Introduction

This current Newsletter is designed to provide students and parents with information about recent developments at the College, to highlight forthcoming activities and events, and to provide guidance on a number of important College-related matters. Further editions will be prepared and distributed in the Spring and Summer Terms. The College website is also an important ongoing source of information www.colchsfc.ac.uk. including the Documents section of the website which has a range of very useful materials. From early November, the website will include copies of invitations to the forthcoming Parents’ Consultation Evenings in November. The News section also provides regular reports and photographs from some of our student activities. Term Dates for this academic year, and 2019/20, can also be found on the Term Dates section. 

Please note that Friday 30 November 2018 will be a ‘non-student’ day (a staff training day). Students will not be required to attend the College on this day, although the Library and all independent study facilities will be available for any students who would like to study on the College site. There will also be slight adjustments to our timetable arrangements between Wednesday 17 and Friday 19 October - related to our Open Evenings for prospective students to be held on Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 October. Students will be provided with the detail of the adjustments this week. Many thanks to the large number of our current students who have volunteered to help during these evenings.

At the start of term all students were issued with a paper copy of the Student Handbook and Charter. This document, and also the 2018/19 Parent Handbook, is also available on the website within the Documents section. An email, with a link to the Parents Handbook, was sent to parents/carers in early September. The handbooks both provide in-depth information regarding College policies, procedures, systems and arrangements. If any students have not received a copy of the Student Handbook, or if parents cannot access either document from the links above, or the website, please contact my secretary, Catherine Lilley, or the College General Office and paper copies will be provided.

Students have ongoing access to internal communications and a large range of teaching and learning materials through our Moodle facility. Each student has an individual Moodle account and login facility. Students should check Moodle, and also their College email, at least twice a day. Our College communication systems rely very heavily on these electronic forms of communication. In the event of an emergency or in instances when there are severe winter weather conditions, updated information and guidance will normally be posted on Moodle – and will also be posted on the website for parents. 

The safety and wellbeing of our students is always a primary concern. Details of our Child Protection Policy and other policy documents, including the College Prevent strategy, are available from the Documents and College Policies sections of this website - and are within the Parents' Information section. As a safeguarding measure, in line with expectations of Government agencies, we require all our students to have their College Student Card on their person at all times they are on College premises. Staff and Visitors are required to wear visible ID in the form of lanyards or clip badges. More generally our Assistant Principals, Senior Tutors and Personal Tutors are supported by a Student Welfare and Health Support Coordinator, Rosie Hawes, together with a team of trained ‘first aiders’, available to also help provide initial support to our students. They will deal with any first response health issues, illness or injury problems that may occur whilst students are present at College. If a student needs to be sent home, then we would normally expect a ‘responsible adult’ to collect them from College. Where this is not possible, we will normally arrange a taxi to take the student home, but you may be liable for the cost. It is essential that parent/guardian ‘contact details’ are kept up to date so that we can, where appropriate, contact home in the event of an accident or illness, during the College day.

If parents/carers are not available for ‘emergency contact’, for example, during their son or daughter’s participation in a residential College trip or visit, and/or where parents are out of the country on holiday or business, it is important that clear arrangements are made for a nominated ‘responsible adult’ contact who can and will assume ‘duty of care’ for their son or daughter. The College needs to be made fully aware of the detail of this arrangement prior to the relevant trip taking place. Students wishing to participate in any College trips and visits must ensure that all health difficulties, physical and/or mental, are declared to the trip organisers on the application form relating to the trip. In some instances, risk assessments will need to be undertaken.

Students have provided the College with their parents’/carers’ email addresses – and we use these addresses for most key communications from the College. It is, therefore, important that the College is informed if there are changes to email addresses. Please email PA to the Principal at paprincipal@colchsfc.ac.uk

The College Friends welcome parents/carers of our ‘new’ students and hope that you will be able to support its fund-raising activities to enhance the facilities available for students at College. Funds raised by the College Friends are currently being used to provide extra student independent study facilities. Many thanks to all who have supported or will support our students’ experience at the College. The Clerk of the Governors will be contacting parents/carers in the near future and asking for nominations for a Parent Governor position on the Governing Body for a two year period.

