get involved in politics he exclaimed ‘well, watching and reading the news and also activities such as BBC School Report.’ will raise awareness of politics amongst young people. 16-17 year olds from Watford have also shared their opinions on what they think about them voting and if they think they are capable of doing so. ‘Lots of policies are based on the youth so I think that we should be allowed to vote.’ ‘It would get us more involved in politics but I think that a lot of people wouldn’t take it seriously.’ ‘Yes I do think they should vote as education affects us so we should have a say in it.’ Do you think young people should be able to get involved?.

YouTube- Taking the World by Storm

YouTube- Taking the World by Storm

YouTube expands extremely- bloggers writing books, the real earnings of a YouTube stars and YouTube’s popularity growth  Internet bloggers or ‘vloggers’ known as ‘YouTubers’ are becoming and have been extremely popular after the past few years. But although it is just a hobby, depending on how popular they are on the internet, they can earn thousands; turning it into a reliable career. They have and are becoming famous through a new media. Is it better than developing a celebrity career through writing books or starring in movies?  For example, PewDiePie is a Swedish blogger with a gaming channel and his channel is the most popular across the whole of YouTube. He is roughly earning £4.8 million a year all because of the amount of views his video gets and he has over 33 million subscribers. Many people think it is unfair that bloggers such as him earn so much money when their job is their hobby and not a job that is important to society. There are so many others all over the internet who have become sensations and earned money all because they set up a tiny channel that got won over by the audience and has grown to something much bigger. ‘YouTubers’ don’t like to tell viewers about the value of their earnings because of this. But a lot of people don’t know about them as they are set up on YouTube and are not common on the TV or radio.  However, ‘YouTubers’ have expanded to other media. Many have written/are writing novels and books. Zoe Sugg, known as Zoella on YouTube has written a non-fiction novel called Girl Online only a few months ago and is currently writing a second one. Some bloggers are so widely watched and so popular they have also been given their own TV show. Plus, a lot of ‘YouTubers’ have featured on the BBC Radio 1 show and a couple of them host the show on a Sunday afternoon.  Even so, author, John Green, had become a’ YouTuber’ after an author, influenced by bloggers. This really shows just how widespread YouTube has become simply due to the popularity of the channels and videos.  Not only are they making money whilst doing something they love but they create relationships across from one YouTuber to another. Many are known by doing collaboration videos with for their weekly videos some of the time because they have created a YouTube community. This is mainly because they met through the internet or that they met at YouTube festivals such as VidCon, Playlist Live and Summer In The City at which fans can meet the people they have been watching and subscribing to and know through their videos and vlogs. Also, every year a video is uploaded to YouTube created by and featuring various bloggers in which they show the progress of YouTube throughout that year and of the major music, videos, news and more.  YouTube is gradually becoming even more popular than it already is and it might overtake the television in years to come as technology such as tablets and laptops are used often instead of using a TV. It is calculated that fifty-two out of 85 12-15 year olds prefer YouTube to TV and that equals 65%.  Even though YouTube was new in 2007 it is currently the 3rd most popular website in the world.  This shows that it is used regularly by billions of people: for entertainment, education, demonstrations, music and other subjects everyday.  More than 6 billion hours of videos on YouTube are watched each month- almost an hour for each person on earth. It’s not only the viewers that are important, all the channel -owners upload 100 hours of videos every minute.  Even if many YouTube channels have become something so big already, its still only the beginning for some. What step will YouTube take next?.

Interview with Anne Cassidy

Interview with Anne Cassidy

On Monday 5th March, we had the unique privilege to interview highly acclaimed author, Anne Cassidy. Anne had originally intended to speak to the year 9's but agreed to an interview with us. Although we are currently in year 8, we recognised the opportunity at hand, consequently researching factual questions to pose to her on the day. Many authors would seem very reserved but Anne appeared open with our questions no matter how pressing they were. Anne is a highly recognised author who takes a keen interest in teenage dilemmas in her wide range of books, beginning her career in 1990. She has been critically acclaimed for her heartrending novel, 'Looking for JJ.' Anne has been shortlisted and won many awards like the, 'Carnegie medal' in 2005, the 'Whitbread Children’s book award' in 2004 and the,' Book trust teenage prize' in 2004. All of the  awards have concerned 'Looking for JJ.' Here is a short clip of our interview..

Cold - Good or Bad?

Cold - Good or Bad?

As the winter weather tumbles in, more and more people are wrapping up warm. Many people complain it is too cold to be outside at this time of year, that the cold is bad for you, but is it really? Pupils from Watford Grammar School for Girls say that they find themselves complaining about the cold a lot, and that they have a negative view of cold weather. However, they seemed to think that average winter temperatures in Britain were lower than they actually are. The temperature in Watford has actually been higher this year than Watford’s average January temperature, so why does it seem so much colder? This year has been the wettest year since 1910, and arguably the windiest. The rain and wind has a big impact of the temperature we actually feel it is. At temperatures actually at 8°C, the gusts and precipitation make it feel like only 4°C, so perhaps the complaints are justified. But is this too cold to work? The pupils I interviewed thought that less than 2°C was bad for your body to be outside. In Canada, there are actually legal requirements for working in the cold, but the restrictions only start at -26°C, and unluckily for some, the temperature has to drop to around -40°C (depending on wind speed) before all work should cease. So if cold (however extreme) can make it too dangerous to work - is the cold actually bad for you? You may to appreciate it that much on your long trek to school, but the cold does us a great favour killing off some harmful germs. Moderately cold temperatures could be good for your blood vessels, as it trains them to be responsive. All over the world, an ice pack is used for a bump or bruise and to reduce swelling and pain. Abroad, in countries like Japan, the cold is used for a treatment for inflammation on a bigger scale. One treatment for many joint conditions is called Cryotherapy, where the patients spend two to three minutes in a very cold room to relieve pain. Another form of Cryotherapy is using liquid nitrogen to remove warts and other skin abnormalities. However, the cold could do you some damage. In the wintertime death rates tend to steep, perhaps due to the cold weather's ability to raise blood pressure and bring on more heart attacks and strokes. Also, the winter time is Cold and Flu season, and those illnesses always lead to a few deaths. While the cold kills and prevents some illness, some like cold and flu thrive. Also, the sun levels drop in winter, making it harder for our bodies to get our needed vitamin D intake. So, the cold is good for you in small moderate does, as long as you wrap up enough. You are less likely to become cold if you put a hat and coat on, and although most teenagers do not because it ruins their style, its better to be warm. As the weather continues to be cold, the met office is issuing yellow rain and wind warnings. You will need to wear a coat this week!.

Play Unlimted's bid to end gender marketing in toys

Play Unlimted's bid to end gender marketing in toys

Last December, Play Unlimited, an activist group against stereotypes in toys, launched a campaign in Australia, No Gender December, in bid to spread the message. The campaign has now ended but school reporter, Suchita wanted to find out the overall review of the campaign, and what's happening next, from the founder of Play Unlimited, Thea Hughes.  The objective of the campaign was to get media coverage and to raise awarness. She wrote that, "Australia still has a relatively ignorant (and sexist) culture when it comes to issues surrounding gender diversity and equality-our Priminister's comments about our campaign (and our previous Primeminister, Julia Gillard's famous speech to Abbot) indicate his".  She states that,"The campaign recieved international media coverage and we think, all in all, the campaign was a success by our measures". There is a vast future for Play Unlimited as they continue to keep international contacts (such as Britain's gender stereotypes activists, Let Toys Be Toys) and are persuading big and small retailers to stop using gender stereotypes. In the long term, Play Unlimited' vision is that,"Children should be free to grow and develop free of gender stereotypes which will only serve to limit them". She believes that "The impacts are limiting and damaging. Govenments will eventually legislate against gender marketing to kids" Thea and Play Unlimited continue to fight against gender marketing in toys..

