Introduction

This Newsletter aims to provide students and parents with useful dates and information, to highlight a number of key arrangements, activities and events over the forthcoming period and to feedback on some recent activities. Important guidance notes relating to the examination and summer period have also recently been distributed to all Year 1 and Year 2 students. These notes provide details of summer examination procedures as well as giving a series of relevant dates, information and guidance for the May to September period. We advise that parents, as well as students, read these guidance notes carefully and we strongly recommend that they are then kept at home in an accessible place for reference over the period to early September. They are also electronically posted on the website on our Documents page. Alternatively, students can access via Moodle. A summary of key dates is located at the end of this Newsletter. The College website also gives other key items of information including Term Dates for 2017/18 year and also the provisional term dates 2018/19 year. I have also recently sent a letter, by email, to all parents of Year 2 students and Advanced Foundation Programme students, who will be leaving College at the end of their academic programmes this summer, and outlined appropriate information and a number of specific issues relevant to leavers and their parents. Information relating to College dates, activities and arrangements can be found on an ongoing basis on the College website.

Details of a wide range of student activities at the College can, on an ongoing basis, be read in the News section of this website. This provides magazine style coverage of a range of student activities that includes images as well as reports and accounts and is updated regularly. All documents and important information for parents is posted on this website (as well as on Moodle, for students) and we advise that parents may wish to check the website on a reasonably regular basis in order to stay up to date.

The College will be holding the annual Reunion and Awards Evening, for students leaving us this summer and their parents, at Charter Hall on Tuesday 19 December 2017. A significant range of student achievements will be recognised and celebrated on this evening. Invitations will be sent out in the mid-autumn period.

A very busy Tutorial Programme has taken place this academic year. Activities have included Anti-Bullying, Online Safety, Safeguarding and Prevent, a series of Charity and Community Support activities, Safe Driving, Health Awareness (including a Meningitis vaccination programme), and Coping with Stress. A group of our students and staff have been actively involved in a range of Citizenship activities including the College Friends not Foes group, working with the Borough and Syrian refugees - and the Colchester Citizens Alliance Group who have begun working in conjunction with a range of other local organisations including the University of Essex and local charity, church and community groups.

The College Friends would like to thank all the parents who have supported the fund-raising activities, which enhance facilities and funds for our students. Funds have been used to support provision of student study and social facilities which will include provision of new seating on the College Concourse from June.

Where needs arise, please contact your son or daughter’s Personal or Senior Tutor or, if appropriate, Carol McAuley, Assistant Principal with responsibility for student matters, or myself.

Ian MacNaughton
Principal
May 2017

Public Examination Arrangements

The summer programme of public examinations is now underway. The IB Diploma examinations for Year 2 IB students started on Monday 1 May and a large number of oral and practical assessments have taken place over recent weeks in a range of IB, AS and A2 subjects and for a number of other qualifications. The main national programme of AS and GCSE written examinations begins on Monday 15 May. 

In April, all AS/A2 and GCSE students were given outline individual examination timetable information for the summer period. Recently students have been given their final detailed individual exam timetables (this is also available electronically on their Moodle account). Where appropriate, notifications include ‘clash re-arrangements’ or ‘access arrangements’. It is imperative that this information is checked and that if there are any problems or issues they are reported as quickly as possible to the Examinations Department 01206 500718/500789 or email . The Examination and Study Leave period for the forthcoming Year 1 AS Level and Advanced Foundation Programme students commences at 4.05pm on Friday 12 May and for Year 2 A2 Level students at 4.05pm on Wednesday 24 May. There will also be a year 2 Exam and Study Leave day on Monday 22 May.

All students have received detailed notification of the examination procedures and instructions within their guidance notes referred to in the first paragraph of this Newsletter. They have also had a verbal briefing relating to the key examination procedures and the other significant arrangements relevant to them in the May to September period. It is crucial that each student is fully aware of, and then follows, the procedures and arrangements that are in place.

All students will be able to study in the College Library or the Pavilion or use other study facilities within the College throughout the Examination and Study Leave period. Teaching staff will also be available to help and support students and there will be some further revision classes and workshops made available in a number of AS or A2 subject areas throughout both May and June. Individual help will also be provided, where appropriate and by arrangement. The Library will also be open in Half Term for any students who wish to use the facilities (from 9.00 to 4.00 Tuesday 30 May to Friday 2 June).

