British Council International Award Winner

By Ian Levinson, International Initiatives Co-ordinator , 21 October 2021

(Photos received from pupils in our link school in Nicaragua

We are delighted to announce that the College has been (re)awarded the British Council’s prestigious International School Award in recognition of its work to bring the world into the classroom.

The International School Award celebrates the achievements of schools that do exceptional work in international education. Fostering an international dimension in the curriculum is at the heart of the British Council’s work with schools, so that young people gain the cultural understanding and skills they need for life work in today’s world.

Scott McDonald, Chief Executive of the British Council, said: ‘The school has earned this prestigious award through its inspirational international work and links with schools abroad. 

The International School Award is a chance for schools to be recognised for their important work bringing the world into their classrooms. This is especially commendable when schools have been deeply affected by the global pandemic. The desire to build on their international work shines through and it is with upmost pride that we celebrate their achievements.  

By embedding an international dimension in children’s education, these schools are preparing their students for successful lives in the UK or further afield, empowering them to be global citizens, and are creating vital opportunities in an increasingly global economy.’

The Award is now available worldwide in countries such as India, Egypt, Lebanon, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Over 6000 International School Awards have been presented to successful schools in the UK since the scheme began in 1999.


By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 10 August 2021

(Above - Hiba Ahmed discovers she's off to the University of Bristol to study Law)

Because of the corona virus pandemic, 2021 has, of course, been another extraordinary and challenging year for everybody, with, yet again, the government putting in place a very different process by which A Level students were awarded their final grades. It’s important to remember that beneath the statistics and the politics, a huge number of students achieved excellent grades which clearly reflect their high levels of skill, hard work and tenacity; a very substantial number of this year’s leavers successfully attained the grades necessary to progress to degree courses, including large numbers progressing to some of the very most competitive courses in the country – successes in this area include an outstanding year for teachers in areas such as Classical Civilisation, with three students now reading classics at Cambridge:

Holly Poynter, who joined us from The Colne Community School, will now be reading Classics at Queen’s College Cambridge, having achieved a stunning four A* grades in A Level History, Mathematics, Classical Civilisation and in her Extended Project, as well as an additional qualification in Latin

Tom Hopkins, originally from Ipswich School, will be joining Holly in reading Classics at Cambridge, but this time at Pembroke College, having achieved A* grades in History, English Literature and Extended Project, alongside an A in French and a grade 9 in GCSE Italian

Susannah Eiden, who joined us from Colchester County High School, completes our trio of Cambridge classicists. She is to read classics at Corpus Christi having achieved stunning A* grades in all four of her subjects: Classical Civilisation, Biology and German, as well as Extended Project. 

A Level Classical Civilisation teacher Mark Brassington said: “We are of course delighted to see so many students progress to Cambridge. They have worked extremely hard, making full use of the extra opportunity to extend their skills via courses such as extended projects and the opportunity to pursue additional studies in various languages; indeed, this year we have seen some of the strongest extended project essays ever seen at the college.  Next year, with the addition of A level Ancient History to our provision, we only hope to build upon our strengths in this area".

Esme Bishop, originally from St Benedict’s College, also gained a stunning four A* grades, including, again, an A* in Classical Civilisation. She will be joining her fellow students at Cambridge, but has chosen to pursue her love of English at Clare College. Andras Cserep, who also joined us from St Benedict’s College, will be proudly taking up a place to study Earth Sciences at Exeter College, Oxford. He achieved A grades in Mathematics, Physics and Geography alongside an A* in his highly impressive EPQ.

Also heading for an Oxbridge place is James Simons – he joined us from Tendring Technology College and is now about to take up a place on a highly prestigious course, this time at Oxford, reading Biochemistry at St. Catherine’s College – building upon a stunning set of grades, including A* grades in Maths, Biology and German and an A grade in Chemistry and again, an excellent Extended Project.

In other areas of the curriculum, it’s fantastic to see former East Bergholt pupil Matthew Pyall jumping for joy, as he's heading to Warwick, this time to read Mathematics and taking with him excellent A* grades in Maths, Further Maths and Physics, alongside a grade A in Computer Science. 