Where needs arise, please contact your son or daughter’s Personal or Senior Tutor and, if appropriate, Jo Cadman, Assistant Principal with responsibility for student matters. Please do contact me if you feel this appropriate.

Ian MacNaughton
Principal 2018

Examination Results and Destinations

The results achieved by our students in the summer 2018 public exams were excellent - well above the national benchmark levels. See our Results pages for details. 90% of last year’s Year 2 students achieved an average 3 or more A level or equivalent passes – significantly above the national average for 18 year olds in all schools, academies and colleges in England. Our cohort of Year 2 IB Diploma students achieved an average IB points score of over 32 points, significantly above the international average. The ‘top 100’ achievers at the College, again, attained average UCAS and DfE point scores which will be better than those achieved by the ‘top 100’ students in nearly all selective or independent schools in the country and our students had the highest level of overall sixth form achievement in any College in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

As a result of these strong results, student progression was excellent. Over 1000 of last year’s Year 2 students are now studying for degree courses at universities, specialist visual arts, design or performing arts courses, or have arranged ‘GAP’ or other ‘Year Out’ placements and experiences before they enter higher education in 2019. Others have obtained employment and training opportunities in London or in the local area or abroad.

Our current Year 2 students also achieved good results in their AS exams in the summer, and their progress provides a sound basis upon which they can build for success at A Level next summer and at GCSE, where the majority of students involved were repeating examinations to improve grades from Year 11, results were also excellent – overall approximately 10% above the national average level in the A*- C grades range for 16-18 year olds. GCSE English and Maths resit results were really outstanding – considerably higher than national averages.

Congratulations must be offered to our students for their hard work and successes last academic year, and credit must also go to the College staff who supported the students in their studies and wider experiences. The achievement of last year’s second year students will be recognised at the Annual Reunion and Awards event to be held at Charter Hall on the evening of Tuesday 18 December. We expect over 1,000 people will be in attendance and the evening will provide a memorable celebration of student achievements.

Year 2 Students

We anticipate that nearly 1000 of our Year 2 students will apply for higher education courses - either for 2019 entry or, on a deferred basis, for 2020 entry. Staff are currently very busy advising and working with students to help them prepare and finalise their UCAS applications - and a good number of applications have now already been dispatched to UCAS. The specified deadline for the receipt of applications for most degree courses at UCAS is 15 January 2019 although for some degree courses deadlines dates were substantially earlier than this. (Relevant dates have been clearly and regularly communicated within College). Please note that from the ‘first submission of a draft’ UCAS application to our staff, there is a very significant amount of checking, administrative work, and reference preparation by staff that needs to be undertaken. Last year, on average, draft UCAS had to be sent back to students by staff for necessary amendments nearly three times! We therefore require that draft applications are completed and submitted to College staff by Friday 16 November at the latest to enable staff to undertake their work and ‘despatch’ by the end of the term (mid-December). An internal deadline of just a week later (23 November) then applies for the College to guarantee to be able to meet the 15 January 2019 UCAS deadline.

We strongly advise all year 2 students to submit their UCAS applications as early as possible. Feedback received from universities indicates that early applications are generally given greater and more favourable consideration by Admissions Tutors. When making the final UCAS choices from offers received, we strongly advise that students should have a ‘fall-back’ option as their insurance ‘2nd choice’. This should allow students to be confident they can achieve an ‘offer’ that is likely to reflect ‘Current’ grades - although it may be slightly less ambitious and below ‘Target’ grades.

Students considering applying for competitive employment or sponsorship options to most of the national and multi-national organisations for a Summer/Autumn 2019 start will, in most instances, need to make early applications – and a number are in the Autumn/pre-Christmas period. Students are, therefore advised to undertake their research regarding progression options as a matter of urgency to avoid the risk of missing deadlines.

Certificates for all the AS Level and GCSE exams taken at the College last summer will be distributed to relevant students, via Personal Tutors, in December.

Year 2 IB students are currently finalising their Extended Essays (deadline 8 November) and their Theory of Knowledge work needs to be completed by the 6 December 2018 deadline. Year 2 IB mock exams will be held between 14 January and 18 January 2019 and students should ensure they are well prepared for these. The Summer 2019 IB external exams period is from Tuesday 7 May to Friday 24 May 2019. IB results are scheduled for release in early July 2019 – over a month earlier than the Government release of A level results on 15 August 2019.

