Physics Trip to Cambridge

By Steve Blay, Physics and Electronics, 25 September 2018

What links flexible solar panels, cars that travel a thousand miles on a litre of fuel and scanners that show the individual blood vessels in your arm? The answer is that they were some of the ideas that a group of A level physics students found out about at the “Physics at Work” exhibition in Cambridge last week. A mix of lectures and hands on workshops gave students a chance to experience Physics at the cutting edge and explore careers using the subject.

Model UN Trip

By Tom Barker, Philosophy, 19 September 2018

A small band of members of the College Debating Society participated last weekend in the Cambridge University Model United Nations Conference.  They attended committees and workshops throughout the three days, collaborating with and competing against other schools and colleges.  All our students gave a very good account of themselves and enjoyed the weekend.

Second year student Izzy Lockwood was awarded a certificate for Honourable Mention as a very strong delegate in the UN Women committee.

Double Success

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 17 September 2018

Well done to twins Ella and Amy, both of whom studied A levels in Psychology, Law and Biology, where they both achieved a remarkable A*A*A grades this summer. Both are now studying for a degree in Psychology at the University of York. We wish them luck.

Autumn Term

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 17 September 2018

I know that it’s supposed to be ‘Autumn Term’ now, but it’s still very much summer in the garden at no.58 today.

Stratford-Upon-Avon Trip 2018

By Alison Shelley, English, 17 September 2018

July 2018: a merry band of students and staff set off for the bucolic delights of a Georgian manor house on the outskirts of Stratford-Upon-Avon for a long weekend of dastardly deeds and fateful ambition (Macbeth), bloody tragedy and devilish cruelty (The Duchess of Malfi) and star-crossed lovers (Romeo & Juliet) performed with brio and brilliance by the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company.

The tragedy on stage was somewhat offset by lighter moments offstage as students explored Shakespeare’s hometown with wide-eyed wonder; strolling the banks of the Avon, thrilling to the backstage tour of the RSC theatres, pouncing on exhausted actors for post-play autographs at the stage door and even getting on stage themselves for a spot of impromptu acting (see picture).

For many students this will be their first ever experience of live theatre and what an incredible way to be introduced to its transformative power. Top-notch performances, lines spoken with a facility and cadence that capture the glories of a golden age in English drama and all this embellished by innovative staging that makes these 400+ year old plays shine with an invigorated contemporary relevance. Three plays in three days ensures the weekend bursts with activity and the students embraced all of the opportunities on offer (including Shakespeare-head-shaped shortbread in the RSC cafes) with infectious energy. Another Stratford trip that will burn brightly in the memory!

IB Success

By Karen Burns, IB Co-ordinator, 17 July 2018

The Sixth Form College is celebrating another year of outstanding exam success for the group of International Baccalaureate students.

We are really proud of the students' successes. As a group, the 18 year old students at the college who passed the diploma have achieved a very impressive achievement level of an average of 32 points and a pass rate of over 90%. The IB is a global qualification, taken by students all over the world and, in this context, the achievements of our students compares extremely well to the international average of 29 points and a pass rate of just 79%. (Diploma ‘pass’ criteria includes achievement of a minimum of 24 points).

We are delighted to see a number of students achieve excellent grades. For example, Ruby Lloyd-Smith  achieved a stunning 39 points, which is equivalent to an excellent A*AA at A Level!!
We’ve also been delighted to see students use their IB success to access such a wide range of careers and university courses, both in the UK and abroad. One student, Clara Belcour, is using her IB success to progress to university in The Hague to study International Relations whilst Ashlea Lacey is progressing to study Biomedical Science at Kent, on the basis of an outstanding 38 point score.

Student Elliott Jackson ( pictured), who scored an excellent 35 points overall, plans to study architecture at Nottingham, building upon the success of the stunning solo art exhibition that he put together in our College Pavilion this year.

College Principal Ian MacNaughton congratulated the students and said : "The students should be very proud of their success. It’s been great to see students (and their parents) here this morning celebrating their achievements and it is pleasing to see so many of them moving on to such a wide range of opportunities, including places upon some of the very best university courses – proving once again, the value of the International Baccalaureate in developing students’ outlook and skills.

Arts & Culture Festival

By Olivia Browne and Bel Hathaway, Visual Arts Dept., 17 July 2018

A big thank you to everyone - staff and students - who worked so hard to make this year's Arts & Culture Fest the best yet!

Fashion Show

By Suzanne Gartland, Visual Arts , 17 July 2018

Well done to everyone who took part in last week's fashion show!

Fashion Show .... group shot

By ., ., 17 July 2018

College of Sanctuary

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 17 July 2018

Recently the college was delighted to be awarded 'College of Sanctuary' status in recognition of the work that we do in trying to ensure that we are a place of sanctuary and welcome for applicants, whatever the difficulties they have faced. We've been celebrating all week with our friends in the Syrian community, who joined us for the recent Arts and Culture Festival, as well as our annual staff event - providing delicious food drawn from more than 180 different ingredients!

By chance the launch also coincided with news that our student 'Friends Not Foes' group had, for the second year running, received a Colchester Youth award recognising their work with the refugee community. Well done

Watch out for more events next term, including the official unveiling of our official certificate in reception.

Colchester Youth Awards

By Carol McAuley, Assistant Principal, 17 July 2018

Congratulations to all of our recent Colchester Youth Award nominees. We're proud to announce that students from college won three of the nine categories, including one group (Friends Not Foes) whose hard work was recognised with an award for the second year running.

Winners were:

Friends not Foes Group -  Volunteer Fundraising Award

Caitlin Williams-Macklin -  Outstanding Achievement

Chloe Huk -  Citizen Award

Jack Petchey Award Winners

By Evette Hawkins , Careers Department, 16 July 2018

Well done to all our Jack Petchey Award winners!

Bird College Annual Showcase

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Department, 16 July 2018

On Saturday 14th July Alison Gaukroger and Fiona Bush from the Performing Arts Department went to see the Bird College annual showcase “Destinations” at The Orchard theatre in Dartford. We have a number of ex-students who attend this conservatoire and were performing in the show: (left to Right) Sophie Pike, Will Argent, Connor Pratchett, and also Katherine Gaukroger, who came to lead a Bird style Musical Theatre Jazz dance workshop with our students on Mon 16th July. These ex-students performed in a range of dance and musical theatre pieces, showcasing their talents, with Sophie and Connor taking on solos within the show. All these students were outstanding in their performances and we are delighted to see them all developing their skills and talents at a professional level. Sophie, as a third year has just graduated from Bird with a Distinction – congratulations to her! It was also lovely to catch up with them after the show!

Workshop and Auditions by Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts.

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 16 July 2018

On Thursday 28th June 2018 we were lucky to have Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts visit the college and run two workshops and mock auditions. Drama, Dance and Performing Arts students took part in workshops in musical theatre and acting run by two of the teaching staff from the school.  Nine students also took advantage of mock auditions to give them valuable feedback and advice when they are applying for Musical Theatre and Acting courses.

Two of our students were lucky enough to be awarded free places at the summer school for two  weeks in July/ August each worth £2,500.  The students were Bryony Diss (Musical Theatre) and Angharad Hickey (Acting).

A fantastic achievement and opportunity!

