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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;

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)

Summer tasks: 

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.

Biological Molecule

Name of test

Brief Method

Positive result


Reducing sugars


Lipids (fats)


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

If you are thinking about the transition from GCSE to A Level Maths. Here’s a couple of links to websites that are good:

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

A few updates for you re arrangements in the current period.

Some arrangements this term:

  • To confirm that in the current covid context:
  • The forthcoming Year 1 Consultation Evenings, to be held on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th July, will now be arranged on a remote basis using Teams.  This worked very successfully in the late November/early December period.  Invitation and details re the evenings will be sent to Year 1 students and parents/carers later in the week.
  • Also to confirm that the College is now planning that from Thursday 1st July, following the internal assessment programme which finishes on Wednesday 30th June, we stay in our current ‘Phase 2’ arrangements until the end of summer term on Tuesday 20th July.


Arrangements for the start of the 2021/22 academic year:

  • Our arrangements for the 2021 Enrolment period (Tuesday 31st August to Wednesday 8th September inclusive) will be slightly ‘abnormal’ – adjusted from our ‘normal’ arrangements, as they were in 2020:

Tuesday 31st August to Monday 6th September and Wednesday 8th September

Year 2 A level students will work remotely during the enrolment period for new Year 1 students but work will be set for you by your teachers to be completed in each of your subject areas.

Tuesday 7th September

All Year 2 students will be required to be in College for the morning or the afternoon of Tuesday 7th September for an extended Tutorial with your Personal Tutor.  This will focus on your year 2 course choices and provision of your individual 2021/22 year timetable, considering the year ahead, progression planning and action planning. 

Thursday 9th September 

All Year 2 students (and Year 1) in College for the first day of teaching.

  • The exact nature of our timetable arrangements for the first part of 2021/22 year, i.e. from Thursday 9th September, will not be finalised until very early September - the covid and related context including Government guidelines, their arrangements and frameworks, will be reviewed at that stage.  However, it is currently felt that arrangements are initially highly likely to involve 100% ‘in person’/onsite education using either our ‘normal’ timetable or our ‘Phase 2’ timetable framework which has been used since April.

Some further information and guidance to help you, including a number of links to documents:


  • Progression

A number of updates and reminders from the Careers Department:


  • All students:

A reminder that any student can make an appointment via the Careers Department to see a Careers Advisor for help -


We have also produced information to help students with CV writing – available from Moodle.  On an ongoing basis Moodle has a substantial amount of careers/progression material available including the weekly Careers Bulletin.


  • Students leaving the College this Summer:

For students who are considering seeking Employment/Apprenticeship opportunities we have produced this guide - and have on an ongoing basis been referring students to our weekly Careers Bulletin where we advertise any vacancies that we receive.  


Students intending to go to university for 2021 should complete their student finance application form online by the end of May.  There is also a guide for parents Support your child’s student finance application – 2021 to 2022.  


Students with UCAS offers should also be making their firm and insurance choices via Track on the UCAS website (students do have different deadlines for this – but once the deadline has passed, if no specification has been made, all offers will be removed).  


Students seeking guidance on applications to overseas universities or ‘gap years’ or voluntary sector opportunities can get information and advice from the Careers Department.


Information about post results progression support for students can be found here. On A level results day (10th August) we will have a service available for students who are concerned about their university place or for those who now would like to apply to university for a course starting in 2021.  We also offer a service for all Second Year students after results day until the end of August to talk to a member of staff about their progression.  We are asking that in the first instance any students who want help email with their enquiry and we will respond and will invite you in for a meeting if needed.


We will shortly be writing separately to the parents/carers of students leaving College this Summer to provide some further information and guidance regarding a series of arrangements that lie ahead. 


  • Students returning to College in 2021/22 year:

Students have already received these documents: Not sure what I want to doI want to be employed or in an apprenticeshipI want to go to university.  These materials provide a useful step by step guide of the process for each and also links to documents/websites that will help.


Please note that some Apprenticeships, especially in the field of Accounting, will start recruiting in September 2021 for a September 2022 start.  So, students need to be looking for what might be available and where they might like to work (please see the above document).


Students wishing to undertake further study in 2022/23 will need to research their options and start deciding on a course and institutions. The virtual Careers Fair suite of materials, made available in February, should have started this process and the forthcoming Progression Event (see below) will also help. 


We are preparing a virtual Progression Event launched from the 22nd and 23rd June 2021, supported by a large number of universities and a number of employers or employment areas.  We hope this will provide more information for students.  The university information will include links to websites, open days/events, why study at their university and subject talks.  Most universities will provide pre-recorded information and some will do ‘live’ virtual talks.  The event will be followed up by Personal Tutors in Tutorial sessions in July.


University applications for 2022 entry:

Re Year 1 students, the UCAS application process can technically be started from the late May 2021, through to early July period, for a 2022 HE ‘start’.  Most students will however wait until September/Autumn before making an application.  Students must sign up to the UCAS hub to complete an application.  In Year 2 the earliest an application can be sent to UCAS is the 7th September.  The process of completing an application will be assisted by Personal Tutors. 


