Politics Students in the News

By Ian Levinson, Head of Politics, 5 September 2019

Good to see a number of our A Level Politics students discussing Brexit and Boris on the News at One today 

Excellent A Level Results

By Adrian Frost , Assistant Principal, 15 August 2019

Students at The Sixth Form College, Colchester have achieved really excellent A level results in this summer’s examination series.  Grades are ‘up’ from the strong A level results achieved by students at the College last year.

The year group of just over 1300 upper sixth students who studied A levels at the College in the 2017-19 period achieved a subject A* to E grade pass rate of over 98% and an A* - B ‘high grade rate’ of close to 50% - ‘up’ by 1.5%.  90% of all the 18 year old students at the College have achieved 3 or more A level or Applied General Extended Certificate (A level equivalent) qualifications in their sixth form studies – a level of achievement which, once again, will be very significantly above the national average level in sixth forms at schools and colleges across England and Wales.  The cohort of students at the College are also believed to have again achieved a strong ‘value-added’ level of achievement i.e. when students overall package of results achieved by the end of their sixth form studies is related to the package of GCSE results achieved at age 16.  A large number of students from relatively disadvantaged backgrounds or who have experienced personal difficulty have achieved really well.

100% pass rates have been achieved in 17 separate A level courses including in Classical Civilisation, French, German, Spanish, Italian, History of Art, Music, Drama, Electronics, Product Design and Textiles with most other subjects achieving 98% or 99% pass rates.  The average level of achievement 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 again exceed the results of the top 100 student achievers in nearly all of the selective grammar or independent schools in the country.

Applied General results achieved by students at the College are also very strong with the Extended Certificate results (A level equivalent), resulting in a 99.8% pass rate.  In July, the group of upper sixth students who studied for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma heard that they had been awarded excellent IB results (an average of 32 points – approx. 10% higher than the international average). 

The overall A, IB and Applied General qualification results achieved by the cohort of students this year are described by Ian MacNaughton, the College Principal, as “Really excellent.  Our students’ achievements are very strong and they must be very warmly congratulated for their levels of engagement and hard work.  We are really pleased with how well our students and staff have responded to the demands of the Government reformed and harder A level and Applied General courses that have arisen from the government reforms.  We are pleased that so many students who experienced difficulties have achieved really well”.

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.  

University Success

By Ann Johnson, Assistant Principal , 15 August 2019

Amongst a large cohort of A Level high achievers this year are; (L-R)

Harry, from Honywood Community School, who achieved straight A* grades in A level French, Economics and Spanish and will now take up a place at Worcester College, Oxford to study French and Spanish.

Deborah, who joined us from Chelmsford County High School and achieved A* grades in A level Biology and Religious Studies and an A grade in Chemistry and Extended Project Qualification. She will now take a place to study Dentistry at the University of Bristol.

Amber, from St Helena School, who also achieved 3 A* grades at A level (Biology, English and Psychology) and will now study Psychology at Kings College, London.

Luke, who joined us from St. John Payne School and achieved A* grades in A level Biology, Geology, Environmental Science and Extended Project Qualification,and is now moving onto a degree in Environmental Geoscience at the University of Bristol.

Well done to them and the hundreds of other students who are taking up places with a wide range of universities and employers over the next few months.

Excellent IB Results !!

By Karen Burns, IB Programme Co-ordinator , 18 July 2019

International Baccalaureate students at the Sixth Form College Colchester were last week celebrating another year of success.

We are really proud of the students' successes this year. 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 96% - even better than last year’s cohort.

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 77%.

We are delighted to see a number of students achieve excellent grades. For example, Jess Wallis achieved a stunning 39 points, and is now taking up a place reading Law at Worcester College Oxford in the Autumn.

Front L to R :  Jessica Leach, India Webb, Elanor Watkins           Back L to R: Jessica Wallis, Will Harris

Awards Winning Chemists

By Madeline Robinson, Head of Chemistry , 18 July 2019

Well done to all our winners in the Cambridge Chemistry Awards!

Front row left to right: Danny Millward, Jangillo Andre-Fatah and Harriet Edwards  

Back row left to right: Maggie Dymoke-Bradshaw, Taylor Blackwell, Joy Bamidele and Stephen Penaflor

A Level Dance workshop; Jasmine Hall

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 17 July 2019

Something different today for the A Level Dance students.  Ex student Jas Hall returned to give them an insight into her work within the community.  The students were asked to " imagine being an old person", they were then taken through a typical Dance class, working with the elderly or people with Parkinson's disease.  They got to explore sensory exploration with props, seated movement and how you might instruct a group through exercise.  This was a totally new experience of Dance for some students, it was both informative and great fun.  Jasmin graduated with a first class honours degree in Dance from Bath Spa University, has since been working as a community practitioner, dance film maker and choreographer in the local area.  Jas is currently building her company - Jasmine Hall Dance, based in Colchester.

Debating Competition

By Jo Cadman, Assistant Principal , 17 July 2019

The College Summer Debating Competition took place on Wednesday 10th July. It was a hugely enjoyable afternoon of debating, organised and judged by student members of the Debating Society. Alex Merry and Scarlet Howard were the worthy winners.

Fashion Show at College

By Suzanne Gartland, Textiles, 17 July 2019

Duke of Edinburgh Gold Qualifying Expedition

By Graham Rayner, D of E Coordinator, 16 July 2019

20 year 1 students recently completed their Gold D of E Qualifying Expedition.  Walking roughly 80 km over four days in the Yorkshire Dales, carrying all their food and equipment, all three teams were excellent in every aspect.  It certainly helped that the weather was on our side.  Their navigation was spot on and no-one got significantly lost!  The independent assessor was full of praise and commented that the standard demonstrated by the College participants was among the highest he had ever seen.  In order to complete the expedition, the teams will give a presentation in September to next year's recruits on their chosen expedition aim.

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.

Youth Award Winners

By Lauren Humbles, Sociology Dept., 16 July 2019

We are very proud to announce that a group of our students, along with students from Colchester Institute and St Benedicts, were given a Citizens Youth Award last night. They were awarded for their work in the local area to improve mental health services for young people. The judges said that the reason the group won was because “they were courageous and created genuine change”.

Over the last 12 months, the group have courageously shared details of their own journeys in accessing and helping friends access mental health support. They did this initially in groups and then in October 2018 at a public meeting in front of over 100 people at the University of Essex. The young people also gathered data about the things their peers would like to change with regard to local Mental Health Services. They created posters and displays to raise awareness of what services are available locally.

They then identified that North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) have the public funding for Children and Young People’s Early Intervention Services and for the Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health services for under 18s in Colchester area. But there were problems with their website which made it very difficult to access and locate Colchester mental health services.

The group asked NELFT to make improvements to their website and to meet with them so they could share their concerns. In March 2019 at Colchester Citizens founding assembly the young people presented their personal journeys and requests of NELFT to a packed St Botolph’s church. Two directors of NELFT attended this assembly and agreed to meet with the group and make the services they provide for young people in Colchester area more visible on the NELFT website.