Monument unveiled for British Scientists who lost their lives in the Antarctic

Monument unveiled for British Scientists who lost their lives in the Antarctic

3 weeks ago, The British Antarctic Monument Trust unveiled the second part of a two part monument in honour of the 29 British explorers who died in the Antarctic whilst completing scientific research. BBC School Reporter, Suchita, interviewed Mr.Brian Dorsett-Bailey, whose brother Jeremy died in the Antarctic, about this project. Mr.Dorsett-Bailey told us that in 2006, he was invited to a reunion to meet his brother's former colleagues. One of his brother's colleagues, Mr.Rod Rhys Jones, decided to set up a charity, The British Antarctic Monument Trust, to remember all who died in the Antarctic. He asked Mr.Dorsett-Bailey to be a trustee, who then accepted this offer. He tells us that is was important to accept the place from Mr.Jones because he felt that there "should be a public monument for everyone to see.". The monuments are based on a mould and a cast that fit perfectly together. The cast of the mould has been placed in Falkland Islands and the wooden monument at the Scott Polar Research institute in Cambridge fits perfectly around it. Mr.Dorsett-Bailey told BBC News School Report that the famous sculptor, Oliver Barratt, "leapt at the idea" of creating the memorials.  Mr.Dorsett-Bailey explained that the mould of the sculpture in Cambridge is made out of British Oak to symbolise warmth and the British element of the oak symbolises the feel of being close to home whilst the stainless steel cast in the Falkland Islands is meant to show "coldness". The cast also leans forward in respect for the lost. The cast of the sculpture was originally going to be placed in the Antarctic Peninsula, but instead was put in the Falkland islands. He told us they decided to place it in the Falkland Islands because that was "where all the scientists left from". The mould was finished in 2011 and it took 2 years to build. Straight afterwards, the cast began to be built and it was finished September 2014- two days before it was due to be sent to its destination. Mr.Dorsett-Bailey recently came back from a 3 week cruise in the Antarctic with other relatives and friends where he got to see the unveiling of the cast and made a speech in honour of those who died.  .

Watford left in the dark: Biggest solar eclipse in 16 years

Watford left in the dark: Biggest solar eclipse in 16 years

On Friday 20th March, there will be a partial eclipse in Britain when the moon crosses in front of the sun in a rare alignment, the closest the moon has been to the Earth in 18 and a half years. The eclipse will be the biggest in Europe since August 11th, 1999, when the moon crossed directly in front of the sun and a total eclipse occurred. In this case however, 85% of the sun will be covered in London and 98% will be covered in Northern Scotland. This makes it a partial eclipse as not all of the sun will be blocked from view. In WGGS school, pupils of the Astronomy club, Mr Hutchinson’s year 9 form and his science class will be going outside to view the eclipse via eclipse glasses and pinhole cameras. These methods will stop them from looking directly at the sun which would burn the retinas that are positioned at the back of the eye. Experts have warned people not to take selfies, or images with a camera because whilst it is not dangerous in itself to look at pictures and images of the eclipse, it is very easy to accidently look around the edge of a phone or camera and see the sun directly and damage your eyes. People all over the country will be outside to watch it.  However, if the sky is cloudy or rainy then the sight will be blocked for most British stargazers and anyone who wants to watch the event will have to stay indoors and watch it on TV with BBC stargazing footage. At 8.40 a.m, the sky will start darkening as the sunlight is blocked, although the most of the sun will be blocked at 9.31 a.m before the event is over at 10.41 a.m. The reason that this event is so special is that it is very unusual and only occurs in Europe very occasionally.  This will actually be the last eclipse in Europe until 2081, and the last to be seen in the U.K until 2090. The eclipse may also cause blackouts across parts of Europe due to the increase in solar power energy - but probably not in the UK. In the last 16 years, green energy in Europe has gone from being 0.1% of total power used to being 10.5% , although England is likely to be unaffected since only 1.5% of its energy is solar powered. Germany will be most affected by the loss of solar power since it uses 35.5 GW (gigawatts, a billion watts), and uses the most solar energy in Europe. It is followed by Italy (17.6 GW), whilst Britain is far behind with 10 GW (in 10th place internationally). This eclipse will be a stunning event, although it needs to be viewed correctly, and will not occur again for decades. This eclipse will be a highlight of 2015!.

Holocaust memorial candle at WGGS

Holocaust memorial candle at WGGS

WGGS Holocaust memorial evening On January 29th, WGGS held a memorial evening to commemorate the people who died in the Holocaust; both as victims or by standing up against it. To mark 70 years after the Holocaust, this year a special candle was created by Sir Anish Kapoor and distributed to 70 places across the country in order to honour the survivors of the Holocaust. Sir Anish Kapoor is a famous artist who is best known for his sculptures which include an observation tower built in the Olympic park, and a famous statue in Chicago called ‘Cloud Gate’ and nicknamed ‘The Bean’. He was awarded the Turner Prize from the Tate in 1991 and received a Knighthood in the 2013 Birthday Honours list for his services to visual arts.  The plain wax candle he designed was a big success, and was seen as ‘simple but effective’. Dame Helen Hyde says that ‘the candle is tasteful, and allows everyone to have their own opinion. ‘If I had been chosen to create it, then the candle would have been bigger and a very different design to this. I think this is better than any design I would have come up with though’. When asked a bit more about how Watford Grammar Girls School was chosen, Dame Helen commented ‘We were contacted in secret at the start of January. We weren’t allowed to tell anyone, and it was all very exciting. The school was chosen because I have done a lot of work on the Holocaust, and it is an honour to be picked’. ‘This is the first time something like this special event has happened at Watford Girls, but I hope that it won’t be the last’. The candles have been placed all over the country, some in places with historical significance like Lowestoft Railway Station where 200 Kindertransport refugees arrived in December 1938, and others just to demonstrate how far the holocaust reached. This event is also done to connect the separate services occurring around the country, and to get everyone more involved..

BBC NEWS SCHOOL REPORT 2013

BBC NEWS SCHOOL REPORT 2013

The pupils of Watford Grammar School for Girls have been working hard all year preparing stories and perfecting their skills.  Students from this school will be making the news for real on 21 March 2013 as they take part in BBC News School Report. The pupils will be taking part in a live broadcast in front of their whole year group as well as aiming to publish the news by 1600 GMT on the News Day, so please save this page as a favourite and return to it later...

Dorothy Thornhill:“One child illiterate is one child too many”

Dorothy Thornhill:“One child illiterate is one child too many”

Recently, Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, pledged to eradicate child illiteracy, within the next ten years, by 2025, if they win May’s general election. The Lib Dems' manifesto includes a commitment to make sure that pupils, by the age of 11, will be able to read and write to a basic standard. The Secretary of State for Culture, Sport and Media, MP Sajid Javid, told us that eliminating child illiteracy is a priority for the government. He says: "It is essential for us to eliminate child illiteracy as it could affect their lives massively in the future." According to the Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill, who is standing for the Liberal Democrat MP for Watford, believes that “Reading is a fundamental gift.” She says that both parties, Lib Dems and the Conservatives, have influenced plans on how to eradicate child illiteracy, however she told us that 10 years is “a bit ambitious”. In reality, this may not affect Watford as we are very fortunate to have excellent schools and great parental support, which in her opinion is key. Richard Harrington, Conservative MP of Watford, holds a reading poster challenge every year and he invites all of the primary schools in Watford to take part. He asks the children to design a poster for their favourite book and the winners receive a £150 worth of book vouchers for their school. “The ability to read really is a key building block of society, and one of the most important skills that every child must master.” This has become a priority in government and our Parliament is fighting hard to make sure that every child has the “power to read”. .

Pledge: Eliminating child illiteracy by 2025

Pledge: Eliminating child illiteracy by 2025

Recently, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg pledged to eliminate child illiteracy within the next ten years if they manage to remain in power after the May general elections.  The Liberal Democrats manifesto will include a commitment to ensure that every child leaving primary school aged 11, will be able to read and write English to a decent standard.  Even though the Lib Dems are carrying out this task, the Conservatives have also made it one of their priorities. The Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan said, "If we don't get it right at primary, then it becomes much harder for children to catch up." She also endorsed the “Read on. Get on.” campaign to make sure children can read well by the age of 11. Richard Harrington, MP of Watford, holds a reading poster challenge every year and he invites all of the primary schools in Watford to take part. He asks the children to design a poster for their favourite book and the winners receive a £150 worth of book vouchers for their school. “The ability to read really is a key building block of society, and one of the most important skills that every child must master.” Schools across the UK will have new highly qualified staff to help the students learn the language in depth and understand the basics in order to help them read and write well.      .

Lack of confidence and some confusion around Brexit process increases in WGGS.

Lack of confidence and some confusion around Brexit process increases in WGGS.

This morning Her Majesty the Queen gave Theresa May, the current Prime Minister, permission to hold talks about the plans on how to leave the EU. The European Union Notification of Withdrawal Bill was passed by MPs as law on Monday 12th confirming that Theresa May can tell the Council of the European Union that Britain is officially leaving the EU. This law has been triggered by the fact that the Prime Minister has announced that article 50 will be passed by the end of March. What we know now from the passing of this law is that Britain is definitely leaving. As this was going on in London I wondered if this news had reached the pupils at our school, WGGS. Out of 15 pupils at WGGS, three did not know what Brexit was.  Many pupils and staff who knew about the concept of Brexit had mixed feelings about whether it was a good or bad idea however some were very definite about their opinions. ‘I voted leave in the referendum in 1975 and I voted leave now,’ said a member of staff at the school. Some others thought it was a ‘stupid idea’ and they believed ‘it’s a shambles’. After hearing these strong opinions there were some people who thought ‘if we’re leaving, we’re leaving, just get on with it’..

