Bookworms get inspired at The KYBA Book Awards

By on May 2, 2019 in Blog |

Our avid Nexus Bookworms had a fantastic day immersing themselves in the world of literature at the KYBA Book Awards. Hosted at The Eden Project, the students had the opportunity to hear from five authors shortlisted for KYBA (Kernow Youth Book Awards). The authors, including Ross Welford and Chris Higgins, gave presentations about the inspiration behind their writing, their methods in putting pen to paper and valuable words of wisdom to would-be writers. Students also had the chance to get books signed and ask questions to the authors, who gave freely of their time. Our students found the day highly inspiring and engaging. Authors were keen to emphasise the power and pleasure of reading. Ross Welford, author of Bookworms’ favourite, The 1,000 Year Old Boy, was keen to stress the symbiotic relationship between reader and writer and that the magic of a story lay in connecting with the...

Dreaming Spires of Oxford Inspire Nexus 7

By on Apr 30, 2019 in Blog |

Twenty-four students from Nexus 7 and CSIA had an incredible opportunity to visit two Oxford colleges to get a taste of university life. The day was packed with activities; the students learned more about the courses and opportunities available at university. They were amazed to find that there really is a Quidditch Club already at Oxford University and a number were keen to sign up there and then! The Nexus students were guided around Exeter College by current undergraduate students which gave them a chance to find out more about life at the university and the application process. They were treated to lunch in the great hall before being challenged in a maths workshop delivered by Dr James Munro in the Maths Department. Finally, during the plenary session students were reminded that if they want to realise their big dreams and secure a place at a top university they need to work hard,...

Fantastic last day of Easter STEM Camp at Nexus

By on Apr 10, 2019 in Blog |

We’ve had such a wonderful few days with some exceptional young people over the three days of Easter STEM Camp. Today the children have made fractal sculptures and explored Fibonacci, honed their debating skills discussing science and philosophy, pondering questions such as “can a robot be ill?” and added the finishing touches to their 3D designs. Also a very Happy 9th Birthday to one member of the camp! If you would like to find out more about the Gifted Programmes at Nexus do visit our website at...

A rainbow of indicators, a Maths Mystery and a bouncy investigation

By on Apr 9, 2019 in Blog |

…It must be Day Two of Easter STEM Camp! It was another exhilarating day, kicking off with an enthusiastic game of Wizards, Elves and Giants. Today the children perfected their 3D objects, made their own indicators using red cabbage and made a rainbow of colours by testing them with a variety of solutions. They also used brilliant maths to solve a murder mystery, and investigated bouncy problems with springs and elastic. Bungeeeee! A bouncy...

Sciencetastic first day of Easter STEM Camp!

By on Apr 8, 2019 in Blog |

Day one of Easter STEM Camp took place today, with fifty-two Year 4 and 5 children from all over Cornwall joining us for three days of exciting STEM-themed activities. Children used their imagination to devise clever ‘portmanteau’ words; these words are a ‘mash-up’ of two other descriptive words. Inspired by the story of Frankenstein children designed their own monster and then described it using prose containing portmanteau words. The children wrote some fantastic descriptions. “On a dreamal night in November, in a lispark, the cronster was born. It has drear ears, teeth as green as a grapple, arms as thick as a grick and lips as straight as a strake.” The children also had their first taste of 3D design; using Tinkercad to create their own models to be 3D printed. The children were hugely creative with their designs- everything from rabbits wearing...

The algorithms that drive artificial intelligence

By on Apr 2, 2019 in Blog |

We were really lucky today to be treated to a lecture by Dr Joan Casas Roma, Research Fellow at Falmouth University. He spoke about his research into the way that mathematical algorithms can be used to help machines that use artificial intelligence (such as self-driving cars) to make moral decisions. The debate that this generated was lively; students were full of questions! A stimulating and very enlightening talk and we would like to express our thanks to Dr. Casas Roma.

Cutting edge research into evolution taking place at Nexus

By on Apr 2, 2019 in Blog |

This week Nexus students from Years 7-9 are taking part in a study run by Exeter University. The study is investigating ‘cultural transmission’; how ideas and behaviours can be passed between individuals within and between groups. It has been proposed that effective transmission of ideas between learners has been very important in allowing humans to become such a dominant species on the planet. We look forward to seeing the completed work when it is published!