Later in March the young people then chaired a meeting with senior staff from NELFT where they shared their concerns and made recommendations as to how NELFT could make the services more visible. As a result NELFT have made some changes to their website and have agreed to make other changes which will benefit young people across the area who are looking for help with their Mental Health.

We are extremely proud of the work that these young people have done to create real change in their local area, and make accessing vital mental health support easier for other young people such as themselves.

Arts & Culture Festival 2019

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Department, 16 July 2019

On Thursday 11th July the college celebrated with the annual Arts and Culture festival. A wide range of events took place around and outside the college buildings. This included live drama, dance & music performances, a fashion show, Storm radio set, bands on the grassy knoll, Art History trail, body art, an environmental installation, art exhibition, screening of student made films, stop frame animation workshop, West African drumming workshop, amongst other events.

The drama studio performances included devised work from Performing Arts students, musical theatre numbers, songs from the choir and band members, solo dance performances, and electric guitar solos. Also a great audience attended and supported the performers fully!

Drama student gains place in the National Youth Theatre

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 16 July 2019

Huge congratulations to 2nd year student Adam Hills (Pictured in his A level Drama Devised exam piece) who has gained a place at The National Youth Theatre. Adam will be spending three weeks in London in August training with them. This is a fantastic achievement and a wonderful opportunity to work in a professional context. Well Done Adam!

Recognition for outstanding A-Level Art students

By Harvey Taylor, Head of Visual Arts Dept., 15 July 2019

The North Essex Arts Society visited our end of year show in June and they would like to put forward a piece by Ella Sambrook to be considered for the Royal Society of British Artists exhibition in 2020. ‘A’ Level student work, from around the country, has been chosen by various societies to be put forward for selection for this student exhibition.

Ella’s work, if selected for the national exhibition will be on show from early April to mid July 2020 for exhibition at The Royal Overseas League and then The Mall Galleries in London.

Also, on behalf of The North Essex Arts Society they are making awards for excellence to:Ella and fellow student Zoe Kench. The presentation of the awards will be at the community stadium in September 2019.

Well done!

A Level Dance Workshop with Katherine Gaukroger

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 15 July 2019

Even though we are in the final week of term, there is no rest for our A Level Dance students. Katherine Gaukroger visited to deliver a challenging workshop today.  Katherine is an honorary member of the Performing Arts department at The Sixth Form College. Although she did not study A Levels with us, we have followed her journey through her Dance training very closely.  Katherine is the daughter of our Head of Performing Arts - Alison Gaukroger!  Thank you to Katherine for the practical insight into training at Bird College, the students thoroughly enjoyed the session.

The Royal Opera House and Gurls Du Filme visit the Performing Arts dept.

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Dept, 15 July 2019

Royal Opera House Bridge has commissioned the production company, Gurls Du Filme, to create a short film based on children and young people’s perception of Art and Culture. They have been filming children and young people across the eastern region and today visited our department and worked with the BTEC Performing Arts students. With the focus on Musical Theatre our students were filmed singing, and then rehearsing and performing a choreographed sequence from Bob Fosse's "Cell Block Tango" from the musical Chicago. The short film will be produced by October this year ... watch this space!

Musical Theatre workshop from Leeds College of Music

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Department, 15 July 2019

Adam Stadius, course leader of the Musical Theatre degree at Leeds College of Music, visited on Friday to run a workshop with BTEC Performing Arts students. He explored how acting through song can effectively communicate meaning for an audience and also gave individual feedback to students who had prepared audition songs. Once again, Hugo Bragg, who has just finished his A levels with us, returned as our accompanist on piano. Alex Terry, who has also just completed his A levels, has secured a place on the Musical Theatre course at Leeds, to start in September. It is a brand new course set up with the guidance of industry professionals. We wish Alex every success and look forward to him returning next year to share his experiences with us.

A Level Drama & Theatre devised practical exam success

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 12 July 2019

A level Drama and Theatre students have recently performed their devised pieces for assessment. The practical exam performance and 2 pieces of written coursework form 40% of their final A level.

The students all worked in groups of 5-8 and creatively adapted short stories by a range of authors including DH Lawrence, Truman Capote and Italo Calvino. They used the work of practitioners Katie Mitchell and Frantic Assembly to inspire their creative approaches. Some were humorous and quirky, some were serious and thought provoking; all of them entertained their audience and examiners! 

Jack Petchey Award Winners

By Evette Hawkins, Careers Department, 10 July 2019

Well done to this year's award winners!


Jemimah Ngu 

Awarded for her commitment to college life. Treasurer of the College Council, Chair of the Culture Committee and a Library Champion, Jemimah is certainly is fully engaged with college activities.

Philippa Smith 

With her practical coaching in a primary school, Phillipa was an excellent example to everyone. She does all of this from her wheelchair - outstanding commitment shown by someone who has lots to contend with!

 The sessions she delivers are of the highest standard we have seen in the coaching groups over the years

Floran Echasserieau 

Awarded for his contribution to the wider community in the 'Friends not Foes' group. He picks up children from school everyday to take them to homework club, where he helps out. He is also a fabulous cook and bakes for pop-up stalls and events to raise money for the group.

Musical Theatre Audition workshop

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts , 10 July 2019

Genevieve Clarke, one of our ex-Performing Arts students, returned to college to run a musical theatre audition workshop with our current Performing Arts students. After leaving college and working for Red Rose Chain theatre, Genevieve trained at LIPA, completing a BA (Hons) in Acting, and then The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she completed her MA in Musical Theatre. This workshop gave our students a chance to receive individual feedback on their audition songs, each one improving significantly with Genevieve’s guidance and suggestions. This was valuable advice as students start their preparation for auditions at conservatoires and universities, which will begin next term. It is also building students’ skills and confidence for the musical theatre unit on the Performing Arts course. Students sung songs from the musicals “Be More Chill”, “I Love You Because”, “Come From Away” and “Hairspray”. All were ably accompanied on the piano by our year 2 student Hugo Bragg.

A Level Dance workshop: John Slade

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 9 July 2019

A Level Dance students were given yet another opportunity to explore new approaches to movement, with a workshop delivered by ex student John Slade.  John graduated from Trinity Laban with a first class honours degree in Dance Theatre and later retrained at The Poor School in 2016 as an actor.  John now successfully works within the Dance/Theatre industry and has regular voice work.  John focused his workshop on exploring Laban Qualities of movement and improvisation.

EVOLUTION Foundation College visit the Performing Arts department

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts, 5 July 2019

The Performing Arts department were delighted to welcome the Principal of Evolution Foundation College Jacqui Tapsell and Head of Singing at the college, Mark Connell. They talked us through what to expect from a Foundation course in the Performing Arts and the benefits of this level of training; this helps to prepare students fully in terms of skills and confidence before they go on to a Performing Arts college to study at diploma or degree level. This is essential information for our students to take on board as they continue to research the many options available to them in terms of performing arts training and careers. We have had students leave us at The Sixth Form to go on to train at EVO over the last couple of years, and another four Performing Arts students will be joining the EVO team in September. A really informative afternoon!

