Arts & Humanities FTRP Geography

What does the future hold for town centres?

This long-read article was written by lower-sixth former Ollie Robinson, and shortlisted for the 2020 Fifth Form Transitional Research Project. The following provides a short abstract to his full essay, which can be found at the bottom.

Estimated read time of abstract: 2 minutes
Estimated read time of essay: 12 minutes

In order to try and predict a future for the high street, this report will cover its current state and look at whether or not it’ll be able to adapt. In order to survive, the high street will need to reinvent itself, moving its focus on its social aspects. 

Firstly, why is the high street declining? There are three main reasons: 

  1. The high street faces steep competition. Online shopping as well as large out of town stores have been taking customers away from the high street due to their superior convenience and price. 
  1. Poor infrastructure of town centres has been affecting the high street, in the sense of there being not enough parking and expensive public transport, making shopping at the high street even less convenient. 
  1. The high cost of running a physical store means it’s hard for stores to compete with alternatives such as online shopping pricewise. 

All these factors are putting more financial pressure on high street stores, causing many of them to shut. 

So how can the high street tackle its competition? Firstly, the high street could try to match the online stores in price and convenience. This has been attempted by large chain companies through integrating technology with the high street but even their sales have been diminishing. Small high street stores that are already under a lot of financial pressure couldn’t compete with online stores, with any attempt being too expensive. 

Physical stores can’t match their competition. However, there are ways the high street can still compete: 

Firstly, the existence of service stores such as hairdressers may ensure some future for the high street, as we need these stores and need them to be physical. 

Secondly, the social aspects of the high street and face to face interaction is another way the high street can’t be matched by online shopping. The high street’s shift towards social features is a way it can survive and is something that’s already happening. Coffee shops, gyms and pubs (all social stores) have been growing despite the high street’s decline. Similarly, experience-based stores such as theatres stand out as another aspect of the high street that can’t be replicated online. 

One case study is Bristol. In 2008, the shopping centre Cabot Circus was opened in the town. Additionally, more investment was put into the nightlife venues of Bristol’s high street. These are both examples of emphasising social aspects of the high street and these changes were incredibly successful for Bristol’s high street.  

In conclusion, the high street is facing difficulties. Emphasising the social aspects of the high street has been shown to work in strengthening it. The future of the high street could depend on the level of intervention the government is willing to put into facilitating these changes, although the fact that these changes are happening naturally suggests there is a future for the high street as a social hub. 

To read Ollie’s full article, follow this link below.

FTRP Law & Politics Social Sciences

Has financial background and race impacted the crime rates in the UK for the past 10 years and why, and what are the ways to fix it?

This long-read article was written by lower-sixth former Zion Kim, and shortlisted for the 2020 Fifth Form Transitional Research Project. The following provides a short abstract to his full essay, which can be found at the bottom.

Estimated read time of abstract: 2 minutes
Estimated read time of essay: 12 minutes

When I was writing this FTRP project, it was during a time when every social media platform, every news site was flooded with ‘facts’ or posts about racial injustice, and racism in the police force. There was especially a huge outrage due to the death due to police brutality of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Eliah McClain. However all these cases being American, I wanted to find out how serious of a problem this issue was in the UK. I had watched John Boyega’s speech and thought that if I was going to do an FTRP that I was interested in, I should do it on how ethnicity and financial backgrounds effect crime rates in the UK.   

The moment I started my research, there was already a clear indication that there were more minorities being arrested in comparison to those of white ethnicity, the most ethnicity that was being arrested the most often being black. Not only this, but although it may seem as if the problem of racial prejudice has started to improve, data showed that whereas the proportion of white inmates in youth offender institutions overall decreased in the past decade, the proportion of black inmates had been experiencing an increase. This was not the only problem, as I also found out that those who were earning very low wages in comparison to the average, were much more likely to be victims of crime. So what could be the reason to all this imbalance?  

Upon further research, I realised that this was not an easy question to answer. There was no straightforward answer, there were many causes and many problems that led to a simple answer. One of the main causes was the fact that households with lower income were often underfunded by the government, and that most minority ethnicities had a lower income in comparison to the white ethnicity. My research indicated that poor funding, poor education and many other factors eventually led to many financially struggling individuals, many of a minority ethnicity committing crimes and being charged. This was made no better with the police force being predominantly white, which could lead to more tensions due to difference in race.  

