The Ladies Blues Squash team finished off their season in style on Thursday night in the Finals of the Oxfordshire County Championships. After impressive displays from Hannah Tye and Rhian Hopkins, who both secured convincing straight games victories at no. 2 and no. 3, and unlucky losses from Lucinda Orr and Camilla Day – who both showed that they were more than the equal of their opponents in terms of talent by winning game 9-0 – the match was poised on a knife edge. It was perhaps fitting in this siuation that Kerri Shields, in her last outing for the University, before she tries her hand as a professional squash player this summer, was due to play the final, and deciding rubber of the match for the championship. Shields’s impressive stroke play and volleys made it look easy, and the result was never in doubt from very early on. The Dark Blue star shut out her opponent in such an effective manner that she allowed her only two points in the entire match. To end the season being crowned as County Champions will be some consolation to the Dark Blues after some heartbreaking losses. The failure in the semi-final of the BUSA Championships at Easter – to the eventual champions, the University of Wales, Cardiff – compounded the narrow defeat at the hands of the Tabs in this year’s Varsity Match in February. Oxford will believe that having lost to their Light Blue rivals by the agonising margin of three games to two for each of the last five years, they are more than due a victory. However, despite the two defeats, albeit in notably prestigious games, should not take the shine off an impressive season in which 25 wins were obtained from a daunting fixture list of no fewer than 34 matches. The loss of fourth year stalwarts and Captains Shields and Orr should be counteracted by the strong players remaining and the anticipated strengthening of the squad via the arrival of Brown University’s Squash Captain, Avery Broadbent, next year. If Shields makes it in the professional game she will be following in the footsteps of Ben Garner, who left Oxford two years ago and is still climbing up the world rankings. He currently stands at number 45 in the world. The last piece of business for the Women’s Squash Club this year is the Cuppers Finals on 10 May in which Teddy Hall will try to stop Keble making it a hat-trick of victories in the last three years.ARCHIVE: 1st week TT 2004
Pupils up and down the country will benefit from the UK’s first National Centre for Computing Education led by British experts, it can be revealed today.A consortium made up of STEM Learning, the British Computing Society and the Raspberry Pi Foundation, has been chosen as the provider for the project, which is backed by £84million of government investment.The Centre will work with the University of Cambridge, while Google will also support the project with a further £1million.Minister for School Standards Nick Gibb said: As our digital industry makes an increasingly significant contribution to our economy, it is important that our computer science teachers are trained to teach the latest digital skills, ensuring young people benefit from a high quality computing education. The new computer science GCSE has more challenging content such as computer programming and coding. This new National Centre for Computing Education, led by some of the UK’s leading tech experts, will give teachers the subject knowledge and support they need to teach pupils the new computing curriculum. This is part of this Government’s drive to raise academic standards so that pupils have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in our outward looking and dynamic economy. The Centre will start working with schools across England later this year, improving teaching and driving up participation in computer science at GCSE and A-Level.The Centre will operate virtually through a national network of up to 40 school-led computing hubs to provide training and resources to primary and secondary schools, and an intensive training programme for secondary teachers without a post A-Level qualification in computer science.Paul Fletcher, Chief Executive, British Computer Society said: Philip Colligan, Chief Executive, Raspberry Pi said: Yvonne Baker, Chief Executive, STEM Learning said: It is vital that every child in every school has access to world-leading computing education, and this means that every computing teacher has access to the support that they need. The subject of Computing was only introduced four years ago and is still new for schools and that’s why it’s important to build on the energy and enthusiasm of the many teachers who are already committed to the success of this subject. We are delighted to form part of the consortium and to continue to work with the community of Computing teachers. High quality, knowledgeable teaching of computer science is the cornerstone of achieving our aims. Evidence tells us this is fundamental to raising attainment and driving up participation, particularly for girls. We warmly welcome this investment which will be instrumental in preparing young people for the increasingly technological world they will grow up in, and strengthening the UK economy. This level of investment is unprecedented anywhere in the world for teacher training in the field of computing and computer science. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way that computing and computer science is taught.