Law In Action

By Emily Cheffins, Head of Law Department, 13 July 2018

The Law Department enjoyed “Law in Action” week 2nd – 6th July.  During this week students had the opportunity to visit Ipswich Crown Court, where they were lucky enough to get a talk from HHJ Rupert Overbury about his experiences as a circuit judge.  The rest of the day was spent observing the courts and seeing a variety of issues of criminal law in action. 

Back at college on Thursday 5th July the department’s annual mock trial event took place. The jury of 12 students listened to evidence from a real murder trial which had occurred on the island of Jersey in 1994, where two defendants had been accused of murdering their parents – the motive being that they stood to inherit a substantial sum of money from them. The defendants and 7 other witnesses gave their evidence, whilst the prosecution and defence teams asked searching questions about their involvement.

Such enthusiasm for the event has meant that the department has entered the Bar Mock Trial competition 2018 and we look forward to participating in the regional heats in November!

Poetry Success

By Clarissa Ford, Head of English, 9 July 2018

Well done to ex-IB student Piers Harrison Reid. Eight years ago he was a member of our College India Expedition (see photo above) and is now a nurse in Norwich and an acclaimed poet!

He was recently recorded on the BBC for ‘Look East’ performing his poem written about the NHS on its’ 70th Birthday entitled: Love is For the Brave.

His performance can be viewed HERE and, if you’d like more, his new album is HERE and his tour dates are HERE.

Well Done Piers!

Performing Arts Higher Education Conference

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 6 July 2018

Recently The Performing Arts Department held their annual Higher Education Conference. Thirteen ex-students from the department who are at various stages of their training or career came to give advice and answer questions from our current students.  As always it was wonderful to invite the students back and they gave excellent advice.  It was an enjoyable and informative afternoon.


By Michael Spearman, Rock Workshop, 5 July 2018

Great to see more 'Unplugged' performances on the concourse today

SAFE Exhibition

By Olivia Browne, Visual Arts Dept., 5 July 2018

SAFE - 23 June - 29 June 2018

An exhibition curated by Art History students from the Sixth Form College, Colchester. This exhibition showcased the work of a selection of year 1 Art and Design students who have responded to the theme 'safe'. The exhibition ran  from 23 June -29 June 2018 at Art Exchange at the University of Essex.

The exhibition featured many paintings as well as work by textiles, Photography, Sculpture and Graphics students and included a deconstructed bicycle wheel  sculpture and a jacket fashioned out of cut up abstract canvases.

The University opens its Gallery once a year to schools and Colleges in the area and this year, the Sixth Form College was successful in gaining an exhibition. It is the first time that the end of year art show has also been curated by students and the Arts Outreach Team at the University of Essex really liked this added dimension. The Art History year 1 students also gained valuable curatorial experience in the international gallery setting.

image : The team of curators - Eve Garner, Jack Dempsey, Finlay Flint, Alice Wheeler - with their families


By Sarah Pritchard, Dance Dept., 5 July 2018

A big thank you to everyone (staff and students) who took part in last week'ds Dance Flashmob for induction!

Physics Trip

By Steve Blay, Head of Physics, 21 June 2018

Why is the universe made of matter and not anti-matter? How do you detect the elusive neutrino? How do you build the largest machine in the world? Who is standing up for refugees in the world? These questions and many more were answered when a group of 27 A Level Physics students visited Geneva this week. A vast amount was packed into our three day visit ranging from scientific discovery at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, to world politics at the United Nations, to playing in the fountains on the Place de Nations.

A successful and enjoyable trip, plans are already underway for next year!

Royal Opera House

By Giovanni Gravina, Modern Foreign Languages, 20 June 2018

A Level Italian students recently added some Puccini to their programme, with a really enjoyable visit to a production of La Boheme at the Royal Opera House.

Three Day Programme

By Evette Hawkins, Careers Team, 13 June 2018

It's good to see all of the AS Level students back this week, as they return from their exams to begin work on their second year courses.  

However, before teaching commences, we have to attend to the important matter of the annual College "3 Day Programme".  This programme serves as the main launch activity  for careers information for the  first year students. During the event a choice of 300 talks are available, with sessions being delivered by a huge variety of guests including employers, Higher Education representatives, gap year providers, former students and College teaching staff.

Visiting speakers this year include representatives from: The Royal Navy, Barclays Bank, Accountancy firms, the computing industry, robotics research, apprenticeship programs, radio journalism, Law, Oxford & Cambridge, medical schools, performing arts, Universities from Anglia Ruskin to Aberdeen, teaching training courses, 4-star hotels, a South African nature reserve, midwifery courses, American universities, the army, physics courses in Aberystwyth, computer game development, British Telecom and (shown above) The National Citizenship Service.

This is an excellent opportunity for students to explore careers or courses they are interested in for the future, before they settle back into their programme of study.

D of E Gold Award Presentation at Buckingham Palace

By Graham Rayner, D of E Coordinator, 24 May 2018

Congratulations to Akhil Sabu, Jed Shaftain-Fenner and Esther Gray who were presented with their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards at Buckingham Palace this week.  They represent three different year groups, Akhil having left College in 2016, Jed in 2017 while Esther is a current year 2 student who has shown particularly strong commitment in order to complete the whole award in such a short time.

They were congratulated on their efforts by Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

All three completed the expedition as part of the College D of E Gold group while also using the College's Additional Studies programme to help them complete the Physical and Skill sections.  Akhil played recreational Badminton for his Physical while Esther developed her skills in Italian in a additional conversation class provided by the Modern Foreign Languages deptartment for her Skill section.  Jed participated in the Ceramics additional study for his Skill and developed his fitness using the Weights and Fitness Additional Study for the Physical section.

Very well done to all three of them.

Fashion Visit

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 21 May 2018

Former student Martin Brambley, now working for a key textile research facility and heading up a sustainable textiles company, will be coming in to talk about careers in the fashion and textiles. Martin studied Fashion Design: Technology, at the London College of Fashion. As a finalist in the 2015 Kering Award for sustainable fashion Martin had the opportunity to explore how manufacturing technologies could be used in innovative ways in the production of non-woven fabrics. This led to his interest in lead times, supply chains and the networking that goes on to create the mechanics of a supply chain for mass market production. His research has involved creating ethical, transparent and responsible supply chains for his company Doppelhaus LTD who utilise 100% wool fibres in the production of their innovative fabrics.

Anyone here at college back in 2010 may well remember Martin's fashion show in our own Roman Bath Restaurant - the flyer for which is shown above.

Also, well done to previous student Katie Gementera, who attended Colchester Sixth Form from 2010 - 2012. She studied Fashion/Textiles, Art, Photography & Business Studies. After Sixth Form she went on to do a Foundation year at Colchester Institute and then a year later onto University at Parsons, The New School of Design in NYC. She graduated  in May 2017 and in the past year has started her own Fashion Label.  She recently contacted us to share that the Katie Gementera brand has been chosen as one of the top 10 finalists in the ASOS Fashion Discovery competition!  Well done Kate!

Head Shave for Prostate Cancer Charity

By Michele Perrin, Charities Coordinator, 3 May 2018

First year A level student Caitlin Williams-Macklin bravely had her head shaved this week to raise money for Prostate Cancer charities.

Caitlin has raised over £2000 prior to this event and chose to shave her head at College in aid of Prostate Cancer. With her Mum, Grandad, Nan, sister and a large crowd of fellow students watching, her long time hair dresser cut her hair and shaved her head.  Her hair is being donated to the Little Princess Trust.