Headmistress worries about children's health in this exclusive interview

Headmistress worries about children's health in this exclusive interview

Headmistress of Watford Grammar School for Girls, Mrs Wagner, has recently shown concern for school children spending too much time on a digital device. She has initiated many programmes supporting students who feel under pressure because of social media.  She was kind enough to answer my questions in this exclusive interview. Sonika: Many children as young as 9 years old own a phone. What is your opinion on this? Mrs Wagner: I think this is part of life and I understand why parents give their children mobile phones. I am not sure that a child of 9 needs one, but there is probably a lot of social pressure on parents and children to do what everyone else is doing. I would worry about young children having free access to the internet, but they will also have that on iPads and laptops at home. I hope parents and teachers are giving primary school children lots of advice about how to keep safe online. I also hope that parents take the phones away from the children at night so that the children can get a proper night’s sleep. Sonika: How much time do you think people should be spending on social media? Most schools have started to set homework online are you going to do the same? Mrs Wagner: There are two questions here! I think nobody should spend more than one hour on social media a day. This gives enough time to catch up with what friends are doing and news stories. Being able to see homework online is a different issue. I think it is a good idea and I am looking into it. This is a very different type of online activity to people scrolling through Instagram and Facebook for hours on end. Sonika: British psychologists prove that young adults use their phone twice as much as they estimate. In fact young adults use their phone 5 hours a day on average. How do you think this is going to affect the modern generation? Mrs Wagner: This is a very serious issue. It would be good for young adults to be using their free time for sport and socialising with real people rather than focussing on the virtual world for so many hours a day. It is possible that young people could suffer from not doing enough physical activity and fixating on what friends and celebrities look like and are doing online. These could both lead to poor physical health, as well as poor emotional and mental health. Sonika: Are you going to start a programme that enhances people to take part verbally or enhances their creativity? Mrs Wagner: We have lots of opportunities in school that promote girls’ creativity. There are Art Clubs as well as Creative Writing and Drama. We are also a reading school, and many girls read books in their spare time, which is something that makes me very happy indeed. I always have a good book on the go and for me reading is one of the great pleasures in life. Perhaps the girls can start a campaign that focuses on encouraging young people to spend less time on their phones? I think the message would be stronger coming from peers than if it were to come from teachers, but I am always happy to listen to good ideas! Sonika: Medical news has reported that social media may feed anxiety and increase feelings of inadequacy. How far do you agree with that? Do you think that we should stop social media completely? Why?  Mrs Wagner: I have seen a great deal of research that would indicate that this is true. I worry that young people worry too much about body image, low self-confidence and low self-esteem, and that social media can exacerbate these anxieties. I don’t think we should stop social media – there are some great tools for communication and keeping in touch with friends, family, news and professional communities. I use Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (yes, Snapchat!), but I don’t use them all day every day – it’s all about moderation. There are some very good online communities that exchange ideas about education – I find them very useful and informative. Mrs Wagner is not only encouraging children to take their eyes off a screen 24/7, but the parents as well.  Apparently, over a third of parents said they used tech gadgets to entertain their children because they are convenient. When I asked parents what they thought, Mr and Mrs Parikh with children aged 13 and 10 told me, " Children should spend time on a device for only constructive work." “I think children should be allowed to spend time on a phone to keep up with friends but you shouldn’t over-do it."  This is probably the best advice for all of us, no matter our age!.

Mental Health Week

Mental Health Week

Schools must do more on mental health says school reporters. Many students are currently suffering from mental health but can't tell anyone, in fear of being bullied and not accepted. Opening new programmes will help students be more open-minded and aware about mental health and Watford Girls is taking the lead. According to Grace, not from Watford Girls, who spoke to the survey’s authors, she felt there was no-one to turn to in the school,she said "I felt so low I didn't want to go on". She had been bullied for the past nine years, has moved schools twice, struggled with suicidal thoughts and taken medication for anxiety and depression. The ComRes research, taken by 1000 UK students aged 11 to 16 shows that 70% experienced negative feelings and 11% described themselves as “unhappy overall”.  However, not only the students should be aware of how to help people with mental health but also the teachers. According to another recent study, a third of teachers hadn’t had any training for how to deal with mental health issues and a quarter said that they don’t know how and when to refer a young person in distress for help. Two sixth form students at Watford Girls Grammar school Amy and Maitri took the initiative to start a weekly programme for helping people become more aware for mental health. This included programmes such as Chocolate and Chat, Feel good Friday and cake sale and many more! We asked them why they decided to organise it and Amy said: “I’ve noticed this is something that we need to make more of a big deal of in the sense of letting people know about it!”  Maitri also said that: “ I completely agree as well when I see the range of children going about school. And growing through the years, the mental health awareness that we had was very little -there had been some, but not enough.” Watford Grammar school nurse Miss Hibbert shares her views on making students more aware of mental health issues. “It can be very helpful for students who struggle to cope with mental illnesses and can help them to talk about it to teachers and peers. And you can also look out for your friends.”   A student in the school (who wishes to remain anonymous) “It’s a good idea because some people take mental health as a joke.”  .

Fantastic 4-1 win for Chelsea sees them through to the quarter finals.

Fantastic 4-1 win for Chelsea sees them through to the quarter finals.

Chelsea’s 4-1 triumph over Napoli makes them the only English team through to the quarter finals of the Champions league. After losing 3-1 in the first leg, Chelsea made great come-back in the second playing home at Stamford Bridge. It was 3-1 to Chelsea going through to extra time in which Branislav Ivanovic scored the game winning fourth goal. John Terry scored goal number 2 and said, “This match could top them all, for sure. The lads put in a great display, really solid, really resilient, with the firepower going forward.” The 31 year old player assures Chelsea there is still a good few years left in him despite hobbling off at extra time. Didier Drogba's header made goal number one from a cross by Ramires and Frank Lampard made no mistake scoring goal 3 from the penalty spot. Chelsea thoroughly deserved the win after the tough year they’ve had with Terry being accused of racism and getting used to their new manager Andre Villas-Boas before sacking him.                                                                    A Nottingham Forest supporter replied to our question in an interview, ‘What were Chelsea’s strengths and weaknesses?’ by saying, “Chelsea’s more experienced players played better than they have recently however that could also be a weakness as they older and tier more easily.” He then answered the question, ‘Do you think Chelsea deserve the win after all they have been through the last few months?’ saying “I think they deserve the win because they played well on the night and not because of the past events they brought on themselves.” Chelsea supporter and Maths teacher Mr. Corrine answered the same 2 questions and said, "The game was very fast paced and exciting. It also made me feel extremely nervous and anxious! Chelsea's strengths were definitely their attack and drive forward. I can't think of any weaknesses as Chelsea probably played one of the best games they ever have. I think they thoroughly deserve their win, especially after what the last year challenged them with." .

Australian PM Apologises for Forced Adoptions

Australian PM Apologises for Forced Adoptions

Today the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard apologised for forced adoptions in 1950’s and 1970’s. Thousands of babies were taken away from their unmarried mothers who were mostly in their teenage years. Many of them said that they were persuaded unwillingly to sign their children away to adoption. She said at the Parliament house at the capital Canberra "Today, this Parliament, on behalf of the Australian people, takes responsibility and apologises for the policies and practices that forced the separation of mothers from their babies which created a lifelong legacy of pain and suffering. We deplore the shameful practices that denied you, the mothers, your fundamental rights and responsibilities to love and care for your children." Many of the crowd broke down in tears at the heartfelt apology. Last February, this national apology was asked for after the event and impacts were looked into. Many of the mothers spoke and even some of the babies that were taken away from their mothers. Some of the mothers say that they were drugged, and others said that their signatures were forged. Many say that they signed because of the disgrace associated with unmarried mothers. Some of the mothers never even got to see their babies before they were taken away from them.  Ms Gillard said "You were given false assurances, you were forced to endure the coercion and brutality of practices that were unethical, dishonest and in many cases illegal” After all the speeches were finished, silk flowers, baby books, teddy bears, hand-knitted hats and booties were placed on the stage. Even though this apology cannot take back what happened it has been greatly appreciated by many. .

