20 December 2018

February 2019

On the 5th of February Balshaw’s GCSE Business students went on an excellent trip to Jaguar Land Rover Halewood. Starting with a safety demonstration by the tours team, the group of Year 10 and 11 students experienced a full tour of the factory with them covering the Press shop, Body-in-White, Build and Trim and Final Stage.

The Press Shop was an amazing experience which was accompanied with a full explanation of the forming process for each part of the Land Rover they make at Halewood. The process includes the parts being expertly moulded over five distinct processes that make up each individual part of a Land Rover. The specific part that students where shown the production cycle for was the lower A frame a part placed in the front of the cars aluminium frame. To protect students, during their trip in the Print Shop, Jaguar/Land Rover supplied superb safety gear in the form of a high-vis vest and earplugs and each student was loaned a pair of safety glasses for use in the Trim & Final stage area.

The Body-In-White area was not available for viewing by the students due to potential contamination issues, however, they were shown the painting process by a useful display that outlined the sections of painting in an exemplary manner. A primer, followed by an electro-bath then another primer, followed by UV protective coating in order to preserve the colour and paintwork of the vehicle finally the car is covered in a waxy coat to protect it from light scratches.

Trim and Final Line that stretched two and a half miles was and exemplary piece of British engineering with 80% of their cars from the Halewood site being exported overseas!  The distinctive Land Rover’s interior was bespoke, as per the customer’s request, and skilfully fitted by both robotic arms and employees. One member of the tour service (a retired employee) who started working in the factory in 1971, remarked that “When I started here I never would have thought that a dashboard could be fitted by a robot”. Upon reaching the penultimate area, where a Land Rover is churned off the production line every 82 seconds, we were shown how the cars are test driven and are put through many quality control tests. It was also at this point when the staff also explained to the students the importance of, Right-First-Time, Just-In-Time and Lean Working, and showing how important these key business terms are to how a modern manufacturing facility operates.

Finally students were given a chance to test their own production skills by competing in a simulated production line challenge. Where the winners of the challenge with a 9.5/10 in every field where the Frisky Farmers!

Any enjoyable day was had by all – thank you Jaguar Land Rover for allowing us to visit your factory!

By Tom Swarbrick, Year 11

Jaguar Land Rover Trip




The results of the Bebras Challenge are now back in school.  Well done to all Year 9 students who took part in the competition, 11 students have finished in the top 10% nationally, so have been invited to compete in the next stage of the competition in March!  Certificates (with grades achieved) will be distributed by your computing teacher.

Miss Lockhart, 14th December 2018



Well done to the 11 students in Year 9, who have been invited to compete in the next stage of the Oxford Computing Challenge in March, after finishing in the top 10% nationally of the Bebras computational thinking challenge in November.


Also in December

Five Year 10 GCSE Business pupils correctly predicted Sian would win The Apprentice back in October. Well done to Harrison, Harry,  Fin, Sam and Oscar!

We celebrated by watching 'Inside the Factory' and learning about the making of Quality Street.

Also in November

Well done to GCSE Business team: Wheat Vehicle Domination - 54th in a league of over 5,000 teams!

Have a look at how the rest of the school's teams are doing here.


November 2018


Balshaw's year 9 pupils have this week been completing the UK Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge.  This is a computational thinking competition, run in association with the University of Oxford.  The aim of this competition to to identify aptitude for computational thinking as well as encouraging the students problem solving skills and interest in Computer Science at KS4.


The questions are in the form of engaging puzzles that start off relatively easy so every student can have a go and should get something out of the competition.


Last year four Balshaw's students progressed to the second stage of the competition, hopefully we may have some current Year 9 students reach the Hall of Fame in 2018!

Miss D Lockhart



Balshaw’s students build a 3D Printer!

Back in January 2016, four Year 11 students started to build a 3D Printer. Team members who joined Mr Mort most Friday’s after school were Harry Clipston, Josh Seed, Aaron Corkish and Tom Sandford. Each week the group followed the step-by-step instructions from how to build the printer frame, the spool mounts, motors, wiring, power supply and print head and then setting up the belts and pulleys, mounting the filament tube and build platform. Students developed a great understanding of how a 3D printer actually works and learned essential life skills such as working in a team and overcoming problems.

The animated photograph shows the progress made over numerous hours!

The flat pack kit was purchased by Mr Mort (Head of ICT & Computing) and allowed GCSE Computer Science students to work as a project team and build the 3D printer from scratch. In May 2017, after a few hiccups with the build, the first print run was ready to go. The final photo in the sequence shows an example of what a 3D printer can create. The group thoroughly enjoyed working on the project and were pleased with the end results.

Mr Mort intends to continue the project working with the current Year 10 Computer Science students.

Thank you to Mr Mort for this interesting article. We look forward to hearing about future 3D printer work with the current Year 10 students.

Tags: Business & Computing News