On Monday 21st June nine members of the BRGS mathematics and computing pupil committee boarded the school mini-bus for a trip up the M6 to Penrith. We were going to spend some time at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School (QEGS), another mathematics and computing specialist college. Our aim was to make comparisons with BRGS, and see what we could learn to bring home.

We arrived at about 11 a.m. and were given a quick tour of the school. As lessons were taking place we were unable to go into any classrooms but were able to look through some windows to see what was going on inside. Our immediate impression was a mix of old and new buildings, just like BRGS. The school seemed to have a good supply of ICT facilities, including some computers that folded away into desks.

As the next lesson was about to begin we were all paired up with pupils from QEGS and went into lessons with them – between us we visited classes on geography, maths, chemistry, biology, PSHE and IT. During this time Mr Reeves, Miss Ogle and Miss Walsh chatted with QEGS’ director of specialism (Mr Crudge) about similarities and differences between our two schools and how we applied our specialisms.

Once lessons were complete we then met with the QEGS school council and were able to ask them questions about their school and how they felt the mathematics and computing specialism improved the quality of education they received. As time was running short we had to leave them to get on with their own school business while we had a short debriefing session with their headteacher who asked us for some feedback on our observations. Then it was back into the minibus for the 2 hour journey home.

Our conclusions were:

  • Both schools have invested in ICT although we probably have a wider spread of resources.
  • Pupils at BRGS have greater opportunities within the specialist subjects through the ICT GCSE (Y9), MathsPlus and ComputingPlus (Y10,11).
  • QEGS have a wider display of mathematics and computing focussed materials than at BRGS.
  • We seem to run more specialism-focussed events e.g. extra-curricular trips, residentials and conferences as QEGS have spent more of their specialist funding on staffing.
  • Both schools run similar projects within the community, such as Masterclasses.