Should there be any ‘mishap’ (e.g. significant illness or injury) which upsets a student’s preparation or affects his/her performance on the day of the examinations, it is very important that the College is informed about this as quickly as possible. If the circumstances warrant it, we will write to the relevant Examination Board and to any prospective employer or Higher Education Institution to explain the circumstances and to seek ‘special consideration’. Examination Boards may require a medical certificate, from a GP or a hospital for a student to be eligible for ‘special consideration’. It is essential that we are notified as quickly as possible of any problem which has emerged and which is relevant to specific examination(s).

Students are strongly advised to note, very carefully, all the detail within the individual exam timetables, in particular the detail regarding the specific exam dates and also the am (morning) or pm (afternoon) sitting for each of their examinations. All morning examinations will begin at 9.15 am and afternoon examinations begin at 1.45pm unless students are notified otherwise. Students are urged to plan their travel arrangements and to allow plenty of time for any potential or unexpected disruption, to ensure they are not late for the start of their examinations. We strongly suggest to students that all detailed timetable information is ‘shared’ with parents, (e.g. giving a parent a copy of the timetable) to help avoid making serious mistakes with regard to their organisational arrangements. A student who mistakenly attends an afternoon session instead of a morning session will not, in any circumstances, be allowed by the Examination Board to take that examination - and this will then mean that they will not be awarded a grade in the relevant subject.

Students must ensure they do not bring mobile telephones, iPods, iPads, Tablets or any programmable electronic device into an examination room, including wearable technology such as i-Watches. Examination Boards will disqualify candidates if students breach these regulations. If students cannot make alternative secure storage arrangements the College operates a system where mobile telephones and other electronic items can be handed in, labelled and left for safe keeping with the General Office during an examination.

From 17 August, (when A2/AS results are published), and then from 24 August (when GCSE results are published), each of the public Examination Boards provide a range of post result services and facilities including ‘computer checks’, ‘re-marks’ and ‘access to scripts’. Please be aware that most of these services are only available upon request and for a fee. Requests can only be made within a very limited period of time after the publication of results. Staff from the College Examinations Department will be happy to help with any enquiries about the services available or any concerns regarding examination arrangements. Results will be released to students electronically or in person on the relevant days. IB students will be able to access their results electronically from the IBO website on Thursday 6 July and AS and A2 students on Thursday 17 August from their Moodle accounts. GCSE students’ results will be available from their Moodle account on Thursday 24 August. The iGCSE English Language results, which are released by the exam board earlier than other GCSE results, will be available on A level results day, Thursday 17 August. It is expected that the AS/A2 and GCSE results will be electronically available from 8.15am on the relevant days. Alternatively, if students prefer to receive their results in person at College, they will be able to come into College to either use our ICT facilities or collect printed results from the Drama Studio from 8.30am onwards.

Year 1 Students

Year 1 students have started considering potential future applications to Higher Education (HE), and/or giving consideration to appropriate future employment opportunities and pathways (including apprenticeships and training) and career progression options. The HE and Employment Careers Convention held at College in January gave students an excellent initial opportunity to begin to think about future progression options and an HE Introductory Evening for parents also took place in March - and was very well attended. The second half of the Summer Term Tutorial Programme has a very strong progression, HE, Employment and Careers focus. Students will have opportunities to attend presentations and workshops, during the 3 Day Programme (14, 15, and 16 June) and other activities have been organised.

A UCAS Regional HE Convention (‘Superfair’) will be held at the University of Essex, Wivenhoe Campus on 14 and 15 June. Further detail will be given to students in mid-June. There will be an opportunity for parents to discuss their son/daughter’s progress with teaching staff on Tuesday 4 July at the Parents’ Consultation Evening. HE update and finance presentations will be offered on the evening either at 6:15 p.m. or (repeated) at 7:45 p.m. The briefing will also include an outline of the national HE financial arrangements that the Government has in place. By then, it is expected that the Government will have finalised any remaining decisions regarding the HE Student Finance arrangements for the 2018-19 year. This will provide ‘direction’ for those considering HE in autumn 2018 and beyond. For those who wish to attend the evening, appointments with subject staff will need to be planned around the chosen presentation time which is expected to last about fifty minutes. Invitation letters and further detail regarding the arrangements for 4 July will be distributed to parents via email and will also be copied electronically to their son or daughter when they return from Examination and Study Leave in mid-June.

