The Newsletter aims to provide students and parents with useful dates and information, to highlight a number of key arrangements, activities and events over the forthcoming period and to provide feedback on some activities of last term. Important examination and summer period guidance notes have recently been distributed to all Year 1 and Year 2 students. These notes provide details of summer examination procedures as well as giving a series of relevant dates, information and guidance for the May to September period. We advise that parents, as well as students, read the content of these guidance notes carefully and we strongly recommend that the notes are then kept at home in an accessible place for reference. Alternatively, the guidance notes can be downloaded from our website or, for students, by using Moodle. The College website also gives other key items of information including Term Dates for 2013/14 year. Term Dates for 2014/15 will be finalised and posted on the website by the end of this term. I have also recently written to all parents of the Year 2 students and AF Programme students, who will be leaving College at the end of their academic programmes this summer and outlined a number of specific issues relevant to leavers and their parents.
Details of a range of student activities at the College can now be read in the News section of this website. This section is in magazine style and updated regularly. All Key College documents are posted on the College website's Document Library (as well as Moodle for students) and we suggest that parents may wish to check the website on a reasonably regular basis in order to stay up to date.
In the Spring Term Newsletter, I reported that Ofsted visited the College in February and the Ofsted Inspection Report has been posted up on this website since March.
The College has recently been successful in an application for a Capital Grant from the Government and this will support a series of refurbishments and improvements and provision of some additional accommodation within the next 12 month period. In particular, it is planned to increase the levels of student independent study space and facilities around the College.
First year AS/A2 students and their parents are reminded that in the winter, the Government made the decision to discontinue the January series of AS/A2 exams after 2013 and so in the 2013/14 academic year, all AS and A2 exams will be taken in May and June.
Where needs arise, please contact your son or daughter’s Personal or Senior Tutor or, if appropriate, Frances Grew, Vice Principal with responsibility for student matters, or myself. Information relating to College dates, activities and arrangements can be found on an ongoing basis on this website.
The College Friends would particularly like to thank all the parents who have supported the fund-raising activities which enhance facilities and funds for our students. Funds have been used to support students experiencing significant financial difficulties due to the economic climate and who might otherwise not have been able to continue their studies.
Public Examination Arrangements
The summer programme of public examinations is now underway. The IB Diploma examinations for Year 2 IB students recently started and a good number of oral and practical assessments have taken place over recent weeks in a range of IB, AS and A2 subjects. The main national programme of AS/A2 and GCSE modular written examinations begins on Monday 13 May.
In April all AS/A2 and GCSE students were given outline individual examination timetable information for the summer period. Recently students have been given their final detailed individual exam timetables, (the individual detail has also been distributed electronically on their Moodle account). Where appropriate notifications include ‘clash re-arrangements’ or ‘special arrangements’. It is imperative that this information is checked and that if there are any problems or issues they are reported as quickly as possible to the Examinations Department (Tel. 500718/500789 or by email to email@example.com). The Examination and Study Leave period for the forthcoming Year 1 AS Level and Advanced Foundation Programme students commences at 4.05pm on Friday 10 May and for Year 2 A2 Level students at 4.05pm on Wednesday 22 May. Please note that this date has changed from that previously published.
All students have received detailed notification of the examination procedures and instructions within the guidance notes referred to in the first paragraph of this Newsletter. They have also had a verbal briefing relating to the key examination procedures and the other significant arrangements relevant to them in the May to September period. It is crucial that each student is fully aware of, and then follows, the procedures and arrangements that are in place.
All students will of course be able to study in the College Library and/or use other study facilities within the College throughout the Examination and Study Leave period and the Library will also be open for students to use if they wish, in Half Term, from 9.00 to 4.00 (Tuesday 29 May to Friday 31 May) and also throughout the Exam and Study Leave period. Teaching staff will also be available to help and support students and there will be some further revision classes and workshops made available in a number of AS or A2 subject areas in May and June. Individual help will also be provided, where appropriate and by arrangement. Should any ‘mishap’ (e.g. significant illness or injury) upset a student’s preparation or affect his/her performance on the day of the examinations, it is very important that the College is informed about this as quickly as possible. If the circumstances warrant it, we will write to the relevant Examinations Board and to any prospective employer or Higher Education Institution to explain the circumstances and to seek ‘special consideration’.
