Students become medics for the day

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 60 students from Felixstowe and Chantry Academies scrubbed in earlier this month to explore and dissect real (pigs’) organs.

The event was held in the Felixstowe Academy sports hall and was a collaborative event with Chantry Academy and put on by Take Your Place. Students from Years 9 through to 13 gathered to dissect a heart, inflate lungs, cut down a trachea, take out an eye, look at the different layers of a brain and even learn how to take blood. The day finished with a look at the full digestive system.

The aim of the day was to give students a hands-on experience with real-life, practical applications in a range of careers. Tommy Mosely, Assistant Principal, Chantry Academy, commented, “It’s been a really interesting day, very hands on and inspiring. There’s been such a wide range of applications including maths, soft skills and all things students need besides the obvious biology and science applications. There really are links to any world of work.”

Lucy Layzell, a Year 10 student from Felixtowe Academy, said, “Honestly, it’s been such a great day. My favourite part has been blowing up the lungs. I’m interested in studying Criminology and this is right up my alley.”

Liberty Pinner, a year 10 at Felixstowe, was also interested in skulls, but for a different reason. She enthused, “It’s really inspiring for my art. As an art major I like to draw skulls - a head that’s half skull and half face. I usually find science boring but I have really enjoyed the practical side today - I learn hands-on so well.”

For Jennifer da Silva, also 6th Form at Felixstowe Academy, it is the first time she has had an opportunity to see brains and perform dissections. She said, “I want to be a neuro surgeon and it was amazing to see the brain in the skull. I’m looking at different universities now, particularly those courses that give me the opportunity to be hands-on early in my degree.”

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Bethany Page, a Year 13 student from Felixstowe Academy is sitting her A-Levels this year, would like to study midwifery. “The whole process of pregnancy and giving birth fascinates me, how a woman’s body is able to create a baby and give birth. Although we’ve done some dissections in science it has been nothing like this – it’s probably more like what we would do at university.”

Trudy Reilly, Careers Adviser at Felixstowe Academy, said of the day “neaco has brought this fantastic opportunity for the students to take part in Operation Live, something they have never experienced before. It’s really opened their minds to different careers with all types of health sciences, even working with animals – these experiences make such a difference to what they can achieve.”

The event was funded and organised by Take Your Place, a programme delivered by the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (neaco). The project is all about raising aspirations to higher education but also improving students’ understanding of, and preparedness for, applying for higher education.

“At Chantry Academy, we’ve worked with neaco for over a year now. neaco have given students lots of experiences they wouldn’t have had, including a parliament visit and mentoring training. Joining together with Felixstowe Academy today has made the event possible,” concluded Tommy.