After Year 1 students have completed their first year AS Level examinations, they are required to attend College at 9.00am on Wednesday 14 June – as will Year 1 IB students.  (IB students do have some commitments prior to 14 June and IB staff have given students specific details). All Year 1 students will initially be involved in a 3-day programme (14, 15 and 16 June) of briefings, subject sessions, careers activities, progress reviews and action planning. Year 1 AS level students will also confirm their A2/AS course choices for their second year of study. Any possible changes to proposed academic courses for the 2017/18 academic year should be carefully considered and discussed with relevant staff and parents during June. A2/AS level coursing decisions for Year 2 will generally need to be made in June, although a team of senior staff will be available to help in late August if relevant students then need to consider amending their Year 2 course choices or wider plans in the light of their AS Level results. If, following the receipt of AS results, some individual students wish to meet with their Senior Tutor or other College senior staff in the period from AS Level results release on 17 August and before the start of term on Tuesday 29 August, appointments can be made by telephone via senior tutor support. Senior Tutors will be available for appointments from 9am Friday 18 August.

Wednesday 28 June and Thursday 29 June are College Induction Days for our ‘prospective’ students. Year 1 students will not, therefore, generally be required to attend College on those two days but will be given work in each subject area to be completed either at home, or using Library study facilities at College if they prefer.

There will also be a briefing evening, on Wednesday 5 July, for the parents of those students considering an application for courses at Oxford or Cambridge Universities. Admissions tutors from two ‘Oxbridge’ Colleges will give presentations and then answer any questions. Interested students are also encouraged to attend.

It is essential that all students hoping to progress to a second year of study attend College and work consistently throughout the June/July period and until the last day of term on 18 July. A considerable amount of A2 level and IB teaching will be undertaken and appropriate work will also be set for completion in this period and for the first two days of Autumn Term (29 and 30 August). At this time, those students who will be new to the College will be involved in their Enrolment. Year 2 students are not, however required to be in College and will study at home until 9:00 am on Thursday 30 August.

 

Following their AS exams, a good number of students, including those applying for a competitive degree course or employment areas, may wish to consider commencing an individual Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). There are many ways that an EPQ can be achieved and EPQ briefings will be given during the 3-Day Programme regarding the series of possible EPQ pathways and options. Many of the interested students are advised to undertake their EPQ work on an ‘accelerated ‘basis in the June/July/August period. Nearly 200 students have completed EPQs this year and students have been able to produce very high standards of work based upon a particular area of interest or skill.

Students have been made well aware that if they do not fulfil the necessary attendance and study commitments in each of their specific subjects, during the June or July or summer periods, as well as meeting the academic progression requirements, they will be unable to progress to Year 2 study in September.

Transport

All students continuing with their studies at the College in 2017/18 year (as well as new students enrolling at College in September), and who are resident in Essex and wish to re-apply for an Essex County Council (ECC) travel pass must now do so (via ECC). Information is available regarding Essex County Council travel support at Essex County Coucil Travel to School. Suffolk County Council's Children, families and learning website also has the appropriate information for all students who are resident in Suffolk.

However, many students, including some eligible for either the ECC or SCC passes, may find local transport providers offer cheaper termly season ticket options than those offered by ECC or SCC. Advice regarding the range of concessionary transport schemes available can be given from the General Office – updated 2017/18 ‘Transport Guidance’ will also be posted on the College website (via Parents Page link on the home page) hen the transport operators have confirmed their 2017/18 arrangements.

Year 2 Students

Year 2 A level students will begin their Exam and Study Leave period at 4.05pm on Wednesday 24 May and there is an additional Exam and Study Leave day on Monday 22 May - owing to a large number of year 2 students undertaking AS level exams on this day.

The College is very pleased with the HE offers that students have received to date. Approximately 1000 students now hold degree course offers with approximately 500 students now ‘holding’ offers from Oxbridge, Medical Schools, other ‘Russell Group’ universities or very competitive degree courses. We are also pleased with the employment offers students have received and reported to us.

In late April, a letter with attached materials was emailed to parents of Year 2 students outlining the key dates and arrangements for the period from April to September. The documentation included information regarding arrangements and availability of study facilities, exam results, higher education, employment progression guidance (following publication of A2 Level results on 17 August), and also a pro forma for completion in connection with book and learning resources deposits. The materials also included an invitation to the recent Year 2 ‘HE Evening’ update. This meeting provided an outline of key information relevant at this stage, with regard to national higher education finance and the facilities in place for those commencing Higher Education in the 2017/18 year. For those unable to attend support briefing notes can be obtained from the Careers Department.

