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Student geologists explore an ancient Cornwall

Published: May 17, 2018

Cornwall College St Austell 16-18 | students | FE

Geology students from St. Austell swapped the classroom for the shoreline as they explored Cornwall’s ancient past when it was close to the equator.

The group of A-level students, from Cornwall College St Austell, visited beaches around Bude to study carboniferous sediments and search evidence for past environments from over 300 million years ago.

A-level Lecturer in Earth Sciences Elouise Gill explained how this type of field work gives the students the chance to ‘put their practical skills to the test’.

This included measuring dip and strike of the rocks, mapping and sketching the sedimentary structures seen in the cliffs at Crooklets Beach and Millook Haven.
“Fieldwork is an integral part of any Geology course and is perhaps one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of the subject,” Elouise said.

“It provides excellent opportunities for the application of knowledge gained in the classroom as well as motivating students and allowing them to understand new concepts and develop skills through experiential teaching and learning.”

Student Ricky Sanchez progressed from Penrice Academy to study A-levels in Geology, Physics, Maths and Chemistry at Cornwall College St Austell.

“It was good to see theory applied in the field as it’s more likely we will remember and be able to recall the information at a later date,” he explained.

The trip was funded by Next Steps South West, an initiative which provides support and guidance to young people exploring routes into higher education all over the South West.

Geology is one of 26 different A-levels offered at Cornwall College St Austell. Last year, the College had another year of impressive A-level results; with 22 subjects achieving a 100% pass rate overall.

Additionally, more than half of the students who undertook Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects achieved the coveted A* to B results.

Head of VI Form Roisin Higgins explained the importance of field work to the students’ college experience.

“Since Elouise has joined us the delivery of the Earth Science programme has really stepped up its immersive approach,” she said.

“Students have enjoyed several opportunities to engage with field work with the most recent being a Geology excursion to Bude. This has really brought the curriculum to life and students can regularly see what a potential career in this discipline would look like. What a wonderful way to activate the theory taught in the classroom with a real sense of scale and context.”

To find out about studying A-levels Cornwall College St Austell, please visit www.cornwall.ac.uk or call 0330 123 2523.

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