The online application process for September 2020 entry has now closed, however in a small number of individual cases late applications due to extenuating circumstances are accepted.
Despite college closures, we do still have staff in place if you wish to discuss such matters further. Please contact the College Admissions Office on firstname.lastname@example.org
The College is following Government advice carefully and responding promptly to all updates. We are keeping students up to date with current advice, which is also available on Moodle. Here is the Government’s information and advice page, which is updated daily: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
There are general principles anyone can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- washing your hands often - with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser if handwashing facilities are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport
- covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
- people who feel unwell should stay at home and should not attend work or any education or childcare setting
- pupils, students, staff and visitors should wash their hands:
- before leaving home
- on arrival at school
- after using the toilet
- after breaks and sporting activities
- before food preparation
- before eating any food, including snacks
- before leaving school
- use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- if you are worried about your symptoms or those of a child or colleague, please call NHS 111. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment
Further to the email communication to parents on Thursday 12 March, in the context of the continued spread of coronavirus the Government have now announced that, in general, schools and colleges in England will be closed at the end of this week (i.e. from 4pm on Friday 20 March). At present there has been no indication given by the Government as to when the College can plan to resume normal ‘onsite’ operations for students and staff.
From Monday 23 March the College will therefore be closed to students and student activities until further notice. Students will therefore not be able to attend or visit the College site unless a prior specific appointment or arrangement has been made with a senior member of staff, which could include individual arrangements for particularly vulnerable students or those with safeguarding needs. Students should be working offsite, remotely – with work electronically directed to groups of students by staff and also with staff e-support available. All teaching staff will be working remotely and available for email contact. If there are issues you would normally raise with your Personal Tutor or Senior Tutor please continue to do so by email during the normal College working hours and they will get back to you as soon as possible.
The Government announcements today have also indicated that the forthcoming external exams and assessments schedule for Summer 2020 will not now take place – although the Government and its Ofqual agency will work to ensure that the students will be awarded qualifications (please see below for detail re IB exams). The detail regarding this situation will clearly not emerge from the Government for a while but it is possible that the qualifications will be awarded on the basis of teacher assessments and could include assessment of at least some of the learning/work undertaken in the forthcoming closure period. Staff will continue to support the learning of all students entered for external qualifications in the Summer 2020 series – and all coursework processes will continue unchanged.
Students working towards qualifications in 2021 need to continue to prepare for the normal programme of external exams and assessments – as a Summer period Internal Assessment 2020 will still need to take place when College is able to re-open. Until we have clarity regarding an end date to the closure period it is not possible to make a decision with regard to the date for Internal Assessments for Year 1 A level subjects.
IBO have today communicated that they will be proceeding with the May period IB Diploma exams and we are therefore planning safe exam hall and related arrangements for these exams.
We wish to support students who are entitled to food tokens. The Government has said today that it will introduce a national voucher scheme. Until details of this are established, College will provide two weeks of funding for each eligible student to cover the period until Easter. Information about this will be given shortly.
Students have been sent similar communications by email – and there will be, as usual, postings on Moodle and the website.
We urge all students to continue to follow the Government requirements and guidelines regarding safe practice for themselves and their family members. These are regularly and reliably available from the BBC website or the NHS and Public Health England websites. Please use the 111 telephone facility or the DfE helpline (0800 046 8687) if necessary.
The current circumstances are very difficult and there is still much uncertainty. Thank you to everyone for their understanding.
Further to my recent communications, I am now contacting you to let you know that this afternoon the Government has announced some more detail regarding their plans with regard to the award of the national qualifications in England in the Spring/Summer 2020 period:
The information provided by the Government gives broad indications of their plans - but leaves substantial detail still to be determined, predominantly at Government and public exam board level, regarding the national awards in GCSEs, A level, Applied Generals and the raft of other relevant national qualifications in Spring and Summer 2020.
The Government’s aim is to issue grades within the new framework by the end of July.
I am hoping the Government and its agencies can make rapid progress and that we can then clarify arrangements to staff, students and their parents/carers over the next few weeks.
One aspect within this Government document is that they will introduce a new Autumn 2020 examining period for A (and AS) and GCSE qualifications. This could provide a very useful opportunity, not long after the Summer, for a small but nonetheless important proportion of young people affected by the abnormal 2020 arrangements to improve the level of their qualifications. For this reason, we will continue to provide structured and supported learning for those students who would have been sitting public examinations in the Spring/Summer 2020 series - as well as for those working towards qualifications in 2021. Again, we are not yet aware of the detail regarding the Autumn 2020 public exam series and we need to obtain far more information from the Government and its relevant agencies, in the weeks ahead.
Within the communication, the Government also reports it has liaised with UK universities – and there have been indicators that UK universities will, in general, be flexible and do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education if this is their choice.
We will of course be in contact again when we have more clarity from the Government. Can I please emphasise that at this stage staff at the College know no more than is within the document the Government has released this afternoon. Given the very wide range of factors and ambiguities involved in the process, you will appreciate that staff will not comment on individual student grades.
Please note that, as advised in previous communications, the situation for IB Diploma examinations is different to those outlined on this letter for the national qualifications in England; IB arrangements remain under review and we will advise students as soon as further information is available.
Best wishes to you all.
SUBJECT READING LIST FOR 2020 ENTRY
IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ THIS FIRST
This is a reading list, for students who have finished their GCSE studies and want to look ahead and familiarise themselves with a few things before they start their courses at the College
This is not a ‘homework list’
This is not a list of ‘things you have to buy’
There won’t be a ‘test’ on your first day
But, if you do want to do some reading and get up and running with your studies next year, the following details might be useful. It’s designed to give you some things to think about, but you don’t have to do all of it. If you have any questions about the material, staff from departments will be happy to discuss with you at our induction or enrolment events.
RECOMMENDED READING INFORMATION (SUBJECTS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
Accounting (A Level) AQA
Look at BBC bitesize https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/zv8gvk7: and familiarise yourself with the following topics: Business Ownership, Business Stakeholders, Sources of Finance, Cash and Cashflow, Financial terms and Calculations.
Art (Fine Art) (A Level) WJEC Eduqas
Virtual Art Gallery visits.
We have selected some virtual Art Gallery visits you can look at to help inspire you.
The Courtauld Institute has Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works of art in room 5,6 and 7.https://courtauld.ac.uk/gallery/about/3d-gallery-virtual-tour
Google Arts and Culture has a range of virtual gallery tours. Click on the link, and this will take you to the home page of the gallery. Click on the icon of a figure at the top and it will give you a range of pictures. When you click on a picture and it takes you to the location the picture is hung in. This will allow you to select the bit of the tour that most interests you. You can then do a virtual tour of that part of the gallery.
The Rijksmuseum houses a collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist work as well as traditional still life, portraiture and landscape.
The Musee d’Orsay in Paris has an extensive Impressionist collection.
You could also go to LA and visit the J. Paul Getty Museum by following the link.
Moma, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, has a google link but does not do a virtual tour. It is a good source for modern art.
Here is a list of large and contemporary galleries and museums that have websites. You could find artists and artworks that you like. Also, listed are journals and books that you could look at. It is a long list and they are just suggestions, we do not expect you to have looked at everything, the main thing is to keep drawing and looking.
Galleries, exhibition spaces, permanent exhibitions
Larger galleries and museum spaces, all with permanent exhibitions:
· The Tate Modern- Modern and Contemporary art
· The Tate Britain- British Art
· The Victoria and Albert Museum- Applied arts and design from around the world
· The Design Museum
· The National Gallery- painting
· The National Portrait Gallery- devoted to the art of the portrait
· The Royal Academy
· The British Museum- artefacts from around the world
· The Hayward Gallery
· Courtauld Gallery- devoted to Impressionist Painting
· The Wallace collection
· The Barbican
Contemporary Art Galleries with changing exhibitions:
· The White Cube
· The Saatchi Gallery
· The Lisson Gallery
· The Whitechapel Art Gallery
· The Crafts Council Gallery
· Cork Street Galleries- commercial art galleries on London’s famous Cork Street
· The ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts)
· Camden Arts Centre
· Serpentine Gallery
· The Photographers' Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies St. London W1F 7LW
· Frith Street Gallery
· Gagosian Gallery
· The Wellcome Institute- changing exhibitions containing arts that have a link to Science
· Modern Painters -brilliant monthly magazine devoted to painting, only interviews with painters and exhibition reviews. www.modernpainters.co.uk
· Crafts Magazine- published every two months by the Crafts Council. For all aspects of the Applied Arts including interviews with Craftspeople, exhibition reviews, competitions to enter, job vacancies etc... www.craftscouncil.org.uk
· The Photographers' Magazine
· Printmaking Today- published by Cello Press, four issues per year www.cello.press. All aspects of
Printmaking covered with interviews, exhibition reviews, competitions etc...
