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Science Focus – YC Newsletter

December 2018

Science Focus: YC Newsletter

Mrs Shiradski: Head of Science

There have been many changes in the science department as we said farewell to Miss Holmes and Mrs Kent who had been with us for 8 and 7 years respectively, and welcome Mr Hill (physics), Dr Rathod (Chemistry) and Miss Lewin (biochemistry). In addition we welcome Mr Patel (full-time physics lab technician) and Mrs Pistner (part- time biochemistry lab technician) to the science department.

Miss May is the Assistant Head of Science, with Mr Sayada as Lead Teacher of Physics and Dr Hewat as Lead Teacher of Chemistry, with Mrs Shiradski remaining Head of Science and Lead Teacher of Biology.

Reflecting on the Summer exam results, our first cohort of Year 11s have sat the new GCSE science exams and we are extremely proud of the results of their hard work, in particular the students who sat the double science award GCSE as previously some of them would have sat the single award GCSE which has been discontinued. The extremely high percentage of top grades compares very favourably to the national averages across all science GCSE exams as illustrated in the table below.















Physics 67% 84% 45% 100% 100% 91%
Chemistry 65% 79% 43% 100% 100% 89%
Biology 61% 84% 39% 96% 100% 89%
Double Science 14% 28% 7% 69% 85% 53%

Our A Level science results were equally impressive and we are delighted that our most recent graduates have gone on to study medicine (3 students) biological sciences (1), chemistry (2) biochemistry and molecular medicine (1), Mechanical engineering (3), engineering (1), aerospace engineering with pilot studies (1), aerospace systems engineering (1), maths and philosophy (1), maths (2) amongst other non-STEM subjects.

In the Spring and Summer term the following pupils were highly successfully in the competitions they entered and we congratulate them:

Intermediate Biology Challenge: Year 12

Gold Award: Alex Harris Bronze Award: Mia Yaniv
Highly commended: Ronan Cupeva
Commended: Daniel Berlofsky and Monica Burman

Cambridge Chemistry Challenge: Year 12

Gold Award: Alex Harris Silver Award: Hugo Rauch

British Physics Olympiad Challenge: Year 12

Bronze Award 1: Hugo Rauch
Bronze Award 2: Ben Heath, Zak Kaufman and Elianna Rabinowitz

British Physics Olympiad Challenge: Year 10

Silver Award: Georgia Fishman, Nathan Kay and Joel Shamash
Bronze Award: Carrie Lee, Talia Rabinowitz, Jamie Smokler, Shaun Afergan, Georgia Reback, Joshua Angel.

Extracurricular activities:

Yavlab is a permanent fixture within the science department. Following the success of last year’s changes, we plan to continue to provide individualised support to small groups of year 11 pupils who need additional help. Pupils are paired with A level science students depending on the area of science they are finding challenging. A member of the department is always on hand if needed by the very capable sixth formers. Feedback has been extremely positive from those who attend as the pupils appreciate the guidance and tutoring which is delivered in a relaxed setting. YavLab will recommence after October half term.

Year 12 Complex Problem Solving – fortnightly with Mr Sayada room 101 Wednesdays

External lectures: At the start of this term a small group of Year 13 biologists attended a lecture organised by the British Friends of Hebrew University where Professor Howard Cedar, a leading epigeneticist, gave a fascinating and very ‘friendly’ insight into the world of the mysteries of DNA. Prof Cedar works on DNA methylation, a mechanism that turns genes on and off (epigenetics). It’s an important step in understanding human development, and a very important breakthrough in the treatment and diagnosis of cancer and other diseases.

Future dates:

8th October sees the launch of the TfL Innovate Challenge for all sixth formers (irrespective of subjects studied).

17th October we welcome Kathryn Dunscombe, an engineer who will speaking in lunchtime to all interested pupils in Year 10-13.

In November we hope to welcome a mechanical engineer (marine) to all interested pupils in years 10-13 (TBC).

January 2019 will see the annual Science Day for A level biology and chemistry students. Organised by the ZF and in a central London location, it features the best of Israeli leading professors at the cutting edge of technology and research, all relevant to A level sciences, whilst expanding students horizons of what is happening in labs now in Israel.

We look forward to expanding the range of national ‘challenges’ that our pupils are entered for with the return of the Biology Challenge, alongside the Physics Challenge and Chemistry Challenge for both GCSE and A level students.

And finally, if any parents would like to speak to our pupils about careers in STEM subjects during a lunchtime, please email Elianna Rabinowitz (, Head Girl, Yavneh College, who is organising external speakers in the science department this year. We look forward to hearing from you and welcoming you into Yavneh College!

Alumni We always like to hear from Yavneh College alumni and know that some of our students have gone on to Masters Degrees in science subjects, in addition to others who have gone on placements abroad. Most recently two chemistry students from Warwick University (one BSc and one MChem) spent two months in Hebrew University, Jerusalem working on different projects in different campuses.

 Science Focus