It’s also great to see the continued success of our ‘Medics’ programme, with, for example, former Philip Morant pupil Ella Marshall off to study Medicine at the University of East Anglia, having achieved A grades across the board in her A levels at college, and Ellie Davey, who joined us from Colchester County High School, off to Sheffield with an excellent combination of A* and A grades.

Special mention must also go to twins Sofia and Anya Ilczenko, who achieved a stunning six A*s and two A grades between them!

It’s important that we recognise the achievements of all of our students, across the board, in a year that has been so very different for this generation of students: a generation that has dealt with very difficult times, that have demanded great patience, flexibility, resilience and resolve from all of them  We are proud of them and of their grades; these grades pay tribute to students, who, throughout a difficult period, impressed us with their resilience, humour and determination.

Amongst the most impressive is perhaps, Sophia Bourne, who suffered a severe concussion on Boxing Day 2020 and, for much of the spring term, was unable to leave her house or even look at a computer screen, let alone attend lessons (Her run of bad luck continues – she’s recently broken her foot!). Despite these real difficulties, she battled through with much tenacity and we are delighted to see that she is much recovered and on her way to study Sociology at The University of Essex with three B grades!


By Jan Harker, Assistant Principal, 4 February 2021

Staff and students are celebrating the achievement of a prestigious Platinum Level Science Mark Award. 

We understand that we are the first sixth form college in the country to achieve such an award. It is quality standard designed to recognise and celebrate inspiring practice in science departments across the UK.  Science teacher Elaine O’Brien co-ordinated the process here at college and it involved many months of assessment in three key areas: “Teaching and Learning”, “Leadership and Management” and “Curriculum”, followed up by work, with staff and students conducted by an external assessor. 

Following a thorough review of the science provision at the college, Dr Yeasmin Mortuza of STEM Learning Ltd concluded that:

The Sixth Form College Colchester has an amazing science faculty, in which every effort is taken by staff to ensure that all students perform well; and this is done without cutting any corners. Staff and students enjoy a highly productive relationship in which the professionalism of staff, as well as their passion and expertise, ensure that mutual trust, respect, and hard work are nurtured and sustained. Their excellent student outcomes speak for themselves.  Students who study here gain a passion for science and move on through to a wide range of promising academic and career trajectories. The college is very well deserving of a Science Mark Platinum Award”

College Principal Ian MacNaughton was delighted to see the college achieve this national award, pointing out that this was part of a long tradition of recognising scientific excellence at the college that goes back many years; for example, in 2000 The College was also presented with a Queen’s Anniversary Award for Higher and Further Education. The award, which was most specifically for the Science and Technology Enrichment Programme, was presented by the Queen, at Buckingham Palace. 

He said that: 

“This recent further award of the highest Science Mark level ‘Platinum Status’ is fantastic – but very well deserved. This latest recognition highlights the continued strength of STEM provision and opportunities at the College. It’s great recognition for the hard work of staff and students in areas such as biology, chemistry and physics – but we must also take into account the excellent work that is done here at college in broader areas of scientific research such as geology, electronics, psychology and environmental science. Well done to all involved!”

Epic New Zealand Journey

By Adam Bantick, History Dept., 2 February 2021

Well done to former college student Shay Broomhall, who is currently engaged in an epic journey from the top of New Zealand to the bottom. He is walking, running and canoeing the route, and has currently completed the North Island section. He is supporting Care4Calais who provide essential aid such as tents, food and clothing for refugees in France and Belgium. A link to his fundraising page is HERE


By Ian MacNaughton, College Principal, 18 December 2020

Jemimah Ngu is now studying at Exeter reading Business Economics, having achieved an excellent one A* and two A grades – all alongside her achievements as a published poet! - She takes The Departmental Award for Mathematics and The College Award for Contribution to the College Community


We are sad to find that the coronavirus pandemic means that we are not able to invite former students to our traditional Awards & Reunion Event. We are really sorry not to be able to meet with former students and celebrate their success. It has been another way in which this year has been so different for this generation of students: a generation that has dealt with very difficult times, that have demanded great patience, flexibility, resilience and resolve from all of them  We are proud of them.