· AN Magazine (Artist’s Newsletter) - www.a-n.co.uk. The artists’ must have magazine. Stimulating and supporting contemporary visual arts practice. Offering lots of major art competitions to enter, job opportunities etc. Website offers lots of publications on how to promote yourself as an artist, how to apply for funding to continue projects etc.
“The Andy Warhol Diaries”: Edited by Pat Hackett published by Warner Books
Vitamin P “New Perspectives in Painting”
“This is Modern Art” by Matthew Collings
“Ways of Seeing” by John Berger
“Understanding and Investigating Art” by Rod Taylor published by Hodder and Stoughton
“Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art” by James Hall
“Drawing on the Right side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards
“The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Art and Artists” by Herbert Read and Nikos Stangos
“The Shock of the New” by Robert Hughes
Art History (A Level)
In the first year, we will take a speedy journey through the entire history of art, focusing specifically on how the human form has been portrayed in works of art. Here are some really useful sources to help you with some background information and to start to think about Art History as a subject:
Oxford Art On-Line is a website arranged like an encyclopaedia of art. It can be accessed if you or a family member has an Essex Library Card. Just enter the digits above the bar code into the box beneath ‘Sign in with your library card’.
Smarthistory.org is entirely free and has an impressive collection of articles on a very wide range of periods in art history. This website also links to khanacademy.org which consists of hundreds of video talks that are mainly on specific works of art but also other creative forms such as design and photography.
E. H. Gombrich’s ‘The Story of Art’ was the first art history book I ever read and this is true of many people. As the title suggests, it turns the history into a tale of the people who made the art and why in a highly readable way.
Andrew Graham-Dixon’s, ‘Art: The Definitive Guide’ is a visually dynamic exploration of the history of art and covers a very wide range of different time periods and art movements and provides loads of interesting snippets of information along the way. You should be able to pick up a copy for about £20. But watch out, it’s heavy!
Biology (A Level) AQA
Biology A-level will give you the skills to make connections and associations with all living things around you. Biology literally means the study of life - and if that’s not important, what is? Being such a broad topic, you’re bound to find a specific area of interest, plus it opens the door to a fantastic range of interesting careers. At first, you may find the jump in demand from GCSE a little daunting, but here are some resources to help you along the way.
There are lots of good podcasts
Good video to introduce topics include;
Summer ‘Bridging’ Tasks – AS/A level Biology
Preparation for the course:
- Organisation - get a large A4 lever arch ring binder + dividers.
- Optional - CGP Head start to AS Biology (recommended for double scientists) – buy and use this revision guide to highlight key points and make notes on topics studied by the triple scientists. ISBN: 9781782942795
- Print off p10-34 of the new specification from the AQA website. Put in the front of your folder and highlight key words. (Get ahead and start a glossary) http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/biology-7401-7402
Task 1: Refresh your memory and revise the following topics from your GCSE Biology revision guide: digestion, carbohydrates, proteins, enzymes, and DNA.
Task 2: When you start biology in September, you will begin learning the biological molecules topic. To help you transition from GCSE to A Level you need to complete some preparation. Use your GCSE Biology revision guide and the internet to help you.
Research and answer to following questions to help you prepare:
- What is a monomer?
- What is a polymer?
- Carbohydrates are a group of biological molecules important in biology. They are made up of monosaccharides (monomers - one sugar unit), disaccharides (two sugar units joined together) and polysaccharides (polymers – many repeating sugar units)
- Can you name 3 monosaccharides:
- Can you name 3 disaccharides:
- Can you name 3 polysaccharides and state where they are found e.g. animals or plants:
- Research and draw the structure of alpha and beta glucose.
- What is the difference between alpha and beta glucose?
- Proteins are another important biological molecule.
- What is the monomer of proteins?
- Draw the structure of this monomer.
- DNA is a polymer of the nucleotides.
- Draw the structure of a nucleotide and label the following:
- Deoxyribose sugar
- Phosphate group
- Nitrogenous base
- Lipids are a group of molecules used as a store of energy and used to make cell membranes.
- A triglyceride is made up of one glycerol and 3 fatty acids. How is the structure of a phospholipid different to the of a triglyceride?
- What is the difference between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids?
- Complete the table below on the ‘food tests’ to detect the presence of different biological molecules.
Name of test
Business (A Level EDUQAS & Applied AQA)
Business – Applied (Exam board AQA) and A Level (Exam Board Eduqas)
If you have not studied Business before look at BBC bitesize website for GCSE Business https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/zv8gvk7 and use these resources to understand some business terminology.
You can read BusinessWeek - Great site for business news and features: http://www.businessweek.com,
Practical start-up advice for businesses. Case studies and practical information. Starting-up; exploiting new ideas; growing your business; types of business. www.businesslink.gov.uk
Masterclass is a magazine produced by Ernst and Young and has some useful material which is more advanced. Masterclass gets inside the heads of exceptional business leaders; it explores their unconventional approaches to business and provides insight into how they have made their businesses grow. http://www.ey.com
Times 100 - The material, which is centred on well-known businesses, has been designed by teachers and written by respected published authors to cover all the key topic areas. Case studies, theory, quizzes, company information links (taking you to specific sections of the featured company Websites), teacher resources, e.g. worksheets. http://www.thetimes100.co.uk.
Also keep up with the news BBC News - A superb resource and one of the best starting points to find resources. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business
If you would like to read a book, here are three that you might like to read
- How I Made It: 40 Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal How They Made Millions - Rachel Bridge - An essential read for anyone that is thinking about starting their own business. Successful Entrepreneurs are interviewed about how the spotted a gap in a market, and developed a USP.
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference - Malcolm Gladwell - A very readable and fascinating book, which looks into the reasons products become market leaders.
- The Google Story - David A. Vise - An interesting investigation into the culture at Google, includes insights into the four day working week and soft management styles. The questions is; are these the things that made Google the world’s number one search engine?
In Applied Business the exam board is AQA. The specification can be found here: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/business/applied-general/business
In Business A level the exam board is Eduqas. The specification can be found here: https://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/business/as-a-level/eduqas-a-business-spec-from-2015.pdf
Chemistry (A Level) OCR
Two CGP revision guides we recommend are
For interesting videos to inspire you go on the Nottingham university web site
We suggest you continue to practise GCSE papers, as the content is quite challenging. Concentrate on learning the formulae of ions and how to write ionic formula, practise balancing chemical equations and check how to calculate moles of substances.
Read up on structure and bonding and ensure you know the difference between an atom, a molecule and an ion. Make sure you can link the type of bonding to the properties a substance has.
Check you understand the structure of an atom. Read up on the history of the discovery of the nucleus and subatomic particles. Brian Cox has good videos on this on you tube.
Watch some videos on you tube about how to do a titration. Read up on ionisation energy and how it explains the increased reactivity of the group 1 metals.
Make sure you understand the difference between significant figures and decimal places in calculations.
Classical Civilisation (A Level) OCR
You should prepare for the Classical Civilisation course by reading the relevant parts of Homer’s Iliad. The text is divided into 24 chapters known as ‘books’: you should aim to read as many of the 13 ‘books’ which we will study in class (1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22 ,23, 24) as you can.
The Iliad is the earliest work in Western literature and provides the original account of the legendary Trojan War, a gruelling conflict in which Zeus and the other gods take a great personal interest. Its central theme is the wrath of Achilles, the mightiest of all Greek warriors, whose quarrel with his commander early in the story has the most terrible consequences. Because the version of the text we will use in class is Rieu’s (not Hammond’s) Penguin translation, it would be a good idea to obtain and use a copy of this to do the preparatory reading. It has a good introduction which you may find helpful.
If you wish to do some preparation for the Religion side of the course, you are advised to buy and read R. Garland’s Religion and the Greeks (1998), which is an accessible introduction to the subject.