Examination Boards require a medical certificate from a GP or a hospital for a student to be eligible for ‘special consideration’. It is essential that we write within a few days of any problem which has emerged and which is relevant to specific examination(s). Students are strongly advised to note, very carefully, all the detail within the individual exam timetables, in particular the detail regarding the specific exam dates and also the am (morning) or pm (afternoon) sittings’ of each of their examinations. All morning examinations will begin at 9.15 a.m. and afternoon examinations begin at 1.45p.m. unless students are notified otherwise. Students are urged to plan their travel arrangements so that they allow plenty of time for any potential unexpected disruption, and ensure they are not late for the start of their examinations. We strongly suggest to students that all detailed timetable information is ‘shared’ with parents, (e.g. giving a parent a copy of the timetable) to help avoid making serious mistakes with regard to their organisational arrangements. A student who mistakenly attends an afternoon examination session instead of a morning session will not, in any circumstances, be allowed by the Examination Boards to take that examination - and this will then mean that they will not be awarded a grade in the relevant subject.
Students must ensure they do not bring mobile telephones, iPods, iPads or any programmable electronic item into any examination room. Examination boards will disqualify candidates if students breach these regulations. If students cannot make alternative secure storage arrangements the College operates a system where their mobile telephones and other electronic items can be handed in, labelled and left for safe keeping with the General Office during an examination.
From 15 August, (when A2/AS results are published), and from 22 August when GCSE results are published, each of the public examination boards provide a range of post result services and facilities including ‘computer checks’, ‘re-marks’ and ‘access to scripts’. Please be aware that most of these services are only available upon request and for a fee. Requests can only be made within a limited period of time after the publication of results. Staff from the College Examinations Department will be happy to help with any enquiries about the services available or any concerns regarding examination arrangements. Results will be released to students electronically via their individual Moodle accounts on the relevant days: Saturday 6 July for IB students, 15 August for AS and A2 and 22 August for GCSE). It is expected that AS/A2/GCSE results will be available from 8:15 am. Alternatively if students prefer to receive their results at College then from 8:30 am they will be able to come into College to either use our ICT facilities or to collect printed results from the Drama Studio, from 8:30 am.
Year 1 Students
Year 1 students have started considering potential future applications to Higher Education (HE), and/or giving consideration to appropriate career and progression options. The HE and Careers Convention held at College in March gave students an excellent initial opportunity to begin to think about future progression options and an HE Introductory Evening also took place in March and was well attended by parents. The second half of the Summer Term Tutorial Programme has a very strong HE, Careers and Progression focus. Students will also have opportunities to attend presentations and workshops, during the 3 Day Programme (6, 7 & 10 June).
A UCAS Regional HE Convention (‘Superfair’) will be held at the University of Essex on 26 & 27 June. These coincide with our Induction Days for our prospective students and this will enable current students to be able to attend the event, if they wish. A preliminary booking system has been available on Moodle since February. Further details will be given in mid-June. Parents will also have an opportunity to hear about the systems relating to HE applications at the Parents’ Consultation Evening on Tuesday 2 July which will also include an outline of the relatively new national HE financial arrangements that the Government has established. By this stage, it is expected that the Government will have finalised any remaining decisions regarding the new HE Student Finance arrangements for the 2013 – 14 year. This will provide ‘direction’ for those considering HE in autumn 2014 and beyond.
After Year 1 students have completed their first year summer IB internal or AS Level examinations, they are all then required to attend College at 9.00am on Thursday 6 June. (IB students do have some commitments prior to 6 June and IB staff have given students specific details). All Year 1 students will initially be involved in a 3 day programme (6, 7 & 10 June) of briefings, subject sessions, careers activities, progress reviews and action planning. Year 1 AS Level students will also confirm their A2/AS course choices for their second year of study.