Geography Fieldwork in Bournemouth

By Chris Throup, Head of Geography, 3 May 2018

 The Geography Department’s residential trip to Bournemouth took place on the weekend of the 27th-29thApril. Investigating the coastal landforms of the Jurassic coast, the students had the opportunity to explore the geology and geomorphic processes at Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and old Harry’s rocks, whilst taking in the breath-taking scenery at Chesil Beach and the Isle of Portland. The highlight of the trip was the Saturday morning coastal walk, which gave the students a chance to see the spectacular and much revered long groyne at Hengistbury Head. 

Dance Success

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 30 April 2018

The Dance Department want to say a warm congratulations to one of our ex students Kaia Goodenough, for the announcement of achieving Junior Associate Artist with our local Dance provider DanceEast. Kaia came to The Sixth Form from The Gilberd School in 2011, she left in 2013 with 3 A* grades in Dance, Art History and Extended Project Qualification (in Dance); A grades in Art and Design and English.  Kaia went on to achieve her BA HONS in Theatre Dance (specialising in Contemporary Dance) at London Studio Centre.

Following her training she has performed as a freelance dancer.  Kaia now has her own Dance company – Limb Dance Co. who premiered their first work at The Place Resolution in 2017. 

Since leaving, Kaia has always given back to The Sixth Form, offering one to one mentoring and practical workshops to our students.  We look forward to working with Kaia whilst she pursues her role at DanceEast.

Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award at the Sixth Form College

By Graham Rayner, D of E coordinator, 16 April 2018

The College's Gold D of E groups have returned from their practice expedition over Easter in the Peak District.  Despite an awful forecast, the weather turned out to be largely on our side, as this photo of team "Bay6" at their checkpoint on Kinder Scout demonstrates. The groups now look forward to completing the expedition side of their awards with the assessed Qualifying expedition in Yorkshire in July.

D of E Gold at College is open to all first years, whether they have plenty of outdoors experience or none at all.   The expedition section is fully completed in the first year, meaning that some students can have the award nearly completed by the time their UCAS application is sent off in the autumn of year 2.

Most D of E participants also sign up for at least one other Additional Study at College, which can count as their Physical, Volunteering or Skill section.  For example, some current participants are using Badminton or Rugby for their Physical; Friends Not Foes group, Conservation group or working in the charity "Russ Cafe" as their volunteering; using Japanese For Beginners or Sign Language as their Skill.

In this way, College is also able to support students who are registered with other D of E centres.  In addition, space on individual timetables can be found on request to support off-site Volunteering opportunities.

Creative Writing Residential

By Clarissa Ford, Head of English, 15 April 2018

The English Department's established Creative Writing Residential Trip took place just before Easter.  First Year English Literature A level student Patrick Orrin writes:

On Friday the 23rd March, 12 students and two English teachers left college to spend the weekend on a writing retreat in a windmill just off the North Norfolk coast.

We arrived at the windmill, located outside the town of Burnham Overy Staithe, just before nightfall and were released to explore the beautiful surroundings. After a hearty meal, we all played games and told stories, getting ourselves well and truly into the spirit of the weekend.

The following day, we spent the morning writing stories and poems, before heading out for a long walk to the beach with a picnic.  Pictures taken and sights seen, on sore feet we returned to the windmill with fresh ideas in our minds, keen to get them down on paper.

Sunday morning rolled around, too quickly for some, and we had some time to add finishing touches to our poems and stories. Bags packed, rooms restored and lunches made, we all clambered back into the college bus to return home. A brief stop in Thetford Forest enabled us to stretch our legs and take a few final pictures before we returned to college and parted ways.

Overall, the trip was a great success: the windmill is a truly magical place and inspired some fantastic writing.

Friends Not Foes Vintage Clothes Sale

By Graham Rayner, Assistant Principal, 28 March 2018

The student-run Friends Not Foes group have organised a Vintage clothes market this week, in aid of Colchester Refugee Action. 

Donations of good quality used clothes flooded in from across College and then students and staff were quick to snap up bargains.

The Friends Not Foes group has recently won awards - a Colchester Youth Award for the students and the Team Award at the Essex Teaching Awards.

Congratulations on organising another excellent event.

English Language Conference

By Sadia Miah & Jane Mosedale, English Dept, 27 March 2018

On Friday 16th of March, over three hundred AS and A-Level English Language students attended the annual English Language Conference held onsite and organised by the English Department. Two visiting academics delivered exam focused lectures on textual meanings and representations and language debates. In both lectures, students were supported with detailed handouts which gave us both a ‘real’ experience of an undergraduate lecture and helped with exam preparation.
Professor Lesley Jeffries from the University of Huddersfield led the first session and focused on language and power, bringing in the media representation of international politicians such as Putin and Boris Johnson, and contemporary debates such as Brexit and #MeToo.  These issues are directly applicable to both the AS and A-Level exams where students have to engage in critical analysis, exploring how language creates representations.

Daniel Clayton from London’s English and Media Centre and Senior Examiner with AQA challenged students to explore the very nature of language and highlighted contemporary debates about its use, such as the prescriptivism debate and the idea that the language has been polluted by change and the adoption of Americanisms and slang.  By exploring newspaper articles and texts students were able to investigate persuasive devices used by writers and apply their knowledge to possible exam questions.

Both sessions enhanced our awareness of the wider relevance of the subject in terms of contemporary events, provided us with a flavour of life and study as an undergraduate, and helped prepare us for our forthcoming exams.

Annual Chemistry Olympiad

By Madeline Robinson, Chemistry dept., 27 March 2018

Three golds, two silvers and six  bronzes

A record! 

Well done everyone!

Psychology Lecture

By Claire Howe, Head of Psychology, 23 March 2018

A large number of our Psychology A Level cohort travelled to London yesterday, for a series of lectures - one of them given by one of the most famous names in psychology: Dr Philip Zimbardo. His  'Prison study', conducted in the 1960's, is one of the most well-known, controversial and memorable pieces of psychological research ever conducted and it was great to hear him speak.

School Productions

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts , 23 March 2018

Some of our Performing Arts staff have recently had the pleasure of seeing whole school productions at three of our local partner schools: The Gilberd (Annie), East Bergholt High School (Return to the Forbidden Planet) and St. Benedict’s (Love Will Tear us Apart). Each performance was full of energy, enthusiasm and talent from all the students, and of course the staff who led them.

As well as being enjoyable evenings, it was very encouraging to witness the talents of these students, ranging from Y.7 to Y.11, some of whom we will see on our Performing Arts courses at The Sixth Form in September, and beyond. We look forward to working with them, as well as on the various other joint projects we have lined up.

Colchester Schools Prom

By Fran East, Performing Arts Dept., 21 March 2018

The orchestra during rehearsals

The orchestra and band took part in the Colchester Schools Prom on Friday 16th March. The strong performance of Jupiter from The Planets Suite by Gustav Holst marked 100 years since the piece was  composed.  

Well done to everyone who was involved!

Baroness Blackstone Visit

By Ian Levinson, History and Politics, 19 March 2018

A big thank you to Baroness Blackstone, who visited our A Level politics students last week. She spent well over an hour in the full to capacity lecture theatre, dealing with questions covering everything from education to Brexit to life in the House of Lords.

Extended Project Work

By Elaine O'Brien, EPQ Team, 19 March 2018

Alex and Lorna use sociological theory as part of an extended project exploring the 'dark side' of musical theatre.