Computer Science (A Level) OCR
Criminology (Applied Cert./Diploma) WJEC
It would be useful for students to start researching the law regarding different types of crime, particularly domestic abuse, hate crime, honour crime and white-collar crime. There are student activities available here https://criminology.uk.net/book-one-activities/ Those for Unit 1 would be particularly useful.
Dance (A Level) AQA
To provide CONTEXT for students wanting to study A Level Dance, students can prepare by researching/reading around the following topics:
American Modern Dance – Martha Graham/Merce Cunningham
American New Dance – Judson Church Group/ Contact Improvisation
British Contemporary Dance – London School Contemporary Dance Company/ Rambert Dance Company
British Dance from 2000 to Now – independent practitioners linked to this era (Wayne McGregor/Botis Seva/Akram Khan/Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui/Hofesh Shechter) - refer to Sadlers Wells web site
Reading can also be purchased from:
Additionally, students should be watching dance from any of the practitioners linked to the topics above.
Drama & Theatre (A Level) OCR
A good place to start is to watch some theatre – lots of places are streaming free productions and we would recommend The National Theatre you tube channel that is going to be streaming a different production every week, for free starting on Thursday 2nd April.
You could also start finding out about “King Lear “which will be our first set text that we study. There are lots of online resources that would give you the background to the play and also information about Shakespeare and Elizabethan/Jacobean theatre. If you have a copy of the text at home then by all means have a read. If you want to buy a copy please buy the Oxford Schools edition ISBN978-0-19-839222-4
Economics (A Level) WJEC Eduqas
A Level Economics provides the student with a set of tools (way of thinking) that they can use to analyse all kinds of situations and events in the modern world.
Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics by Stephen J Dubner & Steven D Levitt are an excellent layperson’s introduction into how to think like an economist.
In addition, Tim Hartford has a regular Radio 4 programme/podcast called 50 Things That Made The Modern Economy (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04b1g3c/episodes/downloads) that can be subscribed to on BBC Sounds; he has also written a series of books titled The Undercover Economist, that illustrate just how relevant and crucial the study of economics is in understanding the cause and effect of events - from the profound and global to the regular and everyday.
Talking to My Daughter: A Brief History of Capitalism by Yanis Varoufakis is an excellent study of the causes and effects of the last global crisis – the financial crisis of 2006-09 that lead to the Great Recession.
Finally, if you are looking for a more prosaic read then we cover the EDUQAS specification, and the best text book is Economics 6th Ed by Alain Anderton; it covers the key principles and theories that we will study for both microeconomics and macroeconomics.
Electronics (A Level) WJEC Eduqas
Start by finding out more about studying electronics and why it is useful, check out the UK Electronics Skills Foundation and turn on to electronics. https://www.ukesf.org/schools/ https://www.turnontoelectronics.org/
The most important thing for studying Electronics is to make sure you know the basic rules for circuits such as Ohm’s Law and the differences between parallel and series circuits which you covered at GCSE. A good starting point to check this out is BBC Bitesize which you probably used when revising. https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/z9gdhv4 - the first part of the course will go through these core concepts.
The link to the textbook you will be using is https://resources.eduqas.co.uk/Pages/ResourceSingle.aspx?rIid=937
You can read the first chapter on core concepts.
English Language & Literature (A Level) OCR
English Language (A Level) AQA
English Literature (A Level) AQA
Reading is an excellent preparation for any English A-Level class. You should aim to read both fiction and non-fiction, for example reading a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as novels. Look for texts that are outside your usual reading, but also look for texts that sound interesting. There are plenty of fiction and non-fiction texts out there. With a little browsing through a library, a bookshop or online you will find hundreds of suitable books. You could also look for lists of winners or nominees of the Booker Prize, Orange Prize or Costa Book Award, or find a list of the 100 greatest novels. All books on the subject or general reading lists are suitable preparation for all English subjects.
Andrea Ashworth, Once in a House on Fire
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Truman Capote, In Cold Blood
Tracy Chevalier, Girl with a Pearl Earing
Sebastian Faulks Engleby
Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Graham Greene, Brighton Rock
Mark Haddon The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Joseph Heller, Catch 22
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird
Primo Levi, If This is a Man
Andrea Levy, Small Island
Ian McEwan, Enduring Love
David Mitchell, Black Swan Green
Rick Moody, The Ice Storm
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk about Kevin
William Styron, Sophie’s Choice
Patrick Suskind, Perfume
Donna Tartt, A Secret History
Rose Tremain, The Road Home
Sarah Water, The Little Stranger
Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Tim Winton, Breath
Specific English Language texts:
Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
The English Language by David Crystal
Language Myths edited by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill
Environmental Science (A Level) AQA
The A-Level Environmental Science course has an over-riding message of sustainability, focusing our relationship with the environment in areas such as fishing, farming and forestry. You can get a real sense of these issues by reading the ‘Environment’ sections of the Guardian. Similarly, the Washington Post and Reuters cover lots of environmental issues.
The book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson offers an excellent appreciation of the impact mankind is having through food production systems. Similarly, ‘Gaia Hypothesis’ by James Lovelock provides a good insight into systems thinking and offers a great starting point for the Environmental Science course.
Film Studies (A Level) WJEC Eduqas
We study the EDUQAS specification. There are relevant textbooks which can be found here:
https://www.illuminatepublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=19&products_id=156&zenid=o4gtvk70dfoa63mhk0h5r4am00 (with sample pages available) and :
The course focuses on a range of films from Hollywood, British national cinema, European and global films as well as silent, experimental and documentary forms. Each area is studied through a variety of approaches such as visual style, production contexts and representation as well as theories of authorship and spectatorship. There are a range of useful resources online which discuss these approaches, such as: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJKLIcSts_4XpVbORwzLZVw/videos and
Podcasts such as The Film Programme also provide interesting coverage of a wide range of film and film makers https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006r5jt
Being familiar with a range of films from different periods and styles would be a great foundation for the A Level – perhaps watching films from classic Hollywood and films not in the English language (you could look at recent nominations for the Oscar for best ‘foreign’ films for suggestions for accessible films).
Food Science & Nutrition (Applied Gen. Cert/Extended Cert. WJEC
To help with your preparation for your Food Science and Nutrition course starting in September, there are a few online training courses which will be useful. As well as these courses the British Nutrition Foundation website provides interesting articles and webinars relating to Food and Nutrition.
French (A Level) AQA
See Modern Languages
Geography (A Level) OCR
The A-Level Geography course has a contemporary feel, which includes lots of real-life examples. Key areas of study include climate change, migration, political and economic geography and hazardous earth. You could get a real sense of global issues by reading the ‘Development’ and ‘Environment’ sections of the Guardian. Similarly, the Washington Post and Reuters cover lots political geography issues.
The book “Prisoners of Geography” by Tim Marshall offers an excellent context for the current world (in particular, issues in the Middle East and under-development in Africa). Similarly, ‘Peoplequake’ by Fred Pearce provides a good insight into mass migration, ageing nations and the future of global population.
Geology (Earth Science) (A Level) OCR
Geology is the study of the Earth – how it works and its 4.5 billion-year history. Geologists study some of society’s most important problems, such as energy, water, and mineral resources; the environment; climate change; and natural hazards like landslides, volcanoes, earthquakes, and floods; materials on all scales; planets, continents, countries, cliffs and atoms. There is currently a shortage of well-trained geoscientists and the demand is growing. If you like science, care about the earth, are fascinated by the natural world, like working outdoors and learning about the natural formations you see in the world, consider geology. These websites provide some useful ideas about what you can do with a degree in Geology.
This textbook gives an interesting insight into the Geology A-Level and is well worth a read.
German (A Level) AQA
See Modern Languages
Graphic Design (Communications) (A Level)
Recommended book – for beginners:
GO:A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd
– the most comprehensive (and probably best) design website on the internet
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYfCBK8IplO4E2sXtdKMVpKJZRBEoMvpn (45 episodes!)
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBMOtC0-L_ann5Ny24QrozdO_wsf9hYrI - Good professional introduction from the American PBS channel)
Health & Social Care (Applied General Cert./Extended Cert) PEARSON
In Health and Social Care, we spend much of the course considering the help given by professionals and how this supports individuals with varying needs; therefore the best preparation for this course is to familiarise yourself with the role of different professionals, and there are many TV programmes that can assist this. (Take care though! - some of these can be quite uncomfortable to watch and are not compulsory viewing).