However, what would be really useful would be to look at what can be done to improve the situation, as feeling down about the problem would not make anyone feel better. Although I wasn’t able to find the best solution to this problem, some things that the government could try to do would be to encourage higher employment rates in the education sector and the police force.  

To conclude, I would say that my project showed that there is a grave problem that needs to be addressed: ethnic minorities are at a disadvantage in face of the UK’s law enforcement and system. There are many causes to this, however what we can do to help solve this is something that everyone can have a think about.  

To view Zion’s full article, follow this link below.

FTRP Law & Politics Social Sciences

How can sport reduce the problem of overcrowding in British prisons?

This long-read article was written by lower-sixth former Barney Doyle, and shortlisted for the 2020 Fifth Form Transitional Research Project. The following provides a short abstract to his full essay, which can be found at the bottom.

Estimated read time of abstract: 2 minutes
Estimated read time of essay: 12 minutes

Britain has a crippling overcrowding problem in prisons costing billions of taxpayers’ money. Two thirds of prisons are overcrowded leading to increases in levels of violence and poor mental health amongst inmates. This leads to longer prison sentences exacerbating a catastrophic problem. However, in my FTRP I propose a solution that is unorthodox but potentially very effective in reducing rates of reoffending and hence prison overcrowding. 

There are many well documented benefits to physical and mental health from regular participation in sport – such as reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, different types of cancer, reduced risk of depression, dementia, etc. Also, sport teaches lessons that are invaluable in life in general like: 

  • Teamwork 
  • Tenacity 
  • How to receive instructions – for example from captains or coaches 

There are also reports of how sport helps to reduce crime in communities all around the world.  For example, crime dropped by over 10% in Chicago when the Chicago Bears played American Football with potential offenders occupied by watching the game rather than committing crime. The chief custodial officer of New Zealand has spoken of the significance of participating in sport in prison saying it is ‘A great way of establishing a community spirit’.  

Regular participation in sport has also been shown to have the potential to reduce the number of re-offending prisoners. Inspired by Project Alcatraz, a project in Venezuela using rugby to help prisoners in some of the toughest prisons in the world, I created a programme for newly released prisoners in the UK. Project Alcatraz has been extremely effective at reducing the reoffending rate in Venezuela and I describe this successful project in my report.  My proposals involve setting up a network of support groups using over 60 rugby and football teams to help provide ex-prisoners with counselling, food, courses in various trades, transport to and from games and free kit.  Arguably most importantly, my proposals would provide a support network of people all going through the same experiences and challenges who are able to offer advice and help when it could matter the most. In addition, I detail the costs of running this programme and demonstrate how it could be not only self-funding but in fact save the Government tens of millions of pounds every year. 

In my report I explain how sport is not only one approach, but in my opinion the best way to reduce the 18,000 people overcrowded in British prisons today. 

To view Barney’s full article, follow this link below.

Economics FTRP Social Sciences

Nudges – Marketing or Mind Control?

This long-read article was written by lower-sixth former Tom Wright, and shortlisted for the 2020 Fifth Form Transitional Research Project. . The following provides a short abstract to his full essay, which can be found at the bottom.

Estimated read time of abstract: 2 minutes
Estimated read time of essay: 14 minutes

Nudges are apparent throughout all aspects of our daily lives, acting as a hidden force influencing a significant part of how we live and make decisions. Put simply, a nudge can be viewed as a small deliberate action made to intentionally influence an individual’s decision-making process. Take for example the layout of a supermarket, depending on where items are placed in the shop changes people’s perceptions of them. People will associate the most prominent products as being ‘better’ when in reality there is no rational or logical reasoning for this. Richard Thaler, one of the founders of nudge theory, suggests that nudges should be viewed as a sat-nav; you follow them as they guide you to your destination whilst not preventing you from choosing an alternate route. If nudges follow libertarian paternalistic principles which involves guiding individuals into a decision while not compromising their freedom to choose, is a nudge just an effective marketing technique or can we view it as a form of mind-control? 