In the UK all university applications are made by completing and submitting one application via the UCAS Hub.  Students can choose a maximum of 5 course choices – these are not preference ranked at the application stage and universities do not know who else the form goes to (the application is blind).  If students are unsure of their course/universities, at the time of application the recommendation would be to only use 3 or 4 choices at this stage.  It is very difficult to make wholesale changes to applications at a later date and students are only permitted to submit one active application per cycle.  Students should also ensure they have a range of university entry criteria/requirements in their choices.  Predicted UCAS grades are supportive - it is not a grade that their teacher knows, or is confident a student will get, it is an ambitious grade reflecting maximum achievement of potential.


The financial cost of studying at university is something that you need to be aware of.  We have produced a Student Finance document and we also recommend Money Saving Expert who answers a lot of questions.  The nationally available Student Finance for University entrance in 2022 has to be applied for before the end of May 2022 and the application form only becomes ‘live’ at the end of February for 2022 entry.  Student Finance England also has a website with information and a calculator to see how much a student might be entitled to.

It also includes eligibility information for non-UK Nationals.


There will be a briefing evening held on the evening of 7th July for students, and their parents, considering a possible application to either the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge for 2022/23 entry.  More detail will be made available at a later date but it is currently envisaged that the briefings will be held remotely (via Teams).


  • Students following courses with award of qualifications in Summer 2021:

The Government and its agencies are continuing to release further guidance and detail.  The latest publication, is the Ofqual document 'Student guide to awarding Summer 2021' (GCSEs, AS and A levels, vocational, technical and other general qualifications).


As previously communicated, the Government have changed (drawn forward) the scheduled August 2021 results days – A level and Applied General results will now be released on Tuesday 10th August and GCSE/L2 results on Thursday 12th August.



  • Year 1 A and AG level students:

Students, in conjunction with their Personal Tutors, are currently being asked to confirm their courses for the 2021/22 academic year – with any Additional Studies they wish to participate in identified.  

In a few instances, where there are substantive coursing issues or considerations, specific students should liaise with their Senior Tutor - who will, if necessary, also involve parents.


  • As previously communicated, Year 1 A level students have scheduled a programme of Internal Assessments in each of their A level course areas which will be held between 24th June and 30th June.  Induction Days for prospective students will be held on 22nd and 23rd June and normal Year 1 timetabled classes will not be held on these days – but on the 22nd and 23rd June Year 1 students will have time to prepare for their Internal Assessments and also engage in the virtual Progression Event which will be made available just ahead of 22nd June (outlined above).


  • There will be Consultation Evenings (for parents and students) arranged for 14th July and 15th July.  We will contact you in June with more detail – but we are currently planning that one of the evenings will be arranged for ‘in person’ appointments (only) and the other evening will be scheduled for remote (Teams) appointments (only), i.e. there will be a choice of arrangement by evening.


  • 2021/22 academic year Term Dates have been published on the College website since 2020 – and the 2022/23 academic year provisional Term Dates have also recently been posted up.



  • Changes in Government covid-19 control measures from 17th May:

The Government has made changes, in their guidance regarding the wearing of face coverings in schools and colleges. Therefore, from Monday 17 May, College has resumed the arrangements we had in place in the Autumn Term – that face coverings are to be worn by everyone in public areas including corridors and shared facilities such as toilets. Face coverings will be optional in classrooms and study spaces.  Students who are exempt from this should wear a sunflower lanyard or, if eligibility needs to be authorised, see their Senior Tutor.


We ask and very much encourage students to continue to follow the range of measures that the Government and its agencies recommend to reduce the rate of risk of spread of covid-19.  The Government, its advisors and support agencies, communicated last week that they are concerned about the transmission potential of a new variant.  To protect your own health, the health of your family and friends, all in our community and the wider community, we ask students to consistently continue to adopt the recommended Public Health England/NHS good practice measures and College guidance to minimise the potential for spread.



Ian MacNaughton


17th May 2021

This information follows on from the communication sent to you on 31st March (which can also be found within the announcements section of the College website - link) and sets out in more detail the changes to arrangements at College for the first half of the summer term, arising from the latest Government guidance for Further Education providers, which can be found here.

From Monday 19th April, Phase 2 operational/timetable arrangements will apply and most students will be spending considerably more time in College. Many first year students will of course, meet the ‘other half’ of their classes and, where classes are shared between teachers, they may also be meeting one of their teachers in person for the first time.  For most, this will be a very welcome development, representing a significant step towards a more ‘normal’ College life.

However, the increased numbers of students in College will make it even more important to follow guidelines designed to reduce the risk of potential transmission of covid-19.

 Reducing risk:

  • Take a lateral flow test before returning to College on Monday 19th April - and then carry on self-testing at home twice weekly (testing kits will continue to be readily available for collection from College).
  • Continue to wear a face covering in all indoor public areas in College and also in lessons.
  • Minimise your time in College by studying at home on half-days or for some on the day when you do not have a lesson.
  • Maintain social distance whenever you can (it’s not ‘all or nothing’ – any reduction in proximity to others is good).
  • Comply with general Government guidance regarding ‘Hands, Face, Space’.
  • The College still cannot provide social facilities for students at this time.  You must not use College buildings for socialising other than at lunchtime for those students who have both morning and afternoon classes. 
  • Be mindful of the wider community: avoid congregating on North Hill or in the town centre.


