Sixth Form Lecture Programme

One of the real highlights of my week is the Sixth Form Lecture Programme, the purpose of which is to challenge the students.

The students heard from an array of interesting lecturers. A favourite question when I talk to members of the Sixth Form is “which was your favourite lecturer?” and what especially pleases me is that I get a different answer every time. We always try and ensure that Richard McCann, the son of the first victim of the Yorkshire Ripper, is on the programme. His hugely impactful story is always a highlight as he describes waking up one morning as a six year old to find his mum had not returned the evening before.

One of the more controversial lectures is the one where the students hear from the Brighton Bomber, Patrick Magee, who speaks with the daughter of one of his victims, Jo Berry. In the past the students have sometimes been a little intimidated by the presence of a convicted IRA murderer. However, this year the sixth formers asked him some very challenging questions. Patrick and Jo have spoken all over the world, including in the House of Commons, as part of the Forgiveness Project, and said they found the audience at Hymers especially insightful and challenging.

Investigative journalist, James Fergusson, spoke of his travels around Muslim Britain and gave a fascinating insight into the truth behind the newspaper headlines which, he argues, paint a rather inaccurate picture. I can thoroughly recommend James’ latest book, “Al Britannia, My Country -A Journey Through Muslim Britain”.

Another lecturer promoting his book was Steve Ingham. Steve is the former Sports Scientist at the British Olympic Association and it was in this role that he worked with many great sporting household names, including Jessica Ennis-Hill and Steve Redgrave. He gave an amazing insight into the world of elite sport and the mindset of world-class sports men and women.

Hull-born film producer, Chris Hees, told the students about his astonishing career as a film-maker and how his animated film, “The Bigger Picture”, was nominated for an Oscar, only to lose out to a Disney produced film.

The importance of the world of film in the lives of the students was further highlighted when we heard from Paul Robbens. Paul makes props for the movies and the students were thrilled to see first-hand some iconic objects from some of the very biggest blockbusters of the silver screen. Kermit the Frog, the Holy Grail from the Indiana Jones series and a number of items from the Harry Potter films including wands and the Marauder’s Map.

After every lecture I host a lunch for the lecturer with a handful of the students, and I know from the numerous comments I receive how much our visitors enjoy meeting and talking to our sixth formers.

I hope that when the youngsters reflect on their schooldays, they will remember the Lecture Programme with great affection. I am always keen to attract the very best speakers to the school and would ask anyone reading this who has any suggestions or contacts to get in touch; I would love to hear from you.