Well done to everyone who has worked so hard on their Extended Project Qualifications over the past few weeks. There have been many excellent projects this year, covering a huge array of topics, from medicene to the Medicis.

Sociology Conference

By Alan Mears, Sociology and Health Department, 8 March 2018

On Wednesday 7th March, 270 year 1 Sociology students attended the annual revision conference held at the Mercury theatre in Colchester. During the course of the day student heard from senior lecturers in Sociology as well as participating in sessions led by examiners from the exam board. Students who commented on the day highlighted how useful the day had been in kick starting their revision for the exams.

Ancient Rome Trip

By Adam Bantick, History and Politics Department, 5 March 2018

The photo shows the group of students at the theatre in Pompeii

In February, a group of students studying Medieval History, Classical Civilisation and Archaeology went to Rome. We saw such sites as the Colosseum, the Forum, Trajan’s Column and the Baths of Diocletian in Rome, and the Roman port of Ostia Antica. A highlight for many was the day spent in Pompeii.

Performing Arts - Performance evenings!

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Dept., 5 March 2018

 February has been the month for BTEC Level 3 Performing Arts performances, both from year 1 (Certificate) on 1st Feb, and year 2 (Extended Certificate) on 22nd Feb.

Musical Theatre performances have included numbers from Into the Woods, Miss Saigon, Cats, Les Miserables and Porgy & Bess;  Acting performances have included extracts from Berkoff’s Metamorphosis and The Trial, and John Godber’s comedy Teechers.

Students have thoroughly immersed themselves in rehearsals for weeks leading up to these performances, which were highly successful and very well received by large audiences.

Whilst sad that this part of the course is now over, students are excited to embark on their next projects. Also, many of these students are in the process of preparing for auditions and/or accepting places at conservatoires and universities including our local UCC, East 15, Trinity Laban, Bird College, GSA, RADA, Central School of Speech and Drama, among others.

Students are also looking forward to our trip to MOVE IT! at the Excel, London, on 16th March

Early Modern History trip to Paris

By Rebecca McGarrigle, History and Politics Department, 4 March 2018

Just as Essex started to grind to a halt under the recent snow and freezing conditions, 23 Early Modern History students battled their way to Paris to support their depth study of Louis XIV.  Among the many locations visited were the Louvre, Palais Royale, Place de Vendome, and the military museum at Les Invalides.  Most importantly, they visited Versailles and saw first-hand Louis XIV’s efforts to present himself as an absolute monarch. The Hall of Mirrors struck a chord with many of the students and we look forward to running the trip again for future students of early modern History.

Politics trip to Brussels

By Ian Levinson, History and Politics Department, 4 March 2018

Students listen to Geoffrey Van Orden, MEP for the East of England, in the European Parliament

32 A level Politics spent an engaging and enlightening three days in Brussels where they visited the major European Union Institutions as well as visiting the Swiss Mission and the Austrian Permanent Representation to the EU to hear different perspectives on Brexit and the issues around regaining of sovereignty. The trip was enhanced by the collaboration of students and staff from our partner school, Eichenschule from Scheesel in Germany. Their students gave a German perspective to current political issues, including the UK leaving the EU.

Modern Foreign Languages trip to Granada, Spain

By David Huggon, Modern Foreign Languages Department, 27 February 2018

19 students and 3 Modern Foreign Languages staff have just returned from a trip to Granada, in Andalucía. The trip was a great success. The students had lessons in the mornings with Paco and Tiffany, native speakers, and we organised a few activities for the afternoons. The highlight of Granada is the superb Alhambra palace which is one of the jewels of the Arabic world dating back one thousand years in history. It makes Granada one of the finest cities in Europe. The students stayed in host families and generally, despite the very strong Granada accent which someone compared to Glaswegian Spanish, the students did learn a lot. This was the College’s 29th annualtrip to Spain, and the students were a great credit to the college.

Italian Exchange to Lecco

By Monica Alussi, Modern Foreign Languages Department, 27 February 2018

11 students and staff recently participated in a 6-day language exchange in Lecco, Lake Como, Italy. The students stayed with their Italian partners, went to lessons with them in the mornings to an Italian Sixth Form and took part in various organised activities in the afternoons. The highlight was going to a concert at La Scala Theatre in Milan, one of the most famous opera houses in the world, making Milan one of the finest cities in Europe. Sunday was spent with the Italian families, to experience the local lifestyle: some were taken on a day trip to the historic Genova dockyards, others preferred a visit to medieval Bergamo nearby. The trip was extremely successful: all students represented the college impeccably and felt they learnt a lot. We are now getting ready to host the second leg of this exchange during the last week in March

Citizenship trip to Westminster

By Lauren Humbles, Sociology and Health Department, 20 February 2018

 20 GCSE Citizenship and AS level Sociology students visited London on Friday 9th February. We learnt a lot about the workings of Westminster with a guided tour through the Palace of Westminster including the House of Commons and the House of Lords. We then experienced multicultural London by tasting a range of different foods at Borough Market, before some shopping at Westfields to finish the day.

Sociology trip to New York

By Amy Cochrane, Sociology and Health Department, 19 February 2018

20 Sociology and Health and Social Care students spent 5 days in New York in February, finding out about this diverse and multicultural city. The varied schedule included visits to Ellis Island, the Empire State Building, Greenwich Village, art galleries such as MOMA, and museums such as the Jewish Heritage Musuem and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

Paraguay Exchange

By David Huggon, Modern Foreign Languages Dept., 9 February 2018

L-R : María Elsa,  Melani  and Evelin

The College is currently hosting three girls from the Santa Maria community in the South of Paraguay. Last July we went out there with a group of 16 College students and 3 Modern Languages teachers to work with the charity organisation called the Santa Maria Educational Fund. We had a great time there and were very generously received. Last week three girls from the Santa Maria community came to England, the cost of the flights and accommodation coming out of the funds we raised last year. They staying in England for three weeks.

The three girls are having a great time. It is a dramatic change for them. They left Paraguay under sunshine and 40 degree temperatures, and were greeted at Heathrow with rain and 3 degrees. They were very excited to see the snow this week, as they had never seen snow in their lives before! They come from a rural area of Paraguay and had never  been to the capital city (Asuncion) until December when they had to go up to be interviewed for their passports.

Last week our students took them to see Darkest Hour at the cinema. They  really enjoyed it, especially as this was their first ever visit to a cinema. Similarly, we took them to London by train to see The Lion King on Friday. They were most  excited as this was their first ever train journey…there are no trains in Paraguay!

This week the three girls are doing talks for our A level Spanish students about their life back in Paraguay. They are also going to make them some “yerba mate” which is Paraguayan herbal tea. The Paraguayans are obsessed with it, in fact I think they would not survive without it.

The girls have been great company and I think it has been great for our students to meet them, to chat to them, to hear what their life is like etc. A real cultural exchange, beneficial to lots of people in so many different ways.  We are hoping to go back to the Santa María community in July 2019 with a group of volunteer students from College.

Media Student Returns

By Caroline Ash, Head of Media & Film , 7 February 2018

A big thank you to former student Laurence White (pictured), who returned to college to talk to our A Level Media students. He has held a number of jobs in the media industry, working his way up from runner, through researcher and assistant producer to producer on programmes such as Strictly, X Factor, The Apprentice, Geordie Shore, Celebs Go Dating, TOWIE etc.

He told us he had to be up before everyone else in the Apprentice house - it certainly sounds like long hours!