Students leaving this summer have been given detailed written instructions and oral briefings regarding their examinations and leaving procedures. The written instructions can also be found on this website (via the Student Notes box on the Documents page) and will remain there until early September. The official ‘Leavers’ Day’ for all students who are completing their A2 or GCSE programme of study this term is Wednesday 5 July and for IB students Thursday 6 July. Students should return all their text books and any materials or equipment that belong to the College on or before this day.

IB exams started on Monday 1 May. IB Results Day is Thursday 6 July and IB students will be able to access their results using their personal IB code. Results will also be released in College from 09:00 am and the College will have a team of IB, Senior and Careers Staff available to support any IB students who may need help between 6 July and the end of term and again from Friday 18 August onwards. Senior and Careers staff will also be available in College to support those A2 students who need help during the period between AS/A2 Level Results Day (17 August) until the start of term on Tuesday 29 August. It is recommended that appointments are made via our switchboard 01206 500700.

The Arts

On May 10 the Performing Arts Department held their first ever Awards evening to celebrate the success and commitment of our students to the department in their academic, practical and extracurricular activities. All departmental course areas nominated students for awards in their specialisms and there was also be an award presented to a student who has shown exceptional commitment to the whole department through their involvement in extracurricular activities. The evening was a stunning success, very well attended and enabled us to celebrate another outstanding year with our Performing Arts students and their parents.

The department will be hosting an H.E conference on June 22 involving our ex students who are either studying or working in the Performing Arts field. They will be speaking to our current first years students and answering questions on options available for study and work beyond College. This has been a very positive event in the past and it is always lovely to welcome our past students back to College.

It has been a busy and demanding term for dance students so far, beginning the summer term with AS and A2 Dance practical exams. Yet again, the students impressed the examiner with their mature and creative work. There were some very moving and memorable pieces this year. Well done to all.

We are bringing various art forms together during June for a week long collaborative creative project. The inspiration for the creative adventure is Reality v's Fantasy. The subject areas of Textiles, Photography, Art, Drama and Performing Arts will be joining Dance to explore potential and this will all culminate in performance work for our annual Arts Festival.

The term continues with focus on Higher Education and future opportunities. There are a number of workshops planned, with our former dance students returning to share what experiences since leaving College. Included in the 11 workshops planned so far, are, Ghanaian Dance workshops, Contact Improvisation, B Ballet, Hip Hop workshop. Alongside taster sessions to give an idea of what to expect from various universities/conservatoire; such as De Montfort University, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London Studio Centre to name but a few. It's an exciting time for Dance students!

Along with various other exciting performance opportunities with our local schools and hosting The Dance Network Associations Primary Festival, this term allows Dance students to focus on performance and choreography. Being creative and seeking new inspiration.

Drama and Theatre students studying AS and A level completed their practical exams last term. Thank you to all parents and friends who came to watch the dress rehearsals and also the final pieces; your support is always greatly appreciated. On March 22nd students from both years went to see “The Miser” at The Garrick Theatre starring Griff Rhys Jones and Lee Mack. The performance was very enjoyable and students have been producing some excellent written work for their exam based on this experience. We have a good number of drama workshops and activities planned for the summer term and look forward to seeing the students after their written exams.

During the summer term Music students will be involved in a vocal workshop taught by Corrina Dolso on Tuesday 27th June. There will also be a concert on Thursday 6th July involving a jazz trio of guitar, bass and drums playing original music composed by Michael Spearman and including student items. The student event ‘Unplugged on the Concourse’ will take place on Friday 7th July at 1.30pm.

The A2 Performance Studies final practical exams are taking place in early May. All second year Performance Studies students perform two pieces: one devised piece, using three art forms of music, dance and drama, based on an exam board stimulus and one repertory piece. Devised themes have included the painting Death and The Miser by Bosch, E.T., To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Sammy Davis Jr. Repertory work includes songs by Gershwin and The Beatles, Metamorphosis by Berkoff, Shakers by Godber and The Car Man by Matthew Bourne. All work is of an extremely high standard and very entertaining, as always, and we look forward to some keen audiences! We are celebrating the end of a successful year of our new BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Performing Arts. Students have responded positively to the challenges of this course. We have enjoyed some excellent practical performances in February, with works by Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Fosse, Bourne and Godber, some entertaining presentations on the subject of “Being A Performer”, with audience participation (!) and the final stages are the Reflective Journal and a written exam, based on the theme of “Relationships”, to be completed this term.

