Science Journalist


Physics, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Chemistry

Degree (MSci)
Physics (Imperial College London)

Science Communication (Imperial College London)

Alok is a science journalist for the Guardian newspaper.

“The best part about being a journalist is talking to the most interesting people about the most interesting things. I’m humbled by the fact that a professor at Oxford would take my phone call and answer my (sometimes-silly) questions about their work. I just want to understand stuff and it feels incredible that I can get most of my info straight from the source. The highlight of my career so far has to be reporting on the final space shuttle launch from Florida – it was heart-stopping, emotional, beautiful and frantic.”

Alok explains how a background in physics helps him in his job. “Reporting on new areas of science can be daunting if you have no foothold whatsoever. Even knowing a completely different bit of science increases your confidence when tackling a new bit. I did a degree in physics because I was curious about how things worked and how we knew things. Afterwards, I wanted to become a journalist, so I did an extra year studying science communication as a gentle way out of the scientific mindset and into something more like the way everyone else thinks about science – which is useful when you’re writing for non-scientific audiences.”

Alok’s advice for becoming a journalist is to build up as much experience as possible. “To get a job in journalism you don’t just have to show that you want to do it, you have to show that that have already done it in some way. If you’re at university, write for the student paper; hang out at the TV station. Practice interviewing and talking to people and drawing their best stories out of them. Oh, and read, read, read good novels, newspapers, blogs and factual books. Listen and watch various media too. You have to know what’s out there already to work out where you can fit in and make the best contribution.”

You can find more information about careers in physics by visiting

Millthorpe Welcomes The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Five trainee teachers from The Chinese University of Hong Kong spent a morning at Millthorpe School. The trainee teachers, who are training to become teachers of English back in Hong Kong, spoke with students, took a tour of the school, and spent time in lessons with Millthorpe teachers and their classes.

The visit was part of the trainee’s programme of study, which involves spending two months in an English speaking country. The trainee teachers were particularly interested in looking at Teaching and Learning strategies in the classroom and they said that they wanted to look at classroom strategies that were less didactic in nature.

At the end of the visit the trainee teachers commented that ‘the teaching environments (classrooms) are very similar to China, but the atmosphere is very different. The students here are more engaged and eager to take part in the lesson.’

The trainee teachers said they were looking forward to coming back to Millthorpe on Friday 3 July for a second visit. One trainee said ‘Lessons here are exciting, fun and engaging. Children are enjoying learning and we enjoyed it too.’

Mr Bates
Assistant Headteacher

Year 9 Peer Mentors

A group of Year 9 students have been trained as peer mentors and are now well equipped to work with other young people who need friendly support with issues within their lives. Most of the peer mentors will be supporting  Year 7 Form Tutors with their new students in September.  They will be attending registrations where they can engage with Year 7 students and offer support where necessary.  Peer mentors are also available on a lunchtime each week where students can go for support.  Others are also working with myself and Mr Woods who run group sessions for young people who need guidance on dealing with peer pressure and developing social confidence.

Of course, staff are always on hand to support all students but we welcome our 18 Peer Mentors to our team!

Mrs Hough
Student Support Officer

Summer Concert – Wednesday 1 July

Join us in the Main Hall on Wednesday 1 July at 7pm for the Summer Concert, featuring Millthorpe’s finest talent performing music, drama and dance. Tickets are available from the dining hall at break times and from the school office.





Summer Concert 2015

Satellite Engineer



Mechanical Engineering

Maggie leads a team of scientists and engineers that make custom-built instruments for satellites.

After University, Maggie worked on military projects, including an early warning missile defence system for fighter pilots and mine detectors. “I did that for a couple of years, but then an opportunity came up to work on the Gemini Telescope and I just couldn’t turn it down – I’ve always been fascinated by space – it seems to transcend all human problems. You hear about people fighting each other, but from the perspective of space it looks like ants squabbling over a leaf. Now I build space-telescopes that improve our understanding of the universe and work on satellites that help monitor climate change.”

You can find more information about careers in physics by visiting



Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and General Studies

Degree and PhD

Intellectual Property Law and Practise

Harjinder is a solicitor for Google.

“There are many people with a physics background in law. the way of thinking that physics develops is useful, as is the ability to understand technology when discussing the legal aspects of it. After my A levels, I considered doing medicine, but after talking to a GP I realised it wasn’t for me. Instead I did a physics degree.”

Harjinder followed his degree with a PhD at Cambridge University in high temperature superconductors. “It was the philosophical aspect of physics that inspired me to study it. Particularly quantum physics and how reality may be different from what we think it is,” he says.

Despite his clear love for the subject, Harjinder was also interested in legal issues. “My interest in law was originally sparked by conversations I used to have with friends from the basketball team whilst doing my degree. We discussed things like “Should man be able to patent a new form of life?” and I found those discussions fascinating,” he says. During his PhD research, he also kept bumping into intellectual property law and copyright issues. So after completing his PhD, Harjinder studied to become a solicitor.

He has worked in law ever since, initially in private practice then in-house for technology companies. For the last two years he has been employed by Google as litigation counsel in their London office. “I love my job. The best things about it are the intellectual challenge and the fact that my work makes a difference across the world.”

You can find more information about careers in physics by visiting

York Pride – Wear a Rainbow Day

Many families will be aware that the fourth annual York Pride celebration takes place this month, with a number of city-wide events leading up to the York Pride Parade on Saturday 20 June. York Pride is a celebration of equality between lesbian, gay, bisexual and straight people. In line with their mission to promote York as a welcoming city, the City Council and the Fairness and Equalities Board are encouraging employers in York to show their support for York Pride by taking part in a ‘Wear your Rainbow ’ day on Wednesday 17 June. Employers are encouraged to ‘dress’ their building in a rainbow (York Mansion House will be lit up with rainbow lights, for example) and employees are encouraged to dress in rainbow colours, or simply wear a rainbow badge.