The following are suggestions of relevant and interesting programmes:
The following two documentaries are potentially upsetting, so please don’t watch if you’re not comfortable with discussions of neglect and abuse
The final two look at the effects of poverty on Health
History (Early Modern) (A Level) AQA
Hello prospective Early Modern History students! We’ve made some changes to what we teach from next year and thought the following materials would give you a taste of what’s to come and get you preparing for next year. If you like reading books, we’d recommend some historical fiction to give a sense of the early modern period. Anything by Philippa Gregory – particularly The White Queen and The Red Queen; or if you want something more serious, Lancaster And York: The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir, would be a great place to start.
History (Medieval) (A level) AQA
Hello prospective Medieval History students! We’ve made some changes to what we teach from next year and thought the following materials would give you a taste of what’s to come and get you preparing for next year. If you like reading books, we’d recommend some historical fiction to give a sense of the Medieval and Military period. Anything by Simon Scarrow, Con Iggulden, Bernard Cornwell (try to keep it historical, not Game of Thrones fantastical); or if you want something more serious, anything by Jonathan Phillips and Thomas Asbridge for the Crusades, or Marc Morris for the Normans, would be a great place to start. There are a lot of really good documentaries on World War One and World War Two on the internet.
History (Modern) (A Level) AQA
Hello prospective Modern History students! We’ve made some changes to what we teach from next year and thought the following materials would give you a taste of what’s to come and get you preparing for next year.
A serious read is Barry Coward’s The Stuart Age https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stuart-Age-England-1603-1714/dp/1405859164
but there are shorter, lighter things you can read on the early Stuarts such as https://www.historyextra.com/period/stuart/has-history-been-unfair-to-charles-i/ or https://www.historyextra.com/period/stuart/facts-about-stuarts-royals-mary-queen-scots-witchcraft/.
There is also a great series about Charles I on the IPlayer.
For German history, there are loads of great books, films and documentaries – seek them out! You could listen to this podcast on the rise of Hitler: https://www.historyextra.com/period/second-world-war/rise-hitler-power-nazi-germany-world-war-two-how-did-he-podcast/ or read Modern Germany by Martin Kitchen.
Information Technology (Applied Gen. Cert./Extended Cert). PEARSON
In the second part of the first year we look at the effective use of social media in business. Learners need to research and report on a number of key areas. Understanding these areas from a business perspective is a little different than from the 'client' or 'consumer' perspective that we all experience on a daily basis. Some of the areas to consider are: brand identity, engaging with customers and customer care.
- Brand identity includes the ethical standpoint of a company, the company history and it's global impact. How does a company promote and inform it's customers about these issues?
- Engaging with customers can be with product details, or an interesting image, but how do you make someone follow you and visit your page regularly? Quizzes, polls, posting consumer images of products, shout outs, freebies are just some of the methods employed by social savvy companies. What makes you go back to a company's social media page? Can you find any more good methods of engaging with customers?
- Customer Service is a huge concern for online companies, much of their reputation relies on reviews and customer satisfaction. Customer service online is very much under scrutiny, can you list all of the tips and good practice required for a truly award winning online customer service platform?
There is a vast amount of information about these issues online, try searching 'Hootsuite' and 'Sproutsocial' as a starting point for your research!
Italian (A Level) PEARSON
See Modern Languages
Law (A Level) WJEC Eduqas
Law (Applied) (Applied Gen. Cert./Extended Cert.) PEARSON
When you come to study law we don’t expect you to have any detailed advance knowledge. Good reading and writing skills generally are useful, so keep up with reading anything you enjoy.
Both courses start by looking at the English Legal System. A textbook is available - https://www.illuminatepublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=168
But there has been quite a bit of interesting legal stuff going on recently… You could find out some more about the judgment of the Supreme Court on proroguing parliament. Visit the Supreme Court’s website www.supremecourt.uk - click on “decided cases” and then the case R (on the application of Millar) v The Prime Minister – Judgment date 24th September 2019. You can read the summary or watch the summary judgment delivered by Lady Hale.
You can also investigate some more about the about the Supreme Court to find out more about the court and it’s role by exploring their website.
Mathematics and Further Maths (A Level) OCR
All Mathematics subjects – The most important thing is to be fully competent in the GCSE Maths syllabus. So, continue to work through past papers and learn all the material. Once this is done, then possible websites would be:
For Maths: https://amsp.org.uk/students/gcse/more-maths and https://cttc.staffs.sch.uk/Maths%20-%20bridging%20task.pdf
For Stats: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qshd and https://www.gapminder.org/videos/the-joy-of-stats/
Media Studies (A Level) WJEC EDUQAS
We study the EDUQAS specification. There are a range of textbooks which can be found here: https://www.illuminatepublishing.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=11&zenid=7a2gd73b58jboalr3acs5o0q13 and there are a number of sample pages that can be read in each.
They also have a list of references and further reading : https://www.illuminatepublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11&products_id=130&zenid=om5blrbheqpuj27a92smdpcpl3
The course requires knowledge of a range of complex theories, a number of these are explained on YouTube channels such as The Media Insider https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3j_KGwx2z4 and Mrs Fisher https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUKrxp4BcJrGLzmqAhCjASg.
Familiarity with a wide range of media forms is important – these include newspapers, magazines, videogames, television crime drama, advertising, film marketing, online, music video and radio. Listening to podcasts such as The Media Show https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00dv9hq/episodes/downloads would be very useful.
A Level Spanish AQA
There are some excellent ways of keeping your Spanish/French/ Italian, German up over the next few months. It would be good to practise grammar - there are many websites which do this. It would be useful also to read and improve your vocabulary eg BBCmundo/www.20minutes.fr - this is very challenging but excellent preparation for A level and good for general knowledge. Note down vocabulary, aim for half a dozen words per article. In terms of listening, there is a great variety of foreign programmes on Netflix, Amazon, Channel 4 etc.
Examples of websites:
bbcmundo for Spanish
www.20minutes.fr for French;
ews4kids.de – is a German news website aimed at 12 year olds -so the news stories are simplified
easygerman – is a youtube channel – which has lots of interviews (sub-titled) with Germans on the streets and is really good and accessible.
Music (A Level) PEARSON
The most important skill to have before starting the A level Music course is the ability to read music notation. ‘The AB Guide to Music Theory Volume 1’ covers grades 1 – 5, with 5 being the expected level when starting the course.
If you have already completed your grade 5 music theory, then ‘The AB Guide to Music Theory Volume 2’, covering grades 6 – 8, is worth a read.
There are also many free online resources to help with music theory, including an open university course, titled ‘An Introduction to Music Theory’. There is also a free online course from Coursera titled ‘Fundamentals of Music Theory’. These are just a very small selection of resources which are available to improve your music theory knowledge.
Music Technology (A Level) PEARSON
Music Technology is predominantly a practical course, but there is a lot of knowledge which is needed to help with the practical work and which is vital for the two exams. The ‘AS and A Level Music Technology Guide: New Specification from 2017’ by Daniel Plewinski is a coursebook written by the head of subject at the Sixth Form College and is a nationally used resource for the A level. All of the text in black is needed for the first year of the course and is a good place to start. Other resources are also available, such as ‘Edexcel AS and A Level Music Technology Study Guide’ by Tim Hallas.
Performing Arts (Applied Gen. Cert./Extended Cert.) PEARSON
Any research that could be done on our practitioners and or styles, including George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim; Greek Theatre, Brecht, John Godber, Bob Fosse, DV8, physical theatre, Matthew Bourne, Steven Berkoff, Frantic Assembly etc.
Philosophy (A Level) AQA
Here is what the Philosophy teaching team suggest doing in order to prepare for the subject at the Sixth Form College.
Finding out about the course
AQA run A-Level Philosophy and their website is https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/philosophy/as-and-a-level/philosophy-7172 . You could have a quick look at what is on the syllabus.
Doing some Philosophy
In terms of doing some actual Philosophy there are a couple of really useful things you could try:
Firstly, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtNgK6MZucdYldNkMybYIHKR is a great playlist of short videos. You could find out what Philosophy involves, Philosophy terminology and look into some topics that interest you. Please note: there are 47 videos and we absolutely do not expect you to watch them all!