The game of the season finds itself ‘crushed’

The game of the season finds itself ‘crushed’

The well-known game, Candy Crush, has found itself ultimately ‘crushed’. The UK app creator, King, are finding that their shares are suddenly decreasing.  Riccardo Zacconi, founder and chief executive of King is an extremely wealthy man. The trading of this app opened and, and due to the popularity the game tanked shares at $19.08 each, down from the listing price of $22.50. However people easily became over excited and many found themselves buying into a debt.  Shares were instantly sold once people realized the mistake that they had made. This resulted in the value of the shares decreasing. When sharing this news at WGGS many people were both surprised and shocked. Candy Crush seems to be doing very well. Pupils at WGGS said “the game is very popular. Everybody knows about it and talks about it.” A receptionist said “the game is very very popular and I’ve heard it’s addictive". On the other hand, pupils seemed to think that games such as Flappy Bird are exceeding it. Whilst this news is sure to be disappointing for King, only time will tell about the future of the company's success. .

BBC News School Report 2016 underway

BBC News School Report 2016 underway

The BBC News School Reporters for 2016 are already underway, working towards their 2pm deadline when they will give a live news broadcast to the whole of Year 8. Currently, the twelve Year 8 pupils are reading newspapers and webpages trying to decide which stories to cover online and in the live broadcast. The pupils have been attending after school lessons since Christmas to teach them the skills required to research, gather and write the news.  Today they will put those skills to the test. Monica, the Editor said "I'm quite excited, I think this is going to be a really good experience." While Stephanie is "mostly looking forward to writing the articles and seeing how real news reporters write their articles in a limited amount of time" Of course there's an element of nerves. Elinam is most worried about the live broadcast.  She explains "if I mess up, everyone will see". Miss Dorsett-Bailey and Miss Pearse would like to wish them lots of luck!      .

2017 News coming soon

2017 News coming soon

Students from Watford Grammar School for Girls will be making the news for real on 16 March 2017 as they take part in BBC News School Report. We aim to publish the news by 1600 GMT on News Day, so please save this page as a favourite and return to it later..

BBC News School Report 2016

BBC News School Report 2016

Come back on Thursday 10th March to see the reports for BBC School Report 2016..

Songbirds Trapped and Eaten

Songbirds Trapped and Eaten

Can you imagine tucking into a deep fried robin? Or maybe a barbecued song thrush would be more to your taste. Many Cypriots have been enjoying these delicacies in much the same way as you may enjoy fries, burgers or pizza. Despite RSPB and Ministry of Defence intervention, local poachers continued to lure these birds to their death at a British Military base in Cape Pyla - killing approximately 15,000 birds a night.   The poachers use a recording of birdsong to attract them into the “mist nets”- hung between acacia trees-where they are caught and later killed by a pin through the head. Acacia trees are just the right density and height to provide a perfect nesting spot for the birds, so when poachers string up nets between the trees, birds immediately fly into them.  Although many of the poachers have been fined a considerable amount, they are not deterred as one meal can cost up to 60 euros for 12 birds. Experts say the only way to stop this poaching is to destroy the 100 or so acres of acacia trees, a virtually impossible feat when all of the locals are in favour of the poaching. Charis Packham told the Times, “If this was an instance of human trafficking of drugs, the authorities would stop it immediately but as it is birds they give in to the locals’ protests”.     .

Girls & Gaming

Girls & Gaming

The usual stereotype of a gamer is a man, but experts predict that by the end of 2013, there will be more females than males playing video and computer games. This also includes casual and social types of game. 75% of women now believe that gender has nothing to do with the hobby anymore. However, only 4% of UK games developers are female. In the past, the vast majority of gamers and game makers were male, and we thought gaming was just something for men to enjoy. Women are often portrayed in video games as sexualised objects, making them look fake. They are dressed in very little and their proportions are sometimes unrealistic. This might lead men to expect normal women to look and dress in a similar way to these characters. In lots of video games, the helpless lady is saved by the daring man, for example Mario and Peach. When we interviewed the public, they said that this needed to change. There is already some evidence of this change in video games where you can choose to play as either a male or female character. This is fairer and gives more choice. Since games are mainly created by men, they are often aimed at men, but recently ‘casual gaming’ has become very popular. For example, ‘Angry Birds’ and ‘Temple Run’ are casual games. These are simple games that anyone can play, especially on phones or tablets, and these are played by many women and girls. It is less common for women to enjoy hard-core games such as “Call of Duty” and virtual worlds, but the number of hard-core female gamers is definitely going up. Some men would say that women don’t like the violence in video games and are not skilled enough at using the controllers. This is not true, because there are plenty of extremely dexterous, tactical women gamers, who just don’t spend as much time playing. Also, most women have no problem with the violence in films and television. Rhianna Pratchett is a very successful script writer and story designer in the video game industry, who has worked on projects like ‘Overlord’, ‘Mirror’s Edge’ and the new ‘Lara Croft’ game. She talked to us about why more women should get into the industry. She said ‘I don’t think young women are aware of the opportunities out there in games’. There are so many different, creative positions in the industry; designers, artists, composers, writers, programmers, producers and more. Rhianna also told us that female-led titles don’t sell as well as male-led titles, because not as much of the marketing budgets are invested in games with female protagonists. She said, ‘For a long time, it’s been guys creating games for other guys, and it gets very limiting. It’s a lot of the same ideas recycled, and a lot of the same perspectives’ ‘So, I think the more women that get into the games industry, you’ll see fresher ideas, and fresher games out there.’ The video games industry can be tough, but there are so many opportunities and exciting projects to work on. Don’t just leave it to the men!.

Sleep Your Way to Gorgeous Curls...

Sleep Your Way to Gorgeous Curls...

 Women in China have supported the new, affordable way to get gorgeous curls using toilet paper. The method is wrapping toilet paper onto damp hair then sleeping on it overnight and in the morning you can enjoy your stunning curls.  Many approve of this idea to be a “green” method. A sixth former thinks “the idea is a little bit strange” Ms Tai says “It’s interesting and I can clearly see how the method is environmentally friendly.” Multiple pictures have been shared by women in China and they have definitely led the trend forward. Another sixth former had a completely different approach saying “It is cost effective and I can clearly see how it’s environmentally friendly.” “An ingenious idea but a little odd” The idea of having toilet paper in your hair can come across as very strange but thinking about how much you can save on rollers and heat tools is original.           .

The Wrong Size?

The Wrong Size?

THE WRONG SKIN?  Model Rosie Nelson, handed her petition into 10 Downing Street, calling for an improved health care for models after being refused by a model agency suggesting she was too fat.  Rosie Nelson wants a tighter grip on health. Miss Nelson had attracted an 113,000 signature campaign and will stand her case in a parliamentary probe which begins later this year. Hirushi a pupil at WGGS said, “I think it’s unfair not just to the models but to the people because these agencies are giving our generation the wrong image”.   This campaign is rapidly moving towards countries such as Israel who have banned any models with a BMI less than 18.5, the ban is an effort to promote women of all sizes into the industry. Even though some disagree saying some women have a body that stays “stick thin”. Others thoroughly agree as a step towards having less numbers of anorexic cases..

Harry's not-so-happy home up for sale

Harry's not-so-happy home up for sale

The famous Harry Potter series, which has been an international craze since 29th June 1997 when the first book was published, this week sees its wizard’s house going up for sale by Sterling Estate Agents. 4 Privet drive is up with a selling price of £650,000, even for its first time on the market since 2012. This is much higher than the predicted selling price set in December 2013 at £501,725. At the moment number 4 is housing the Hussain family, who are big fans of Harry Potter but hadn't realised the significance of the address when they first bought the house. Their son was reading the popular series at the time and he was the first one who acknowledged that it was Harry Potter’s house. After a while, the Hussain family were receiving letters to Privet Drive attempting to talk to Harry. The house is situated very close to the Warner Bros studios, so the Hussain's occasionally let family and friends take a picture of their house before visiting the Watford attraction.     We asked a  Sterling Estate agent whether there is more interest in 4 Privet Drive than other houses in Leavesden. He said “not really actually, we don’t have many houses in Leavesden so there aren’t very many people who realise that it is there”. Even though it is such a famous setting, this house is not very well known because most people think that it doesn’t exist in real life..

