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Joshua's Science Club project could help visually impaired people


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A talented pupil at St. Mary’s has come up with a new product that could make day-to-day life easier for visually impaired people. 14-year-old Joshua Quinlan from Southport - who is partially sighted himself - has developed the Raspberry Magnify digital magnifier which he has produced at a fraction of the cost of most similar magnifiers currently on the market. This is because Joshua’s product is powered by the Raspberry Pi, a popular cut-price computer selling for around £30 which has revolutionised the world of programming, especially for schoolchildren.

Science Club Coordinator, Liz Shaw, arranged for Joshua to receive advice and support from John Sharp, a PhD student from Liverpool University who acted as his mentor. Joshua’s innovative product has enabled him to complete the British Science Association’s Silver CREST Award and to compete in the forthcoming national finals of the prestigious National Science and Engineering Competition in Birmingham. And he is now looking to develop his prototype magnifier - which already has its own website created by Joshua - into a more user friendly form, hopefully with the support of the Royal National Institute of Blind People.


Joshua commented, “Many people, both at home and abroad, can’t afford digital magnifiers and I feel this could be the solution. I am very proud to be the creator of the Raspberry Magnify, which has the potential to change people’s lives for the better.”
St. Mary’s Head of Science, Natasha Sykes, said, “It has been a pleasure to see Joshua at work and to see his ideas mature. He is a talented scientist and determined to succeed, whatever the odds. I believe his place in the competition final is well deserved and that his product has real potential to improve people’s lives.”
Miss Sykes also pointed out that Joshua has also been successful in other scientific efforts recently. He was recognised for asking the best question at the recent Big Bang North West innovation event at Aintree Racecourse. His prize was to spend a day working in a laboratory alongside professional scientists. Joshua has also been using his programming skills to create a website for the St. Mary’s College Student Council.



Strong GCSE performances at St. Mary's

Students and staff at St. Mary’s College are celebrating another set of strong GCSE performances this year. The key feature of this summer’s results at the school is the large proportion of students achieving multiple passes at the highest grade. Just under a third of candidates (31 per cent) obtained at least seven A* or A passes. Of these 11 achieved ten or more A* or A grades.
This year’s star performer was Rebecca Clinton from Crosby who achieved a full house of A* passes in all 12 of her GCSE subjects. She is joining the St. Mary’s College Sixth Form to study for A levels in Mathematics, English, French and History, after which she intends to read Law at university.  Rebecca commented, “I am extremely pleased with my results and I am glad that all my hard work has paid off. I would like to thank my teachers for helping me to achieve these fantastic grades, which will set me up to do really well in the Sixth Form at St. Mary’s.” 
Meanwhile. there is double reason for celebration in the Hannon family from Newton-le-Willows after identical twins India and Naomh chalked up 21 A* and A grades between them. India said, “We are really happy with our GCSE results and we are very proud of each other for doing so brilliantly.” Her twin sister Naomh added, “We just wanted each other to do well and we are both over the moon about these results.”
The overall proportion of candidates achieving five A*-C grades including English and Maths at St. Mary’s was 73 per cent, which is well above the national average. Principal, Mike Kennedy, commented, “A particularly pleasing feature of this summer’s results has been the large number of passes at the highest grade achieved by our pupils. This reflects the hard work and commitment of our students, and the support they have received from staff and parents, throughout their time at the school. Achieving excellent results at GCSE level in a large number of subjects is a firm foundation on which young people can build future success at A level, at university and in their chosen careers,” added Mr Kennedy. All our students and their families should be very proud of what they have achieved.”

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