Secondly, the Open University run a free introduction to Philosophy course https://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/philosophy/introducing-philosophy/content-section-0?active-tab=description-tab . It’s short, it won’t cost you anything and you even get a statement of participation for doing it!
Photography (A Level) AQA
Prospective Photography students could start taking photos using your phones or DSLRs on the theme of Pattern and Texture as well as familiarizing yourself with a number of websites:
https://www.magnumphotos.com/photographers/ - look up different themes (including Pattern and/or Texture)
Physics (A Level) OCR
Physics is happening all the time with new things being discovered and discussed every day. The best preparation for the A level Physics course is to find out about the exciting things happening right now. Some websites worth visiting include
The magazine of the Institute of Physics – cutting edge reports.
Reports and articles on a wide range of scientific and mathematical areas.
Articles on a range of science topics
A good science news site.
Site with a lot of physics questions over a wide range of difficulties.
If you are into books, Brian Cox’s books “Wonders of the Universe” and “The Forces of Nature” are good to read as well as Stephen Hawking’s “The Grand Design”.
There are many good videos about Physics on youtube, sites like Veritasium are good at explaining things and for a bit of fun watch Brainiac.
Finally if you want to get more familiar with the A level Physics course a good starting point is https://www.alevelphysicsonline.com/ocr-spec-b.
Politics (A Leve) PEARSON
In Politics, you will be studying the nature of UK Politics and how the UK Government works, as well as political ideologies and Global Politics. Details of the specification can be found here https://qualifications.pearson.com/content/dam/pdf/A%20Level/Politics/2017/Specification%20and%20sample%20assessments/A-level-Politics-Specification.pdf
Politics is very contemporary, so following the news and current affairs is crucial to doing well in this subject. Certainly, following the BBC News especially Politics will be useful https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics as well as the https://www.theguardian.com/uk. These are free but subscriptions are required for some other newspapers
In UK government, what you are trying to understand is the relationships between the different branches of government, namely Parliament, Government and the Judiciary. Trying to see where power lies.
In UK Politics, you are looking at how people engage with our democracy through political parties, pressure groups and voting.
There is a textbook that we use but it is quite expensive to buy. https://www.pearsonschoolsandfecolleges.co.uk/secondary/SocialScience/GovernmentPolitics/EdexcelASAlevelPolitics2017/ISBN/Student-Books/EdexcelGCEPoliticsASandAlevelStudentBookAccessCode.aspx. We try and offer this book as an e-textbook to all students studying Politics at the College.
Any wider reading about Political themes is also recommended from novels, to autobiographies to classic political texts are all valid.
Product Design (A Level)
Watching the ‘how it’s made’ videos on YouTube is really useful, also the repair shop on BBC I player gives a good insight into making techniques.
Psychology (A Level) AQA
If you would like to do some work to prepare for your Psychology A level here are a few suggestions:
Novels: “The Shock of the Fall” by Nathan Filler, “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest” by Ken Kesey. Anything by Oliver Sachs.
BBC Iplayer: Stacey Dooley “On the Psych Ward”, Louis Theroux “Talking to Anorexia”, “A Different Brain”, “Transgender Kids”.
Websites: Tutor2you. Simply Psychology
Textbook: “AQA Psychology for A Level Year 1 & AS” - Student Book
by Cara Flanagan.
Religious Studies (A Level) WJEC EDUQAS
On the Philosophy and Ethics side of the course it would be useful to think about the Design Argument for the existence of God. You may be familiar with the version put forward by William Paley. See if you can find details about it online. Can you find any other versions of these ‘design arguments’ online?
We cover the EDUQAS specification, with Christianity as our chosen focus. There is a textbook, which can be found here: https://www.illuminatepublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14&products_id=114 and there are a number of sample pages you could read.
On the Christianity side of the course, it is helpful if you ensure that you are familiar with the key events in the life of Jesus, and this can be done in a number of ways, including films and books.
Sociology (A Level) AQA
Sociology involves the study of modern British society and as such there is a great deal of benefit in terms of looking at media websites, such as the BBC and Guardian. Look at their websites and in particular pages such as:
There are also some films worth looking at:
- Lion (film, on Netflix)
- Straight Outta Compton [On Netflix]
Books to read :
- Dead White Men and Other Important People: Sociology's Big Ideas
By Ralph Fevre. It’s a sociology novel
- There are lots of A Level textbooks available via Amazon, e.g. written by authors such as Ken Browne and Rob Webb- we use the AQA Syllabus.
Spanish (A Level) AQA
See Modern Languages
Sport & Physical Education (A Level) AQA
Sport (Applied) Applied General Cert/Extended Cert.) PEARSON
Read information on the following Anatomy & Physiology topics and make notes/revision summary.
- Main structures of the heart e.g. Aorta, Right & Left ventricles, Cardiac Conduction System, The function and structure of Arteries, Capillaries & Veins.
- Major muscles of the body and the characteristics and functions of Fast Twitch & Slow Twitch muscle fibres.
- Major bones of the body and the following joint actions; Flexion, Extension, Plantar flexion, Dorsi-flexion, Abduction & Adduction.
Textiles (A Level) AQA
Textiles recommended websites to view:
https://museum.gwu.edu/collections Textile Museum
Parents and Students will have seen in the media that this morning Ofqual released more detailed information regarding how students will be assessed this summer, which you can read here.
Please note that this only relates to A level and GCSEs which have been cancelled for the summer 2020 series (plus some other courses like EPQ and Advanced Extension Maths). We await further detail on BTEC/Applied General courses and other courses like Core Maths. This guidance does not relate to the IB, where separate arrangements are in place.
Schools and Colleges will be asked to contribute Centre Assessed Grades. This process is designed to ensure that students are awarded “the most likely grade [they] would have achieved if they had sat their exams this summer and completed any non-exam assessment.”
The College will put in place protocols to ensure that this process is objective and fair.
The government has been very clear that there must be absolutely no dialogue between Colleges and students/parents regarding either the process by which we will be calculating Centre Assessed Grades or about the grades themselves. We would ask students and parents to respect this so as not to cause embarrassment. Please also note that the government and Ofqual will be working with awarding bodies to centrally make adjustments to grades before they are published.
Year 2 A level and GCSE students will be contacted by their teachers with more information regarding to what extent work (including coursework) now needs to be completed in each subject, as this requirement will vary between subjects. It is students’ responsibility to ensure that they read communications clearly and do not disadvantage themselves.
Many year 2 A level and GCSE students will now find that they are not required to complete any further work for most of their subjects. However, regardless of whether any more coursework needs to be submitted, we strongly recommend that year 2 students continue to engage with their teachers, to ensure that the course has been fully completed. We anticipate that there will be a resit opportunity in the autumn for those who wish to improve on the grades they will be awarded this summer. As there will be no further teaching in the summer/September, it is essential that all teaching and learning occurs at this stage.
The College has no further information on the centre assessed grades process, beyond what has been published in the media today.
The Government has now announced that Summer 2020 results for English, Welsh and N. Irish qualifications will be released on the originally determined dates in August - and not at the end of July as they had indicated in late March:
- A level, AS level and other national level 3 qualifications will be released on 13 August 2020
- GCSE and other national level 2 qualifications will be released on 20 August 2020
- IBO will release IB Diploma results in early July
Annex to Child Protection Policy 2019-20 (updated 15/06/20)
The purpose of this annex to the College Child Protection Policy is to outline amendments and additions to the existing policy, necessitated by the COVID-19 crisis. It will be updated as necessary to reflect any further changes. This annex, and any subsequent changes to it, will be available on the College public website and will be made available to all members of the College staff via email and College intranet (Sharepoint).
Other important safeguarding information is regularly communicated to staff, students and parents via College intranet and email.
1 Safeguarding Priorities during summer term 2020 – awareness of increased vulnerability
During this period of ongoing remote learning, (alongside some limited face to face contact) we remain committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all our students. At this time, we are aware that students may be under increased pressure and may face additional risks to their safety and wellbeing. Negative experiences and distressing life events, such as the current circumstances, can affect the mental health of students and their parents. Staff will be aware of this in setting expectations of students’ work while they are at home.
Pastoral and welfare staff are supporting students on-site and via email and mobile phone.