To answer this question we must first understand what the key characteristics of a nudge are. A nudge must obey two principles; it must alter people’s behaviour and it must not compromise an individual’s freedom to choose. Secondly, we must analyse the extent to which the characteristics of a nudge align with the criteria of a marketing technique or that of mind-control. Marketing is defined as only ever being an offer to the customer and that this offer must be beneficial to them. Whereas mind-control can be defined by its unethical motives and manipulative nature. A nudge contains elements of both marketing and mind-control, so we must determine which classification the nudge more closely align to.  

The two main lines of argument which support the view that a nudge is a form of marketing are that a nudge is only an offer because the recipient ultimately makes the decision. If viewed as mind-control then this would imply that a pre-determined decision would be forced upon the recipient, meaning the action would no longer fit the definition of a nudge. Secondly, the most beneficial option to the recipient is still there, it is their responsibility to choose the option that they want most. Conversely, there are some attributes of a nudge that are shared with that of mind-control. These include its unethical motives, where weaknesses within the cognitive system are specifically exploited. However, it could be argued that it is impossible for companies not to nudge, making it less unethical. The second line of argument for a nudge being classed as mind-control is its manipulative nature, whereby the recipient is not informed of the fact that their choice is being subtly influenced by external factors. The high success rate nudges have in changing the decisions people make demonstrates the degree to which a nudge is manipulative.  

Whilst there are arguments which would suggest that a nudge is a form of mind-control, on balance I believe a nudge can be viewed as a marketing technique. To continue Thaler’s analogy, the nudge is the sat-nav guiding us to a decision but we are ultimately the ones in the driving seat. 

To view Tom’s full article, follow this link below.

Arts & Humanities FTRP Psychology

In living colour: how colour has impacted the advertisement industry.

This long-read article was written by lower-sixth former Alejandro Scholfield-Pérez, and shortlisted for the 2020 Fifth Form Transitional Research Project. . The following provides a short abstract to his full essay, which can be found at the bottom.

Estimated read time of abstract: 1 minute
Estimated read time of essay: 10 minutes

Colour is a fundamental asset to the metaphorical toolbox of mankind. Approximately 30 million years ago during the Oligocene epoch, the structure of the eye evolved to accommodate simple depictions of colour. Colour would become pivotal to the development of the human eye, an acute sensory organ used primarily to detect prey. Presently, whilst colour is still an important aspect of our vision regarding our survivability, it is far more commonly exploited in the realms of advertising.  

In my FTRP, I dissect the underlying factors contributing to the success of colour implementation in marketing and how chroma and value; which determine a colour’s features, are used to elicit impulses and responses to posters, advertisements and even government campaigns. Throughout this dissertation, I will be assessing the current information present on the effect of colour on brand recognition and critique it in order to discern its impact on the marketing industry. 

In order to achieve a sound understanding of the makeup of colour, I had to research a plethora of articles, magazines and most importantly – consulting my art teachers. Throughout the process of writing this FTRP, I gained a solid foundation in regard to the effect of colour on our everyday lives, and its effect on brand recognition and advertisements which allowed me to properly critique the information that I later researched through scholarly articles.  

My process of writing this dissertation; become one of several hours of work. My goal was to try and relay all the information necessary in a concise, understandable manner to allow for the formation of informed discussion and conversation around the nature surrounding the effectiveness of advertisements. A topic that I believe to be extremely important in the 21st century – where information and influence has become the new global currency.  

To view Alejandro’s full article, follow this link below.

Arts & Humanities FTRP Geography Law & Politics

USA vs New Zealand: To what extent do their national flags represent their population?

This long-read article was written by lower-sixth former Matthew Kassir, and shortlisted for the 2020 Fifth Form Transitional Research Project. The following provides a short abstract to his full essay, which can be found at the bottom.

Estimated read time of abstract: < 1 minute
Estimated read time of essay: 12 minutes

For centuries, flags have formed a major part of our national identity, a symbol for which we belong to and believe in. As times changes, so do nations, and this report looks at two topical, yet different flags, namely those of the United States and New Zealand; assessing to what extent these flags still accurately represent their population, and whether a change is due?