Arran Return

By Tim Harrison, Senior Premises Manager , 4 July 2019

Well done to everyone involved in the recent Geology Trip to Arran

Good to see everyone back in one piece after a long, hot journey home!

Annual Visitors

By Michael Padmore, Media & Film, 4 July 2019

The Sixth Form College Peregrine Watch has been running for a second year, providing students, staff and members of the public with an opportunity to observe the family of peregrine falcons nesting on Jumbo, the water tower at the top of the hill. Once again there were three chicks in the nest and we were watched closely to see whether they would succeed in flying first time or crash land into the college gardens as they have done for the last two years. Bird of prey expert Peter Merchant was on hand to share his knowledge and experiences with peregrines as they extend their range across the East of England. He also brought telescopes and binoculars on loan from Viking Optics in Halesworth, to give everyone an excellent view of the birds. All three young have now left the nest and can often be seen over the college as their parents teach them how to hunt. This year’s Peregrine Watch raised more than £100 to support Wild Justice in its campaign to use to UK legal system to further nature conservation.

Further down the hill, a recording of swift calls or “screaming” has been playing early in the morning and later in the evening to attract this threatened bird to the 14 nest boxes put up in February thanks to generous donations from students, staff and the Essex Wildlife Trust’s Colchester group. It is generally believed that it may take two years or more to establish a breeding colony; however, early signs around the mid-site building suggest that the birds are already visiting the boxes.

Photos: one of this year’s peregrine chicks, taken by local wildlife photographer Sean Nixon.

Alumni return to the Performing Arts Department for annual H.E. conference

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 4 July 2019

Fifteen Alumni students returned to the Performing Arts department to be the panel at our annual Performing Arts Higher Education conference. A wide range of ex-students attended who are either completing their training at university or conservatoire, or currently working in the industry as actors, dancers, musicians, producers or the like. They gave advice to our current students on the merits of taking a Gap year; finding a theatrical agent and how this works; advice to take every opportunity offered to you if you can; what to look for when researching and selecting universities and conservatoires, or any other career pathway; being prepared to work hard in a highly competitive industry; not expecting that career paths go as smoothly as you anticipated, or even in the direction you anticipated! A really valuable afternoon was spent listening and questioning some of our alumni who were once in the same position as our current students.

Two more workshops this week for A Level Dance students

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 4 July 2019

This week, A Level Dancers had two more FREE workshops with ex Dance students. Lucy Teed and Jack Richardson returned to deliver two very different workshop to current students.  Lucy, a local yoga teacher worked with the students to explore the use of breath within movement. We are hoping to see Lucy regularly at college next year, working with the Dance students for regular yoga classes to compliment their Dance training. Jack, currently a training dancer at Northern School of Contemporary Dance introduced the student to the working methods of the conservatoire. Some of the current dance students will be looking at NSCD as an option for study at the end of their second year. Jack has been selected as part of the Young Cast, touring in Matthew Bourne's Romeo and Juliet. Jack will be performing at the Norwich Theatre Royal in September this year.

International Baccalaureate Trip

By Karen Burns, IB Co-ordinator, 4 July 2019

Whilst second year IB students anxiously await results day, the first years had a very relaxing day out in Cambridge yesterday....

Colourful College at Induction

By Jan Harker, Assistant Principal, 3 July 2019

The College loves to display student work across all subjects and courses, so that current students, prospective students, staff and visitors have a vibrant and creative environment to visit and work in. At this time of year many courses are able to show prospective students examples of the work produced by our current students; just one example being the Textiles room during the two induction days for students joining us in September.

A Level Dance Workshop: Niki Taylor

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 27 June 2019

Another Dance workshop, this time with a difference.  today our ex student Niki Taylor returned to talk to the current students, about how she has successfully started her local school.  Niki run Taylor's Dance School here in Colchester.  She explained how she had originally planned to pursue a career in nursing but during her first year at university, changed her mind and set up her school.  The school is 4 years old now and growing steadily.

BAFTA Win For Former Student

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 26 June 2019

Well done to former student Yasmine Permaul (second right back row) - part of the BAFTA Award winning team behind Lucy Worsley's 'Suffragettes'.

Yasmine was always determined to work in the media. Whilst at  college she picked up an excellent A* grade for her Extended Project in the field alongside the Essex County Standard Award for Communications.

She tells us it's a hard life - she recently had to spend six months in Hawaii researching World War II....

Radio Waves

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 26 June 2019

A big thank you to everyone at the student-run 'Storm Radio' station for bringing that festival vibe to our recent induction event

Dance group back in the studio preparing for national U Dance finals!!!!

By Sarah pritchard, Head of Dance, 25 June 2019

A Level Dance leavers, returned to the studio this week to start preparations for their coming U Dance 2019 national final. Having been successfully chosen to represent the Eastern region - 23 youth dance groups were selected from hundreds of entrants nationwide. The dance groups are drawn from school dance groups, youth dance companies, private dance schools and the national Centres for Advanced Training. 

It was lovely to have the group back in the studio, they were in high spirits - excited to be refreshing the piece and reconnecting to their characters.

The performance takes place on 21st July at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre .  For more information about U Dance, please follow the link below:


Food Science & Nutrition Course

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 22 June 2019

I think I'm supposed to put some comment here, but I think the food produced by students on this course speaks for itself ?

A level Dance Workshop: Hayley Lemon and Marta

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 21 June 2019

Our last workshop this week, we finished with a real treat!  A Level Dance students were lucky to get a Contact Improvisation session from, our ex student Hayley Lemon and Marta.  The session challenged students to think about their connections with their partners, whilst performing a Wim Vandekeybus inspired duet the pair learnt whilst at the annual Deltebre Festival in 2018. 

Hayley left college in 2014, graduated with a first class degree in Dance from the University of Bedfordshire and has this year also gained her Masters Degree in Dance Performance and Choreography.  Hayley returned to college earlier this year, to work as our Artists in Resident.  She worked with second year A Level Dance students on a 6 week creative project.  The final work they created, will be performed this July at the final of the 2019 U Dance competition.

Art & Design - Private View exhibition

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 20 June 2019

On Thurs 20th June the Art department held a private view exhibition to display students' work. This involved the work of students across the Visual Arts department including Fine Art, Sculpture, Photography, Art History, Textiles, Graphic design and Product Design. It was very well attended by parents, staff, students and friends and, as always, showcased an outstanding level of work from all those involved.

Marine Conservation Society Beach Clean

By Sarah Hazelton, Environment Committee, 19 June 2019

A small band of students and staff recently undertook a Beach Clean and Survey at Clacton-on-Sea for the Marine Conservation Society. The team removed 1097 pieces of litter weighing a total of 5.14kg, including 518 pieces of plastic/polystyrene and a shocking 413 cigarette stubs from 100m of beach!  Many of the volunteers are members of the Environment Committee at college, which will be running a campaign supporting Sea Turtles through SeeTurtles.org and the Marine Conservation Society.