Timetable Arrangements for the Summer Term

Monday 12th April to Friday 16th April

  • Our Phase 1 arrangements (half teaching groups, in one long lesson per week) that operated in the period before Easter will continue for one further week, as preparations are made for the transition to Phase 2 on Monday 19th April. 


Monday 19th April to at least Friday 21st May (excluding the week of Monday 26th April to Friday 30th April)

  • During Phase 1, most students attended in person only one of the long lessons per block.  During Phase 2, students will attend both long lessons in the block for academic subjects including A levels and Applied Generals.
  • For subjects which do not usually take up a whole block, e.g. Core Maths, most Additional Studies courses, teachers will advise students of any changes in arrangements. 
  • Both morning and afternoon lessons will finish 10 minutes earlier, compared to the Phase 1 timetable.
  • There will still be a 10 minute comfort break in both morning and afternoon sessions, taken approximately half-way through the lesson or at a convenient break point in teaching and learning.  Breaks will be staggered to reduce pressure on facilities and potential crowding. 
  • Registration will be scheduled 10 minutes earlier, but arrangements are generally unchanged i.e. all students attend one of the registration sessions per week, (in agreement with/allocated by their Personal Tutor) until the last week of the half term when there will be a longer Tutorial period.


Revised timings for the period from Monday 19th April: 







Y1 09:20-11:50

Y2 09:30-12:00

Block D



Block E

Block A


Block B

Block C


Registration 12:05-12:20

Registration 12:05-12:20


Registration 12:05-12:20

Registration 12:05-12:20

Yr1 Lunch 12:20 - 13:10

Yr2 Lunch 12:20 - 13:20

Y1 13:10-15:40

Y2 13:20-15:50

Block A




Block B

Block C


Block D


Block E


Internal Assessment timetable (for classes with Summer 2021 qualifications) Monday 26th April to Friday 30th April

  • During the week beginning Monday 26th April, there will be a special timetable for classes where there are Internal Assessments.  For students taking these assessments (i.e. those completing courses and expecting award of grades this summer) the timetable below will operate. 
  • These Internal Assessments will form an important part of the evidence used to determine grades this summer, so you must attend them, and also complete subsequent assessments.
  • For Year 2 A level/Applied General/GCSE or L2 classes, there will be no afternoon lessons or assessments.  This will ensure that students who are eligible for extra time will be able to complete their assessment in one sitting, and will ensure that the students involved only have one assessment per day, with the afternoon free for revision/preparation.
  • Assessments begin at 09:00am – slightly earlier than normal.
  • The Year 1 A level teaching class timetable will continue as normal during the week of 26th April.
  • There will be no registration period during this week for either first or second year Personal Tutor groups in this week.


Internal Assessment (for classes with award of qualifications in 2021) timetable for 26th April to 30th April:











Block D



Block E

Block A


Block B

Block C


Monday 24th May to Friday 28th May (last teaching week in College for 2021 leavers)

  • Personal Tutors will allocate students to one of two longer Tutorial periods (instead of one of 4 shorter registration periods) to allow for leavers’ procedures to be completed. This pattern of longer Tutorial periods will continue for Year 1 students after the summer half term break, allowing Personal Tutors to deliver the Tutorial programme, including careers and UCAS guidance, in person.  A small number of part-time Personal Tutors who are not in College on the allocated days will need to make individual arrangements for delivering Tutorial, in conjunction with Senior Tutors. Any alternative arrangements will be communicated directly to students by Personal Tutors.


Revised timings for the week of 24th May to 28th May:







Y1 09:20-11:50

Y2 09:30-12:00

Block D



Block E

Block A

Block B

Block C


Tutorial Y2 12.05-12.35

Tutorial Y2 12.05-12.35

Tutorial Y1 12.05-12.35

Tutorial Y1 12.05-12.35


Lunch 12:35-13:10

Y1 13:10-15:40

Y2 13:20-15:50

Block A



Block B

Block C

Block D

Block E


Obviously dependent upon covid-19 trends and potential changes in Government control measures and frameworks in the period ahead, we currently expect the Phase 2 timetable above to continue, with slight modifications, for our first year students until late June at the earliest – excluding the Year 1 Internal Assessment period in June.  Revised arrangements relating to the first year A level Internal Assessment period (23rd June to 29th June) will be communicated in due course. 

A little further detail regarding assessments for Summer 2021 qualifications:

The remaining internal assessments that subjects have planned are to provide further opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do and will be included in the evidence on which overall grades will be determined in due course.  So, it is important that students attend and complete all their assessments this half term.

Awarding organisations are still to release more documents and details before any grading work can be started, so although we appreciate that this is a stressful time for students, please do not ask your tutors how your grades will be decided.  Also, Ofqual has directed schools and colleges to not to let students know their grades until they are released in August, after awarding organisations have completed their sampling and standardisation processes as well.