Arguably, The Star-Spangled Banner is one of the most compelling symbols of national pride in this world, with the rich history it entails, and its projected message of ‘the American dream’; the post-colonial flag, historically, has been synonymous with the strong patriotism of its citizens. However, as we see more controversies shroud the nation every year, in relation to racial and ethnic equality, Americans demand change – a change so drastic that a new symbol of their nation is vital? 

On the other hand, this report examines the flag of New Zealand, looking closely at the referendum in 2016, and how even though all roads led change for the pre-colonial symbol, 56% of voters decided this outdated and possibly discriminative flag should still represent their national identity. Whether that be due to respect for their fallen soldiers, or even the economic cost of changing it, the report will ask why the flag has not changed, and if it realistically ever should?

To view Matthew’s full article, follow this link below.


Assessing the suitability of Xenon treatment for mass use in cases of Neonatal Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

This essay was written by lower-sixth former Jack Doyle, and shortlisted for the 2020 Fifth Form Transitional Research Project. The following provides a short abstract to the full essay, which can be found at the bottom.

Estimated read time of abstract: 3 minutes
Estimated read time of essay: 15 minutes

In 2019 the University of Liverpool published their findings, in the British medical journal, on the unusual and unprecedented rise in infant mortalities within the UK. [1]This conclusion made goes entirely against the tide of lowering infant mortality rates in high income countries. In contraray to common belief, we are not yet at the stage where every child born will be healthy or even survive, and this is amplified across lower income countries around the world. There are many causes to new-born death and disability, with one of them being the lack of blood flow to brain leading to brain tissue being damaged, this is called neonatal hypoxic encephalopathy (HIE’s) [2]. There are numerous research groups worldwide that are looking into ways of treating and preventing this condition, minimising its impact on babies globally. One of the exciting and promising treatments that has shown potential in early trials is Xenon, an inert gas found in our atmosphere.

Xenon is easy to administer which means can be used in pre-existing and low cost delivery settings, with the onset of effects on the baby being rapid and controllable [3]. Xenon has a high tendency to combine with lipids, meaning that it can cross across the placenta to the baby. This tendency to combine with lipids also leads it to it being able to bypass some of the hurdles the brain puts up to prevent substances getting into it [4]. Side effects to the mother, due to delivery occurring through the mother by inhalation, seem to be minimal with the effects on the baby also being similarly minute [5]. The gas itself is expensive, caused by the arduous extraction of this gas, however multiple systems are being developed that could recycle this gas from patients. This would make Xenon treatment much more feasible and economically viable, even for use in lower income countries [6]. More work has to be done to rule out harmful interactions with other treatments, however current understanding suggests there aren’t significant interactions known.

Most importantly there have been numerous studies shown that suggest that it has beneficial effects on the outcomes of new-borns in treatment pre and post delivery. Furthermore, it has been shown that not only does it halt the progression of damage but it also potentially reverses tissue damage to a certain degree, however the way in which it does this nor the reliability of these findings are known. [7] [8] [9]

Currently the treatments for this HIE’s in newborns are very limited with the only widespread treatment is cooling. This has been shown to have an effect on limiting damage, but does not have that high of a success rate nor the ability to reverse damage. Therefore new treatments need to be developed, and the use of treatments alongside cooling could be an effective method of treatment. Studies showing Xenon in conjunction with cooling have also shown a potential benefit above Xenon solely. [10]

Despite all this there have also been a number of studies that show it does not have a noteworthy beneficial effect, therefore the evidence for it working is conflicting. Theoretically and on paper it should work effectively with a number of academics and researchers that I have talked to suggesting that it could have some benefit. More research would need to be done on this and its effects before Xenon could be used in confidence, but it is a promising drug for a fatal condition that desperately needs effective treatments.

With thanks to Dr Richard Daneman (Department of Neurosciences and Pharmacology at University of California, San Diego) and to Dr Robert Dickinson (Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College, London)

To view Jack’s full article, follow this link below.