Doorway to Success

By Harvey Taylor, Visual Arts Dept., 31 January 2018

We are thrilled that student Lucy Zini's painting "Doorway" is one of the twenty chosen by  Arts Societies all over the country for the forthcoming Mall Galleries Exhibition , particularly as it is the first time that the Society has nominated a 6th Form student's painting since the competition began around 8 years ago.

Further details available HERE

Well done Lucy!

OFSTED Confirm High Expectations

By Ian MacNaughton, College Principal, 30 January 2018

We're delighted to have received our most recent report from OFSTED, which confirms that our position continues to be a very good one, with  governors and managers having established a strong vision for the college. They point out that we provide 16- to 18-year-old students with a "supportive learning environment in which the majority achieve their qualifications".

They agree that staff  have planned the curriculum well to provide students with broad programmes of study that provide them with a comprehensive range of subject choices and support them to progress effectively to their next steps.

We're also pleased with OFSTED's judgement that we provide very good pastoral support which enables students to remain on their courses, in a college where  "teachers have high expectations of students"  and  "most students enjoy their lessons".

Well done to everyone, staff and students, here at college - I'm delighted that OFSTED have recognised all of your hard work as members of a very strong college community.

(Photo - Some of the students who recently joined us for our Awards & reunion Evening at Charter Hall)

College Annual Careers Fair

By Evette Hawkins, Careers Department, 30 January 2018

The College Annual Careers Fair was held on Wednesday 24th January in the multi–purpose hall.
The event was well attended by enthusiastic students.  Students were able to meet a wide range of employers, including BT (IT Apprenticeships), BDO LLP (Accountancy/Finance) and Essex Police who provided information and guidance relating to school leaver and graduate options.
Over 100 exhibitors attended the Careers Fair (our biggest yet!) with approximately 66 universities represented, including the University of Suffolk and East Anglia. Universities from further afield included Dundee, Cardiff and Roehampton. There were also representatives from the Russell Group Universities including King’s College London and Sheffield. Also on hand were representatives from the armed forces and 'year out' providers.
Exhibitor’s comments about the morning were positive: “Lots of interested students who clearly wanted to work out what pathway they would take”, “A very well organised event”, “Really good number of students and good questions from students” “ One of the best fairs I have been to".

Students in the News 2

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 17 January 2018

"Colchester College Student helps stricken lady during storm"

Well done to student Daniel Shynn - full story below:


Students in the News 1

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal , 14 January 2018

Well done to student Jack Dempsey (left), who recently appeared in Vogue Magazine modelling the Liam Hodges Autumn / Winter 2018 Menswear Collection.

Christmas Concert

By Fran East, Performing Arts Dept., 20 December 2017

Well done to everyone in the Sixth Form College Concert Band who performed in Culver Street on Wednesday 6 December, along with the teacher Daniel Plewinski. We were glad to be asked to be part of the event. The  students really enjoyed it.

Awards & Reunion Event Guest Speaker

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 20 December 2017

A big thank you to former student Dave Coulson for his entertaining and insightful speech at last night’s Annual Awards & Reunion Event. Dave is currently the development producer for CBBC, at BBC Media City UK in Salford Quays.  He develops and devises innovative new content for TV broadcast but also for YouTube, the CBBC website, social media and iPlayer. He is also on the editorial team steering the creative future of major established broadcasting including Sport Relief and Children in Need as well as shows on CBBC and CBeebies.  Dave has worked on “Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow”, “Raven”, “The Graham Norton Show”, “Jools Holland’s Hootenanny” and proudly tells us that he also ran Hacker the Dog’s Twitter account!! 

Advanced Foundation Programme Awards

By Graham Rayner, Assistant Principal, 18 December 2017

The annual College Advanced Foundation Programme Awards and Christmas party took place last week.  Awards were presented for academic progress, attendance and progression to a large number of students who had been nominated by their subject teachers and Personal Tutors.

Congratulations to Angel Raju, presented with the “Martin Sparks Award” for excellent attitude, progress and resilience over three years on the Advanced Foundation Programme. Angel responded very positively to the initial setback of needing to re-sit GCSEs with us.  She achieved good results at GCSE and AS level and has applied to read English Literature at university.  Popular with both students and staff, Angel’s positive outlook and resilience has directly led to her success.  She has just come to the end of her term as Secretary of the College council and has contributed to the College Magazine.

The “Sirjana Bhujuwar Award” was presented to Abdlhadi (Al) Osman for his excellent progress on AF2.  Al came to the College with only one functional skills qualification to his name, having come to the UK very recently.  Al passed all of his GCSEs this summer at College including an A and a B grade (especially amazing considering English is not his first language).  Although he did not have the GCSE Science background to allow him to take Biology, he taught himself GCSE Biology from a textbook and demonstrated such potential and impressive hard work that he was enrolled on AS Biology where he is doing very well. 

Thanks to Ann Robinson for organising the event and collating the awards.

Ceramic Cheer

By Bel Hathaway, Visual Arts, 18 December 2017

Ceramic Christmas decorations handmade by students

Christmas Hampers

By Michelle Perrin, Charities Committee, 18 December 2017

Last week students put together over one hundred hampers for needy families in Colchester and the standard of hamper design was exceptional ! I am pleased to announce the following winners, who scored highly for their originality and creativity:

           Tutor Group 709  for the wonderful Train, Carriages & Track.

          Tutor Group 204 for a fabulous Rudolf and Sleigh.

           Tutor Group 713 for a spectacular Ginger Bread House.

The Great Colchester Bake Off

By Kerstin Ross, English department, 15 December 2017

Well done to everyone who contributed to this year's 'Bake-Off' Competition, which raised money for Colchester Reugee Action. A special thank you to Pru Leith and Paul Hollywood (Pictured with Karen from the College Catering team) for taking time out of their busy media schedule to judge the entries.

College Council Election Results

By Neil Kelly, Head of Student Services, 8 December 2017

Democracy ran smoothly during the recent College Council elections: After a  highly unusual situation where two candidates for the post of Vice Chair received EXACTLY the same number of votes, we very sensibly ended up with two vice-chairs!

Well done to everyone on their success

(Left to right) Aaron Reed – Treasurer, Connie Barrell – Secretary, Luigi Sombilon – Chairperson, Paige Mawdsley – Vice Chair , Owen Gosling – Vice Chair

Holocaust Memorial Programme

By Rebecca McGarrigle, History Department, 23 November 2017

Fourteen second year students recently returned from a trip to Krakow, Poland as part of the college’s Holocaust Memorial Programme. Our students spent a day visiting the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau as well as the Oskar Schindler Factory museum (above) and a number of visits to sites connected with the Jewish community in Krakow.  They were also able to meet up with and discuss their experiences with both German and Polish students from schools that College maintains a collaborative relationship with. Our students were very affected by the trip and have already had a chance to reflect on what they saw to family and friends.

The purpose of the visit and the Holocaust Memorial Programme overall is to ‘learn the lessons of Auschwitz’ and with the college applying for College of Sanctuary status, tolerance and respect for others is at the heart of our values as an institution. The students will now be designing the tutorial to mark Holocaust Memorial Day at the end of January.

Steven Frank, a Holocaust survivor came into college to talk to staff and students about his life on 6th November. The talk was organised by the History and Politics department on behalf of the Holocaust Memorial Programme.