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, the former South African president died on the 5th of December 2013, following a long illness. Around the world, demonstrations show the impact he had on people. Nelson Mandela was born on July 18th 1918. He protested against the differences between white and black people. But he was sent to a lonely prison on Robben Island for the demonstrations he did. He was released on February 11th 1990 and many people turned up to see him let out. He won a Nobel peace prize on the 10th December 1993. Later he was elected the first black president of South Africa on the 9th of May 1994.  Mrs Hyde, the Head teacher of Watford Grammar School For Girls who is from South Africa, thinks that Nelson Mandela is a great role model because he always stuck to his views and he wanted equality for everybody regardless of their religion or culture. She also feels this is the reason so many people are inspired by him. She thinks that the two most important things to take from Nelson Mandela's life are two things, firstly to never give up on what you think is right and secondly to keep going however hard your situation maybe because in some cases it is more difficult than others. Mrs Hyde can see a change in South Africa as there is equality for everyone and children don't even know what apartheid was. She also used one of Nelson Mandela's sayings that 'South Africa is a ranbow nation'. As for the world, she thinks that the main change has been that people are now aware of inequalities. The impacts from Nelson Mandela on Mrs Hyde is that she feels that her home country South Africa has changed for the better and has made even her more excepting to the world and people. Locally it is clear that everyone has heard of Nelson Mandela and finds him inspirational. They think he has made a change to the world and that he will go down in history. They know Nelson Mandela for being the first black president of South Africa and that he worked for black people’s rights. He inspires so many people for his equality and forgiveness to all even white people as well as black. The majority of people say that the biggest change he made to the world is the now better equality between black and white citizens. People think that he is one of the most significant people of the 20th century. The impact on the public is similar to Mrs Hyde's, that everyone should be treated equally and it has made everyone become much more interested and involved in what is happening around the world..

The Dungeons

The Dungeons

The Dungeons The dungeons are the lower school changing rooms of Watford Grammar School for Girls. They have been a part of the school for 107 Years and opinion on the dungeons varies. Many pupils seem to think that they should be renovated but teachers insist that they are definitely in a fit state for changing. People throughout the school's hierarchy have different views on the dungeons. Neha, a pupil said that they ‘reek and they definitely need to be changed,’ Whereas Ms Hart, Assistant head teacher, said “people who complain these days ought to think about what they used to be like”. The dungeons have been a part of WGGS from 1907 – 2014. At first they were located where the canteen is now, but at the present time the dungeons remain next to the bottom fields. Many pupils complain about the conditions of these changing rooms. Sita, a pupil at WGGS, said “there’s an okay space for changing but it’s a bit cold”. Despite this, the changing rooms are a rich and important part of the school's history. For example, former pupil and member of the senior team, Mrs Hart, said "the dungeons used to be used as an air raid shelter during the world war.” Overall it seems that the dungeons will not be changing and perhaps those who say “ they reek” need to remember that “ they were a lot darker and smellier than before.”.

Cannabis in Colorado

Cannabis in Colorado

On January 1st, Colorado became the first state in America to allow cannabis for medicinal and recreational uses. Patients with illnesses like cancer are able to buy the drug for medicinal purposes in twenty US states. Cannabis can make users feel paranoid and make people have less concentration, especially when continually using it. Around 1 in 10 cannabis users have unpleasant experiences, including confusion, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia. The same person may have either pleasant or unpleasant effects depending on their mood and circumstances. They say that the funding is going towards schools and hospitals, helping other citizens in the state.There is some fear that Colorado is following in the footsteps of Netherlands. People are concerned that soon people will take the laws for granted and take advantage of them. People are concerned that soon citizens will take the laws for granted and Colorado will soon be a place of fear. A citizen said ' “Waking up in Colorado, I am nervous about what the future holds.”' Whereas other citizens think that this will benefit them “if we did control the distribution of cannabis and tax it could be very profitable for the government. Some of the money could go towards education and healthcare. ”' “The state of Colorado's interest is not in the health of the patients, it's in the money. And that's disgusting," said Laura Kriho of the Cannabis Therapy Institute. Iraq war veteran Sean Azzariti said "I couldn't be happier," Colorado has set the example the American government were hoping for as other states such as Alaska and New York are already taking the next steps towards the legalisation of the drugs. This law may therefore influence all states in America to follow suit.     .

IAAF World Championships, Istanbul; Devastating Disappointments for several British Athletes

IAAF World Championships, Istanbul; Devastating Disappointments for several British Athletes

The world championships were held in Istanbul and proved a bit in a challenge for Great British Athletes. Jessica Ennis thought she had won gold in the pentathlon only to find out that Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska had broken the world record. Ennis said ‘It was the worst feeling in the world but I will take a lot from the disappointment.’  Mo Farah narrowly missed out on third place after he had collided with Kenyan athlete Edwin Soi. Farah was awarded bronze after Soi had been disqualified only for that decision to be reversed after Soi had appealed. Farah had attempted to take the lead two laps from the end when he ran after the American athlete Bernard Lagat. Unfortunately Farah was chased by Soi and fellow Kenyan athlete Augustine Choge, Soi then collided with him on the final bend causing him to step of the track and finish fourth. Farah said ‘I'm disappointed to finish fourth. I got pushed a bit but that's all part of the sport.’  On the positive side, Yamile Aldama won gold in the triple jump which makes her the second oldest world champion in history aged 39 jumping 14.82m. Dwain Chambers took bronze in the 60m sprint and team captain Tiffany Porter claimed silver in the 60m hurdles. Andrew Osagie got bronze in the 800m, narrowly missing out on silver by three tenths of a second. Teenager Andrew Pozzi finished fourth in the 60m hurdles after winning his heat. Conrad Williams, Nigel Levine, Michael Bingham & Richard Buck came second in the 4x400m relay whilst the women’s team consisting of Shana Cox & Nicola Sanders & Christine Ohuruogu & Perri Shakes-Drayton won gold after a photo finish with the American team. It was a very exciting three days with a record breaking haul of two gold medals, three silver medals and four bronze medals. However, with the Olympics coming up in the summer we hope that the likes of Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah will win gold in their events. Good luck to all British athletes!.

British swimming trials see new personal best's all round

British swimming trials see new personal best's all round

Double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington won the 800m securing her place in the Olympic team. She swam a new personal best of eight minutes 18:54 seconds. She will be joined by nineteen-year-old Eleanor Faulkner after she finished second with a personal best of 8:27.11. Fran Halsall set the fastest freestyle time of the year. She recorded a time of 53:57 seconds and will be joined by Loughbourgh team-mate Amy Smith. Joe Roebuck qualified for a third event in the 200m individual medley after a tight finish with James Goddard. He said ‘It has been a fantastic week for me but I would have been disappointed if I hadn’t qualified for this event (200m individual medley).’The 21st individual swimmer to confirm an Olympic place was Stacey Tadd. The fourth welsh to get a place in the Olympic team was David Davies coming second the 1500m. Several other people secured Olympic places but there will be more trials in June to decide the remaining places. Hopefully our swimmers will come back with medals in the Olympics..

Amazing Athletics results for WGGS

Amazing Athletics results for WGGS

WGGS’ lower school indoor athletics team are through to the County Sports hall athletics final which will be held next Tuesday 20th March in Ware. The team consisting of eight year 8 pupils fought off fierce competition from local schools; Queens, Westfield, Yavneh Collage, St Clemet Danes and Bushey Meads. The win in the heats put them through to the final where they could go on to compete on higher levels. We all hope they do extremely well and make their school proud. Another fantastic achievement for the girls is the joint year 8 and 9 team winning their heat of indoor athletics at the Lee Valley Stadium in Essex. The team consisted of four year 9 pupils and four year 8’s. There were many second places but there was a win for Mia in the High jump when she jumped 1.45m narrowly missing 1.50 m but still beating her previous personal best despite it being her first high jump competition of the year. She said ‘It was an inspirational opportunity as the facilities were amazing and beating my pb (personal best) in the first jump of the season made it more enjoyable. I really enjoyed going with my friends and team mates and I can’t wait to go back for the final and hopefully we will do as well as we did yesterday.’ Jessica also came away with a win in the long jump jumping 4.88m. The relay team narrowly missed out on first place in the last hundred meters although it was a great run from Rebecca, Ella, Mia, and Jessica. Everyone else was committed whole heartedly to the events and everyone competed to their best. The whole school is looking forward to the final in a few weeks time and wish them all the best..