Works Cited

1U. o. Liverpool, “An ‘unprecedented’ rise in infant mortality in England linked to poverty,” Science Daily, 5 October 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 October 2020].
2ucsfbenioffchildrens, “Neonatal Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 8 6 2020].
3E. Ferrari, G. Natale, F. Giunta and A. Paparelli, “Usefulness of i.v. administration of gas during xenon anaesthesia,” European Journal of Anaesthesiology, 2000. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 October 2020].
4H. S. M. S. Y. N. F. I. S. M. T Goto 1, “Xenon provides faster emergence from anesthesia than does nitrous oxide-sevoflurane or nitrous oxide-isoflurane,” June 1997. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 October 2020].
5D. Chakkarapani, “Can xenon help protect against neonatal brain damage?,” 8 January 2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 October 2020].
6F. John Dingley, F. George P. Findlay, F. Bernard A. Foëx, P. John Mecklenburgh, F. Mohammed Esmail and P. F. Roderick A. Little, “A Closed Xenon Anesthesia Delivery System,” Anesthesiology , January 2001. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 October 2020].
7*. T. L. J. X. H. T. Y. W. H. Z. M. H. P. H. M. a. M. M. Daqing Ma, “Xenon Preconditioning Protects against Renal Ischemic-Reperfusion Injury via HIF-1α Activation,” April 2009. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 October 2020].
8M. P. a. D. M. F. M. Sandra E. Juul, “Pharmacological neuroprotective strategies in neonatal brain injury,” 1 March 2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 October 2020].
 9Y. Zhang, “Xenon exerts anti-seizure and neuroprotective effects in kainic acid-induced status epilepticus and neonatal hypoxia-induced seizure,” September 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 October 2020].
10p. R. E.Oorschot, “Xenon Combined With Hypothermia in Perinatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy: A Noble Gas, a Noble Mission,” July 2018. [Online]. Available:,another%20NMDA%20glutamate%20receptor%20antagonist.&text=Xenon%20at%2050%25%20in%20conjunction,three%20hours%20after%20severe%20HI. [Accessed 28 October 2020].

FTRP Performing Arts

Tonally Confused

This essay was written by lower-sixth former Ronan Lenane, and shortlisted for the 2020 Fifth Form Transitional Research Project. The following provides a short abstract to the full essay, which can be found at the bottom.

Estimated read time of abstract: 1 minute
Estimated read time of essay: 45-60 minutes

In this piece I wrote a 60-minute comedy TV pilot for the Fifth Form Independent Research Project. 

The pilot is written in the style of an anthology, following four central characters whos paths all cross by the end of episode one, after a series of bizarre and interconnected events. The pilot takes cues from shows like ‘Between two ferns’, ‘That Mitchell and Webb Look’ and ‘What We Do in the Shadows’. 

As part of my preparation for this project, I read books on screenwriting and listened to interviews with accomplished screenwriters such as Aaron Sorkin. In addition to this, I investigated classical approaches to drama- such as Aristotle’s Poetics. My research for the content of each section of the pilot consisted largely of watching movies and TV that were thematically or tonally similar to the scenes I was writing. For example, for the Noire section I rewatched films like Chinatown and Sunset Boulevard, taking note of the genre conventions and key stylistic effects in order to imitate them.  

I wrote this Pilot due to a personal interest in creative writing, specifically for Film and TV, and thought it would be an interesting challenge to attempt during quarantine. 

To view Ronan’s full script and documentation of process, follow this links below.


The implications of Prime numbers and the Riemann hypothesis on Asymmetric Cryptography

This essay was written by lower-sixth former Ishan Nathan, and shortlisted for the 2020 Fifth Form Transitional Research Project. The following provides a short abstract to the full essay, which can be found at the bottom.

Estimated read time of abstract: 2 minutes
Estimated read time of essay: 15 minutes

The academic study of prime numbers has been of mathematical interest for centuries and over time remarkable progress has been made in understanding the unique properties and patterns of these numbers. Over the last fifty years, the discovery of mathematical models has aided the progression of computer science. Whilst encryption, previously used for communication in the wars, has now been adopted into quotidian life. Mathematicians have discovered new methods for the secure transmission of information and have augmented them by introducing new messaging platforms using encryption algorithms based on prime numbers.  