Maths Champions

By Carwyn Ball, Mathematics Dept., 22 November 2017

The students of the Sixth Form College have had a fantastic set of results in this year’s Senior Maths Challenge.

Of the 83 students who entered, 27 achieved a Bronze certificate, 24 achieved Silver and an impressive 9 reached Gold !

Furthermore, 11 Qualified for the Senior Kangaroo and 1 (Ruby Robinson) qualified for the Mathematical Olympiad.

Well done!

Performing Arts Workshop Week – November 2017

By Alison Gaukroger, Performing Arts Dept., 22 November 2017

During the week beginning Monday 6th November the Performing Arts department hosted workshops by The University of Bedfordshire, East 15 and Knaive Theatre Company.

On Monday 6th  November Dance , Performing Arts and Drama and Theatre students enjoyed workshops in contemporary and commercial dance, acting and voice and musical theatre.  These were all run by The University of Bedfordshire who also gave students advice on applying for degree courses and also interview technique.

On Tuesday 7th November students from Performing Arts and IB Theatre took part in a workshop run by East 15 Drama School. The workshop involved a short performance performed by former students on the BA World Performance Course which was then followed by a practical workshop and discussion.  The focus was on different cultures and traditions but using these methods in the students own devising work.

On Friday 10th November Drama and Theatre, IB Theatre, Performing Arts and Dance students all had an opportunity to work with Sam Redway and Tyrell Jones from Knaive Theatre.  Sam is an ex-student of The Sixth Form College (2005-2007) and his theatre company were performing at The Mercury Theatre. The workshops explained the practical process Knaive go through in developing their style of political theatre.

All 3 workshops were well attended and all the workshop leaders commented on the enthusiasm and commitment of the students. 

More photos fromPerforming Arts Workshop Week – November 2017

By Alison Gaukroger, Performing Arts Dept., 22 November 2017

. .

A level Politics Westminster Trip

By Ian Levinson, History and Politics Department, 14 November 2017

Students with Will Quince, MP for Colchester
William Rees-Mogg

Around 50 Politics students spent a whole day at the Palace of Westminster on 2nd November.

The students spent time in the galleries of the Commons and the Lords, visited a Public Bill Committee and had a tour of the Palace from local MP Will Quince with a Q&A session in the Commons chamber. Perhaps the highlight of the trip was a chance encounter with Jacob Rees-Mogg. Students also met Braintree MP James Cleverley as well as a host of other MPs and Peers who were intrigued and impressed with the students and their interest.

International Ambassadors

By Karen Burns, IB Course Co-ordinator, 12 November 2017

A big thank you to all of the student ambassadors who came along to talk to visitors about our International Baccalaureate course during our recent Open Evenings. Many of the ambassadors will be returning for our forthcoming 'IB Information Evening' on 13th November.

Black History Month

By Olivia Browne, Art Department, 12 November 2017

Visitors to reception are sure to have noticed the stunning portrait of former President Obama by student Trevor Bbanda - part of our exhibition to celebrate Black History Month

Inside Out

By Julia Glozier, College Magazine Co-ordinator, 8 November 2017

Don't forget to pick up your copy of Insider Magazine - out now..

College Ambassadors

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 18 October 2017

Recently a number of our students visited Stanway School to speak to year 11 students, giving them a lively and informative insight into life at College. Students also visited The Gilberd and various other partner schools. We're very grateful to all of the students who play some kind of ambassador role here at college, whether it be helping out at events, showing visitors around or visiting local schools. Hundreds of students from across the whole college will be meeting visiting students and parents during our Open Evenings on 18th and 19th October.  Across the year, we've calculated that there must be nearly five hundred ambassadors in all !

History Department trip to Berlin

By Richard Millward, History and Politics Department, 18 October 2017

28 A level History students have just returned from the History department's annual trip to Berlin and this year paid a trip to the German-Soviet Museum where the German forces signed the Unconditional Surrender to bring an end to the Second World War in Europe.  The students are pictured standing below the infamous Soviet T-34 tank.

Student Emily Donoghue had a great time, saying "I couldn't believe the range and amount of sites we visited: it was a brilliant combination of history, culture and art. The trip has not only given me a great foundation of knowledge to plan my German coursework on, but has also made me enthusiastic to begin it.’

Chemistry Champion

By Madeline Robinson, Head of Chemistry, 16 October 2017

Well done to student Angus Thain who has recently picked up a Colchester Youth Award for  Academic Achievement.

Angus arrived at college in 2016 with an average GCSE score of 5.9. In summer 2017 he achieved three A’s and a B in his AS levels, an exceptional “value added” achievement which reflected the thorough, conscientious and determined approach he had all year to his studies.  

Angus is an exceptionally committed and enthusiastic student who has shown outstanding help for other students.  He is aiming to become a Chemistry teacher and in his second year was eager to take up opportunities offered him at college to mentor students in the year below.He gives up hours of his free time every week to mentor younger students one to one in both Chemistry and Biology, patiently and painstakingly leading them through topics they are stuck on and cheerfully building up their confidence and guiding them through.  We have never known of a student mentoring so many or doing it so thoroughly and helpfully, and regularly every week too.     

He has been a real asset!

Volunteers Fair

By Evette Hawkins, Careers Department, 29 September 2017

Thank you to everyone involved in yesterday's Volunteers Fair - lots of students got involved and the event incvluded visitors from a wide range of organisations including The National Citizen Service, ASt. Helena Hospice and Essex Volunteers

Coffee Creatives

By Bel Hathaway, Arts & culture Committee, 28 September 2017

A big thank you to all the students who recently came along to help produce hand printed bunting for our Macmillan Coffee Morning - it was a great success1

English Department Trip to Stratford Upon Avon

By Alison Shelley, English Department, 21 September 2017

Students JAMES HOSKING and ELOISE WISKIN write about their recent experience on the English department Shakespeare trip to Stratford.

"Stratford-Upon-Avon is a place of juxtaposition: Tudor buildings are next to the local McDonalds and M&S, tourists from all around the world were scattered across the heightened British culture around them so the town felt simultaneously like a stranger and a home. It was dead within the centre of this contrast that we, a group of twenty-nine Shakespeareans (the teachers included) and a coach driver, found ourselves.

It was here that we experienced one of the greatest theatre experiences in England; from the gore of Titus Andronicus to the spiritual story of Salome and the dramatic intensity of Julius Caesar. In all, it really was impossible to compare the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to any other kind of performance, with its impressive ability to use both modernised and classical styles. Watching Titus Andronicus in a modern setting really changed the way we viewed the text and was a definite once in a life time experience. After going, many of us would agree that watching Shakespeare live is not something to be missed.

Now onto the most important part of the trip; the beds and food! The little hotel nestled amongst a wooded grove and was more than perfect and the kitchen staff outdid themselves feeding us, and it was easy to forget we were in a youth hostel. There was nothing better for us than grabbing a cup of tea after a long day of shopping, food and of course the plays!

Coming to the end of the trip, the true wonder of the three-day trip was expressed by all of us in an unwillingness to leave. Many of us could have stayed there another month, watching plays and just enjoying the experience offered! If you want a rewarding and fruitful trip, the English trip to Stratford-upon-Avon is the one for you. "

Paraguay Trip

By David Huggon, Modern Foreign Languages Dept, 21 September 2017

College students Iona Bradbury and Jon Miles with children in Santa Maria
Playing volleyball with some of the older Santa Maria students

This was the College's first visit to Paraguay and was an excellent trip.  The students were a very motivated and cohesive group who really enjoyed each other’s company and spent many an hour chatting and interacting together with the local community.  This is the 9th charity trip we have organized to South America, and it is the first time that we have had not one single student getting ill which was a relief!