Small numbers of students will be in College at any one time, always by prior arrangement, to work independently or with an LSA, to access specialist resources and equipment or to attend an appointment. No student should come to College without prior arrangement.
2 Roles and Responsibilities – communicating concerns
College Reception is staffed during normal working hours and students, parents and those outside the College community can report a concern by phoning the main College number: 01206 500700 and asking to speak to a safeguarding lead or deputy.
All staff must be vigilant in identifying potential safeguarding concerns. Teachers should be aware that a student who persistently fails to respond to email communication might be at risk, and they should therefore pass on this information.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead continues to take the lead role in managing child protection. The DSL or Deputy will be available during the standard College day (9am-4pm, Monday to Friday, during term-time) and can be contacted via email:
Designated Safeguarding Lead: Jo Cadman email@example.com
Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead: Graham Rayner firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, all Senior Tutors are level 3 safeguarding trained and are authorised to act as Deputies when necessary.
Division 1 Adrian Frost email@example.com
Division 2 Andrew Hathaway firstname.lastname@example.org
Division 3 Mark Griffin-Sherwood email@example.com
Division 4 Graham Rayner firstname.lastname@example.org
Division 5 Sarah Prince email@example.com
Division 6 Sarah Palmer firstname.lastname@example.org
Division 7 Neil Kelly email@example.com
Division 8 Anne Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
The DSL, DDSL and Senior Tutors can also be contacted by College staff via mobile phone (numbers held in staff directory on Sharepoint)
3 Vulnerable Students
Vulnerable students include those who have a social worker and those students with special educational needs or disabilities who have an EHCP and/ or for whom we receive Higher Level Funding.
These students are encouraged to work in College.
Pastoral staff and LSAs are maintaining regular contact with students in this group, whether they are working on site or remotely. Other students who are known to be vulnerable (but do not fit into the official classification) are also being monitored by pastoral staff. We are continuing to liaise with staff from other agencies who are involved in the care of our most vulnerable students, including social workers and mental health workers.
Further information for parents/carers about changes to statutory duties relating to SEND can be found here in a letter from Essex County Council’s Director of Education:
4 Online Safety
Although our filtering systems continue to operate, we recognise the fact that most students will not be accessing the Internet through College systems while at home. However, given the age of our student cohort, they are well equipped to handle exposure to this risk and they have received education about online safety via the College Tutorial programme. Further information and sources of support for students and parents are available on the Safeguarding section of the College website.
Contact with students, for the purposes of teaching and learning, reviewing progress and providing pastoral care will include the use of on-line video platforms Zoom and Team. Protocols have been put in place to ensure their safe use.
4 Multi-agency Safeguarding Partnership Advice
We continue to work closely with our safeguarding partners, and we will ensure that our practice is consistent with their advice. Frequently updated, comprehensive information and advice from Essex Safeguarding Children Board can be found here:
In addition, the Essex Child and Family wellbeing Service has created a new resource hub for parents, covering a wide range of topics: https://essexfamilywellbeing.co.uk/covid-19-pandemic-resource-hub/
5 Staff-related Issues
Any concern that a member of staff may pose a safeguarding risk should be reported in the usual manner. Staff may choose to disclose a concern to their line manager or other senior manager or report directly to the Principal or his designate, usually the DSL or Senior Manager (HR). Any concern relating to a member of staff will be reported to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
We continue to adhere to all Safer Recruitment Guidance, in accordance with our Recruitment Policy. In response to COVID-19, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has made changes to its guidance on standard and enhanced DBS ID checking to minimise the need for face-to-face contact.
In addition to the email sent before the weekend, by the Principal, I would like to advise you that today all Year 1 Students have been sent information about Progression routes available to them when they complete their studies and leave College next year. These routes include Employment/Apprenticeships and Studying at University. We would normally, at this time of year, have involved the students in a programme of careers and progression events over 2 days to encourage them to start their planning and preparation.
For University entry the application site is open for students to start applying via the UCAS website. Students need to register to access the UCAS site. We ask that students use the Buzzword Colchester to link to the College.
Applications cannot be submitted to UCAS before 8th September at the earliest and our recommended internal College deadline is 23rd October for all students [this is earlier for Oxbridge candidates (18th September) and applications for Doctors, Dentists and Vets (11th September) as UCAS deadline for these courses is 15th October. This allows us to check the application, students to make corrections and for us to add our reference (this process can take up to 3 weeks).
For employment and Apprenticeships, we yet are not completely aware of the impact that lockdown and the coronavirus will have on opportunities for students. We are aware that some firms and organisations are still recruiting normally and would strongly advise that students contact employers and companies, in which they may be interested, directly for recruitment information.
Careers information is available on Moodle (the College VLE, accessible to all students) and there is a weekly Careers Bulletin which can also be accessed via Moodle which outlines a range of employment opportunities and information from Universities about virtual information they are providing e.g. tours, subject talks, Student Finance talks. This does vary each week but back copies are available to be viewed.
Head of Careers
Last week, I wrote to you to tell you about our intentions to support you and work flexibly with you, prioritising your safety, so that you can keep making progress and thriving in your College studies. I can now share with you some more definite information about the rest of this term. (It is important to note that these arrangements are for this term only: we expect the situation, and government responses to it, to evolve before the new academic year).
You will probably have heard that there is discussion about some year groups in some nursery and primary schools potentially returning on-site after half-term. For your year group (year 12), the government hopes schools and colleges can offer some “face to face contact” in June and July to provide “some support to supplement pupils’ remote education” whilst maintaining your safety. A consideration that effects many of you is that your ability to access public transport services with current social distancing arrangements is constrained by much reduced capacities. The vast majority of you have been making excellent progress with your remote learning but we know that you will welcome some extra contact in the weeks to come.
Arrangements for the second half of the summer term: 1st June – 15th July 2020
I can confirm that your postponed internal assessments (May internal exams) will not take place this term. You should prepare instead for internal assessments during the first part of the autumn term. We will ensure you have some lesson time in College before you sit any exams.
Remote teaching and learning will continue for the rest of the summer term. Many of you have told us that you enjoy and value video lessons, Zoom lessons and other opportunities for interaction, so we will be increasing the number of these sessions. We are mindful, though, that many of you have other responsibilities or limited access to IT facilities, so you can’t necessarily follow your College timetable exactly. For that reason, Zoom lessons will be used to reinforce and deepen understanding, not as the primary teaching method. (See guidelines for taking part in Zoom lessons below).
On Wednesday 10th June, the Progress Report process will begin. Between 10th-24th June, for each of your subjects, you will have a 10-15 minute one to one, face to face review meeting with your Subject Teacher. This will be arranged by appointment. The majority of these meetings will take place via Zoom. If you are unable to access Zoom meetings or have difficulties with this process, you will be able to ask for a different form of meeting, such as an appointment in College or a phone conversation. Your teachers will be in touch nearer the time to schedule an appointment.
These review meetings will be an important opportunity for you to review your progress and discuss any difficulties you may be having. Your teachers will give you some specific guidance about how to prepare for the reviews nearer the time and there will also be a Code of Conduct issued next half term to ensure that teachers and students use video technology safely and appropriately in the one to one meetings.
Following the Subject Reviews, you also will have another 10-15 minute face to face review meeting with your Personal Tutor, conducted in the same way as your Subject Reviews.
The reports will be published to you and your parents on Thursday 9th July.
Your Personal Tutor is your first point of contact if there is a difficulty. Remember you and your parents can also speak to your Senior Tutor to discuss any issues. Now is probably not the time to be making big decisions, while things are so uncertain, but we are here to help you understand your options, throughout the summer term.
Getting the most out of Zoom lessons – some guidelines:
- As you will be seen by your teacher and classmates when your camera is on, think about what they will see! Make sure you are dressed as you might be for College, not in your pyjamas. Ideally, you shouldn’t Zoom from your bedroom but, if that is the only quiet space, make sure you are at a workspace, not in your bed. You may choose to turn off the camera. Alternatively, it is simple to choose a different background on Zoom, so your surroundings are not visible.
- Generally, the expectations of your behaviour in a Zoom lesson are exactly the same as in an actual classroom: don’t take screenshots or record anything without express permission; don’t invite anyone else to watch or take part; be courteous and polite.
- If anything happens during a Zoom lesson that makes you feel uncomfortable or concerned in any way, leave the meeting and email your Senior Tutor.