Year 1 Students

We have been very pleased to welcome our newly enrolled students this term - and the first signs are that the vast majority are settling very quickly into their individual programmes of study and to the College in general. We feel it important to highlight to parents and students some important Summer Term 2019 arrangements.

Please note that the Easter break period, in April, is just before of the start of the May Internal Assessment Programme for both A level and IB courses. Following these exams and assessments, in June students will received revised Current and Target grades reflecting their progress on their academic programme of study. Students should therefore plan to make substantial progress with their independent programmes of revision and preparation for the May exams during the Easter period – and as highlighted in the Induction Parents Briefings held in June, the Easter period is not therefore a good time for students to take major holidays.

First year IB students will also have their ‘Internal Exams’ in May (Thursday 9 May–Friday 17 May) and then, from Wednesday 22 May to Friday 24 May, IB students will be engaged in a mixture of study skills, TOK and Extended Essay work, a Group 4 Science Project and ‘Model United Nations’ activity. The IB Internal Exams in May will help ‘inform’ the Predicted Grades process subsequently used for university applications completed in the early autumn period.

Consistent attendance through to the end of the Summer Term, on Wednesday 17 July, is essential for students to be able to progress to study a second year programme in September. We remind students and parents that holidays should not be taken by students at any stage within term time including within the second half of the Summer Term period.

Students should be aware that in July some work will be set by staff in each A Level subject area for completion during the summer holiday period and many students will be progressing with their Extended Project Qualification work. IB students will also be expected to make significant progress over the summer regarding preparation of their Extended Essays as well as completing some work in most subjects.

To inform and guide students, and their parents, an outline of 2018-19 working arrangements was included in the Student Handbook - and can also be found in the Parent Handbook.

All Students Progression

A major College programme of Higher Education and Employment progression information and guidance has begun. Year 2 students are being encouraged to make firm progression plans for the end of the academic year by researching employment and apprenticeship opportunities or attending open days at universities and completing their UCAS applications. All students are completing an Employability Skills audit. A Volunteering Fair was recently held – with national and local organisations represented. The event was well attended by students and there were a good range of volunteers, citizenship or social action opportunities made available to our students.

The annual Careers Fair will be held in the Multi-Purpose Hall on Thursday 14 February 2019 with approximately 100 exhibitors attending including representatives from over 80 universities with employers, apprenticeship providers and ‘Year Out’ providers who can provide information to students. Please see our Careers Department page for further details. There will also be a Higher Education and Employability Briefing Evening for Year 1 students and their parents, on the evening of the 12 February 2019. Students will have the opportunity to attend the Colchester Careers Convention. On 20 and 21 May 2019, all Year 1 students will be participating in the College-wide Career Progression ‘two day programme’ where over 300 talks will be taking place to assist students with their next steps. Students and parents may also attend the regional UCAS Higher Education Exhibition to be held on 13 June 2019 at the University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park. Students will need to sign up to attend the event via UCAS website. All students are able to sign up for individual careers appointments, as appropriate, on an ongoing basis at College.

Learning Support Detail – Exam Access Arrangements

Students have been reminded to check that their Learning Support Detail and any Examination Access Arrangements are accurately logged on the College Database. They can check this by looking at the ‘home page’ on Moodle – the top right hand corner – ‘Exam Details and Seating Arrangements’. If any of the details are incorrect students have been asked to inform Sarah Prince (Director of Learning Support/SENCO) or their Personal Tutor as soon as possible – this information needs to be accurate as the College has to officially apply to the examination authorities for access arrangements and the first deadline for this is early October, for November examinations. Failure to meet this deadline will mean that the College are unable to apply for exam access arrangements.

Forthcoming Progress Reviews/Parent Consultation Evenings/Reports

On an on-going basis if parents/carers particularly wish to discuss a matter with their son’s or daughter’s Senior or Personal Tutor, please contact them directly by email or phone. Next month there will also be an opportunity to make subject appointments for one of the forthcoming Parents’ Consultation Evenings.