Any possible changes to proposed academic courses for the 2013/14 academic year should be carefully considered and discussed with relevant staff and parents during June. A2/AS level coursing decisions for Year 2 will generally need to be made in June, although a team of senior staff will be available to help in late August if relevant students then need to consider amending their Year 2 course choices or wider plans in the light of their AS Level results. Students were first given course and option information for Year 2 in January and at that stage they made Provisional Course Choices for the next academic year.
It is essential that all students hoping to progress to a second year of study attend College and work consistently throughout the June/July period and until the end of term on 16 July 2013.
A considerable amount of A2 Level and IB teaching will be undertaken and appropriate work will also be set for completion in this period and for the first two days of Autumn Term (27 and 28 August). At this time those students who will be new to the College will be involved in their Enrolment. Year 2 students are not, however, required to be in College and will study at home until 9:00 am on Thursday 29 August.
Students have been made well aware that if they do not fulfil the necessary attendance and study commitments in each of their specific subjects, during the June or July summer periods, as well as meeting the academic progression requirements, they will be unable to progress to Year 2 study in September.
On 10 June, current AS students will meet with their Personal Tutors to complete Progress Reviews, and will make their Year 2 subject choices and action planning for the period ahead. Wednesday 26 June and Thursday 27 June are College Induction Days for our prospective ‘new’ students. Year 1 students will not therefore generally be required to attend College on those two days but will be given work in each subject area to be completed either at home, or using Library study facilities at College if they prefer. There will be an opportunity for parents to discuss their son/daughter’s progress with teaching staff at a Parents’ Consultation Evening to be held on Tuesday 2 July. HE Update and Finance presentations will also be offered at 6:15 p.m. or (repeated) at 7:45 p.m. on the evening. For those who wish to attend the evening, appointments with subject staff will need to be planned around the chosen presentation time which is expected to last about fifty minutes. Invitation letters and further detail regarding the arrangements for 2 July will be distributed to parents via email and will also be copied electronically to their son or daughter when they return from Examination and Study Leave in mid-June.
There will also be a briefing evening, organised at 7.30pm on Wednesday 10 July, for the parents of those students considering an application for courses at Oxford or Cambridge Universities. Admissions tutors from two ‘Oxbridge’ Colleges will give presentations and then answer any questions. Prospective applicants are also encouraged to attend.
All students returning for Year 2 in 2013/14 will be required to return to College for re-enrolment at 9 am on Thursday 29 August. However, following the receipt of AS results, some individual students may need to meet with their Senior Tutor or other College senior staff in the period from AS Level results release on 15 August and before the start of term on 27 August. Appointments can be made by telephone with appropriate senior staff.
All returning Year 2 students for 2013/14 year (as well as new students enrolling at College in September) who wish to re-apply for an Essex County Council travel pass must do so by the ECC deadline on 21 June.
Following AS exams, second year A2/AS students may wish to consider commencing an individual Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). There are many ways that EPQ can be achieved and EPQ briefings will be given during the 3 Day Programme regarding the series of possible EPQ pathways and options. In May, interested students are advised to undertake their work in the June/July/August period. Nearly 200 students have completed EPQs this year and students have been able to produce very high standards of work based upon a particular area of interest or skill.
Year 2 Students
The College is very pleased with the university and HE offers that students have received to date. 500 students now ‘hold’ offers from Oxbridge, Medical Schools and other ‘Russell Group’ universities and 950 of our students in total hold degree course offers. We are also relatively pleased with the employment offers that have been reported to us.
In late April a letter with attached materials was emailed to parents of Year 2 students outlining the key dates and arrangements for the period from April to September. The documentation included information regarding arrangements and availability of study facilities, exam results, higher education, employment progression guidance (following publication of A2 Level results on 15 August), and also a pro forma for completion in connection with book and learning resources deposits. The materials also included an invitation to a Year 2 ‘HE Update Evening’ at 7.30pm on Thursday 2 May in the Drama Studio.