Ian MacNaughton - Principal 

Changes in College arrangements from Monday 19th April 2021

Further to the communication sent to students, copied to parents/carers on 23rd/24th March, and arising from the recent Government review of covid-19 related data trends and the control measures that the Government will operate, the Government has now adjusted their ‘FE guidance’ for the period ahead.  In line with these changes the College will now make changes to our arrangements from Monday 19th April 2021.  We are communicating with students and parents/carers as early as possible to allow time for changes in arrangements to be planned and made and to support the smoothest possible transition. 

  • All classes/subjects/courses with an award of qualification (in 2021 or 2022) will move to our Phase 2 arrangements from Monday 19th April.  This means, for example, all A level and AG level classes will have the ‘normal’ level of ‘in person’ teaching classes for 4 hours and 40 minutes per week.  However, to continue to help minimise the risk of potential spread of infection from the level of changes in lessons/rooming and mixing of cohorts of students, in Phase 2 the College will continue to use the temporary ‘special’ timetable structure that has been adopted since September, but with some slight adjustments.  The Phase 2 AM and PM teaching block sessions from Monday 19th April will be at the following times:


Year 1

09:20 – 11:50

10 minute comfort break 10:30-10:40

Year 2

09:30 – 12:00

10 minute comfort break 10:45-10:55


Year 1

13:10 – 15:40

10 minute comfort break 14:20-14:30

Year 2

13:20 – 15:50

10 minute comfort break 14:35-14:45

There will also be some adjustments made to Registration and Tutorial arrangements, particularly for Year 1 students - details to be given in the week of 12th April.

A revised ‘visual timetable’ for the Phase 2 framework will be prepared and made available to staff and students in the first week of term.               

  • From 19th April other timetabled (non-qualification) classes at the College, principally many of our Additional Studies classes, will generally continue to operate as has been the case in the period before the Easter break – but there will be some of these classes where changes are made for the period after Easter - including some of the sporting activities.  Specific Additional Studies teachers will contact their relevant students in the week of 12th April and communicate to them the arrangements that will apply from Monday 19th April.
  • Students will of course continue to be asked to minimise the risk of spread of covid-19 by continuing to follow a series of guidelines and adopting mitigations – including weekly home asymptomatic covid-19 testing, opening windows and doors to provide ventilation and exchange of air (and advised to continue to wear plenty of warm clothing in the Spring period when temperatures can be very erratic), washing/sanitising hands regularly and wearing face coverings in all communal indoor areas when not eating or drinking.  At present, the Government have not made clear whether they will extend the measure they instigated from 8th-26th March to strongly encourage students in secondary schools and colleges to wear face coverings in classrooms when 2m social distancing is not possible – but regardless, the College will strongly encourage our students to continue to adopt this measure.  Students will be asked not to spend ‘social time’ at the College (other than at lunchtime, in situations where they are involved in teaching classes in both the morning and the afternoon) i.e. students should only be in College in the mornings or afternoons to attend their timetabled classes or if they are involved in independent study (including out of class practical activities) – but not to spend time in College socialising.  More detail regarding arrangements from Monday 19th April will be provided in the first week of term (12th-16th April).

I hope you are enjoying a good break.  Apologies for communicating with you over the vacation period but it is clearly important to communicate the changes that will be in place from Monday 19th April as early as possible to enable time for planning and to instigate adjustments.


As we move towards the Easter break, a number of updates to help students/parents:

Possible forthcoming changes in Government FE guidance, College operational arrangements in the Summer Term – and award of Summer 2021 qualifications and Summer Term College Calendar (further to 05/03/2021 email communication, also on the website):

We are still waiting for a number of decisions from Government, without which we cannot make firm arrangements for the next term at College. The current covid-19 situation is fast-moving and volatile, so it is hard to predict what changes the Government might make, affecting 16-18 education in the FE sector. The next scheduled Government review of the covid-19 control measures in place in England will be in the week of 29th March. There are two main areas where we await further guidance:

  • Are there to be specific changes made in the ‘FE operational guidance’ from the Government that applies to colleges in England? There might well be changes made with post-16 education providers including the College being asked to transition from current ‘blended learning’ arrangements to a higher level of ‘in person’ teaching.  We expect to have more clarity by the Government by the Easter weekend.
  • Subject by subject (course by course) further and final detail and guidance from the Government/Ofqual/and the exam boards about the specific assessment arrangements and frameworks that will be used and the release of some support materials to help schools and colleges.  This now looks very unlikely to be received before the end of term.

Nonetheless, despite the lack of detail and clarity, all of our students involved in courses with award of Summer 2021 qualifications will have received by the end of this week details of the work to be covered in lessons over the period of next half term and details of the remaining assessments that are planned.  Attendance at all lessons and completion of the remaining assessments – largely being done in lesson time - is very important as performance in these assessments will form part of the broad portfolio of evidence that will be used to determine the overall grade this summer.  As we await further details on grading from DfE, JCQ, Ofqual and then awarding bodies for each specific subject, there is still a great deal of work for subject teams and senior staff to prepare final grades in time for the submission deadline.  We understand that many students and parents would like to understand the requirements and to ensure that students are awarded fair grades based on the evidence of what they know, understand and can do.  However, staff really cannot give students any more details than the level which has already been shared, so please resist asking teachers for more information!  It is much more important that all students continue to work hard and do their very best over the remaining weeks.  Teachers and Personal Tutors are determined to support their students to the best of their ability over this process.