Brace yourself for Banana-geddon

Brace yourself for Banana-geddon

The world’s most important fruit is now under threat from a new form of the fungus called Panama disease. In the 1960s panama disease wiped out the Gros Michel banana; but Cavendish bananas came to the rescue. Now even these bananas are under threat. Over 55 million tonnes of Cavendish bananas are grown worldwide every year, making bananas the fourth biggest food crop after rice, corn and wheat. The Gros Michel banana was originally the largest banana crop but was wiped out by Panama disease in 1969. Now, the Cavendish banana has taken its place, but not necessarily for much longer. Love them or hate them, if bananas became extinct it would have a huge impact on farmers, businesses and even us. You may not think it, but bananas are a staple food source in poorer regions and since 47% of bananas are Cavendish… it’s almost certain that the one in your lunchbox or fruit bowl is under threat. Panama disease attacks the roots of banana trees, killing off the whole plant. There is currently no cure for Panama disease other than harmful soil treatment, which makes the land useless for other crops. People have displayed strong emotions towards the impending death of the Cavendish banana. Theo (10) said: “I’d be very sad if bananas became extinct, because when I come home from school, I will always have a banana and to think that I wouldn’t be able to do that anymore would make me very upset.” Milo (12) also expressed similar concerns, saying: “bananas are a special part of people’s lives, including mine, and they’re not something that you can take for granted, as they are just something you can have and enjoy.” Ian (79) remembers the last time bananas were in short supply during World War II. He said: “during the war, the boats carrying the bananas from the West Indies were bombed, but when the odd one did slip through, there would be huge queues, just for a banana!” however, his next answer was rather nonchalant when he said: “well, I suppose I would miss having a banana but it wouldn’t really affect me, I’d just have an apple instead!” Although it will be a while before bananas are completely wiped out, in future, rather than queuing up for a bunch in the supermarket, we could end up queuing around the block for one of the world’s favourite fruits..

Vicar vows to help Watford's Refugees

Vicar vows to help Watford's Refugees

As the migrant crisis continues to escalate, people are setting out to ‘make a difference’ in our local area. Over a million refugees and migrants crossed into Europe last year, but as the crisis unfolds, more are flooding in. There are charities in the local area and all of the world helping refugees. One of these is called ‘Watford and Three Rivers Refugee Partnership’ (WTRRP), which provides mental and physical support for asylum seekers in the local area. They also supply products ranging from food to nappies to support everyone in need. It’s not only charities who are setting out to help refugees and migrants. The headmistress of Watford Grammar School for Girls, Dame Helen Hyde, is scheduled to leave the school at the end of this year to play her part in the increasing crisis. Tony Rindl, the vicar of St Mary’s Church in Watford, gave his views on the crisis and how he’s going to contribute to the migrant programme. “I’m looking forward to working with someone as experienced as Dame Helen Hyde, who has obviously contributed to the National Holocaust Education programme. We are planning a conference for young people in the autumn, to explore things such as why people become refugees and the experiences they face as they move from country to country, as well as the process they face to get asylum and refugee status and to see what else they need such as food, housing and education for their children.” They vicar also said: “We need to be equipping young people to find the solutions. They are keen to develop an education programme to find the needs and requirements to solve the problem and to train people to be part of the solution in the future.” Although Tony Rindl is not directly involved in the charity, he supports WTRRP, as they provide a drop-in centre twice a week that provide support for refugees in Watford such as accommodation, food and legal support. He said: “The organisation is growing and demand is increasing all the time as we see the whole refugee crisis unfolding.” Dame Helen Hyde and Tony Rindl are meeting in a couple of weeks to sit down and identify what else they can do to help. Seeing the extent in Watford and across the world, they have realised that this will be with us for many years to come. We are also able to participate in the migrant and refugee crisis. By continuing to ask questions and learn about the issues faced by refugees, our generation may be on the way to preventing the problems for good..

Business as usual! The aftermath of the Teachers' Strike

Business as usual! The aftermath of the Teachers' Strike

The National Union of Teachers striked all day yesterday over pensions, pay and teaching conditions. 14 schools in Watford closed due to this action and only 7 stayed open according to the Watford Observer.  One of the reasons for the strike was a concern over the morale of teachers, which, if damaged could have a significant effect on recruitment for the profession. There are also concerns over the quality of everyday education. Some teachers asked believe in the cause and think that the National Union of Teachers should strike if they feel their members are being unfairly treated. They also believe that that the ability to strike is 'a very important democratic right’. According to one teacher, Michael Gove ‘isn’t making teachers look good to parents’, treating them unfairly and proving the National Union of Teachers should strike. Other teachers asked feel that striking 'doesn't appeal’  to them and believe  there is an ‘impact on lessons’, hindering students learning. One teacher said that she ‘doesn’t believe striking is right’ and another that ‘unions can be dictatorial’. Another concern is that some unions strike too often. Overall, students believe that it's 'better to have teachers in lessons'; when teachers go on strike there are 'no planned lessons' and 'it's inconvenient for students taking their GCSEs'. Regardless of the contrasting opinions, strikes are likely to continue if these cuts aren't reconsidered..

The School's Bithday Bash

The School's Bithday Bash

At lunchtime on Wednesday 2nd of April, the whole school will be celebrating its birthday whilst raising money to help maintain the establishment. Students will come in pyjamas and get involved in setting up salons, storytelling, as well as purchasing food, and swapping unwanted CDs and DVDs all around the school. The school’s birthday is celebrated every year and it is extremely popular with students. Each year group has a job to do: Yr. 8 are in charge of the beauty stalls, Yr. 7 are holding a swap shop; the school’s birthday is a day for the students to organise and carry though fun ideas that challenge them. To an extent, the whole school has participated in the fundraising; but according to a school council member ‘some people and forms are not taking part and not putting in the effort into it to make it work’, making the promise of an ‘overall great day’ a bit less realistic. We asked students their views on a pyjama day and some were unenthusiastic,.  They feel the theme was ’not original’, despite having been voted for by the whole school. Whereas others were more excited. "Who wouldn't want to sit in ICT in their onsie?" said one pupil.  Even the teachers are looking forward to it. Miss Welch joked that "I might even get a lie in ... I can roll straight out of bed and head to work!" The school’s birthday is a very special occasion and everybody can’t wait to celebrate it, whatever they're wearing!.

Our School Canteen

Our School Canteen

The School Canteen The School Canteen is where lots of students go every break and lunch to enjoy a meal and sit with friends. The new isometric system has successfully been running for some time and students were wondering why it was implemented in the first place. We spoke to Deputy Head Mr Johnson, and he gave us an insight into why it was placed. He told us that the system was first proposed to reduce cash on school premises and to speed up the infamous canteen queues. The system as a whole has been a success and it has encouraged pupils to go to the canteen more often.  ‘Personally, I think that before the new system the queue was really long, so I didn’t bother to go. However, now it seems much more efficient.’ said Miriam. ‘I like the new system because it makes the queues in the canteen move much quicker.’ said Emily. The isometric system lets parents view what their children are eating. For some students this has stopped them from buying the food that might have before, for example chips and burgers. the has forced them to go for a healthier, more parent-friendly option. Lastly, we asked whether there was anything that parents, teachers and students thought could be done to the canteen.  Mr Johnson thought that ‘there should be no junk food and everybody should use it to improve the Girls’ taste’. Mrs dos Santos (a member of the Girls' Grammar Parents Association) also thinks that junk food should be banned and said ‘all junk food should be replaced with healthy snacks suggested by the girls.’ In contrast, the girls said that ‘the food should be cheaper in the canteen and that they should have more fish and chip stock so that it doesn’t run out.’ In conclusion, overall we think that the new isometric system has improved the canteen massively and encouraged girls to go there. However, there is still potential for improving the canteen, including discussion about prices and food available..

Swiss Coach Disaster

Swiss Coach Disaster

Tragedy struck last Tuesday at 9:30pm as twenty two schoolchildren between the age of eleven and twelve and six adults died in a coach crash in Belgium.  The coach was returning the children from a ski trip in the Alps when only an hour into the journey it crashed head on into a tunnel wall. It is Switzerland’s worst coach disaster in 30 years and has been described by some distraught parents as a ‘vision of the apocalypse’. According to CCTV surveillance in the tunnel, the coach was not exceeding the 60mph speed limit, but confirmation is yet to be given on that matter. Furthermore, a post mortem carried out on the driver shows that he was not under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. The driver was 54 and he and his assistant had complied with regulations of relief support in the coach that was a new model and in good condition. Also, after viewing surveillance tapes, it showed that no other vehicle was involved in the crash and all the children were wearing seat belts. The local authorities were only told about the crash 8 hours after it happened, but the Swiss say this was due to lack of information and adults who could tell them what was going on. ‘There were no adults who survived who could give us information,’ Commander Varone said. ‘We could not send casualty lists without being absolutely certain on identities.’ Parents of the children in the crash did not know about it until twelve hours later. They were flown to the scene of the incident but had no idea of the extent of the casualties. This morning eight parents still did not know if their children were alive or dead as those injured were so disfigured as to be unidentifiable. Three children are still in comas. 16 survivors have been accounted for, but two of the dead children remained unidentified almost 24 hours after the crash. One of the adults who died was much loved school teacher Frank Kerckhove who had been writing a blog during the journey to the Alps. He wrote in one entry: ‘The bus trip was smooth. There was very little traffic. We watched the movie “Avatar” and no one became car sick.’ One girl wrote: ‘Today was totally the best. The adventurous walk was tiring but mega cool. We won first prize for cleanest room. Tomorrow it’s going to be colder.’ However, coach and bus is still the safest way to travel according to experts. In 2010 8.2 deaths were recorded in Britain per billion kilometres travelled. Comparing that to statistics in other forms of road transport, which show 15.1 deaths or serious injuries among car passengers..