All students have recently undertaken Initial Progress Checks with Personal Tutors. Full Progress Reviews with subject teachers will take place in early November, where Current and Target grades will be given culminating in overall progress discussions with Personal Tutors. Following this, Progress Reviews will be completed for all students and published to both students and parents via Go4Schools in late November (prior to the commencement of the programme of Parents Consultation Evenings from 22 November). Students and Parents will be emailed to inform them when the Review is available online and with details of how to log on to their Go4Schools account.

Subject focussed Consultation Evenings will be held for parents of all students on Thursday 22 November and Tuesday 27 November and Thursday 29 November. Letters inviting parents to make specific appointments with relevant staff for one of the evenings, will be emailed after half-term (details will also be available via this website). Students are encouraged to join their parents for these meetings. If the specified date initially allocated to you is inconvenient, there is flexibility for you to attend whichever evening is convenient to you. If you feel it necessary, appointments can be made with Personal Tutors and Senior Tutors in addition to those appointments with subject teachers. Please leave a ten minute gap between the end of one appointment and the start of the next.

Full Reports for all students will be prepared and distributed in February – following a further Progress Review – Reports will also be distributed via Go4Schools.

Parents of students (and the students) following the Advanced Foundation Programme (AFP) were invited to the AFP Consultation Evening we recently held (on 3 October) and this gave an opportunity for dialogue at a vital early stage with regard to those students aiming to improve their GCSE grades. Parents of our AFP students will, of course, also be invited to the November evenings.

Summer 2019 Results and Post Results Arrangements

We understand that the relevant Government agencies and Public Examination Boards are planning to release Summer 2019 A (and AS) Level results on Thursday 15 August 2019 - with GCSE results released on Thursday 22 August. Results will be released electronically via individual student Moodle accounts. Alternatively, results can be collected in person at the College from 8.30am on the 15 August. A large team of Senior and Careers Dept. staff will be in College from 15 August to help students and parents to offer guidance and advice. Enrolment will begin with new students starting on Tuesday 27 August 2018.

College Catering Facilities

A ‘contactless’ till payment system will soon be introduced into the College Refectory in the main (Southsite) building. This facility will enable students, staff and parental visitors to make purchases by Debit card and without the need to carry cash.

The College’s two refectories offer a wide selection of good quality food, including home cooked dishes, at reasonable prices. Breakfast is served each day from 8am and the refectories are open throughout the morning, until the end of extended lunchtime, for snacks and meals. Please see our Catering and Hospitality page for details of our catering services.

Getting involved

Our students take part in a huge number of voluntary activities and there are countless opportunities to “get involved”. 

First year Tutor Groups have now completed the process of identifying their Tutor Group representatives and the process of nominations and hustings, culminating in elections, is now underway for our College Council Executive Committee (student elected body). Over the next few months each of the College Council Committees will also be electing new Chairs. All students who wish to get involved are welcome to join one of the committees – Charities, Social, Arts and Cultural, Sports and Environment. The committees are all active in arranging activities. These include a recent successful Knollfest organised by the Social Committee. A number of Black History Month activities are being organised by the Arts Committee and a series of Charity Committee activities have been organised (see later section).

Friends not Foes is an award-winning, student led group which works to support the local refugee community in Colchester area, and raise awareness of the refugee crisis. Our activities range from teaching English, baby-sitting, running a crèche at community meetings, waiting tables and kitchen work at the pop-up cafes, running stalls at various events, and organising a Christmas party for the children in partnership with the Colchester Police. We have also organised fund-raising events in college to support Colchester Refugee Action such as The Friends Not Foes Bake Off, a vintage clothes sale and quizzes. The College continues to be an active member of Colchester Citizenship Alliance and was awarded College of Sanctuary status earlier this year.

There are significant numbers of opportunities available to our students to get involved in ‘peer support’ or ‘buddying’ schemes at College – either involving the subjects they study or in some cross-college areas. There are also a number of volunteering opportunities including student Library Champions and College Ambassadors – who work with the Admissions Department. If any students wish to get involved in these schemes, which provide excellent opportunity to develop skills, they need to liaise with the appropriate members of staff with responsibility. Any students wishing to be involved in a College Ambassador role should contact Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal or Gaby Wheelhouse, Admissions Department.