A Level Dance workshop: Emma Shouksmith

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 19 June 2019

Another challenging workshop from one of our Alumni. This time A Level dancers extended their skills to a musical theatre style. Emma graduated from the University of Chichester in 2017 with a first class degree in Musical Theatre (Triple Threat). Emma is currently a dance practitioner in Colchester and the surrounding area. 

CERN Visit

By Steve Blay, Head of Physics, 18 June 2019

Although the weather in Geneva was wet and miserable it didn’t dampen the spirits of the 27 physics students who visited the city last week. Highlight of the trip was the visit to CERN where the group got to within touching distance of where the Higgs Boson was discovered. Luckily the sun came out for the boat trip on the lake and the visit to the UN.

A Level Dance Workshop: Libby Farrelly

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 18 June 2019

Another exciting workshop, this time led by Libby.  Having graduated from De Montfort University with a Dance Degree, Libby is currently studying for a Masters degree in Marketing.  Libby is still heavily involved in Dance and came back to work with the current Dance students. She offered sound advice to students, on following your dreams but being open to a change of direction as you grow and learn more about your future options.

Bremen Exchange

By Rosie Newhouse, Modern Foreign Languages , 17 June 2019

Earlier this year, fourteen students and two teachers from the Kippenberg Grammar School in Bremen, Germany spent a week in Colchester on the first leg of the German Exchange. They went to Cambridge, London, and Flatford Mill and stayed with 6th Form College students and their families. Everybody got on well and the Germans enjoyed the unusually sunny British weather!

The Sixth Form College students are now spending a week in Bremen 

Welcome Return

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 17 June 2019

It's quite right that the annual return of the peregrine falcons to their nest on Jumbo causes much excitement in college; they certainly draw many visitors to the observation post in our Biology Department, but it's good to see the return of other feathered friends too - including the ducks on the college pond!

A Level Dance Workshop: Beth Storie returns

By Sarah Pritchard , Head of Dance, 17 June 2019

Beth Storie returned to deliver a workshop for current A Level Dance students. Since leaving college in 2014, Beth has graduated with a 1st class degree from De Montfort University and a Masters degree in Dance from University of Bedfordshire.  Look out for some exciting news about Beth's career in the near future....

A Treat for A Level Dance Students

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 10 June 2019

Ex student Luke Jessop returned from Belgium to deliver a practical workshop for A Level Dance students on 23rd May. Since leaving college in 2009, Luke has built a very successful Dance career. He trained at the University of Bedfordshire, before working with a number of British based dance companies. He then went to Belgium to work with Ultima Vez, a company founded in 1986 by choreographer, director and filmmaker Wim Vandekeybus. Luke has worked extensively with the company, he has now embarked on establishing his own company for his creative explorations. Ion Tribe is the result of Luke’s personal journey. Luke came back to work with our Dance students, exploring repertoire and creative tasks to build each students’ vocabulary. The 3 hour session tested the students physically and artistically, leaving time at the end for Luke to talk to the students about his experience and give sound advice to them whilst they are currently researching and thinking about their own futures beyond the Sixth Form College. The students only had positive feedback about their workshop and are keen for Luke to come back and visit us again soon if there is time in his VERY busy calendar.

Spanish Exchange

By David Huggon, Modern Foreign Languages , 9 June 2019

Last term nineteen students and three teachers completed a very successful Spanish Exchange trip to a school in Palma de Mallorca. It was a very enriching experience for all of us and it was very gratifying to see the students get on well, both with each other and also with their Spanish exchange partners. It was great to see them creating new friendships and learning from each other’s culture. I consider this to be one of the most important lessons that young people can learn, especially so in these times of uncertainty. 

Chemistry Olympiad

By Madeline Robinson, Head of Chemistry, 5 June 2019

Well done to everyone who did so well in last term's very challenging national 'Chemistry Olympiad'.  All five of the students who entered achieved awards including Gemini Waterhouse (Gold), Joshua Gray, Alan Burling and Charlie Campbell (Silver) and Arnold Lasgana (bronze). 

They should be very proud that they were brave enough to enter and achieve these impressive awards.

(L-R) Josh, Gemini, Charlie, Alan

Performing Arts Department Launch Promotional Showreel

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Dept., 10 May 2019

We were delighted to officially launch our new promotional showreel for the Performing Arts department this week. This was filmed, planned and edited by 2nd year Performing Arts and Film student Grace McBurney, with accompanying music by music student Harry Dedhar. Many of our current students have been a part of the show reel, and we feel this gives an insight into being a student in the Performing Arts department at The Sixth Form College. Grace is going on to study Film at University in September.

Physics Challenge

By Elaine O Brien, Physics Dept., 9 May 2019

Fifteen Year 1 students recently competed in the AS Physics Challenge which is organised by Oxford University. 

The following students received silver awards: Thomas Hamner, Nella McCann, Matthew Maynard, Thomas Nicoll  and James Parkinson. 

Szabolcs Barandi, Taylor Blackwell, and Jude Rowlands each received a bronze (I) 

Michael Anthony, Rob Easter (, Joanna Edu, and Abdul Mohaimin  each received bronze (II).

Well done everyone!

Performing Arts Dept OSCARS Awards Evening

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 8 May 2019

On the evening of 7th May the Performing Arts Department held their annual OSCARS awards. This is to celebrate the success and commitment of our students to the department in their academic, practical and extracurricular activities. Our guest speaker this year was ex-student Kaia Goodenough who graduated from London Studio Centre in 2016. She is currently the first ever Associate Junior Artist at Dance East, creating and producing for her own company Kaia Goodenough Dance. 

All subject areas nominated students for awards in their specialisms and there was also an award presented to a student who has shown exceptional commitment to the whole department through their involvement in extracurricular activities. This was awarded to 2nd year Drama, Music and Performing Arts student Alex Terry. This year we also gave special recognition to three students who have helped the department in specific areas such as creating a show reel for our website: Grace McBurney; for taking photographs of students’ practical work: Dion Duke; and for directing a Musical theatre production: Andrew Carrington-Moule. It was a very positive and well attended event and a lovely way to say goodbye to some of our year 2 students. Many have secured places at universities and conservatoires to study Performing Arts as well as a range of other subjects.

Other winners were:

Drama & Theatre written work – Gareth Moriarty

Performing Arts Performance Award – Hugo Bragg

Composition in Music – Nicole Roffey

Dance Ambassador – Sandra Maduoma

Most improved student in Music Technology – Max Brand

Commitment and effort in Drama & Theatre – Emeline Eslamian

Most improved Performing Arts BTEC – Victoria Cardoso and Amber Fisher (joint)

Best Performance for Music –  Millie Watson

Above and Beyond in Dance – Rebecca Mahoney

Drama & Theatre performance award –  Adam Dunston

Performing Arts BTEC written award – Gareth Moriarty

Contribution Award for Music – Joshua Bobby

Most improved student in dance – Mischia McLeod

RADA Shakespeare award – Emily Adkinson

Overall contribution to BTEC Performing Arts – Emily Adkinson & Shani Kantor (joint)

Composition Award in Music Technology – Joy Bakare

Most committed and enthusiastic student in dance – Jess Woods

Award for collaborative group work in BTEC Performing Arts – Kayleigh Saunders, Gracie-Mae Pettitt, Holly Felgate, Maisie Warner


College Annual Careers Fair

By Sheila Poole, Careers Department, 3 May 2019

The College Annual Careers Fair was held last month and was well attended by enthusiastic students.  Over 90 exhibitors were in attendance including 65 universities together with apprenticeship, year out and volunteering providers. Here is what some of the exhibitors had to say: 

“It was the first time I, personally, have participated in the event and it really surpassed expectations!”  

