Principal's Speech from Recent Awards & Reunion Event

By Ian MacNaughton, Principal, 10 January 2016

I am very pleased to report back to you tonight that, when we consider your achievements collectively, you were very successful indeed. 

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.   91% of our A-level students leaving us last summer achieved 3 or more A-level qualifications or equivalent IB points – which compares very favourably to the national average level for all Schools and Colleges of under 80% in 2015.

Our International Baccalaureate students achieved an outstanding level of success.  Your average results of 33 IB points were very well above both the national and international averages. 

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. 

Many of you have achieved in a wide variety of ways including the development of skills important to your life and the lives of others.  These include 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 many of you who joined the College at age 16, 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 your personal lives. 

We will also hear and see later that 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 pantomime trips for underprivileged 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 Amnesty International and also in undertaking challenges in local and international community work.  Your positive attitudes and contributions in helping others were quite outstanding. 

A number of our students who left last year are currently involved in international community placements, including through GAP projects and also at The Russ Foundation Community in Southern India - which we continue to support on an ongoing basis. 

Over 20 of you completed the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, many others worked in local Primary Schools or were involved in Sports activities in the Community and 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 productions, concerts and performances over the 2 years you were with us.   Excellent Visual Arts exhibitions and displays illustrated the 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.

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.  Again, we will hear of more individual detail later.

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

The best advertisement for the Sixth Form College has always been its students.  You were, and still are excellent ambassadors for the College and we are extremely proud of you.