On the last night in the community of Santa Maria we had a talent show with some of the children from the school. Guitar solos, rap songs etc and an emotional farewell.

After our stint in Santa Maria we went off to Argentina for 4 days, visiting the Iguassu Falls en route. This is a spectacular sight. They are the world’s biggest waterfalls and are one of the true wonders of the natural world.

 In all we have raised £10,000 or so for the Santa Maria Education Fund (see website

Some of this money has already been paid to the families in the area plus the Hotel Santa Maria which is part of the charity. The majority of the money is split between two things. Half will go to scholarships for the poorer children from the more rural communities (some of them come in a long way to the town, for their schooling). The other half we are hoping to use to pay for three of their brighter students (18 years of age) to come to College for three weeks in January 2018.

Weather smiles upon college festival

By Chris Throup, Student Services, 15 September 2017

Good to see that the rain held off for this year's "Knollfest"

Excellent A and AS Level Results

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 17 August 2017

Grades are ‘up’ from last year - and in particular are generally well up in those A and AS level subjects which have been reformed by the Government.  Students at The Sixth Form College, Colchester have achieved excellent A and AS level results in this summer’s examination series overall.

90% of all the 18 year old students at the College have achieved 3 or more A level qualifications or equivalent in their sixth form studies – a level of achievement which is, once again, very significantly above the national average level in sixth forms at schools and colleges across England and Wales.  The year group of approximately 1300 upper sixth students who sat their A levels at the College this summer achieved a subject A to E grade pass rate of over 98% and an A* - B ‘very high grade’ rate of close to 50%.

The average score of the College’s top 100 upper sixth students is equivalent to grades A* A* A at A level and these ‘top end’ results, it is understood, will for the twentieth consecutive year, will exceed the results of the top 100 student achievers in nearly all of the selective grammar or independent schools in the country.  100% pass rates were achieved in 37 separate A level courses including in Economics French, Further Maths, German, Italian, History of Art, Music, Photography, and Spanish.

We are really pleased with how well our students and staff have responded to the demands of the newly, Government reformed AS and A level courses”.   Our students’ achievements are really excellent and they must be very warmly congratulated.  The overall A, AS and IB results achieved by the cohort of students this year are described by Ian MacNaughton, the College Principal as “Fantastic.

Well over 1000 of the upper sixth students from The Sixth Form College have now obtained the necessary qualifications to be able to proceed onto university degree courses including a very large cohort of students who have now achieved the grades required for offers for places on prestige degree courses including, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Dentistry, Engineering, Maths, Economics, Architecture, Law, English and History, or have achieved places at Oxford or Cambridge or Russell Group Universities or Medical Schools or for other highly competitive universities or degree courses.

Amongst the very large cohort of high achievers are:

Rose has now successfully achieved her offer of a place to study Veterinary Medicine at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge.  Rose Arbuthnot from Holbrook previously a student at Royal Hospital School who achieved four A* grades at A level in Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Chemistry.

Daniel will now study Medicine at the University of Exeter.  Daniel Raison from Copford who joined the College from Honywood School, achieved four A* grades at A level – in Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology and Extended Project Qualification.

Jamie Leppard from Colchester previously a student at The Gilberd School achieved four A* grades at A level in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry and will now study for a degree in Physics at Imperial College, University of London.

Madeleine will now study Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Robinson College, University of Cambridge.  Madeleine Chia from Maldon previously a student at St. Benedict’s School, achieved three A* grades in History, Geography and Psychology, together with an A grade in Geology.

Liam McKenna from Colchester previously a student at Philip Morant School achieved top grades in English Literature, History, Mathematics and Chemistry and will now study for a degree in Law at Merton College, University of Oxford.

Dance and Performance Workshops

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 20 July 2017

During the Summer Term the students of the Dance and Performing Arts Department have had a number of opportunities to further their skills with workshops from former students and other professionals:

There have been a range of events,  including  "Musical Theatre" delivered by a former student (just graduated from Chichester University) to a "Flying Low" work shop (pictured) with ex student Hayley Lemon (recently graduated from University of Bedfordshire).

The focus of the sessions have been to begin the exploration of potential conservatoire/university courses within the Performing Arts disciplines. The sessions have also given the opportunity for our current students to discuss the pathways our ex students have taken since leaving The Sixth Form College.
“ It has been such a pleasure to welcome our alumni students back to inspire and work with our current students. They have all given up their time and energy to offer these sessions, it makes a real impact on our students and they have all thoroughly enjoyed the sessions”.

Duke of Edinburgh Gold Expedition

By Graham Rayner, D of E Coordinator, 19 July 2017

Congratulations to 19 year 1 students who have successfully completed their Gold DofE qualifying expedition in the Dark Peaks.  The three student teams were assessed over 4 days by an independent assessor who was very impressed with their navigation skills.  The weather was generally very good, although there was a heavy storm on the acclimatisation day.  Esther Gray, who has supplied the photos, said “our team build a strong bond and we all pulled together in the toughest times.  We really enjoyed it and we were joking that if there was a Platinum expedition where you had to do an extra day, we would probably do it.”  The teams now need to give a presentation in September to next year’s intake, advising them of the do’s and don’ts of a successful expedition!

English Department Trip to Stratford Upon Avon

By Alison Shelley, English Department, 19 July 2017

At the stage door with the actor who played the lead role in Salome!

JAMES HOSKING and ELOISE WISKIN (year one students) write:

Stratford-Upon-Avon is a place of juxtaposition: Tudor buildings are next to the local McDonalds and M&S, tourists from all around the world were scattered across the heightened British culture around them so the town felt simultaneously like a stranger and a home. It was dead within the centre of this contrast that we, a group of twenty-nine Shakespeareans (the teachers included) and a coach driver, found ourselves.

It was here that we experienced one of the greatest theatre experiences in England; from the gore of Titus Andronicus to the spiritual story of Salome and the dramatic intensity of Julius Caesar. In all, it really was impossible to compare the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to any other kind of performance, with its impressive ability to use both modernised and classical styles. Watching Titus Andronicus in a modern setting really changed the way we viewed the text and was definitely a once in a life time experience. After going, many of us would agree that watching Shakespeare live is not something to be missed.

Coming to the end of the trip, the true wonder of the three-day trip was expressed by all of us in an unwillingness to leave. Many of us could have stayed there another month, watching plays and just enjoying the experience offered! If you want a rewarding and fruitful trip, the English trip to Stratford-upon-Avon in the Summer term, is the one for you.

Photos from the Geology Fieldwork Visit to Arran

By Sue Court-Oak, Geography Department, 19 July 2017

Year 1 Geology Students have returned from the annual fieldwork expedition to the Arran which was a great success. They enjoyed engaging with a range of environments, as these photos demonstrate.

Colchester Youth Award Winners

By Carol McAuley, Assistant Principal, 14 July 2017

Congratulations to this year's Colchester Youth Awards winners, including everyone who has supported the  College 'Friends Not Foes' group (pictured) , which was recognised by a special 'Chairs Award' at the presentation event held yesterday evening at Colchester Institute

The group was established to welcome refugees in Colchester and have themselves in a wider range of issues, such as joining a social media campaign #Stand Up for the 347, to highlight the plight of the 347 unaccompanied children in Calais, preparing an installation for Holocaust Memorial event at Firstsite and providing very efficient waiting and washing up services for the four pop-up cafes organised by the Syrian refugees in Colchester ?