It is widely accepted that Prime numbers are important in the field of number theory as they act as the “atoms of arithmetic”. They are defined as natural numbers greater than one, that are only divisible by exactly two numbers, one and itself. Mathematicians first studied primes explicitly in 300BC in Ancient Greek Mathematics, where Euclid proved that there was an infinitude of primes. Since then the understanding of primes has developed and the characteristics of primes enable it to have profound applications in security codes, blockchain analysis, cicada’s cycles, and Cryptography. Nevertheless, mathematicians do not understand the primes fully, due to their enigmatic behaviour whereby they appear to act randomly despite having some aspects of their behaviour which are predictable.  

Prime numbers and their application to modern-day life is not always apparent, as is their properties and patterns. Yet prime numbers play a fundamental part in our lives and act as a cornerstone for both: day to day messaging on encrypted platforms such as WhatsApp, and for consumers’ online e-commerce activities. The emergence of the internet has led to an increase in the number of online transactions taking place all over the internet on sites like eBay and Amazon, and modern-day cryptographic methods establish a mechanism for a secure form of communication. 

The RSA algorithm relies upon the quick speed for performing operations to determine large primes, and the computer-intensive reverse process in factorising large integers, in turn assuring the security of public-key cryptography. It is this high level of encryption that ensures the world of e-commerce to function protecting our sensitive information such as credit cards from the global market place. Yet what if there was a way to overcome this? 

The Riemann Hypothesis is widely accepted as one of the biggest mathematical unproven conjectures of our millennium. It is argued that the Riemann Hypothesis predicts the distribution of the primes and their unpredictable behaviour better than any other theorem. An abstract proof of the Riemann Hypothesis will undoubtedly enhance our understanding of primes and thus could lead to vulnerabilities within asymmetric cryptography. However, primes are special and they are like no other group of numbers. Despite mathematicians limited understanding of these numbers, a secure online communication network across the world has been created; just imagine the possibilities that could unravel when understanding the true enigmatic behaviour of prime numbers. 

To view Ishan’s full article, follow this link below.

FTRP Law & Politics Social Sciences

Why did ‘Workington Man’ vote Conservative? An analysis of the factors contributing to the fall of the ‘Red Wall’

This essay was written by lower-sixth former Dominic
Stagg, and shortlisted for the 2020 Fifth Form Transitional Research Project. The following provides a short abstract to the full essay, which can be found at the bottom.

Estimated read time of abstract: 1 minute
Estimated read time of essay: 16 minutes

Throughout modern British electoral history, the useof political stereotypes to identify potentially decisive voters has become increasingly common within the mainstream media, and influential in dictating the way in which political parties’campaign. In the 2019 UK General Election, this trend manifested itself as ‘Workington Man’-an older, white man who traditionally supported the Labour Party but voted ‘Leave’ in the EU Referendum in 2016. The Conservative Party’s substantial victory was characterised by the supposed fall of the Labour Party’s ‘Red Wall’, a term used to describe traditionallyLabour-supporting constituencies based in North Wales, Northern England,and the Midlands, regions in which ‘Workington Man’ is concentrated. This would therefore suggestthat‘Workington Man’was extremely significant in shaping the outcome of the election.

However, whilst the significance of ‘Workington Man’ was undoubtable, the reasons that caused this momentous shift from Labour to Conservative remain less obvious. It is true that the 2019 election was dominated and polarised by Brexit, yet the root causes of the breaking down of inherent social, political, and economic barriers between ‘Workington Man’ and the Conservatives would appear to be more complex and deep-rooted. Therefore, in this essay, I sought to gain a greater insight into the various short-term and long-term factors that contributed to ‘Workington Man’s’ disenfranchisement from the Labour Party, that ultimately caused the majority of such an electorate to vote Conservative in 2019. These are divided into three similarly important sub-sections: Brexit, in both its exaggeration of growing social polarisation and, more profoundly, in the way it offered political empowerment, as well as cultural issues and economic issues. I concluded that 2019 marked the culmination of the interaction between these separate but overlapping factors, a point in which ‘Workington Man’ and the Conservatives became politically aligned. Furthermore, I argued that ‘Workington Man’s’ reasons for voting Conservative were rooted not just in the Conservative’s appeal, amore recent phenomenon arising from both Brexit and the Conservative’s cultural shift, but also in a feeling of marginalisation from the Labour Party that can be traced much further back.

To view Dominic’s full article, follow this link below.