“Your students are truly a credit to the college”

“It really was a great event - one I always look forward to” 

“The event yesterday was fantastic. The students were a pleasure to speak with - confident about interacting and very focused and prepared.”

Dance & Performing Arts students perform at The Gilberd School Dance show

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 1 May 2019

At the end of the Spring term we were privileged to be invited back again, to be part of The Gilberd school's annual Dance Show. We took two pieces: A group of BTEC Performing Arts students performed their exam piece "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago; A Level Dance students performed the piece entered and chosen for the U Dance national competition FINAL. The piece was choreographed by Hayley Lemon, an ex-Sixth Form student as well as an ex-Gilberd student. We value our links with our local secondary schools, our students benefiting from the experience of touring their work and sharing it with others.

Students in Court

By Emily Cheffins, Head of Law, 30 March 2019

Well done to everyone from our 'Lawyers' group.

These lawyers of the future fought their way through to the national final of the Young Citizens Bar Mock Trial Competition at their first attempt! Last weekend they journeyed to Edinburgh, where they literally rose to the occasion, with a number of them standing up in full wig and gown to put witnesses to the test in front a a real court judge in the Scottish Supreme Court. All involved did an excellent job, putting in an extremely polished and well-prepared performance, as QC's, court officials, witnesses and jurors...

(And, of course,  a big thank you to Gepps Solicitors for all of their support in supporting the lawyers of the future - it is much appreciated)

Squash Team Success

By Nesta James, Head of Sport & PE, 30 March 2019

The squash team played extremely well in national championships last week. They ended up 5th in the country in Key Stage 5 - and as the highest ranked non-public school in the country.

They lost their first match against Gosforth Academy (the ultimate winners) 1-4, however the girls got together and then won their next two matches beating Wycombe Academy 3-2 and then Aylesbury 4-1.

Every one of the girls ended up winning at least one of their matches and the girls were a real credit to the College with their positive attitude all day, with their friendly approach to everyone, including their opponents during their matches and with the general way in which they approached a tough day!

(L-R - Elli, Georgia, India, Piper and Izzy)

Eggs-traordinary Effort

By Michele Perrin, Charities Committee Coordinator , 30 March 2019

Well done to everyone who helped collect over 200 Easter Eggs for needy children in Colchester yesterday...

College working towards Artsmark

By Jan Harker, Assistant Principal, 28 March 2019

College is currently working on an approved statement of commitment for the Artsmark, awarded by the Arts Council England, in conjunction with the Royal Opera House Bridge. The aim is to acknowledge the college’s commitment to high quality arts and cultural education, both within the college and the wider community. As part of this plan the college will be offering the Arts Award at Gold level from June 2019. 


By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts, 28 March 2019

The college were delighted to host Splendid productions for the third year running, this time with their three woman production of the ORESTEIA. This three part ancient Greek tragedy was condensed into one hour, making good use of the audience, creating poignant humour from the dark themes of murder and war, and making the audience think about the various perspectives of this dark tale of the family of Agamemnon. The Performing Arts department were joined by Classics students during the performance and workshop, as the performance also complements their A level studies.

The workshop that followed was inspiring and very lively, pushing students to achieve the physical and vocal skills they didn't think they could! Many of the ideas explored, regarding the use of the ensemble and physicality to create perspective, are already being put to good use in students' own devising work for their exam performances. An inspiring afternoon was had, as always, with Splendid! 

Performing Arts and Dance trip to Move it!

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 27 March 2019

Dance and Performing Arts students visited the annual Dance exhibition Move It! this month. Students spent the day taking professional classes, exploring the various exhibition stands and watching performances – everybody looking out for the free marketing material to collect! The exhibition is a wonderful example of how healthy and vast the Performing Arts industry is in this country. Exhibitors from conservatoires, universities, merchandise and dance apparel providing advice and guidance to the students. Our students, who may be thinking of continuing their training in Dance or Musical Theatre, took the opportunity to talk to the representatives about their options. One student also took the opportunity to perform on the freestyle stage, being chosen as the winner of her heat and invited to perform in the Day’s final! It was also a pleasure to see current students and alumni students representing their institutions on stalls, taking the time to chat with our Sixth Form students. It was another successful trip to Move It!, we look forward to taking students again next year!!!


A Level Dancers Performance at U Dance Competition

By Sarah Pritchard , Head of Dance , 11 March 2019

I wanted to take the opportunity, to say how proud I am of the Year 2 dancers who took part in our first “Choreographer in Residence” Pr this year. After 6 weeks working with choreographer and former student Hayley Lemon, they created a work that was successfully chosen to be performed at the regional stage of a national Dance competition. On Saturday, they performed their work to a full house at DanceEast. Nine Youth groups performed at the event, two will be shortlisted to make up the four groups representing the Eastern region – from those groups ONE will be selected for the National final in London.

The six dancers involved and Becca as our rehearsal director/costume manager, were exceptional throughout the project. They were professional, a pleasure to work with and fully committed to the project. The standard of work they performed, their focus and their performance ability was commented on by a number of group leaders on Saturday – including the staff at Dance East.

Thank you to the students - “for all of your hard work, for your confidence and for your professionalism at the event on Saturday”.

GCSE Citizenship Trip to Parliament

By Lauren Humbles, Sociology and Health Department, 3 March 2019

On Friday 1st March 28 GCSE Citizenship students travelled to London. The group experienced a tour of Parliament, which included watching the House of Lords in action from the public gallery, a workshop where students debated the issue of university tuition fees in the UK and a Q&A with an ex-MP and current Lord. Lunch followed at Borough Market - an insight into multicultural Britain - and a trip to Stratford to the Olympic Village and the shops! Staff were very proud of how used their Citizenship knowledge to debate and discuss issues in Parliament. An excellent and diverse day of activities enjoyed by all.

Battle of The Bands

By Dan Plewinski, Performing Arts Department , 1 March 2019

Well done to everyone involved in last night's Battle of the Bands at the Arts Centre - especially winners Miraculous Peach, who go on to the final in two weeks time.

Sociology Trip to New York

By Andrew Hathaway, Sociology and Health Department, 24 February 2019

26 students from Sociology and/or Health and Social Care spent 5 days in the city of New York, visiting Ellis Island, the 9/11 memorial and museum, the Empire State Building, learning about immigrating families at the Tenement Museum and a shop in Times Square!