At Millthorpe, we will be dressing the outside of the building in rainbow bunting and rainbow flags and staff and students are invited to wear a rainbow piece of clothing, accessory or sticker, if they wish to do so. Students must wear full school uniform but can wear an additional piece of rainbow clothing or a rainbow accessory on top of their uniform. In addition, they will have the opportunity to collect a rainbow sticker and/or rainbow hand stamp from school, to show their support for equality between lesbian, gay, bisexual and straight people in York.

Mr Burton has already mentioned our ‘Wear a Rainbow’ day to students in assemblies this week and has placed our support for the event in the context of our school values, in particular:

  • ‘We respect all members of school and our community’
  • ‘We will treat all people with equality and seek equal opportunities for all’
  • ‘We are an inclusive school and are tolerant of different views and cultures’
  • ‘We value difference and are open-minded about other ways of being and living’

Next week, form tutors will show students a short video explaining what York Pride is and will explain to students why we are taking part on Wednesday. They will make it clear that whilst all students are invited to wear a rainbow accessory, there is no requirement to do so.

In order to deepen students’ awareness and understanding of the issues addressed through York Pride, the RE department will deliver an age-appropriate lesson to all students on inequalities caused by homophobia. This lesson is already part of both the KS3 curriculum and GCSE specification but has been moved to next week, in order to ensure students have a clear understanding of why the City Council and Fairness and Equalities Board are promoting York Pride and why Millthorpe is taking part.

Professional Learning Communities

“We will become better equipped to deliver great lessons by reflecting on our own practice and learning from each other.”

This term we have launched our new professional learning communities. These are training sessions that take place after school that all teachers take part in. However, professional learning communities differ from traditional teacher training, as they require participants to share and trial practical strategies as action research projects. Teachers know how to teach and there is a great deal of experience, knowledge and talent in schools. Professional Learning Communities create opportunities for teachers to share and develop approaches and strategies based on what has proven to work best in the classroom. The results of this action research will be disseminated at a whole school training day, where teachers train each other in the best classroom practice.

Teachers are introduced to the theory and evidence behind the learning community.

Teachers are introduced to practical examples that they can take away/use in their lessons straight away.

During the launch meeting, significant time is dedicated for teachers to discuss their experiences, examples and interpretations. These are summarised in a document along with others introduced by the lead teacher leading the session.

Teachers decide on specific actions and strategies that they want to try during the next 6 weeks. They may wish to arrange a lesson observation by the leader of the learning community or another member, in order to gain some feedback on trialling/implementing this practice.

As a collective learning community, teachers produce a minimum of one 30 minute workshop (larger communities or those with wide/varied examples may produce more than one workshop) for the whole school training day in September/October.

Two feedback and planning meetings take place before the end of term (at times arranged with the lead teacher), so that workshops are finalised and ready for September. Workshops are on a carousel basis and showcase action research and practical strategies that all teachers can use immediately in the planning and teaching.

There are a number of areas being researched and implemented during the summer term. ‘Not Behaviour Management’ involves exploring and planning strategies that motivate and encourage learning rather than strategies that simply manage the classroom. ‘Millthorpe Thinks’ is making use of a web based resources called The Day to engage students in thinking about wider world issues on a regular basis. Teachers taking part in ‘Inspire and Engage’ are trialling and examining strategies from colleagues, other school and educational thinkers, that inspire young people and enhance the learning environment. Some teachers are ‘Going Mobile’ by exploring the best use of digital and mobile technology in the classroom.

Solar Energy Physicist


Physics, Mathematics, History

Physics with a year in Europe (Imperial College London)

Quantum Solar Technology (Imperial College London)


Jess works on developing the next generation of solar cells.

Jess chose to study physics with a year in Europe for her degree after her A-levels. “Many universities offer degrees with a placement in another country. I spent my placement in France, it was great. I met loads of people, experienced a new culture, and learned how to snowboard – (badly!).”

After her degree, Jess studied a PhD in solar energy. “I really care about the environment and I knew that I wanted to work in renewable energy – but many of the jobs require specialist training. My PhD research focussed on increasing the efficiency of solar cells.  Higher efficiency cells convert more of the sun’s energy into electrical energy, and increasing efficiency is important if solar cells are to be used on a bigger scale so that we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Jess now works in the USA. “I met my current employer at a conference in Hawaii, where I was presenting the results of PhD research. I work for a small company in Chicago developing very thin solar cells that can be rolled up like a blanket, then used to produce electricity while on the move.”

“When a lot of people think about solar energy, they often think of it in terms of the fight against climate change, but the fact that solar cells do not need to be connected to the grid is also important, they can produce electricity out in remote areas that otherwise would not have power. This can have a huge impact on education in places like sub-Saharan Africa and villages in India – solar panels can be used to charge up torches and allow people to learn and read after a day at work.”

You can find more information about careers in physics by visiting

Youth Commission on Police and Crime

If your child would like to be part of the North Yorkshire Youth Commission on Police and Crime, they are currently recruiting young people from the ages of 14-25. This is brilliant opportunity for young people to gain new knowledge, skills and experience. They will also play an important role in helping to run events and gather the opinions of other young people about police and crime. The Youth Commission is aimed at young people aged 14-25 years who want to make a difference to their community.

NYCC Guidance Notes

NYYC Application Form

NYCC Consent Form