Drones, GPS and Glacial Lakes

By on Mar 26, 2019 in Blog |

We were delighted to host Tom Chudley today from the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge. Tom delivered a really interesting lecture on his research into how glacial lakes drain into crevasses during the year. He shared some amazing photos of his fieldwork in Greenland which involved the use of autonomous drones to take high resolution footage of lakes. The students were amazed to hear about how the research team had to move their tents every few days to avoid the melting glacier and that some glaciers can move over 30 metres a day! We would like to thank Tom for making the journey down to deliver this lecture, our students gain a lot from these amazing opportunities.

Nexus Students Enjoy Canadian Challenges from Exchange Teachers

By on Mar 22, 2019 in Blog |

As part of CSIA’s extensive international programme we have very close links with Fort Richmond Collegiate, a Science-specialist high school in Winnipeg, Canada. Last year Mr Chapman travelled to Winnipeg to see how teachers there engage their students in enquiry and scientific research and this week we have been hosting two teachers in return. Both 7 STEM and 7 PPE have had the opportunity to experience some difficult and exciting challenges set by the visiting teachers. Yesterday 7 STEM were taught by Mr Kellough, a maths teacher from Fort Richmond, about famous unsolved mathematical problems and given the opportunity to try and figure out brand new ways of approaching these complicated issues. Today 7 PPE were put through their paces by Ms Longobardi who set up a palaeontological challenge where students had to try and work out the shape of a dinosaur from a limited number of...

Poetry, Rap and the Principles of Practical Criticism

By on Mar 19, 2019 in Blog |

The students at Nexus enjoyed a fascinating lecture from Dr Ewan Jones from the University of Cambridge on Monday. Students were introduced to the concept of practical criticism, an approach that enables students to read a text without considering contextual factors such as autobiographical details or sociohistorical factors. This was developed at the University of Cambridge in the 1920s.  Dr Jones invited the audience to investigate the impact rhythm has on a variety of poems from William Wordsworth to rap artist, Eminem. Dr Jones showed us how exploring rhythm in poetry is often a pertinent way of getting to the emotion of a poet’s work. His message was an empowering one about the importance of accepting ambiguity in poetry and the value of multiple interpretations. Celebrating 100 years of English Literature at Cambridge, Dr Jones addressed a number of questions asked by...

Appointment of Poet Laureate

By on Mar 12, 2019 in Blog |

We are delighted to announce the appointment of the school’s first Poet Laureates. Arina West, a Year 7 student on the PPE programme at Nexus has been awarded the title of Poet Laureate Junior. She will be mentored and supported by three Year 12 students: Alex Green, Tilly Barker-Hall and Holly Smith. They will alternate the role of Poet Laureate Senior between them. These important roles will help shape the future of creative writing within the school. The students will be writing about important events, both on a national level and within the school. It is also anticipated that they will celebrate the work of other poets and co-ordinate events to promote creative writing opportunities within the school. Look out for the poetic efforts of our budding wordsmiths in the next newsletter.

Success with Youth Speaks

By on Mar 12, 2019 in Blog |

The area competition of Youth Speaks took place at CSIA last week. A total of ten teams took part in the Intermediate Competition from seven different schools. The standard of the competition was incredibly high and the quality of the presentations were polished and persuasive. The subjects of the presentations felt current and relevant and it was clear that we were hearing from committed students who spoke with integrity and belief. We were thrilled that one of the teams from Nexus made it through to the next round along with a team from Penair. Josie (chair), Lily (main speaker) and Isla (vote of thanks) made it through to the district competition which will be held in Saltash later this month with their fascinating and stimulating talk about ‘throw-away fashion’. This was a fervent call for us to reconsider our flippant and trivial attitude towards clothing. Our other team also...

Magnificent Performance in Mock Trial Competition

By on Mar 12, 2019 in Blog |

On Friday 9th March students from Years 7, 8 and 9 took part in the Citizenship Foundation’s Mock Trial competition at Truro Magistrates’ Court.  This competition gives students the opportunity to demonstrate and practise their skills in communication, evaluating evidence and making a persuasive argument.  It also gives them a unique insight into the ‘courtroom experience’ and the opportunity to learn more about our legal system. This time, the team narrowly missed out on the winning trophy but they all agreed it was an invaluable experience.  Both the lead Magistrate and Deputy Lord Lieutenant described the students as a credit to the school and commented on how well the students expressed themselves, and performed, despite being much younger than their competitors. A special mention should be made of Millie and Aaron who stepped in very last minute to new roles due a team member’s...

