The students were given some real insights into the work done by the Law Student Representation Project, which is a joint venture between Wolverhampton Council & the university. Law students assist people who have lost their benefits or have been deemed ineligible for benefits under the new (2008) criteria, and represent them at their appeal hearings in court.
Our host, Natalia Hill, gave the students some real-life examples of individuals helped by the project, and discussed some of the different kinds of benefit which vulnerable people struggle to claim, such as ESA (Employment Support Allowance). Natalia explained how ESA does not carry the same conditions as JSA and is more appropriate therefore for people with multiple and/or complex, long-term health conditions and other barriers to work.
Natalia then gave students a “health questionnaire” which is required from individuals seeking to claim ESA. She asked the students to come up with a fictional character who would definitely be entitled to this benefit. The students created “Bob”, an amputee with mental health issues, with a low level of education, and living alone with no support network – and were shocked to see that, according to the health questionnaire, Bob would be deemed “eligible for work”. Natalia explained that, in a case such as this, a Law student representative would be able to assist with a written submission and by advocating for Bob in court, and would aim to demonstrate that Bob does meet the criteria for ESA.
I think the students had an eye-opening experience, and I hope it has confirmed their interest in Law at university.
Mrs Zoe Torsney Course Liaison Coordinator
At a Particle Physics Masterclass recently students in 6.1 worked on real CERN data to isolate potentially interesting events which they identified and then logged. By measuring the energy of the known particles produced they were able to see direct evidence of heavy neutral particles (you can see a picture of Jade Low and Christopher Langton with their graph which shows a nice peak at the energies associated with the Z-boson).
All the student data at Birmingham was collected together and this helped to confirm our results. We could also begin to see some evidence for the presence of the Higgs Boson – although this definitely required more data! In the afternoon there was a live video conference with two particle physicists at CERN and other students around Europe that were taking part in the same Masterclass (in Lecce, Zaragoza, Geneva and Slovakia).
At the masterclass, we got to listen to introductory talks on particle physics and the LHC, do some data analysis on a computer programme, talk to some of the experts in the field and live video to CERN. I personally really enjoyed the hands-on computing activity using the HYPATIA software.
It took time to learn all the procedures at first but once you get used to it, you can quickly identify footprints of heavy neutral particles. It’s very nice to put your knowledge into context. I think It made us feel like what we learn in A Level are not just factual and theoretical things but gave us an idea of how they are derived or applied in practice and therefore help us to appreciate what we are learning more.
Anna Bui 6.1