They have also been helping man stalls for Refugee Action, Colchester , contributing a very successful quiz to the College tutorial programme designed to raise awareness of facts and fiction surrounding the Refugee crisis and helping with one to one tuition alongside weekly Driving Theory lessons held in College for those Syrians who are trying to get a British Driving license.

Other award winners included Angus Thain , who received an award for academic achievement. As Madeleine Robinson, Head of Chemistry points out:

"Angus is an exceptionally committed and enthusiastic student who has shown outstanding help for other students.  He gives up hours of his free time every week to mentor younger students one to one in both Chemistry and Biology, patiently and painstakingly leading them through topics they are stuck on and cheerfully building up their confidence and guiding them through. 

Angus arrived at college in 2016 with an average GCSE score of 5.9.  In summer 2017 he achieved three A’s and a B in his AS levels, an exceptional “value added” achievement which reflected the thorough, conscientious and determined approach he had all year to his studies.  Angus is someone keen to share his enthusiasm for the subjects he studies.  He is aiming to become a Chemistry teacher and in his second year was eager to take up opportunities offered him at college to mentor students in the year below.  We have never known of a student mentoring so many or doing it so thoroughly and helpfully, and regularly every week too.  He has been a real asset! "

Arts & Culture Festival

By Olivia Browne and Bel Hathaway, Arts & Culture Committee, 13 July 2017

Well done to everyone involved in the annual Arts and Culture Festival today – hundreds of students from across the college came along to get involved and enjoy the sunshine.

 It felt like every corner of the college had something creative going on:

 The Performance Studio was transformed by a ‘Reality / Fantasy’ themed event, which involved students from Dance, Drama and Music

 We also had an excellent fashion show on the concourse and should say a big thank you to all the staff and students who came forward to volunteer as catwalk models

 There were also events covering everything from land art sculpture and art trails, graphics, sun prints, henna tattoos, face painting and postcard sales to animation, oil painting and book binding

Model United Nations Conference

By Tom Barker, Philosophy and Religious Studies Department , 13 July 2017

A big thank you to everyone who worked hard to make the recent two day 'Model United Nations' event such a success, especially our visitors from Colchester's Syrian community and the five former students who gave so much of their time to support the event.

A Quack Team

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 11 July 2017

We aim to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all of the members of our community, so we're delighted to welcome back the family of ducks who attend the college every year.

As always, we aim to put in place appropriate guidance and support - in this case three members of staff spent a rather busy evening guiding them away from the traffic of North Hill and towards the safety of the college pond.

Festival of Dance

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 7 July 2017

On Monday 3rd July The Sixth Form College dance studio hosted The Dance Network Association’s annual North Essex Schools Festival of Dance.  Local schools and Sixth Form Dance students celebrated their hard work, sharing their choreography and performance pieces.  As part of the programme, The Sixth Form’s Youth Dance Company - Dance Station led by Hannah Redfern (6th Form ex student graduated from Laban in 2015) performed their work.  Dance Station is one a number of youth Dance groups set up by the Dance Network Association to further the opportunities of young dancers in the area.  The event was the perfect conclusion to the first year of this exciting collaboration. Thank you to Emma Meek for organising the event and we look forward to starting the new academic year, welcoming new members from local schools and new 6th Form students.

Further information for the Youth dance arrangements can be found at:

- The Dance Network Association

*Image provided by Gemma Wright at The Dance Network Association

The Scar Test

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 4 July 2017

Professional Theatre Company "Untold Arts" performed “The Scar Test” by Hannah Khalil in the college drama studio yesterday.  The company was founded by ex-student Nadia Nadif .  It was a very powerful and moving piece based on verbatim interviews with detainees in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre.  Drama and Theatre and Performing Arts students as well as staff and members of the public also took part in a Q and A session with the actors after the performance.  The production is now at the Soho Theatre in The West End, London until the 22nd July.

Creative Writing trip to North Norfolk

By Nicolai Luck, English Department, 3 July 2017

The Creative Writing Trip outside the windmill!
A little relaxation in the evening - but still related to words!

The 2017 Windmill Writing Weekend took place in glorious summer sunshine on the North Norfolk coast. Eleven students took part in a series of workshops to hone their craft, producing impressive pieces of poetry and prose inspired by their surroundings. Walking the coastal path, basking on the beach and participating in uber-competitive games of Scrabble made up just some of the other activities students enjoyed whilst revelling in the novelty of staying in a windmill equipped with a library!

Physics trip to CERN, Switzerland

By Steve Blay, Head of Physics, 2 July 2017

Claire Lucas uses a Clinometer at the History of Science Museum, Geneva
Becky Dunbar, Charlotte Maclachlan and Elizabeth Diamond at beamline level at the Large Hadron Collider

From being deep underground, metres from where new matter is being produced in the large hadron collider to sitting in the gallery of the UN while the Syrian Crisis is being discussed, a group of 26 physics students had a range of experiences that will stay with them long after the trip finished. A vast amount was packed into our 3 day visit to Geneva ranging from scientific discovery and world politics to playing in the fountains on the Place de Nations. A successful and enjoyable trip; plans are already underway for next year.

Art Exhibition

By Harvey Taylor, Head of Art & Design, 23 June 2017

A big thank you to all of the students, staff and parents who came along on one of hottest afternoon's of the year to attend yesterday's private view event, which served as the official opening to our annual exhibition.

A huge amount of excellent work is on display, drawn from a wide variety of disciplines, including Art, Textiles, Photography and Graphic Design.  Well done to everyone involved!

Visiting Speaker

By Carwyn Ball, Maths Dept., 22 June 2017

As part of the college’s recent 'Three Day Programme' of careers and progression events, Martin Nelmes visited from the University of Aberystwyth to talk about studying Maths, Physics or Computing beyond A-Level.

In the Maths talk he organised an activity concerning the definition of a circle. In the Physics, students had to choose a suitable landing site for a Mars rover and in the Computing talk he covered about robots, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

A big thank you to Martin for such an enjoyable and informative visit!

Peregrine Falcon visits College

By Michael Padmore, Conservation co-ordinator, 20 June 2017

A fledgling Peregrine Falcon made a surprise appearance at College this week, basking in the sunshine in the garden of the Learning Support building.  

We had been alerted to a breeding pair that had nested on top of the famous 'Jumbo' water tower earlier in the week.  Students and staff kept a careful eye on the family with a telescope and were lucky to be able to witness this very rare treat.

Exhibition - Private View Invitation - for students and their families

By Harvey Taylor, Visual Arts Dept., 8 June 2017


Sports Awards 2017

By Tori Yates, Sports Dept., 8 June 2017

Congratulations to all our prizewinners this year, including the basketsquad who were awarded "Team of the Year", Oscar Dawson who was named "Sports Athlete Scholar" and Yoyo Hobbs who is now "Sports Personality of the Year" .

New Garden Sculpture

By Sally Houchin, Art and Design Dept., 26 May 2017

Visitors to the newly landscaped garden area outside the Learning Support Dept. offices in 58 North Hill  will have noticed the striking ‘Crane’ bird feeder,created by A-Level Product Design student George Wilson,  that has now been cemented into place.