We look forward to a potential Summer Showcase, in July, re-visiting some of the earlier excellent exam performances, so will get the chance to see them if you missed them first time around!

The College has had an excellent programme of Visual Arts activities throughout this academic year and these will continue until the end of term.  There will be an Art and Design Private View on Thursday 22 June 4.15pm until 6pm – in the Art Department on the third floor. Work on display will be from the range of A Level Art and Design courses, including Fine Art, Photography, Textiles, Graphics, Art History and Sculpture. Everyone is welcome to come along and there will be refreshments available.

Planning is underway for a range of performing and visual arts events and activities, which will be taking place within the Arts and Culture Festival will take place on Thursday 13 July. Activities will include performances, workshops and an exhibition trail.  A Performing Arts Showcase evening is also likely to be arranged.

Visits, Exchanges and Expeditions and other Activities

A large number of successful field trips and visits have taken place this academic year and earlier this term and in the period after summer, public exams there will be a further series of opportunities.

Physics students will visit CERN in June, English students will be visiting the Windmill in Norfolk late June, early July and also will visit Stratford upon Avon mid-July. Geology and Geography students will be visiting the Isle of Arran in early July and Graphics students will be visiting the New Designers at Business Design Centre in London. Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award students have already completed practice expeditions and will undertake the assessed expedition in the Peak District in July. In July a group of students, studying our Spanish courses, along with staff, will conduct a new expedition activity to Paraguay where they will work in a disadvantaged community. The group are currently involved in preparations and also undertaking fund raising activities to enable them to make a sizeable donation of resources to the community and help support a future visit to Colchester for a few of the 16-18 year olds from the community.

Sport

A very busy Sports Season has taken place with many team and individual successes.

Association of Colleges National Finals 2016/17
The College entered all regional sports competitions in the attempt to qualify for the National finals at Nottingham University and a group of thirteen students have qualified in Golf, Badminton and Basketball. The men’s Basketball have had a very successful year – they also reached the soccer final of the National Under 19 Schools and Colleges Cup. The College 1st XI football team have won the Essex League 2 Trophy Final, winning the final 6-2 again Campion School, Upminster. The annual Sports Awards was recently held and will celebrated the wide range of significant sporting success and contributions throughout the year.

A variety of speakers will be attending the 3 Day Programme to help inspire our sports students as they consider their future options. There will be representatives from universities as well as from sport related employment. A number of recent ‘Sport Activation’ activities have taken place – and other scheduled. Recently a popular Doubles Badminton tournament has been running - the final will be played by Friday 21 April. We had a series of successful friendlies in Volleyball, Girl’s Football and Basketball over the last term. We will be holding a Football tournament in the summer.

The Colour Run that was recently held at Writtle University raised money for Marie Curie and Home Start charities.

A Primary Schools Tag Rugby Competition will be held on 24 May. Following previously very successful tournaments the students following the Principles of Coaching Sport Qualification have organised this year’s primary schools Tag Rugby tournament. There are just under 50 teams coming from just over 30 schools at the time of writing. The tournament will be held at Colchester Rugby Club ground at Mill Road and spectators are very welcome.

Key Dates

IB External Exams start Monday 1 May to Friday 19 May
AS and GCSE Study Leave starts and
Public Examinations AS/GCSE begin
Monday 15 May
Year 1 IB Internal Exams Tuesday 2 May to Friday 5 May
Year 1 IB return to College Monday 8 May
A2 Study Leave starts Thursday 25 May
Half- term break Monday 29 May to Friday 2 June
Year 1 IB College Activities week Monday 5 June
Year 1 IB Group 4 Project Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 June
AS Year 1 return to College Wednesday 14 June
3 Day Programme Wednesday 14 June to Friday 16 June
A2 Teaching commences Monday 19 June
Non-Teaching Days – Induction Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 June
Parents Evening Tuesday 4 July
IB Leavers’ Day Thursday 6 July
A2 and GCSE Leavers’ Day Wednesday 5 July
Last day of term Tuesday 18 July
Examination Results:
IB (Year 2) Thursday 6 July
AS/ A2 /IGCSE/Applied General/EPQ Thursday 17 August
GCSE Thursday 24 August
Enrolment:
Year 2 Thursday 31 August / AM