Rome Trip for Classical Civilization and Medieval History students

By Adam Bantick, History and Politics Department, 17 February 2019

In February half term, the History and Politics department took 21 A level Classical Civilisation and Medieval History students to Rome. The students greatly enjoyed their visit to Rome, Ostia Antica and Pompeii.

Cake Sale

By Michelle Perrin , Charities Coordinator, 11 February 2019

Nearly £400 raised for cancer research!

Guest Speaker

By Shelley Johnson, PE Dept., 11 February 2019

The Sports Department was delighted to receive a visit from David Dein MBE, the former vice-chairman of Arsenal Football Club and former vice-chairman of the Football Association. The room was packed; he spoke to well over a hundred students,. He was very engaging and we have had some very positive feedback from students since. David said in turn that our students were a real credit to the college.  He was about to fly off to Rome for the UEFA congress for two days, so it was great that he came to us beforehand.

Heart of the Matter

By Mike Cura, PE Department, 4 February 2019

On 18th December Essex University Masters Student Katherine White attended college to present a practical workshop to all year 1 PE students. The workshop and presentation, which supplemented work done at A Level and introduced students to the potential for university study, involved students using portable gas analysers and heart rate monitors to assess cardiovascular response to exercise.

We Didn’t Have Time to Be Scared- Musical Production 15th -16th January 2019

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 4 February 2019

A Level Drama and Theatre student Andrew Carrington Moule directed a cast of 18 students in a production of Andrew Geha’s Musical “We Didn’t Have Time to Be Scared”. He was assisted by fellow Performing Arts student Alex Terry as Musical Director. The production played to a full house on both nights and raised over £670 which will be split between St Barts Charity and The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. St Bartholomew’s hospital treated Andrew’s father who passed away from Leukaemia last year. Andrew dedicated the performance to his father who had enjoyed a previous production of the play that Andrew had been involved in whilst at The Gilberd School. The play told the true story of two Jewish girls who fled Vienna when it was occupied by the Nazis in 1938. Andrew said “This story, despite being filled with sadness and heartbreak, is also filled with happiness and hope; the essence of the play is finding a place to call home. When my father passed away in April 2018 I remembered this play. The idea of being filled with so much grief and sadness, yet somehow finding a way to find hope was appealing for me. This play was my hope”

The department would like to thank all the audience members for their support and generosity but most of all we would like to thank all the students involved who impressed us with their commitment and professionalism. A resounding success!

Creative Writing Trip to North Norfolk

By Nikolai Luck, English Department, 29 January 2019

The 2019 Windmill Writing Weekend saw an intrepid band of some of the students who have opted for the Creative Writing Additional Study venture to the north Norfolk coast in wintry sunshine in order to hone their flash fiction–screenplay writing–short story–versifying-novel opening craft. Writing, walking the coastal path and baking cakes formed the bedrock of the trip with the Windmill itself providing the perfect tranquil base for a winter writers’ retreat.

Choreographer in Residence Project

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 9 January 2019

The Dance Department are excited to announce, that the work created through their Choreographer in Residence Project has been chosen to compete in the Eastern region competition for UDance 2019*. Hayley Lemon and her 6 dancers spent 6 weeks creating Nefelibata , exploring imagery and themes of freedom, rebellion and community. The dancers used their own experiences to explore these themes and reflect on their own understanding of this nomadic lifestyle. If the work is successful in the regional stages, then they will be put through to the national competition taking place on 20 – 21 July at the Southbank Centre, London. The group will be performing their work at DanceEast on 2nd March 2019. It has been a real pleasure watching one of our talented ex students, working alongside and nurturing the talents of our current A Level students.

*Each year the U.Dance National Festival showcases a selection of the best youth dance groups from all over the country. But it’s not just about performance, the dancers take part in workshops and masterclasses with industry professionals, inspire each other with their love of dance and develop their understanding of the dance sector.

Awards & Reunion Event

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal , 19 December 2018

Yesterday, over a thousand students and guests gathered at Charter Hall to celebrate the success of the students who completed their studies at college in Summer 2018. We were also pleased to welcome Neil D'Arcy-Jones Arts Editor of the Essex County Standard and Colchester Gazette - a former college student who was our guest speaker at the event.

As the Principal explained in his address to former students:

The examination successes you achieved in the summer were really excellent – by both local and national standards. The average ‘value added’ results you achieved – the comparison between your package of GCSE results on entry and your package of results on leaving, places your collective successes very significantly above the national average levels. 

 Well over 1000 of our second year College students entered for A Level examinations last summer and the average results you achieved were really excellent, with average results ahead of the achievements of students at all other colleges in Essex and Suffolk and in all the Essex comprehensive schools with sixth forms. 90% of our A-level students leaving us last summer achieved 3 or more A-level qualifications or equivalent qualifications, including IB – well above that national average for all Schools and Colleges.

Our International Baccalaureate students achieved an outstanding level of success. Your average results of over 32 IB points was well above the international average. 

 The highest achieving 100 students amongst you obtained an average UCAS point score equivalent to 2 A*s and 2 A grades at A Level and we understand that this is a higher score than the 100 highest achieving students in any school in the country, including in all selective grammar and independent schools.  

A very substantial number of last year’s leavers successfully attained the grades necessary to progress to degree courses, including large numbers progressing to some of the very most competitive degree course areas. Indeed approximately 1000 of last year’s leavers have, or will next autumn after a GAP year, progress to a wide range of exciting and challenging degree courses, or other opportunities in the UK or abroad. Others have found excellent employment or training opportunities either locally, in London and in other instances nationally or internationally. Your levels of academic achievement were really outstanding. 

We are recognising achievements and contributions made in the fields of sport, performing and creative arts, science, technology and enterprise and we are also paying tribute to your contributions to both the College community and to the wider community in the area - particularly where you have helped others.

 We are very proud that you as a group made a fantastic contribution to the wider community, including putting together generous Christmas hampers for the needy, raising money on a weekly basis for the Good Foundation, organising Christmas support for the Women’s Refuge children, Charity theme days throughout the year which helped raise funds for local, national and international charities, individual action to help elderly and disabled people, work to support the oppressed through support of Asylum seekers, Refugees and Amnesty International - and also in undertaking challenges in local and international community work and work in local schools or voluntary work with local charities or community groups. I must pay particular tribute to the Friends Not Foes group of students – who, in conjunction with staff formed an innovative support group which has undertaken much fantastic work to support local refugee families and individuals. Your positive attitudes and contributions in helping others were quite outstanding. 

A number of our students who left last year were involved in international community placements, including through GAP projects. 

Approximately 40 of our students completed the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, either through the College programme or through other local organisations, and a number of you worked in local Primary Schools to support their activities or were involved in Sports activities in the Community. Many of you excelled in visual and performing arts and cultural activities in the College during the time you spent with us. Dance, music and drama flourished and there were a whole series of outstanding concerts, performance productions and activities over the 2 years you were with us. Excellent Visual Arts exhibitions and displays illustrated the high level of work and significant student talents in these fields - and many of you gained excellent practical experience in the field of media including those actively involved in production and broadcasting on the College Radio Station.