These times have forced change and the need to innovate and think creatively upon all of us, and it is in this vein that we offer you our ‘Online Awards & Reunion Event’, which can be found here . It’s not the same as being able to meet students in person, but it nevertheless enables us to highlight and celebrate some fantastic success stories from this summer’s graduates.

2020 has clearly been an extraordinary year and this, in turn, led to a very different process by which A Level and IB students were awarded their final grades. Everyone should be very proud of those grades; they pay tribute to students, who, throughout a difficult period, impressed us with their resilience, humour and determination. It’s important to remember that beneath the statistics and the politics, a huge number of students achieved excellent grades which clearly reflect their high levels of skill, hard work and tenacity; indeed 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. Others have, despite very challenging circumstances found excellent employment or training opportunities. Their levels of academic achievement were really outstanding.  Very well done to you. We wish them luck, and hopefully calmer waters, in their future plans .

The College is an academic institution, and their academic successes are enormously worthy of note and congratulations. but I must stress that at the College we do not view student success and achievement just through the achievements of our most able students or solely just through the achievement of top grades.   Our aim is to be an inclusive college where every student is able to further their potential, develop and make progress.

Many students have achieved in a wide variety of ways including the development of skills important to their life and the lives of others, including developing greater confidence, the ability to work with and relate to other people, improved communication, organisational and decision-making skills and much greater levels of worldliness and maturity.  We very much hope that students who joined the College at age 16 and left us after a programme of sixth form experiences at age 18 or 19, have become better prepared to be happy and successful, in the worlds of higher education and  employment,  and also in their personal lives.  We would also like to recognise achievements and contributions made in the fields of sport, performing and creative arts, science, technology and enterprise and we are also paying tribute to their contributions to both the College community and to the wider community in the area .

I would also like to publicly thank the staff of the College for their hard work and dedication which helped our students achieve their successes and realise their goals – and also thank the teachers in local secondary schools for all their work in the years before our students joined the College. The College is, extremely fortunate to have an outstanding team of staff who set very high professional standards, work very hard, genuinely care and take a pride in the development of their students and appreciate their individual achievements and success. 

Our former students, have helped the College maintain its position as one of the premier colleges in the country in terms of the quality of its examination results and the range of student activities, experiences and wider achievements.  Despite the challenge of the ongoing pandemic and impact of government funding cuts affecting 16-18 education throughout England, the College can, I strongly believe, look forward to its future with considerable confidence.  Indeed, the College is better placed than most school sixth forms and colleges to respond to such challenges

Our former students have contributed much to the College’s ongoing success.  We in turn hope that they are able to look forward to your own futures in a positive way with positive attitudes, confidence, zeal and ambition.  If they make the same level of contribution to the worlds of higher education, community and employment that they made whilst they were students at College, then they will make a very positive and favourable impact. They can make a real contribution to the future betterment of society, as well as achieving excellent opportunities for themselves

The best advertisement for the Sixth Form College has always been its students.  They are excellent ambassadors for the College and we are extremely proud of them.


By Dan Plewinski, Performing Arts Dept., 17 December 2020

Well done to everyone who got involved in our first virtual concert!

You can see the concert HERE


By Kerstin Ross, Friends Not Foes , 16 December 2020

Refugee Action, Colchester came to us just two weeks ago, appealing for clothes, toys, and food items for hampers. The response to a bulletin announcement asking for clothes and toys was overwhelming, and Friends Not Foes had a big job bagging everything up. However, everyone was glad to be involved in some activity again! Several tutor groups put the hampers together, and they are looking fantastic. We would like to say a huge thanks to everyone who contributed clothes, toys, hamper items, money or time to this appeal.


Friends Not Foes


By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal , 13 December 2020

Well done to Michele in the General Office - she's made 1,300 masks, by hand, raising £3.5k for charities such as KidsInspire  and the Poppy Appeal .