This meeting aims to provide an outline of key information relevant at this stage, with regard to national higher education finance and the facilities in place for those commencing Higher Education in the 2013/14 year.
There are relatively new arrangements which come into effect for those entering HE for the first time in 2012.
All students leaving this summer have had detailed written instructions and oral briefings regarding their examinations and leaving procedures. The written instructions can also be found on the College website (via Downloads/Year 2 Leavers’ Notes) and will remain there until early September. The official ‘Leavers’ Day’ for all students who are completing their IB, A2 or GCSE programme of study this term is Monday 8 July.
Students should return all their text books and any materials or equipment that belong to the College on or before the relevant day.
IB Results Day is Saturday 6 July and Students will be able to access their results online from 13:45 onwards on Saturday 6 July, using their personal IB code. IB results will be alternatively be released in College from 09:00 am on Monday 8 July. The College will have a team of IB, Senior and Careers Staff available to support IB students who need any help between 8 July and the end of term and again will be available to help from 15 August onwards. Senior and Careers staff will also be available in College to support those A2 students who need help during the period between AS/A2 Level Results Day (15 August) until the start of term on Tuesday 27 August. It is recommended that appointments are made via our switchboard (Tel. 01206 500700).
A very successful sporting weekend was recently experienced by fourteen students and four staff, at the British Colleges Nationals Finals in Bath. Our students were a credit to the College; and their application and professional approach to the entire weekend was tremendous. This year we also had a very supportive group of parents who made their own way to Bath to support the students. Volleyball team finished in 7th place after being placed in the strongest group; they played excellent volleyball and competed with all the best teams. The trampolining team competed very well in their individual flights and finished in the top 10 overall which is a superb achievement for our 2 very talented trampoliners. Nick Robertson 50m Butterfly, achieved a ‘Personal Best’ in the heats finishing 2nd, with the competition GB standard, finishing 5th in the final was a huge achievement. Dan Wheeler won the gold trophy, dominating all his games in the Men’s Squash competition.
The sports committee recently ran a successful table tennis competition and the annual Beach Sports event will be organised for July. The 9th annual Sports Awards evening will be held at Colchester Rugby Club on 8th May. This is to recognise our students sporting achievements over the year .It is always a well-attended and very enjoyable event. Tickets are on sale from the PE Dept.
The last few months have featured a series of Performance Studies Evenings and the practical assessments for A2 and AS Theatre Studies, Dance, Music and Performance Studies have now all taken place. A series of music activities have included a Spring Music Concert, informal lunchtime performances on the Concourse, programme of recitals and a lunchtime concert series.
College students recently participated in the 2013 Schools Prom Concert at Charter Hall and a number of students and staff took part in April in very successful performances of “Noye’s Fludde”, and opera by Benjamin Britten involving a range of community groups and professionals.
Last term a large number of students attended a very successful final of The Battle of the Bands at Colchester Arts Centre, where Ordinary Noise won the competition. There has also been evening ‘dress rehearsal’ or ‘showcases’ of AS, A2 and IB students’ Drama, Performance Studies and Dance pieces. In July there will also be a series of evening performances, including performances of music and poetry and items from the Shakespeare Drama group.
In 2013 we saw the return of ‘Sanctum’ an annual interactive prayer space put on by the College’s Multi-Faith Chaplain & the Christian Union. Sanctum gives students & staff the opportunity to discuss and reflect on life’s existential questions such as what gives our lives purpose, meaning & value. Advertised as ‘I Thought I Was the Only One’, this year the activities were based around the theme of vulnerability.
The summer term is hoping to be quite eventful for the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy as there are potential collaborations with various college departments involving; an educational day with the charity International Justice Mission, an explorative dialogue on sexuality & faith and a devised physical theatre piece exploring the themes of religious extremism involving IB dance & drama students.