Summer Term 2021 College calendar:

In the context of the above it is clearly therefore still very difficult to finalise many detailed aspects of the Summer Term calendar.  However, we are aware that staff, students and parents would like as much clarification and detail as is possible:

We can confirm that all subjects/courses involved in award of qualifications for Summer 2021 will have an internal assessment in the week of 26th April.

  • All Year 1 A level subjects/classes will have internal assessments and these will be held between Thursday 24th June and Wednesday 30th June (‘delayed’ from their original scheduling in mid May).  Subject/class teachers will provide more detail to their students regarding the nature of these internal assessments in the new term.
  • On Monday 21st June Year 1 students will receive (via email) a set of progression materials about HE, training and employment opportunities, gap year opportunities etc. 
  • Tuesday 22nd June and Wednesday 23rd June are likely to be ‘in person’ Induction Days for prospective new students - and Year 1 A level and AG course students will use the days for focus on the progression materials – and students can also use the two days for revision and preparation for the internal assessments.
  • We will provide parents/carers of our Year 1 A level students with on opportunity to book Parent Consultation Evening appointments in July - with the option of appointments on either Wednesday 14th July (possible ‘in person’ or possibly ‘remote’ – to be finalised at a later date) or on Thursday 15th July (‘remote’ appointment only), i.e. there could be a choice for parents/students of an in person or remote appointment.  

 We will of course, communicate further Summer Term calendar detail when we have more clarity and as appropriate.

Home testing arrangements

In line with Government guidance, if they have not done so already, students should collect two packs of home testing kits and continue to carry out home tests during the Easter break.  Packs of test kits will be available to students to collect from various prominent locations around College, including the main building reception area, main refectory and Midsite foyer. It is particularly important to carry out a test shortly before coming back to College for the first lesson at the start of the new term.  A communication was sent to students on 13th March re home testing which can also be found within the latest Announcements section of the College website.

Further communications this week

There will be a Tutorial PowerPoint presentation sent to students later this week, giving further advice and guidance for students completing courses this year and for those leaving College next term.

Finally, we would like to say how impressed we have been by our students this year in a context of very abnormal circumstances.  It has been an extraordinarily difficult time and students have faced the challenges with resilience and good-humoured determination.  All of us will look to aspects of the past year with regret regarding some of the opportunities that have been curtailed by the Covid pandemic and all of us still look ahead with some degree of uncertainty.  However, so much good work has been done and students should be proud of the progress they have made.  Everybody, including employers, the Government, universities, the exam boards and, of course, here at the Sixth Form College, wants to see students move forward in life successfully and effectively and they have put themselves in a good position to do so.

There are still, of course, challenges ahead, with important assessments on the horizon for most students – but we hope that students and staff can take the opportunity to enjoy an Easter break with some rest included.

 Ian MacNaughton


24th March 2021


What is Rapid Flow Testing 

Simple and easy to use rapid testing using antigen Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) enable the rapid testing of students, from their home, without the need for a laboratory.  Testing will help to break chains of transmission

Who is being tested and why?

Students are being offered 3 Lateral Flow tests in College followed by home tests that should be done twice a week. Testing is important because you could be carrying the virus and may spread it to others. Testing all staff and students without symptoms will support the College to continue to operate by identifying those who are positive but asymptomatic and will reduce the spread of the virus.

How do you do a test?

You will be able to pick up home testing kits in College.  This contains everything you need to complete a home test, alongside a leaflet explaining how to do the test. Each kit holds 3 tests and you should get 2 packs which will cover you for 2-3 weeks of testing.

To see how to complete the test please follow the instructions in the leaflet that accompanies the test kit and follow this link on YouTube.

You will need to carry out twice weekly testing at home (3 to 4 days apart).  Ideally this should be after you have completed three tests in the College testing centre).

Tests are only for the use of the person assigned the kits, they should not be taken by anyone else.

 When do you do your test?

It is recommended that you  test yourself in the morning before attending College so there is less chance you get infected between taking the test and attending the setting However, you may choose to do the testing the evening before, especially the first time, to give you more time to get accustomed to the test, and to have more time for your education setting to react to a positive test result.

What happens if the test is positive?

If you receive a positive LFD result you should book a confirmatory PCR test.  

You must also report this via the NHS app and to the College.

If you test is negative or void you must also report this via the NHS app but do not need to tell College. 

You should at all times continue to follow national and local rule and guidelines including regular handwashing, social distancing and wearing face coverings, where required.

Do I have to do the home tests?

Testing is voluntary and you will be able to attend College even if you do not take part but the success of this public health measure depends on as many people participating as possible.

Collecting Test Kits

Test kits can also be collected from the testing centre when you do your third test.