Seashells and the Climate – Stella Alexandroff Surprises our Students

By on Mar 11, 2019 in Blog |

Our academic lecture today was delivered by Stella Alexandroff, a research fellow at the University of Exeter. Stella, who is working towards her PhD in Ocean Sciences visited to share her research into the changing marine conditions and the impact this has on the shells of marine organisms. Much like the rings in tree trunks, seashells contain layers of calcium carbonate laid down each year – by examining the precise composition of each layer it is possible to get very precise measurements for marine temperature, carbon dioxide concentrations, pH levels and much else besides. Climatologists are able to use this information to improve their models for future climate change and to provide the most reliable predictions for future climate conditions. Our students were amazed at how much information can be gleaned from a simple shell and a number who were already considering a career...

Asthma and Airways – Future Doctors Train Nexus Students

By on Mar 8, 2019 in Blog |

On Wednesday this week trainee doctors from the Peninsula Medical School visited Nexus to deliver a workshop for our Future Medics. Students in Years 9 and 10 were taught about how our airways work and how asthma can be a significant factor in respiratory distress. The students were taught using a common teaching technique in medical school known as ‘Problem Based Learning’. In these sessions the medical students are given a patient presenting with a set of symptoms and by asking questions and carrying out research the trainee doctors have to find the answers themselves to the challenges posed. The students gained a valuable insight into how medical school works and for our hopeful medics this was an amazing experience. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the trainee doctors who gave up their time to deliver this brilliant...

Greenpower Engineers get a Helicopter Sized Boost

By on Mar 6, 2019 in Blog |

Students who are part of the Greenpower challenge, who are building an electric racing car from scratch, yesterday received a visit from the Royal Navy who brought with them parts of a Merlin Helicopter. The students were able to get up close and hands on with a tail rotor, an exhaust pipe and an air intake vent from the military aircraft. By learning the steps taken by the Naval engineers to keep the weight of the vital components down while ensuring the parts are strong enough for their purpose, our students will now be able to revisit their designs for the Greenpower car. Our students are hoping to have their car running by the end of term ready for the regional heats this year.

World Book Week at Nexus

By on Mar 6, 2019 in Blog |

World Book Week is in full swing at Nexus this week. Students are filling up a reading tree with reviews and suggestions of amazing books they have read. There is a book swap taking place this week as well. Students are each bringing in a book that they think someone else should read. Later this week the books will be wrapped up and swapped. The students have also listened to a dramatic performance of “The Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe delivered by Mr Batson. World Book Week is continuing for the rest of this...

Exciting Ecology by Dr Sasha Dall

By on Mar 6, 2019 in Blog |

We were delighted to host Dr Sasha Dall from the University of Exeter to Nexus to deliver a lecture on Monday. Dr Dall is a mathematical ecologist – in his research he uses maths to help explain the relationships between organisms in the natural world. Dr Dall’s exciting lecture dealt with some of the complexities of life and how evolution can be modelled to explain how the interdependence of organisms may have occurred. We are certain that a number of our students will look at Biology in a new light and it is clear that the audience were inspired to find out more about this area of research. We would like to thank Dr Dall for his time, we really appreciate our links with academics which add such value to the experiences of our students.

Dr Foster Appointed to Royal Society Education Committee

By on Mar 5, 2019 in Blog |

Dr Jo Foster, Director of Nexus, has been approached by the Royal Society to sit on their prestigious Education Committee. The Royal Society was founded in 1660 and is the independent scientific academy of the UK, dedicated to promoting excellence in Science. In her role, Dr Foster will help to shape the national STEM education landscape, using her extensive experience of working in schools to encourage innovation in approaches to encourage more children, especially girls, to take on STEM subjects at University and beyond. The Royal Society supports schools in a number of ways, for example by providing partnership grants, supplying resources and activities, carrying out education research and promulgating best practice. The Royal Society also engages with local schools and colleges via the Royal Society Schools Network. Dr Foster’s inclusion on the Education Committee gives...