2018 Armistice Day (11 November) marks the 100 year Centenary of the end of the First World War in 1918. November 11 falls on a Sunday this year but the College will hold an Armistice Silence within the Tutorial Period on Thursday 8 November – and the History Department, in conjunction with a group of students, are organising some related commemorative activities.

Charitable Activities

On an on-going basis, the College supports the Russ Foundation Community in Kerala Tamil Nadu, Southern India. The Russ activities support a disadvantaged community of orphaned children and community healthcare projects. The weekly collections and the profits from sales from the Russ Shop and Coffee Bar continue to raise funds to support the Russ. The students who volunteer to get involved in the 2019/20 Expedition to the Russ Foundation Community will also be involved in a substantial fund raising programme to be able to make a sizeable donation to the Community.

The Charities Committee are currently involved in planning a series of events and activities to support Children in Need. Other charity activities planned for this term include fund raising for Essex and Herts Air Ambulance including Open Evenings which there will be display and collection. There will be fund raising on Pink Day activities to support Cancer Research. In December all Tutor Groups will also be involved in preparing hampers for distribution to low income families in the local area via social services agencies.

Expeditions, Trips and Visits and European Language Day

A large number of trips and visits are scheduled for this term. Students will continue to be informed, as appropriate, via departments or in the Student Bulletin and Moodle as appropriate and specific trips and visits opportunities arise. In September a group of students participated in the Cambridge University International Model United Nations Conference in Cambridge. In early October, a group of History students are visiting Berlin and, also in October, English Dept. students will visit the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London to see a performance of Othello and Politics students will be visiting Brussels. A team of three first year students is due to take part in the English Speaking Union’s Sixth Form Public Speaking Competition, to be held at Felsted School this month. In November the Law Department students will be visiting Norwich and Ipswich, History students visit The Tower of London. Another group of History students will be visiting Rome in February. Art department students will be travelling to New York in February and Sociology students will also be travelling to New York in March. Geography students will be undertaking fieldwork in Ipswich and Felixstowe in March and also Flatford in April – and travelling to Bournemouth in April. During April MFL students studying Spanish will be travelling to Mallorca to take part in the Spanish Exchange. Looking further forward, there will be a large number of trips and visits in June and July including Geology students undertaking fieldwork in the Isle of Arran.

The English Department will be running an annual 3 day residential trip to Stratford-upon-Avon in July 2019. This is a fantastic opportunity for English and Drama students to see 3 plays (2 Shakespeare plays and one other Restoration play), Shakespeare’s house and a behind the scenes tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Class teachers in English and Drama will soon be giving their students more information about the trip and a letter with guidance about payment via instalments. Please ask you son/daughter for more information. The English Department are also running a Creative Writing residential trip scheduled for a weekend in January 2019 at the Bircham Windmill in North Norfolk. Students who do the Creative Writing Additional Study will be given information and letters, but the trip is also open to all English students and letters will soon be available from the English Department.

Planning is now underway for another India Expedition to the Russ Foundation Community in southern India over the Christmas/New Year period 2019/20. There will be opportunities to find out more about this opportunity in November.

A very successful European Day of Languages event recently took place (Thursday 27 September). This featured a large number of language ‘taster’ sessions many of which were given by our students. Relevant national foods were also supplied! The events were very well attended and staff were very impressed with the amount of effort that students put into delivery of high quality presentations.

Performing Arts

The Performing Arts Department have a significant programme of events and activities scheduled for this term: The department are using their close links with the University of Bedfordshire to arrange a day of professional workshops in dance, acting and musical theatre. This was a highly successful event last year and we are keen to give our current students an experience of higher education courses in the Performing Arts, as well as allow them to develop their performance skills. These workshops will be open to all Performing Arts students and are free. Dates and times to be confirmed.

In September, the College record label, Storm Records, released a new single titled ‘The Retreat’, composed and performed by a second year student Joy Bakare, with the help of Joshua Bobby as the music producer and audio engineer, and Ben Constable as the bass guitarist. Joy’s song writing skills are evident with her view of Brexit and its impact on her and her age group. The retreat is available to buy on all major platforms, including on iTunes. The College Radio Station, Storm, has welcomed an enthusiastic group of new student volunteers. The teams are producing 15 radio programmes each week. There have been some upgrades to the Station’s equipment and software over the Summer period.