Test kits can also be collected from the General Office/ Reception. During busy times, there will also be collection points on the concourse, in the refectory and in Mid-site foyer.

You will need to sign for your kit.

You will need to collect 2 packs of 3 tests and a blue explanatory leaflet.

Procedure for testing at home.

  1. Opt in – read key information and privacy notice to understand data protection for testing
  2. Collect test kits from the collection points in College
  3. Follow the instructions in the blue test leaflet given out with your home tests.
  4. Check your results- it is important that you do this at 30 minutes and not any later.
  • Positive – self isolate immediately and book a confirmatory PCR test, and inform the College. Do we need to put in reminder as to whom to contact? i.e. tutor / senior tutor etc.
  • Negative result – continue as normal
  • Void – redo the test.
  1. Report your test via NHS app. You are required to report the results of your test, online or by phone every time you take the test, even if the result was negative or void.
  2. Continue to take tests twice weekly, 3-4 days apart.

Further updates following the Government announcements on the evening of Monday 4th January 2021 - with further changes in College arrangements from Wednesday 6th January 2021 until at least Monday 19th February 2021 now necessary.

In a televised address yesterday evening, and in response to very serious public health concerns, the Prime Minister announced a significant new additional framework of restrictive measures which will be applicable across England from Wednesday 6th January.  This includes a range of new measures and requirements affecting education in England.  Relevant sections of a supporting DfE document, published very late on Monday 4th January and outlining the Government required framework, is below for your information:



National lockdown to come into force on Wednesday 6 January


The Prime Minister has today announced that a new national lockdown will come into force at 00:01 on Wednesday 6 January. 


During the period of national lockdown, schools, alternative provision, special schools, and colleges will remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only. Public vocational exams and assessments scheduled to take place in January will go ahead as planned. All other children and students will learn remotely until February half term. 

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses.


All early years providers (including registered childminders but not including reception years in primary schools) can remain open during this period of national lockdown. 

In these circumstances, we do not think it is possible for exams to go ahead fairly this summer. The Secretary of State for Education will be asking Ofqual to consult rapidly on an approach for alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.


We understand that schools and colleges may wish to open tomorrow (Tuesday 5 January) to allow for the distribution of remote education resources, and that is permitted within these rules, though not required. 


We know that receiving face-to-face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement. We will be reviewing the restrictions on schools, colleges and universities and will ensure that children and young people return to face-to-face education as soon as the pressures are easing on the NHS.


This decision does not suggest that schools and colleges are no longer safe places for young people. Instead, limiting attendance is about reducing the number of contacts that all of us have with people in other households. 


We have resisted closing schools until now, but in the face of the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and intense pressure on the NHS, we now need to use every lever at our disposal to reduce all contacts outside households wherever possible.


For vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, who can still attend school or college, as they did in March to May, and their teachers, the system of protective measures means that any risks are well managed and controlled. 


We are responding to the intense pressure on the NHS, but that pressure is not driven by children. We are not seeing significant pressure from coronavirus (COVID-19) in paediatrics across the UK. The new variant appears to affect all ages but we have not seen any changes in the severity among any age groups, including children and young people.


The overwhelming majority of children and young people have no symptoms or very mild illness only. As cases in the community rise there will be a small increase in the number of children we see with coronavirus (COVID-19) who only rarely require admission to hospital.


Vulnerable children and children of critical workers who can attend school and college

During the period of national lockdown, schools and colleges should only allow vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend. Children with at least one parent or carer who is listed as a critical worker are eligible for a school place. It is not necessary for both parents to be critical workers. 


Schools and colleges should speak to parents and carers to identify who requires a school place. If it proves necessary, you can ask for simple evidence that the parent in question is a critical worker, such as their work ID badge or pay slip.


The critical worker list has been updated to include new workforces whose work is critical following the end of the EU transition period. It is important these people are also identified as critical workers and their children can attend the education setting. This change will see a small increase in the overall number of critical workers. 


The Prime Minister communicated that the new restrictive Government framework of measures will apply in education until at least the start of the second half of the Spring Term - and said these will not be lifted until a number of key public health criteria he outlined have been met.

It is worth highlighting some key aspects affecting the work of College staff and students in the period ahead arising from the new Government requirements:


  • No onsite teaching classes can now take place on school and college sites until further notice.   All teaching and learning will now move to a remote and directed independent study (blended learning) framework.


  • Schools and colleges are to stay open only for students undertaking Winter period public exam sittings (see below) and for vulnerable children and young people and for the children of critical workers.  The provision for children of critical workers is intended to provide childcare so that parents can go to work.  College students clearly do not need childcare!  However, ‘children of critical workers’ may make a request to study onsite if there are particular circumstances or difficulties.  Those who wish to request use of onsite College facilities for their remote lessons and study onsite must initially contact one of the following in order to make a firm arrangement:
  • their Senior Tutor 
  • Sarah Prince, Director of Learning Support
  • Jo Cadman, Assistant Principal (Pastoral)

No student should arrive at College to study independently without authorisation.

