Latest Announcements

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    

HE and Employability Briefing February (Higher Education and employment parents talk), A guide to HE choosing courses and universities (Choosing courses and Universities) and Employment and Employability Briefing (Employability Powerpoint February) can be found on our Careers page. Key dates and activities for student progression can be found on our Documents page (Key dates and activities for progression).

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:

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.

Ian MacNaughton


Schools, colleges and early years settings to close

Yesterday Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education, announced that as part of the country’s ongoing response to COVID-19, schools, colleges and early years settings have been asked to close to everyone except children of key workers and vulnerable children from Monday 23 March.

A full list of key worker categories will be published by the Cabinet Office later today. We will share this with you once this information is made available.

Where schools are unable to provide this reduced provision, local authorities will work with the Department for Education’s regional teams to ensure an alternative option is available.

Further details on this announcement can be found here:

The Department is working through the policy implications of this announcement and, over the coming days, will be sharing with you the further information that you need.

Update on assessments and examinations 

Yesterday, we confirmed that we will not go ahead with assessments or exams, and that we will not be publishing performance tables for this academic year. Tomorrow we will provide greater clarity on how students and young people will be awarded the examination results that they deserve.

New free school meals guidance

We have confirmed that we will give schools the flexibility to deliver meals or provide shop vouchers to children entitled to free school meals if they are no longer attending school, either due to closures or as a result of self-isolating at home.

Schools will be able to provide meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops, which can be sent directly to families who are either self-isolating at home or whose schools are closed on government advice. Final rates will be confirmed in the coming days, but we have confirmed that the voucher value for each eligible child will exceed the rate that schools are paid for free school meals, recognising that families will not be buying food in bulk and may therefore incur higher costs.

Full guidance can be found here:

Update on school funding

We will put in place new measures, to reimburse schools for reasonable, additional costs that they face in order to stay safely staffed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Funding for all schools and colleges (including maintained and academy special schools, non-maintained special schools, independent special schools, pupil referral units, general further education colleges and special post-16 institutions), whether from local or central government, will be maintained and not reduced because many pupils are not in attendance (either because of self-isolation, or where the institution has closed). This includes top-up funding in respect of individual children and young people, which will still be needed by the school to keep their staff in employment.

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

The latest guidance and video on hand washing can be found here:

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible, we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends and are increasing the number of call handlers available to answer your calls.

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.

Where to find the latest information

Updates on COVID-19:

Guidance for educational settings:

Guidance for social or community care and residential settings:

Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:

Educational resources:

Latest Department for Education information:

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.

Ian MacNaughton


If your son/daughter has applied through UCAS and is planning on attending university from 2020 we would like to remind you to apply for Student Finance via The student Finance England website:

We have also produced a powerpoint for further information “Student Finance Guidance”.  This can be found on the Careers page of our website ( For guidance on university issues please see the UCAS website:

Please also see our recent email to Year 2 Parents.



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.


Accounting (A Level) AQA

Look at BBC bitesize 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.

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.

· 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...

· The Photographers' Magazine

· Printmaking Today- published by Cello Press, four issues per year All aspects of

Printmaking covered with interviews, exhibition reviews, competitions etc...

· AN Magazine (Artist’s Newsletter) - 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’. 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 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;


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  and use these resources to understand some business terminology.

You can read BusinessWeek - Great site for business news and features:,

Practical start-up advice for businesses. Case studies and practical information. Starting-up; exploiting new ideas; growing your business; types of business.


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.

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.

Also keep up with the news BBC News - A superb resource and one of the best starting points to find resources.

If you would like to read a book, here are three that you might like to read

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

In Business A level the exam board is Eduqas. The specification can be found here:

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

The majority of the practical work for Computer Science is programming using JavaScript and a library called p5. There is very good support for this online, with a large community of users and tutorials. A particularly good YouTube channel to watch is The Coding Train. On the theory side of things Computerphile is also an excellent channel and I recommend that you watch as much of that as you can.                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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 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:

Classical/Romantic Ballet

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 ( 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. 

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.  - the first part of the course will go through these core concepts.

The link to the textbook you will be using is

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

J.D.Coetzee, Disgrace

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: (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: and

Podcasts such as The Film Programme also provide interesting coverage of a wide range of film and film makers


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

YouTube Videos: (45 episodes!) - 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

but there are shorter, lighter things you can read on the early Stuarts such as or

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: 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 -

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 - 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: and

For Stats: and

Media Studies (A Level) WJEC EDUQAS

We study the EDUQAS specification.  There are a range of textbooks which can be found here:  and there are a number of sample pages that can be read in each.

They also have a list of references and further reading :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The course requires knowledge of a range of complex theories, a number of these are explained on YouTube channels such as The Media Insider and Mrs Fisher

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 would be very useful.

Modern Languages:


A Level Spanish AQA

French AQA


German 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/ - 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 for French; – 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 . 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, 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 . 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: - 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

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

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 as well as the 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. 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: 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: 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 online applications for 2020 entry at The Sixth Form College,Colchester, are now closed. In exceptional circumstances, we will consider a late application. Please email the Admissions Department at 

Exam Results

The Sixth Form College is celebrating another year of outstanding exam success for students.


We offer over 50 A Level courses - probably the largest range of options available in any college in the country. Options include familiar subjects but also many that are not usually available at GCSE. A number of Additional Studies courses are also available.


Safeguarding our students is of paramount importance to us. Here you will find essential information for students, parents and others, including who to contact and what to do if you have a concern. For further information about our pastoral care and the range of support available to our students, see Your Care.

Your Care

We aim to be a college of sanctuary, a place where everyone feels welcome, safe and supported throughout their studies. We all have difficulties and face challenges in our lives at times and any one of us may find we need to seek help or support. There are a number of ways students can find help. The first port of call should be their personal tutor, but we have a range of places where students can find the support they may need.

Your Progression

The Careers Department has a specialist team of staff and many resources to help you to make decisions about your future. Resources are used in the weekly tutorial programme and special events are planned throughout the year to ensure you make informed choices about your future. You may also book careers appointments regarding advice and guidance, on a one-to-one basis, at any time.

Additional Studies

The College is a vibrant young adult community and there is a great deal going on. A very wide-ranging programme of Additional Studies and extra-curricular activities is available, providing a large number of sporting, creative and cultural opportunities to all students.

College Facilities

At the Sixth Form College, we teach all of our courses in specialist sixth form accommodation on one purpose-built site, located in a very accessible central area of Colchester. There are seven separate buildings, all specifically focused upon the academic teaching, learning and wider experiences appropriate for 16-19 year olds.


The 2020 edition of our Prospectus is available for immediate download from our online library of key documents for viewing or printing. Printed copies of our Prospectus are also available upon request.


News stories covering the educational, sporting, cultural and charitable activities and achievements of the students at the College. This includes details of ongoing projects to improve our environmental and sustainable position via a variety of tasks and initiatives.


Downloadable documents for parents and students, including the Students Handbook Charter and Diary, Additional Studies Handbook, Prospectus, the 2018 Ofsted Inspection Report, Student Leavers' Notes, Parents' Handbook, occasional Students' Notes, and more.

For Parents

Information and guidance useful to parents/guardians of students currently enrolled at the Sixth Form College, as well as those of students considering making an application, including information regarding transport, student finance and important dates. Updated regularly.