Local Doctor wins OBE

Local Doctor wins OBE

Dr Timothy Robson was on the Queen's 2015 honours list and was rewarded an OBE for his services to the homeless. Dr Robson is a doctor and co-founder of Watford's New Hope Trust.  He now runs Meadowell surgery which is dedicated to the homeless.  Dr Timothy came home one day to find a very unimpressive letter; however,  the letter contained the exciting information about his OBE.  He said: 'I was particularly pleased as it felt like recognition as this work is important.' As he grew up in a church background, he was surrounded by the values of love and caring for each other.  He told us: 'I wanted to be a doctor from the age of 8.'  However, after returning from working in a refugee camp in Thailand, he saw a news article showing that Watford was ranked 30th on a list of cities with the worst homeless problems in the UK. Consequently, this pushed him to co-find the New Hope Trust.  Nowadays, he runs the Meadowell surgery on Cassio Road.  It provides everything a normal surgery would but also gives therapy, manages mental issues, consultaion and help for alcohol and drug addicts.  He said: It's more welcoming as the surgery dedicated to homeless people so they know they're all in the same boat.  It's important that we listen to them and give give them time and sympathy.  You have to treat them as normally as possible.'  Most homeless people have been kicked out of their homes.  It can really affect their self-esteem as your home is very important to you and without it you struggle to fit in and belong.  However, some people do prefer to be on the street. As he is still an active member of the New Hope Trust, he highly recommends young people to get involved with the charity.  He doesn't advise you to approach them on streets but to help raise money for charity.  There are many sponsored sleep outs so people can understand what it's like to sleep on the streets and you can always donate unwanted items to charity which makes over £20,000 each year.  By raising awareness of this problem at a young age, it can help eradicate this problem in the future. Dr Robson is waiting to receive information about when to collect his award..

Conservative MP says ‘We don’t want another Coalition in the next election’

Conservative MP says ‘We don’t want another Coalition in the next election’

We interviewed Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid who is the MP for Conservatives in Bromsgrove on the 17th March 2015. With the next election coming up on May 7th, many parties are gearing up to fight to be in power of the British Parliament.  For the past five years, the British Parliament has been ruled by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats who have formed a coalition.  A coalition is needed when the winning party doesn’t get over half the seats in Parliament.   Conservatives had the most seats so they have more power.  Sajid Javid told us: ‘Conservatives are going to go out and fight for every single seat; we don’t want another coalition in the next election’ and ‘I think we would’ve been able to achieve more had it been just the Conservatives in power.’  As Britain’s last coalition was during WW2, Javid was shocked to find out that there was a coalition.  Liberal Democrats have not been in power by themselves since the start of the First World War and are beginning to regain support.  Conservatives and Labour have been alternating in power for the last century.  Labour have recently denied an alliance with the Scottish National party, declaring that their parties were ‘too different’.  We will have to wait to see whether there will be another coalition in the next election or  if one party manages to beat them all..

Do PE Clubs Need Improving?

Do PE Clubs Need Improving?

From a student point of view, are there some things we feel need to be changed? At our school, we are encouraged to participate in Physical Education Clubs. But for some, there are factors involved in these clubs that makes them have less appeal. Just what do students feel need improving? We have many clubs running for all pupils in the school, including Fencing, Archery and Badminton, among other more traditional sports. We have instructors coming from outside of school to run these clubs. However, if you want to attend these externally run clubs, you may have to pay a certain fee. Some pupils and parents are put off by the cost; for example, Badminton costs £15 per term. Some students feel that it is not worth it. Other girls feel they are not good enough to participate. They may not want to hinder the team. A year 8 student, Karina, said that she didn’t go to any PE clubs because she felt that she wasn’t as advanced in the subject as others, and knew she wouldn’t make it into the team. This, according to her, should be addressed. Similarly another student said of Badminton: “I feel we need to be taught more; we play rather than learn.” Girls who went with the aim of getting better would find this unappealing, making them unwilling to go. Also, other students just feel they would just like to enjoy their lunch, and one wondered if the PE staff would consider varying the dates a bit more. Despite these criticisms, the students who do go to clubs say they enjoy them, and getting to spend time with their friends is an upside to this. We also interviewed our head of PE Miss Mitchell, and her views linked with this.  She stated that she encourages a range of sports to help student find their niche, and wants to put similar emphasis on both the traditional and less traditional sports. A solution to the dissatisfaction students feel may be to talk to the groups of pupil involved in the clubs to see what their preference is; it may be different for each club, but at least everyone would be satisfied. Let’s hope that soon everyone is happy..

Year Seven's Book Day Bonanza

Year Seven's Book Day Bonanza

On Wednesday 26th March, Year 7s from Watford Grammar School for Girls dressed up as their favourite characters for Book Week. Along with people across the nation, the girls celebrated the diverse range of children’s books. Popular choices were Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games and the girls from St Trinians, among others. It was also entertaining for older pupils to see who they were dressed up as. At the end of the day, the fun time culminated in a fashion show, for the girls to share their outfits with their year. The wide range of outfits was judged, and a prize was awarded to both the best outfit and the best-dressed form. 7F took the form prize and the overall winner was Taia, also from 7F. Her “Mad Hatter” costume was the star of the show. The form tutor of 7F, Miss Welch, described the wonderful costume as: “…excellent, creative and thoughtful…”, and she should be very proud of the achievements of her form. On her win, Taia told us: “I was glad, happy and winning was the best part of the day!” She chose the Mad Hatter as she liked the iconic book. Other Year 7 pupils found the fashion show the best part of the day. On her costume as Raven (from the HIVE series) Tia, another pupil explained: “I thought not many people had read the book, and I had the fake weapons. I knew it would be fun going around school dressed as a ninja for the day!” She described winning the form title as “awesome”. Altogether, the Year 7’s had an enjoyable day celebrating amazing books, and we look forward to Book Week next year..

Missing Plane Mystery Update

Missing Plane Mystery Update

On March 8th Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing and recent satellite photos may tell us if and where it crashed.   There were 239 people on board the plane and debris has not been recovered from the ocean so far. Research into the disappearance was put on hold because of bad visibility around the ocean, meaning it was hard to continue the search. This has set back the mission to find the aeroplane. It is now becoming clearer that there are no survivors. The plane lost contact with Malaysia and many nations are helping to search for the plane. Thai satellites have detected around 300 objects in an area in the South Indian Ocean, a day after French satellite images reported 122 floating objects. However evidence is growing to suggest this is where the plane met its end. Using recent calculations, the Malaysian Prime Minister said it is "beyond reasonable doubt" that this was the place the plane crashed. The debris was scattered all over an area about 2,700km south-west of Perth, Australia. Thailand's Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency has said that the objects were from 2m to 15m. However, earlier French satellite images showed debris up to 23m in size. They have tried to use previous aeroplane tragedies to work out a theory for the disappearance. If the debris does turn out to be from the plane, then we may be one step closer to solving this unusual event. Searches will continue and the case may soon come to a close.  .

Gene Editing- should scientists be able to edit our DNA?

Gene Editing- should scientists be able to edit our DNA?