  • The Government have determined* that all the public external exams and assessments scheduled for January/Winter 2021 are still to take place.  Therefore, our students who have external public exam sittings scheduled within the 6th January to early March (Winter) period should come in to sit their exams.  However, our internal Year 2 A level and IB mock exam programme scheduled for 11th – 15th January is suspended.

 *Please note that there has been huge disquiet, expressed from a large number of colleges and schools across England, about the Government decision to progress with the Winter period external public exams.  The Government was this morning asked to reconsider this decision but have indicated that they are unwilling to change their decision.


  • With regard to award of qualifications in Summer 2021 (i.e. the external public exams and assessments), the Government has communicated:

 “we do not think it is possible for all exams in the summer to go ahead as planned. We will accordingly be working with Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly”.

 There is currently therefore a significant lack of clarity regarding which specific courses may not now be involved in exam assessment in the Summer, how grades would then be awarded relating to Summer 2021 qualifications - and we await far more detailed information and guidance from the Government regarding their plans and decisions.  We will of course, quickly inform staff, students and parents/carers as and when we have more information – but for now we have no more detail to provide than is given here.

 A summary of College arrangements within the context of the framework laid down by the Government:

  • No face-to-face classes in College from Wednesday 6th January until further notice.
  • Students entered for January/Winter examinations should attend unless contacted – exams start tomorrow Wednesday 6th January and run until March.
  • Year 2 A level and IB mocks will not now run in the week beginning 11th January – we still hope to run these when the College re-opens but will keep this under review, depending on announcements regarding the nature of the Government decisions regarding award of Summer 2021 qualifications, i.e. exams or alternative arrangements.  
  • IB Diploma arrangements are determined separately by IBO, internationally, and updates re IBO arrangements will be communicated directly to the relevant students on this programme.  As yet IBO have given no indication that their May 2021 exams and assessments will not take place.  It is important therefore that Year 2 students continue to revise for potential mocks and also that Year 1 A level students continue to revise the work that has been covered so far.
  • Teaching staff will continue to teach their syllabus for their course as planned, although remotely for now, and generally using the same timetable as now, i.e. a minimum of one 2 hour 40 minute long lesson each week.  Teachers will confirm specific arrangements with their classes for each A level/Applied General course over the next day or two.  Students are expected to attend remote lessons and to complete the work set by their teachers, i.e. to stick with your learning and keep going – there is so much detail still up in the air that we await announcements on and some of these may well take weeks, so it is important that all students and teaching staff keep going as planned.  Teaching staff will continue to use a range of learning approaches and technologies as appropriate to the subject and the nature of the assessments, but will generally and mainly use Teams and Moodle resources and facilities.
  • Pastoral and welfare support continues.  Students may still contact their Personal Tutor or Senior Tutor to discuss any difficulties, and Personal and Senior Tutors will continue to monitor engagement and progress.  In addition, welfare staff and counsellors are still available.  Please continue to seek help if you need it.  There will be more advice and support for students via tutorial materials which will be emailed to students over the next few weeks.

A general perspective:

The situation is rapidly changing and developing and it’s often very difficult for us to give precise details regarding future activities or assessments related to specific courses.  For example, we do not know exactly how and when students will return to their classrooms – nor do we know, with any certainty, when any mock exams might potentially be.  We will be guided by the Government and others as we put these things in place.  We expect to hear more over the coming weeks, but often, even when ‘headline’ announcements are made quickly, it takes weeks or even months for the details regarding particular qualifications to be announced.  We will give students more specific information as soon as we can.

 In times of such uncertainty, we would, however, like to reassure students that everyone here at College wants them to succeed.  It is important to us, and to the Government, and universities and employers, and the country as a whole, that this generation thrives and moves on to achieve goals and ambitions.  There will be problems, but we will approach this in the spirit of working closely with students and their family, to try to solve any problems as and when they arise and help them move forward.

 Everything that we do over the coming months is important; students should stay on top of any preparation for potential mock exams and do their best to use every opportunity to show what they can do.

 What else can I do?

To reiterate, as and when we receive any more information and guidance from the Government we will inform you – so please regularly check emails (or alternatively, for students – Moodle, for staff – Sharepoint, and for parents/carers – the College website).

As well as receiving specific communications from your subject teachers and Personal Tutors there will be other communications that will be sent to some specific cohorts of students, e.g. HLN or vulnerable students.  Again, it is important that students check emails.

In terms of what else you can do, we would emphasise the following:

STAY IN TOUCH – Please communicate with your teachers and tutors and others involved in supporting you at College where appropriate to raise worries or concerns.

STAY ON TOP OF YOUR COURSES – do everything that you can to engage in provision, complete tasks sent to you and maintain your progress.

STAY POSITIVE – The public health situation will move forward, particularly as a large number of vaccinations are successfully achieved, and it is our firm intention to ensure that you will be able to pursue your plans and aspirations for the future.  We will all need to be flexible and work differently in the weeks and months ahead, but if we work together we will achieve this. We also expect there to be both flexibility and accommodation at national level to help you.

Please also follow all Government guidance to keep yourself, your household and the wider community safe.

