On Thursday May 25th, eleven of Year 10’s finest attended the University of Bristol to undertake the first in a two part experience with Future Quest. We arrived promptly and were greeted by some student ambassadors who then escorted the group to the Graduate School of Education on Berkley Square.

After being joined by Patchway School we began the day by brainstorming some study skills techniques. The City Academy cohort brought to the table a range of strategies from creating flashcards, watching videos, making mind maps and so on. We then discussed the difference between passive and active revision strategies and after labelling some of our suggestions as one or the other, the group then began to develop ideas to turn their passive techniques into more active sessions to really embed their study skills.

The next part of the day involved a guided tour around the University campus by the student ambassadors. It was explained the City Academy cohort that the University of Bristol is classified as a city university and therefore the campus is a little more spread out. We visited some key buildings including the Wills Memorial building (Faculty of law), The Biosciences laboratories, The Mechanical and Aerospace engineering building (which Kieran cleverly spotted was designed in the shape of a ship) and then the Royal Fort Gardens which displayed some impressive pieces of art.

Once returned to the Graduate school of education, our party divided itself amongst our Patchway neighbours to form two groups in order to prepare for a debate. The topic in question was ‘Animal testing to further medical products’. One group was allocated to create an argument in favour and the other against. The groups split up and began to discuss a range of factors to support their argument and then collaborated with their Patchway neighbours to decide the three main points to argue. Three spokespeople were required from each team to put their case across and there were City Academy representatives on opposite sides.

After a lovely lunch in the sun on Berkley square, both groups assumed their battle positions, rehearsed their speeches and were ready to begin. The debate was chaired by the Group leader for the day and the outcome was to be decided by the Student ambassadors from the University, based on the student’s skills in terms of arguing and supporting their points of view as well as demonstrating the ability to question the opposition’s point of view. Soulieman Gaspard and Abdilahi Haybe fought strongly to suggest that animal testing was a ‘necessary evil’ and that despite cruelty claims, all animals are ethically treated by Scientists. However, on the against side, Ammarah Hamid claimed that health and beauty products have been tested on robots and machines, so surely there should be some investment in technology to test medical products on. Awa Jagne was the silent assassin, providing her team with the questions to counter the points of those in favour, as did Mohammed Ahmed and Saad Khan for those against. The Patchway contingent could only look on in silence as the passion and determination from the City Academy cohort shone through and took centre stage. When the dust settled, those against testing were judged as the winners, although everyone involved contributed superbly and rounded off a very successful day.