Recently, Scientists have been arguing over the recent, controversial technology Gene Editing which allows scientists to cut DNA strands with high accuracy and since then, has been transforming biology. But the issue of whether this technology should be used on human embryos remains. Scientists can now use molecular scissors and cut the DNA strands either by cutting the two strands or replacing it with a life-saving copy of a healthy gene. This cheap and effective technique has pushed the boundary, allowing scientists to treat or even cure genetic diseases, for example: cystic fibrosis, leukaemia and more. The technology is now commonly used in biology labs all around the world but recently there has been some worries about the use of this advanced technology. Scientists have been experimenting on bacteria, insects, plants, fish, animals and humans but haven’t yet experimented on human embryos before fertilisation. Some scientists are arguing that these embryos would grow to be babies who would then have permanently altered genes so they would be unlike the rest of the human race. Others have been arguing that scientists could essentially design embryos to be more intelligent, beautiful, or taller. David, a forensic scientist, said that he doesn’t think “it will create better human beings but could help with eliminating genetic birth defects.” He explained that, “they have a valid point but unless experiments are conducted then our understanding of the pros and cons remain unknown.” Mrs Sewell, an RS teacher, said, “There is a strong possibility that eventually, designer babies could become an issue. This would bring with it a whole host of moral and ethical concerns.” But went on to say she hoped that suitable governing bodies were set up “to ensure that this research is not misused.” She went on to add that, “scientific research is rapidly advancing” and “anything that enhances the health/quality of life for human beings is invaluable and should be developed” but clarified that “Religions teach that God has a plan for us all,” and from a religious point of view, “interfering with that could be seen as scientists 'playing God'..” Most recently, UK scientists have been given the go-ahead to permanently change human embryos’ genes. The research is due to take place at the Francis Crick Institute, where they hope to understand the genes that human embryos need to develop successfully. But without a doubt, there are ethical, religious issues that shroud this exciting, new technology in controversy. At the Institute, they have been given authority to use the gene editing techniques on human embryos but await ethical approval. Furthermore, they have stated that these embryos would only be donated but used for research purposes only and couldn’t be used in treatment (for example: IVF). Mrs Sewell said that at the Jewish Museum in Camden, “I was reading part of an exhibition that said some of the Nazi doctors were involved in eugenics during the Holocaust with the aim of creating a master race... As I understand it, (and am certainly no expert by any stretch of the imagination!), the embryo's would be destroyed after 7 days. From a religious point of view, this very much goes against the Sanctity of Life and the shared teaching of 'Do not murder'.” Most interestingly, the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, held in Washington D.C. concluded that it would be “irresponsible” to use gene editing on human cells (eg: sperm, egg cells or embryos) which would then  be used to produce human pregnancy as there are ongoing safety concerns. The summit  also ruled out the chance of permanent “enhancements” on the human genome but they didn’t rule out gene editing all together so, the question remains with even the experts torn. Chairman of the committee, biologist David Baltimore told the audience, “Over the years, the unthinkable has become conceivable. We’re on the cusp of a new era in human history.” However the question remains, should scientists use gene editing techniques on human embryos? The future remains unknown and will presumably stay so for the next couple of months.”.

Are mobiles and obesity depriving us of sleep?

Are mobiles and obesity depriving us of sleep?

  A recent study shows that Teenagers are struggling to sleep well around the world, due to obesity, as it can block oxygen and mobiles, as the screen light tricks your brain into thinking it is awake. Studies show that many things affect the way you sleep; the position you sleep in, alcohol and your weight are all factors for this. The risk of suffering with sleeping disorders has been shown to be significantly increased by being obese. According to a new study, this is due to having large tonsils that interrupt normal breathing, by blocking oxygen flow to the brain. This is problematic, as lack of sleep contributes to weight- gain and obesity, making this a vicious cycle.  Leading experts have warned that electric lights, such as computer and smartphone lights, negatively impact our sleep. This is because artificial lights disrupt the body’s natural rhythm, affect chemicals in the brain and drive people to using stimulants like caffeine. Between 1950 and 2000, the average person has increased their artificial light usage by four times. Fifty years ago, less than 3% of the US slept so little, and around the world, people are sleeping on average 1.2 hours less than they did a century ago.  Jessie, a student in 6th form at Watford Grammar School for Girls, says that she gets “eight hours of sleep every night,” but she finds that she would benefit from “more sleep” because she is “quite tired.” She also said that mobile screens affect her sleep negatively, so she reads before bed. Mr Bevan, a teacher at WGGS, says that he “sleeps beautifully” because he “turns off all devices at 6pm,” and reads before bed. He also said that he was “waking up [in the night] before,” and was unable to get back to sleep. .

International Women's Day- Women being praised all around the world

International Women's Day- Women being praised all around the world

International Women’s Day was on Tuesday 8th March 2016 when celebrations were held all over the world but do girls and women in the 21st century, feel inspired and empowered in modern day society. There are many amazing women who inspire girls and women in all industries. We asked staff and pupils from Watford Grammar School for Girls who inspired them. Ms Tai, deputy head, said, “Margaret Thatcher because despite the fact I didn’t agree with her politics, I did admire how single-mindedly [she] pursued her dream regardless of the barriers put up against her.” Zoe, a student in Year 8, said Rebel Wilson because, “she’s not known as beautiful but she still follows her dreams.” Caitlin, another student in Year 8, said Emma Watson because she’s “very pro-women” and that she promotes equal rights in a peaceful way. Evie, an upper sixth member, said “Malala Yousafzai” because she “risked her life”, is “well-spoken” and “promotes gender equality”. Evie went on to explain that she’s most inspired by how Malala is only a year younger that her and has done so much. Ms Bateson, head of year 8, said “Dame Helen inspires me very much because she’s so energetic and eager to try new things.” But today, there is the issue that women are being underlined in everyday life, such as the pay gap of women being paid 14% less than men. Shekinah, a student in year 8, said of this, “Horrendous and shocking as women are being ignored!” Millie, another student, said, “Really? That’s terrible! Women shouldn’t be underpaid, it’s not fair and there should be equality.” Zoe said, “Women and men work equally- they are equal.” Evie said, “The gender pay gap though it is illegal, it’s still happening. There are negative aspects of inequality in the 21st century but you hear that male suicides have risen because it is thought that talking about your feelings is a feminine characteristic. But it’s not.”   Miss Tai said that it’s “quite depressing” and that “we are a civilised county yet we still have a pay gap. How much do we have to fight for equality?” However, despite the celebrations of women all over the world, men have been arguing, which isn't a complete suprise, that it is unfair that women are praised and men aren’t. This is in fact not true as on 19th November, it is annually International Men’s Day. Mr Fry, deputy head, said that he knew about men’s day but “ideally in this day and age, there should be no need for such a thing but unfortunately there is such a need. There shouldn’t really be such a thing as ‘International Women’s day’ or ‘International Man’s day’ as it should be happening all the time.” International women’s day is a chance for women all over the world to celebrate women’s achievements in every aspect. Many spent the day praising on various social media sites and on Tuesday, #InternationalWomensDay was the most tweeted hashtag for the day. Maybe, if this country closes the gender pay gap and enforces equality everywhere, there will no longer be any need for International Women's day anymore.  .

Latest News from Watford Grammar School for Girls

BBC scores goal for female netballers
Thu 16 Mar 2017

BBC scores goal for female netballers

Watford Girls are delighted at BBC TV showing English netball for the first time, as the English Roses take on the Australian Diamonds in the International Quad Series. On Sunday 5th February, English netball was shown for the first time on BBC television, the International Quad Series continued. In the past, English netball matches have been displayed on a minor Sky Sports channel. Being a national television channel, BBC is another step up for England Netball Association. The English Roses challenged the Australian Diamonds at the SSE Wembley Area, seating 12,500, but after putting up a tough fight were beaten by one goal (46-47). Netball is England’s biggest female sport, with 92,000 affiliated young women, and despite being an Olympic recognized sport (a status gained in only 1995), it has still never been played at the Summer Olympics; the main reason that it isn’t an Olympic sport is that it is mostly played by females. Female sport has progressed rapidly since the very beginning. Due to sexual discrimination, women’s rights to even sports came very late. It took until 1900 for the first 19 women to compete in the modern Olympic Games, where they could only play tennis, croquet, and golf. By 1908, among 2008 athletes, there were only 36 female athletes who could now compete in archery, sailing, skating, tennis, and water motor sports. In 1940, Mary Denise Rand was the first British woman to win an Olympic medal. Today, women make up 45% of athletes. James Oyesola, a 20 year-old sports coach currently working at Watford Football Club, has provided us some extra inforrmation on the subject of women's sport. 'There does seem to be a different attitude towards sport from girls and boys, but really it depends on how you've been brought up and in what environment.' He also says that about 99% of the reasons why kids enjoy sport is simply because it's fun.' In terms of female sport he says that 'younger girls tend to enjoy more sport than older. In today's society, you look around and see men's sport. Boys grow very physically different to girls so by their teenage years PE is completely seperated. To improve young women's view of sport, there needs to be more funding for female sport and activity as well as more encouragement from both genders'. Four 13-year-old girls from Watford Grammar School gave their views on women’s sport. Their opinion is that ‘Women’s sport doesn’t get enough attention’; ‘it isn’t as talked about’; it is ‘under acknowledged and a lot less people are willing to join’. Fifty girls were asked how many of them actually enjoyed physical activity and 26 did, about half of girls. They enjoy sport because it is ‘fun', helps them 'make friends’  and one student replied that it 'makes me feel healthy and fit’.  Another said, 'I feel positive, mentally and physically healthy.’ They felt to make it more fun it should ‘be encouraged more’ , ‘less competitive’ and  ‘more to do with friends than being assessed’.

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