Ian MacNaughton - Principal 

This document is aimed primarily at parents, although it is also being made available to students for information. Students will receive further briefings during the enrolment period, with more detailed, practical guidance.


You will no doubt have heard a lot of discussion in the media about the government arrangements re “return to school” for children in September, which involves all school pupils returning full-time, with protective factors such as year group bubbles in place. The government framework for 16-18 year olds, young adults, in colleges is somewhat different: some of the measures being put in place in schools are not practical (e.g. our year group bubble would consist of 1500 students and would therefore do very little to mitigate risk).  In colleges, the government believes that the students have the young adult maturity to take more responsibility for their safety and they are also able to cope better with “blended learning”, combining classroom study with work undertaken at home.

Abnormal Timetable Arrangements

Your son/daughter will receive their personal teaching timetable on 8th September (second years) or 9th September (first years). They will see their “normal” timetable, to which we will return when it is safe to do so, and also their initial individual timetable for the Phase 1 period, with one long lesson per subject per week in College. Classes will be split in half during this Phase 1 period and your son/daughter will attend one of two long lessons per week. They will access the lesson they don’t attend via streaming/recording or other off-site supported study. Most of these resources will be accessible via a smartphone but students will benefit from being able to use a computer or laptop at home. If your son/daughter has no access to IT facilities, they should speak to their Senior Tutor. There will also be directed homework, e.g. essays to write, problem sheets etc. – which will vary according to the subject.

The duration of the abnormal timetable arrangements will be kept under review and will largely depend on factors outside the College’s control, such as Government guidance and the local and national rates of infection.

Getting to College

We know that the majority of our students rely on public transport. You will have seen from recent communications that many of the bus companies are responding positively to our request to increase the level of service provision. We anticipate that there will also be plenty of capacity on trains. Nevertheless, if your son/daughter is able to walk or cycle to College, that would be ideal. If you are dropping off or collecting your son/daughter by car, please be aware that you must not come on-site.  Stopping places on North Hill are extremely limited and we expect the roads to be busy from the 1st September. We would advise you to drop off or meet your son/daughter at Middleborough or another place slightly outside the town centre.

Arriving at College

Outside College buildings, students are not required to wear face coverings, as long as they are maintaining social distancing. On entering a building, students will be required to put on a face covering. Face coverings should be worn whenever students are in a College building but not in a lesson. A small number of students will have a specific difficulty which makes wearing a face covering impossible. In these cases, Senior Tutors will issue a pass, which students should be ready to show if challenged by a member of staff.

All students should clean their hands on arrival and frequently during the time they are at College, either by washing thoroughly or using hand sanitiser. We will be providing sanitiser at each entrance and at other points around College but it would be helpful if your son/daughter could bring their own small bottle, to avoid queues forming.


In most subjects, your son/daughter’s initial lessons in Phase 1 will be in groups of students of between 8-12 in size. Although there is no requirement in government guidance for students to observe a particular social distance in classrooms, the small numbers in these half groups will allow for a good level of social distancing between students, usually exceeding “1 metre plus”. Students are not required to wear face coverings in lessons, but they are welcome to do so, if they wish to. Teachers may ask students to wipe down desks at the beginning or end of lessons, and cleaning materials will be available in each classroom. Teachers have been advised to maintain social distance, so some normal lesson activities will be constrained by this.

Spending time in College

Normally, we would be encouraging students to spend any “free” periods between lessons in College studying. However, in order to minimise numbers on site, we will be asking students to arrive in time for a lesson (or meeting with their tutor) and to leave immediately when their timetabled commitments have finished for the day. The only exceptions will be for students classed as “vulnerable” and those whose travel arrangements do not allow them to leave immediately. There will be sufficient socially distanced study spaces for these students to work in College.

Lunchtimes, food and drink

Students are welcome to remain on site at lunch time if they have a lesson in the morning and the afternoon. There will be a limited food service from our refectories but students are encouraged to bring in their own lunch and they should also bring a bottle of water. Students can eat lunch in the refectories and in most public areas of the College (except where there are computers).


We have instituted an enhanced cleaning regime. In addition to a thorough clean in the morning or evening, each classroom will be cleaned at lunchtime, between the morning and afternoon lesson.

Illness, symptoms of COVID 19

If your son/daughter has any of the major symptoms of COVID 19 (high temperature, new persistent cough, loss of taste/smell) they should not come to College. Please book a test via the NHS website. Then notify the College of the situation. When you receive the result, please notify the College again. We will of course be liaising with Public Health England and the Track and Trace service in the event of any case of coronavirus.

If your son/daughter develops any of these symptoms while at College, they should tell a member of staff immediately and we will contact you so that you can arrange their transport home.

We would not expect students to stay at home with minor cold symptoms but if your son/daughter has flu-like symptoms or any illness with a temperature, they should not come to College, and you should seek medical advice.

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


Online Applications for 2021 Entry are now closed. In extenuating circumstances late applications may be considered. Please contact admissions if this applies to you.

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.

Find Out More

Listen to what our staff and students have to say and find out more about the sporting, cultural and charitable activities and achievements of the students at the College.


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.


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.


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.