There will be a number of further Arts activities scheduled for the late June and early July period including: Art, Art History and Photography exhibitions and Art History students will curate an Art trail through the College. Creative Writing students will visit 'The Windmill' in North Norfolk for a writing retreat in June and English Literature students will spend a weekend at Stratford-upon-Avon in July to see performances of both Hamlet and As You Like It. They will also visit Shakespeare’s birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s cottage as well as going on a Behind the Scenes tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
A collaboration between the Social, Arts & Sports Committees will see the annual ‘Knollfest’ being held on Friday 20 September. This will include live music, street art, dance activities and all the usual inflatables!
Visits, Exchanges and Expeditions and Conference
There have been a large number of successful residential trips and visits during the spring including German and History students visiting Berlin.
In February a group of Language students went to an excellent language school in Granada, Southern Spain. Theatre Studies students have attended a range of Plays in London and Spanish students will undertake a Peru Expedition, including visiting a school in Lima in July.
Over the Easter period Geography/Geology students went on a trip to Italy and visits were made to the active craters of Solfatara and Mount Vesuvius, as well as the archaeological sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Duke of Edinburgh Gold students will also be undertaking expeditions in July and September.
Looking further ahead, a group of first year students will be visiting the Russ Foundation over the Christmas/New Year period and the group are now actively involved in preparations and fund raising activities.
The AS Sociology students attended another successful conference at Essex University this year. During the day, students attended talks led by University lecturers on topics including ‘Crime, celebrity and the media’ and ‘Drugs and development’, as well as being given advice on exam preparation and tips for success in the impending exams, by current examiners. Students also had an opportunity to look around the University campus, as well as having a talk on studying ‘Sociology at Essex University’. Students were very positive about their experiences of the day and commented on the invaluable information they were given both for exam revision and for being able to attend University lectures. Many thanks to all the staff who helped with the organisation and running of the day.
A group of 9 first year students, successfully took part in the National Model United Nations conference held in Birmingham in March. Samra Mayanja led the Argentinian delegation and was charged with defending Argentina's invasion of the Falkland Islands. She negotiated in both the Security Council and General Assembly for a resolution which resolved the crisis peacefully but which secured an independent process to settle the nationality of the Islands in the long term. Aaron Pitkin, Jouja Mamri, Natasha Heal-Cohen, Lucky Dube (Ambassador for Japan), and Samra Mayanja received prizes from former journalist and MP Martin Bell for their public speaking, effective and original resolutions, and good dress sense. They proposed, among other things, a review of drug policy in Latin America, improving literacy in developing countries, to secure rights for indigenous peoples, to protect migratory fish stocks, and to create incentives for countries to dispose of chemical weapons. Every student sat on one committee to debate and vote in their country’s interests.
Anna Fenton Jones and Aaron Pitkin sat on the Disarmament committee, Binuri Rupasinghe and Ellen Thornton on Ecology and Environment, Natasha Heal Cohen and Lucky Dube on Economic and Social Affairs, Jouja Maamri on Human Rights. Samra Mayanja and Maya Tucker were members of the Political Affairs committee.
The conference provided an excellent opportunity to participate along with sixth form students from all over the country and every one of our delegates impressed.
Maths, Science and the Environment
A large group of students were successful in the national Senior Maths Challenge held in the winter and 5 Gold, 20 Silver and 32 Bronze certificates were achieved. Mitchel Buxton was selected for the national Senior Maths Kangaroo.
A group of our students attended sessions to study and learn from the extension topics related Chemistry Olympiad organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Five students then went on to enter the exam, which attracts many of the most able science students from the U.K. The level is highly challenging and to succeed, students need an exceptional level of understanding and ability to think analytically. Three of our Chemistry students were awarded silver medals. Four students also took part in the Biology Olympiad with all receiving commendations and in addition, 1 student received a bronze, 1 student received Silver and 1 student received a Gold Medal.
The Science and Environment Committee have been a group highly committed students who, over the past year, have organised a variety of events. The main event was a Bird Quiz organised as a whole college activity which was linked to a talk by a visiting expert speaker. Plans for later this term include a visit by a couple of “dinosaurs” made of recycled material to encourage students to recycle their waste. Details regarding Sustainable and Environmental activities can be found on the College Eco-News section of this website.
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