Sport was also very strong in your two years a College, more than 300 of you represented the College in competitive sports fixtures in a wide range of different sports and over forty students represented their County or were selected for regional, national or international level competitions. A number of you were involved in sport activation activities including Zumba and Boxing whilst others conducted Sports Leadership activities with local Primary Schools. 

Very well done to you.


By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 18 December 2018


"Not just your everyday Student Bulletin"


By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 18 December 2018

Not everyday we get a ukulele rendition of 'Silent Night' during a staff meeting....

Hamper Collection

By Michele Perrin, Charities Co-ordinator, 18 December 2018

Well done to everyone across the college who worked so hard to put together over a hundred hampers for needy families in Colchester

Winter Wonderland

By Olivia Browne and Bel Hathaway, Arts & Culture Committee Co-ordinators, 18 December 2018

It's been a busy week on the concourse, with busking, baking, student bands, staff bands, karaoke, facepainting, festive photo booths, origami, candy canes, angels, shimmer tattoos and, of course, the Christmas Jumper Competition - a big thank you to everyone for organising

Advanced Foundation Programme Christmas Awards

By Graham Rayner, Assistant Principal, 14 December 2018

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

The Advanced Foundation Programme at College supports students who need to retake a number of key GCSEs, for a variety of reasons, before embarking on a programme of A level or level 3 qualifications.

Congratulations to Fabian Harrington, presented with the “Martin Sparks Award” for excellent attitude, progress and resilience over three years on the Advanced Foundation Programme. Fabian responded very positively to the initial setback of needing to re-sit GCSEs with us. He achieved good results at GCSE and is now studying three A levels. Although it hasn't always been easy for him personally, Fabian is never less than 100% committed to his studies, always gets involved in activities (as can be seen by his Christmas jumper in the photo) and has very good attendance. His positivity is an inspiration!

The “Sirjana Bhujuwar Award” was presented to Jake Thompson for his excellent progress on AF2. Jake got very good GCSE results and in his second year has excellent ‘current grades’ for his A level and Certificate subjects, along with near perfect attendance. His subject tutors say he is a “very good student” who is producing “excellent work”.

The students were presented with their awards by David Morran, Chair of Governors, who also gave an interesting talk about the world of employment.

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

Paraguay Expedition - Sponsored Walk

By David Huggon, Head of Spanish, 12 December 2018

A group of 20 College students and 4 staff is going to Paraguay this coming July, to work with the Santa Maria Education Fund in the South of the country. Our aim is to raise £10,000 for the charity over the next 8 months. All money will go directly to the Education Fund, half of it to help children in the local community in their educational aspirations, and half to pay for a small group of their students to visit Colchester the following year.

This Sunday we completed a 14 mile sponsored walk around Mersea island despite the cold and the rain and high tides. Everyone was very pleased to have completed the walk.

We estimate that we have raised over £3000 from the walk and events thus far. £7,000 to go!

Performance Workshops

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 12 December 2018

On Thursday 29th November, the Dance and Performing Arts Department welcomed lecturers from University of Bedfordshire and Emil Dale Academy. They led three workshops over the course of the day, covering Dance Technique, Physical Theatre and Musical Theatre. We had a fantastic turn out for each of the sessions, from students across the Performing Arts subjects. This is part of our ongoing workshop programme, providing students with invaluable opportunities to experience the expectations of Higher Education and building “workability” skills.

Former Student Returns

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Dept., 12 December 2018

On Mon 3rd December, ex-student Hayden Carpenter came back to The Sixth Form to run two workshops on acting skills with the level 3 BTEC Performing Arts students. Hayden graduated from the Acting and Creative Performance degree at UCC this summer with a first class honours degree. The workshop sessions required students to use improvisation skills as well as techniques to build characters and respond to given scenarios; all of which will be invaluable in their preparation for the BTEC assessment performances in January and February.

Congratulations to Jack Petchey Award Winners

By Evette Hawkins, Careers Dept., 12 December 2018

The Jack Petchey Awards runs in schools, colleges and youth organisations throughout London and Essex. The scheme is a reward and recognition initiative which enables schools and youth organisations to celebrate the achievements of their young people as well as receive additional funding. Our most recent winners are Sandra, Skie  and Gemma :



"Gemma is an active and committed member of both the Environment Committee and the Conservation Group. She always attends meetings making a very positive contribution to the group and is full of bright ideas, Gemma is always first to produce promotional material for Environment Committee events. She was a valuable member of the team that established the first Peregrine Watch event at the sixth form college, helping members of the public to observe the falcon family nesting on Jumbo. She clearly has a love of the environment and working with Gemma is a joy".


Sandra , has been selected from over 400 auditionees across the country to join the National Youth Dance Company of England (NYDC). She was also awarded the Dance above and beyond award in her first year at our annual College 'Oscars' event. Sandra plans to continue to study Dance and is currently applying for both conservatoire and university.

As Sandra’s Dance teacher says: ,"I became aware of her whilst she was a student at secondary school. Whilst visiting her school and delivering a practical workshop, she introduced herself and remained in contact with the department until she became an A level student. What impressed me at that stage was her confidence and tenacity, she presented herself as a determined and driven young lady. As an A Level Dance student she has been involved in any extension opportunity she has been able to attend, regularly joins us for outreach visits and workshops and is often the first student to volunteer to lead in any task. Sandra is a model Dance student, a very likeable character and a hard working Dance ambassador".


Staff  nominate Skie Hewitt for an award because she is legally blind yet still manages to get straight A's. She also campaigns for guide dogs and is "just a lovely person all round and we think she deserves an award for her hard work".

Conservation Work

By Michael Padmore , Media and Film Dept., 12 December 2018

The conservation group have completed four very enjoyable work parties this term with around a dozen students taking part. So far, we have visited Cymbeline Meadows to construct a boardwalk, Fingringhoe Wick to help with coppicing, High Woods Country Park to create hibernacula for lizards and other creatures, and most recently, Tiptree Heath, where we joined the local group in clearing old gorse bushes to allow the three species of heather and other plants to flourish. 

Meanwhile, the students’ Environment Committee has joined up with the conservation volunteers to place 20 nest boxes for swifts on the mid-site building. Swifts are one of the bird species that thrill many people walking through Colchester in late spring and early summer as they scream past over the rooftops. However, numbers have fallen by 50% in the last 20 years, in part due to the disappearance of suitable nesting spaces in new and renovated buildings. So far, nearly half of the cost of the nest boxes has been raised in donations and Richard Fordham Tree Surgeons from Bures have made the fantastically generous offer to provide a cherrypicker for the day when the boxes are fitted during February half term. Anyone who wishes to make a donation towards the remaining cost of the nest boxes can send a cheque to the Sixth Form College’s Finance Office, marked Swifts, or contact me here at the college via 01206 500 700

Bar Mock Trial

By Emily Cheffins, Head of Law, 22 November 2018

On 17th November, 15 Law students left Colchester bright and early to participate in a regional heat of the Bar mock trial completion at Norwich crown court. This competition gives students the opportunity to argue two cases; R v Martin, which involved money laundering and the defence of duress and R v Forrester, which involved an acid attack and revolved around identification evidence. The team worked hard with regular sessions run by department staff, a specialist session with “Debatemate” and input from trainee barrister mentor Gabriele Simonaitye.