- Finally, as with all lessons, the more you put in, the more you will get out: you might feel a little shy about answering questions or contributing to discussion initially, but do try.
I hope that you, your family members and friends are well.
I would like to update you with a number of items of information and guidance. We will also send this update to your parents/carers.
Government review of social distancing and related safety measures
Last weekend, the Government instigated a review of the social distancing requirements and the other measures and guidelines that are currently in place in England to reduce the rate of spread of coronavirus. We have been told that this review will be concluded by 4th July and it will be advised by the latest scientific and health evidence and advice. The outcomes of this Government review will have a significant bearing on our arrangements at the College going forward. The current 2 metre social distancing requirement instigated in March by the Government has significantly reduced capacity levels in educational buildings and sites. Equally importantly, the current levels of maximum capacity re bus, coach and train public transport are just 25% of normal capacity. Over 90% of our students regularly travel to College using public transport - and the majority of our students are currently not able to access those services.
Any future relaxation of the Government’s social distancing requirements will clearly result in changes to the frameworks that are currently in place at College. We will continue to prioritise students’ safety and we will plan carefully and risk assess thoroughly the changes we make. Without wishing to ‘second guess’ the outcomes of the Government review, if the current 2 metre social distancing requirement currently in place for public transport and educational sites in England is to be reduced to 1 metre, at some point in the near future, bus and train capacity would then increase (to a level of approximately 50-60%?) - enabling better access to public transport facilities for the majority of our students. The capacity of our buildings would also increase and remote learning arrangements could be supported by teaching class provision on the College site – although with some splitting of teaching classes. Alternatively, if the social distancing requirement applicable to education is 0.5 metres, or is entirely removed, we should be able to return to near normal arrangements for September. We therefore are awaiting the outcome of the Government review, will respond to any changes the Government instigates and communicate with you when we have clarity.
Summer 2021 qualifications and related
One specific question that a number of Year 12 (and 10) students, parents and teachers across the country have been asking about is whether the Government will make changes to exams and the award of qualifications for Summer 2021. Changes in award of qualification arrangements have of course been made by the Government for Summer 2020 – and some of you completing qualifications this year have been affected by these - as well as all of our current Year 2 (Year 13) students.
The Secretary of State, Gavin Williamson, has recently said that he intends that the Summer 2021 exams and assessments in England will go ahead. However, I have very recently been informed by the Sixth Form College Association that the relevant Government agencies (Ofqual and the DfE) do recognise that adjustments need to be made to Summer 2021 qualification arrangements - to ensure the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic upon current Year 10 and 12 students preparing for 2021 qualifications (GCSE, A level, Applied General etc.) does not disadvantage students in your year group. The Government is committed to achieving ‘comparable outcomes’. This means that the overall Summer 2021 results, and results in each specific subject, should have a very similar allocation of grades as in Summer 2019 (and also, although through a different process, in Summer 2020).
It is not yet clear exactly how the Government intends to achieve this in Summer 2021 – but Ofqual/DfE are unlikely to want to repeat the system used in Summer 2020 (which has involved suggested grades submitted by all schools and colleges). This 2020 system has been enormously complex to instigate and very time consuming. Possible methods the Government agencies could use to achieve ‘comparable outcomes’ in Summer 2021 are understood to include providing more choice of exam questions on some papers, or sections of papers, in some subjects - and, across the board, adjusting (lowering) the grade boundaries.
To reiterate, no decisions have been made by the Government with regards to the measures they may adopt re Summer 2021 exams and assessments - but there is a clear intention, as in 2020, not to disadvantage students’ ability to achieve qualifications. When the Government agencies release more detail and we have more clarity, we will of course let you know.
If you have taken a qualification this year where a grade is awarded by the exam boards (for example, an Applied General Certificate, AS level, GCSE, Core Maths) the results will generally be issued on Moodle on 13th August (except for GCSEs and L2 qualifications which are released on 20th August). In the current context we are unlikely to be able to offer an onsite service to collect results this year; more detailed arrangements will be emailed to you nearer the time.
You should make sure that you check your result as soon as possible after they are published; Senior Staff will be available to discuss any issues arising from the results, particularly around progression to the second year of Applied General courses or AS Further Maths.
Reporting and Assessment
As you are aware, your Spring Internal Assessments in each subject could not take place in May as planned. Internal Assessments will now take place in mid-September, once we have settled into teaching in the new academic year, and will be a useful way to consolidate first year learning. In the meantime, teachers will be able to give you exam-style materials and questions as part of routine task-setting, if appropriate.
Following the completion of the Personal Tutor Progress Reviews scheduled for the late June/early July period (outlined in the last communication you received), Progress Reports will be released to students and parents on Go4Schools on 9th July - with instructions on how to access these being emailed on the day. Reports will contain detailed discussion of individual students’ progress. We hope that a re-arranged consultation evening for year 2 students can take place in October, following the completion of the internal assessments process.
Teaching and Learning
Your teaching staff are continuing to broadly use the same teaching and learning resources and platforms you were familiar with in your scheduled lessons, and many subjects have added further methods to their menu (including apps, video recordings, and voice-over power points, also Zoom or other platforms) to supplement your learning – and, according to the nature of the subject, find assessment materials used, individual specifications and schemes of work. Many of you are currently working on coursework, supported by 1-to-1 Zoom meetings with your teachers. The majority of you are reporting, largely through the Zoom Review meetings with your tutors, that you have a varied and engaging learning experience at this time.
It is really important that all students continue to check College email and notices on Moodle and ensure that you keep in touch with your subject teachers and Personal Tutors and complete and return work set as much as possible. Your subject teachers can then assess work and give you feedback and identify the gaps they can support you with when classes return. Please be assured that if you are struggling with any aspect of new work being covered currently you must let your subject teacher know, including in your face-to-face Review meeting and also that teachers will be working with their classes to ensure that no-one remains disadvantaged because of any difficult circumstances being experienced currently.
Continuing pastoral support
We understand that the current situation is very challenging for some of you and can we remind you that if you are experiencing difficulties, whether academic or personal, you should let us know and we will do all we can to help. You will have the opportunity to talk to your Personal Tutor in your review meeting and this is a good chance to tell them if you are struggling. Senior Tutors can be contacted via email and the Welfare Hub is still operational, both virtually and in College (by appointment). Email email@example.com. If you have a safeguarding concern (that is, if you think that you or another student is at risk of harm) phone the main College number, 01206 500700, and ask to speak to the Safeguarding Lead. Further safeguarding information, including out of hours contacts for external agencies, is available on the College website.
If you are concerned about returning to College, due to a health issue of your own or extreme vulnerability to COVID 19 of a household member, please do mention this in your review, or email your Personal Tutor, if you would prefer. They will not be able to give specific advice, but will make a note of your concern, with a view to giving further guidance later.
Careers and UCAS
In May you were emailed four documents to help you begin your research into progression opportunities beyond College. The documents covered: university course research, applying to university (the UCAS application system and writing personal statements). Please remember that you can access a weekly updated Careers Bulletin via Moodle (front page under the orange section) which includes information from universities such as online open days, subject talks and other help sources of support, including writing Personal Statements, as well as information relating to employment opportunities and gap years. At this time of year, we would expect you to be researching university courses, universities and other progression opportunities including apprenticeships and employment. In September this will be followed up with support with Personal Statements and the application processes – university, jobs, etc. If you have particular concerns or queries at this time you can access support from the Careers Department via email – firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do look at the Careers Information on Moodle – there is a wealth of information to support you with your career research and planning.
Revised College Arrangements for one week (6th–10th July 2020) - arising from the recent adjustments in Government Covid-19 related counter measures and requirements in England (announced 23/06/2020).
Further to the communications sent to students and parents on Friday 19 June, the Government announced on Tuesday 23 June, a little earlier than they had previously indicated, that adjustments to their social distancing and related measures will be in place in England from Saturday 4 July.
In the context of these Government changes, which we understand will increase the level of public transport capacity as well as changing the considerations on the College site, we are making an adjustment to our current June/July arrangements for a 5 day period (only) - Monday 6th July to Friday 10th July, the penultimate week of term. Some supplementary classes will be made available to students in their subjects.