Congratulations to children joining CSIA in September!

By on Mar 1, 2019 in Blog |

Today’s the day when parents across Cornwall discover whether their child has a place at the school of their choice. We have received a huge number of enquiries from parents of children with a place at CSIA who are interested in applying for the Gifted Programmes at Nexus. We will very shortly be sending out a pack with information about how to apply for the Nexus admissions testing day on Saturday 23rd March. If your child has a place at CSIA and you would like to pre-register your interest in your child sitting the Nexus assessment, please email our administrator on For any further information about the assessment day and subsequent interviews, please visit our Admission pages.

Ben’s back in front of the cameras today for another challenge

By on Feb 28, 2019 in Blog |

We’ve all been watching Child Genius and rooting for Ben as he pits his wits alongside the cleverest children in the country on the Channel 4 show. Ben was back in front of the cameras this afternoon after being challenged to some friendly competition by Johnny Rutherford, BBC Spotlight reporter. Johnny visited Ben at the Nexus campus and interviewed him about his experiences during the recording of Child Genius, and asked him for tips to help other able learners. Johnny then pitted himself against Ben in a series of challenges – but if you want to see the outcome you will need to watch BBC Spotlight at 6pm this evening. Also listen out on BBC radio news for interviews with Ben, and tune in to Channel 4 at 8pm as Ben tackles the science round of the Child Genius competition....

Mock Trial Competition Team Meet a Magistrate

By on Feb 27, 2019 in Blog |

Yesterday, Nexus was pleased to welcome special visitor and local magistrate, John Aldred.  John came to visit students participating in the national Mock Trial competition, which gives students the opportunity to demonstrate and practise their skills in communication, evaluating evidence and making a persuasive argument.  It also gives them a unique insight into the ‘courtroom experience’ and the opportunity to learn more about our legal system. Students enjoyed questioning John about his motivation to become a magistrate, his experiences so far, and some of the rewards and challenges of the role.  John was very impressed by our students, commenting on how polite, intelligent, confident and articulate they were.  He praised students for the way they identified key pieces of evidence and used them to make effective arguments.  The students gained a huge amount from John’s experience...

Biochemistry in Action: Dr Nisbet Talks Corals and Malaria

By on Feb 25, 2019 in Blog |

Dr Ellen Nisbet has travelled down from Downing College at the University of Cambridge to deliver an academic lecture on her area of research; Biochemistry. Dr Nisbet explored the biochemistry of the oceans with our students, including the impact of changes in the ocean chemistry on fragile ecosystems such as coral reefs. The students were captivated as she explained how her research has taken her around the world to investigate these precious environments first hand. Dr Nisbet also explored the role that Biochemistry can play in understanding and combating the spread of malaria and answered questions from the audience about how to get into a career in and biochemical research. We would like to extend a sincere thanks to Dr Nisbet for taking the time to visit us here at Nexus – our students gained a lot out of her visit and we are very grateful for her...

Courtroom drama unfolds as students prepare for Mock Trial

By on Feb 25, 2019 in Blog |

Nexus students in the PPE strand of the programme have been honing their courtroom skills as they prepare for the Mock Trial Competition, which takes place in March. The students have been preparing witness statements and cross examining witnesses; skills which will be essential as they take their case to the Mock Court and are judged on their performance. Tomorrow we are lucky enough to have a Magistrate visiting Nexus to advise the students on technique and to give them valuable insight into the workings of a real courtroom. Watch this space as the case...

Industry engagement for the Escape Room planners

By on Feb 25, 2019 in Blog |

The students planning the Nexus Escape Room were joined this evening at Nexus for the Escape Room co-curricular session by Mr. Rob Kellow, Managing Director of RG Kellow Ltd, an important and growing Cornish construction company. Industry engagement is so important to us here at Nexus as it allows the students to make links between the knowledge and skills they are learning and how these can be applied to the world of work. The students are using their skills in creativity, 3D design and printing and design technology to design and build an escape room based on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. RG Kellow are generously supporting the project with construction skills, advice and support for the build. Can’t wait to see the finished product, which we hope will be in operation by the end of the year. Many thanks to Rob Kellow for his enthusiasm and engagement in the project.  ...