The day involved three rounds of competition against other schools from across the region. A nerve wracking final round against The King’s (The Cathedral) School, Peterborough brought the toughest competition for the team, nevertheless, the college team were crowned the winners of the day. They will now be in the national final at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in March.

We couldn’t be more proud of the team, who really worked hard on their preparation. It was wonderful to see their confidence grow as the day progressed. The opportunity to argue their case in front of real crown court judges is an excellent opportunity for these aspiring lawyers and I am sure they will do college proud in the finals in Edinburgh.

The students are pictured above with the trophy.

Visit from Spanish Exchange partners

By David Huggon, Head of Spanish, 22 November 2018

From 14th to 21st November, College hosted a group of 19 students and 2 teachers visiting College from Marratxi in Mallorca.

It was  a very successful week. The students got on very well and the Spanish students and teachers were delighted with the hospitality we gave them.

We organized a day in Dedham, London and Cambridge where they got the chance to have a private tour of Christ College. Another highlight was a 1 ½ hour tour of Colchester with Sir Bob Russell, in the sleet. The cold was a bit of a shock for them but they went home brimming with health and happiness.

In these difficult days of Brexit and with all the uncertainty of the future, it is great to see young people from such different cultures learning from each other.

The eagerly awaited return visit to Mallorca takes place in the new year.

Squash team success

By Nesta James, Head of Sport and PE department, 20 November 2018

The College squash team has just returned from a successful trip to Aylesbury in the National Schools competition. The women's team (Piper Tatum, India Webb, Elli Barrott, Georgia Smith and Izzy Liddamore) were brilliant in beating Wycombe by 149 to 81 points and Aylesbury 147 - 88.  They now progress to the next round.

India, Elli and Izzy all won their matches 3 - 0 (even though Izzy hasn't played squash for 4 years), Piper won both 2 - 1 and Georgia put up a great fight in both of her matches, narrowly losing 1 - 2 each time.

The students were a real credit to the college and were congratulated by the host's coach on their overall approach to the fixture and how they really worked together as a team.

Sports Round-up

By Nesta James, Head of Sport and PE Department, 20 November 2018

As well as the squash team (above), other College teams are performing well:

Football team

The college’s 1st XI Football team is unbeaten and top of their league.


Another first time  -  the college has won both male and female volleyball  regional AOC competitions which means they have now qualified for the National finals in Nottingham April 2019.

Also qualified for the national finals:

  • Cross country – Danny Millwood and Jo Boden
  • Table Tennis – Arran Hutchinson and Bright Bedding
  • Women’s badminton – Jess Vokes

Magic on the Concourse

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 19 November 2018

After our recent plague of frogs (see story below) we now have a unicorn on the concourse.....?

Charity Success

By Michele Perrin, Charities Co-ordinator, 19 November 2018

A big thank you to everyone in the College Charities Group for working so hard over the past few weeks to organise events for both Pink Day and Children In Need - Last week's quiz on the Concourse was a huge success!

Great Debate Mate

By Ann Johnson, Assistant Principal, 19 November 2018

A big thank you to everyone who came in from Debate Mate recently and helped over 50 students flex their debating muscles on topics drawn from  Law, Medicine and Philosophy... A very successful day!

Duke of Edinburgh Gold Training

By Graham Rayner, D of E Coordinator, 19 November 2018

The College's new Duke of Edinburgh Gold group got their expedition training underway last weekend with a mini expedition around Dunwich Heath in Suffolk.  The 19 first year students have a range of previous experience - some have done D of E Bronze or Silver but many have done no hiking or navigation before - but they all took the 20km walk in their stride.  They learnt how to use compass bearings and how to walk at night without using a torch (to simulate fog suddenly descending on moorland).  There were a few sore shoulders but no blisters!  The students chose their expedition teams and are now looking forward to the next training weekend in February and then their Practice Expedition in the Peak District during Easter.  

In the meantime, they have already undertaken their programme of learning a new Skill, Volunteering and undertaking a Physical activity, all of which contribute to the completion of the Gold Award.  Many students are using their Additional Studies at College to cover these sections with activities as diverse as Mandarin Chinese for beginners, badminton, dance club and Dungeons and Dragons.

Forgotten Black Essex Talk for Black History Month

By Olivia Browne, Culture Committee, 7 November 2018

As part of the national celebration of Black History Month in October, The Culture Committee invited in Southend-based Artist, Producer, and Creative activist Elsa James.

She presented two of her moving image/spoken word pieces which form part of the Forgotten Black Essex Project. This was a popular event with almost 100 attending and students really connected with the issues discussed. Jemimah Ngu (Culture Committee Chairperson) commented afterwards “The talk made me want to find out more about 'Forgotten Black Essex.'



By Michele Perrin , General Office Manager, 1 November 2018

We asked Why?

The students replied ‘It’s Halloween and these were £5 from H&M’

Good enough reason to be spotted in college today.

We hope you had a Happy Halloween

By A Frost, Assistant Principal, 1 November 2018

Recently ghostly goings on at the Sixth Form...

(We think this might have been a Film studies project.......)

Dance Success

By Sarah Pritchard , Head of Dance, 1 November 2018

A Level Dance student Sandra Maduoma, has been selected from over 400 auditionees across the country to join the National Youth Dance Company of England (NYDC). Sandra is one of just 19 female dancers and 10 male dancers chosen to join the 2018/2019 cohort. NYDC was founded in 2012 and is the country’s flagship youth dance company. Supported through funding by the Department for Education and the Arts Council England, the company is fast establishing a reputation for innovative, high quality work, inspiring young dancers across the sector and offering company members an insight into the profession unlike any other. We look forward to supporting Sandra in her adventure and shall be there to cheer her on when NYDC come to perform at DANCE EAST in April 2019.

History Department trip to Berlin

By Richard Millward, History and Politics Department, 19 October 2018

The History department returned to Berlin last week for their annual tour of the once divided capital of Cold War Europe. 30 students flew out to a very sunny Berlin and participated in a very busy schedule which included a tour of the Reichstag, a visit to the German-Soviet Museum, as well as  an educational visit to a school in Berlin. The trip is especially relevant to the  A level Modern History coursework and enabled the students to witness the enormous change the city has seen from the formation of the country in 1871 through to its Reunification in 1990. This was the first visit to Berlin for many students and the trip brought to life aspects of Germany they have studied in class in a way that will remain with them for a long time.

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!

Battle of The Bands

By Dan Plewinski, Performing Arts Department , 30 November -0001

Well done to everyone involved in last night's Battle of the Bands at the Arts Centre - especially winners Miraculous Peach, who go on to the final in two weeks time.