Your teachers will email you next week with the specific details of times and rooms for the classes you are invited to attend, but here is some preliminary general information regarding the framework for 6th – 10th July:
- All first year A level and Applied General course students will be invited to attend College for a two-hour session in each of their academic subjects in the week from 6th July – 10th July (in that week IB students will also have the opportunity to come in for some specific classes if they wish).
- We expect that classes can be offered to most students for all their A level and Advanced General subjects with their normal teacher – but a small number of teaching staff do continue to need to ‘shield’ and, in a few instances, it will not be possible to offer some specific classes with their normal subject teacher or for them to take place at all.
- A temporary abnormal timetable will run in the week of 10th July based on the five teaching blocks (which will be familiar to Year 1 students and staff from the January arrangements to accommodate second year mocks). Each block will have two sessions a week. Each session will be offered to half the students in an existing A level or Applied General group, with each student therefore attending one of the two sessions. Most split classes will have a maximum number of students in the 7 to 11 - range and 2 metre or over of social distancing space in the classroom will be available.
- Each morning and afternoon block timetable will have three session ‘slots’ with slightly differing start and end times as well as different short comfort break times in order to avoid congestion and to maintain social distancing. Your teacher will advise you of the start time of your specific session. As part of measures to avoid any congestion, please do not come to College much earlier than the advertised start time of each session.
- Attendance at the subject classes offered will be optional: students will not be obliged to attend and we do understand if there are students who are unable to attend (e.g. transport issues) or choose not to.
- In general, the sessions will be for recap/catch up/consolidation work. This does not preclude staff introducing some new material or setting up some new work for students to do – but when this is the case this material will be communicated to those not present.
- The complex logistics of these arrangements, with an obvious need to maintain low and balanced numbers, are such that, after the allocations of specific students to specific split groups, we really cannot swap or be flexible or negotiate re-allocating students to different groups. The offer of specific classes to specific students is for a specific session only.
- There will be no Tutorial or Personal Tutor Registration during that week but we intend to have a remote Tutorial session during the following week, to end the summer term.
- Students are encouraged but not required to wear face coverings in lessons, where strict social distancing will be maintained. Students are required to have a face covering and wear it at all other times when on the College site (and on all public transport).
- Students will be attending specific academic classes only. There will be no social facilities available. Those students who are attending both morning and afternoon lessons should bring their own food and drink – and where possible, use outside areas, with 2 metre social distancing at lunchtime. When a student’s class(es) have finished for the day, they should quickly leave the College site.
- It is really important that any student accepting the invitations to attend classes is fully committed to maintaining all of the College and Government requirements and guidelines which are in place - and which are designed to protect the health of everyone in the College community and public health. Any student who is reluctant or unable to comply with the current requirements should not attend and failure to comply while onsite will result in an individual being asked to leave.
Staying safe on site: in addition to the guidelines above, please note:
- We have put a number of measures in place around College to help keep you safe, with a supporting risk assessment.
- Hand sanitiser is provided around College but please do use your own if you have some. Clean your hands on arrival and at regular intervals. Be mindful of the surfaces you touch.
- Maintain a distance of 2 metres between you and any other person, wherever possible. We know that quickly passing in a corridor, for example, poses a very low risk of disease transmission, but you should keep your distance when you can. If a route into or out of College looks at all congested, change your route.
- You must follow all instructions from members of staff.
Some other Updates:
- The Government has issued further guidance today, indicating that those Year 12 students who have been receiving funding towards lunches (sent to you by cheque) can expect a further payment relating to the summer vacation period.
- The College is very disappointed that the Government excluded 16-18 year old students in school sixth forms and colleges from the recent allocation of additional ‘catch-up’ resourcing. 16-18 providers are continuing to lobby the Government to ask them to reconsider this decision.
- The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, has however indicated this week that he is now planning (and working with Ofqual) to ‘drop back’ the scheduling of the dates for the Summer 2020/21 exams, to provide students with more time for teaching and learning prior to the Summer 2021 exams. We expect the A level exams, which normally run from mid-May to mid-June to be dropped back into the June/early July period.
I hope you, your family and friends are all keeping well and are safe.
Updates regarding forthcoming arrangements
Further to recent the communications sent to you, I am pleased to now provide you with a number of additional updates relevant for the period from now, and through the 2020/21 academic year:
- Next week, you will have a Zoom Tutorial with your Personal Tutor and the rest of your tutor group, focusing on next steps. Your Personal Tutor will be in touch with you to provide you with the detail with regard to this session, which will take place around lunchtime on Monday 13th, Tuesday 14th or Wednesday 15th July. It is important that you ‘attend’ because you will be given important information and advice about progression beyond College. You will also find out some specific, individual arrangements which are personal to you, including your return to College.
- Your Personal Tutor will advise you of the firm arrangement for you to attend a morning or afternoon Tutorial session on Tuesday 8th September. This will be your re-enrolment for the 2020/21 academic year, will provide you with your 20/21 timetable detail but will also include information and guidance regarding a series of 20/21 arrangements and progression (Higher Education, employment).
- Subject teaching classes will then commence on Thursday 10th September. We will be in contact with you again next week to outline the teaching and learning and timetable plans which will be in place for the start of the next academic year.
- Your subject teachers will be in email contact with you at the start of the Autumn Term, from the 1st September, to provide you with the work to be completed for the period through to 10th September – when teaching classes start for the majority of students.
- As previously communicated the Internal Assessments will now be re-arranged and held in September. The assessments will be held in the week of 21st September in each subject area, completed within the lesson times and rooms which will be in place at that stage – i.e. we will not be instigating ‘exam hall’ type arrangements.
- The assessments in each subject will involve one session, usually of 2 hours’ length – and will generally be based on the work covered through the whole span of Year 1 (your subject teachers will give you more detail in due course). The assessments are designed to help you and your teachers identify your level of progress, your strengths and your weaknesses – to then enable you to action plan and work to make improvements and make progress through your second year. There will be a Progress Review process in October/November. Of course, reports have been distributed to you and your parents in the last couple of days.
- The teaching classes you attend in each of your subjects in the period from 10th–18th September will certainly help you prepare for the Internal Assessments but, clearly, in the 3 week period from the start of the Autumn Term on the 1st September through to the week of the assessments (21st–25th September), you will need to undertake independent revision and preparation for these assessments – and the work set from 1st September will support this.
- Further to our communication last week, the Government has still not finalised the adjustments they will make to public Summer 2021 exams and assessments. Their Ofqual agency is currently involved in a consultation exercise and until this is completed their final plans will not be announced. However, we do envisage that there will be a series of adjustments made to the ‘normal’ arrangements. It is likely that Government/Ofqual will instigate a ‘drop back’ of Summer 2021 exams and assessments by approximately 2-3 weeks (with, for instance, A levels starting in early June rather than mid-May). This would provide some extra teaching and learning weeks during the next academic year to help students in preparation for their public exams and assessments.
- When we have this detail, we will then consider making a number of related ‘calendar’ adjustments e.g. dropping back the Winter 2021 Year 2 mock exams by approximately 2 weeks from their normal scheduling in mid-January – and therefore also dropping back the Winter cycle of Reports and Parents Consultation Evening by a similar length of time.
As mentioned earlier, I will be in touch again next week to tell you more about the timetabling arrangements for next academic year.
The latest Progress Report for Year 1 students at the Sixth Form College is now available online via Go4Schools at https://www.go4schools.com/parents/
The Reports have been published slightly later than scheduled due to the lockdown.
Once you have logged on, you will be able to see a summary page. To read comments from teaching staff, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “View Report”.
Go4Schools access is linked to the email address supplied by your son/daughter for their Parental/Carer contacts.
Students are also able to view the reports using their own accounts and have been given instructions on how to do this. If further copies are required, the student will be able to distribute these or you could contact the student’s Personal Tutor.
Please note that we do not use the attendance graphic on Go4Schools; attendance details for each subject can be found in the body of the Subject Tutor’s comment.
If you wish to discuss any aspect of the Progress Reviews, please contact your son/daughter’s Personal Tutor in the first instance.
First time users of Go4Schools
If you do not have a Go4Schools account, go to https://www.go4schools.com/parents/ . Enter your email address in the “First Time User” box and request a password (please be aware that there might be a delay from Go4Schools on sending out the passwords). The password may be delivered to your ‘junk mail’ box. Once you receive a password, you will be able to read the review. To read teaching staff comments, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “View Report”.
There is also a ‘reset password’ function if you need to use it.