This term Drama and Theatre and IB Theatre students have the opportunity to see “The Lovely Bones” at The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich on 14 November. This Birmingham Repertory Theatre touring production, is an adaptation of Alice Sebold’s much admired 2002 novel by Bryony Lavery. It is directed by Melly Still and has recently opened to very good reviews. A level Drama has a mandatory requirement that students see live theatre as part of their course both for the written exam and to inform their own practical work.

Shakespeare Day is on 30 November and RADA examiners will be visiting the College to assess our group of Shakespeare and Drama Club students who are submitting for the RADA Shakespeare Award. Students have been entered for the Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards and will have to perform a selected speech and sonnet.

The Youth Dance Company, housed at the College, begins again this term. Details of North Essex Dance Company are also available on the college web site and on The Dance Networks Association web site.

As always this term, our dance students will be offered enrichment opportunities to explore the dance industry and potential careers within the dance industry. Some Year 1 and 2 A Level Dance students are also busy preparing applications for OneDance UK Dance Ambassadors scheme. Others waiting to hear back from their National Youth Dance Company call back auditions during the summer. Our close links with our alumni students assist us in providing guidance and support with an ever changing industry.

The Dance Department is also celebrating the success of past students, Hayley Lemon and Bethany Storie who have just completed their Masters Degree in Dance Performance and Choreography at University of Bedfordshire – Hayley will be working closely with the A Level students returning as resident choreographer at the College.

In December the department are taking a trip to Sadler’s Wells in London, to see Matthew Bourne’s “Swan Lake”. Students on both courses study Bourne as a practitioner and we are excited to be able to run this trip as this well-known work, with its all-male corps de ballet, is returning to Sadler’s Wells “with a fresh look for the 21st century”!

In January 2019, there will be a production of “We Didn’t Have Time to Be Scared” a musical by Andrew Geha but directed by Andrew Carrington Moule who is one of our second year A Level Drama and Theatre students. The play is based on a true story about two sisters who flee Nazi Germany. This is Andrew’s directorial debut. Auditions are being held, beginning this week. More details to follow.

Other forthcoming performance events will include:

  • The Autumn Music Concert will be held on Thursday 8 November 7pm in the Drama Studio. There will be a range of musical items including the choir, band and orchestra, everyone is welcome. Tickets are available on the door
  • Dance Performance Evenings take place on 5 and 6 December at 7pm. They mark the first milestone in the students’ progression in the new academic year. The 2 nights will celebrate the rich diversity of our students work in Dance. Every year, the students are proud to share their work with their audience. Year 1 A Level Dance student’s also have the added pressure of a live assessment
  • The Annual Carol Service will take place on Tuesday 11 December at St Peters Church (opposite the College) North Hill at 7.30pm. This features a large number of contributions from the College Choir, Orchestra and Musicians. All are welcome and there will be complimentary mince pies and mulled wine in the main Refectory at College after the event supplied by the College Friends
  • Shakespeare/EPQ Evening Thursday 13 December at 7pm in the Drama Studio. Speech and sonnets (Bronze, Silver and Gold awards) being performed with EPQ performance pieces

Rock Workshop activities are held every Wednesday afternoon and an annual programme of ‘Unplugged’/’Plugged’ lunchtime performances is well underway. This started with performances within the recent Knollfest - and the next series of performances will be on the Concourse on Friday lunchtimes. Through the late Autumn/Winter period, ‘Battle of the Bands’ heats and finals will also take place.

The Performing Arts Department place significant importance on building close links between our disciplines; our Performing Arts hoodies/apparel displays our unity and our strong departmental identity. Members of the department recently went to see a number of present and past students performing in “The Wizard of Oz” at the Mercury Theatre. 

Black History Month

Elsa James, has been invited in to College to give a lecture and talk during Tutorial/Lunch on Thursday 18 October. Elsa will be speaking about her project ‘Forgotten Black Essex’ and showing some moving images she has produced. This is a cross-college event organised by the Arts and Culture Committee and the plan is that it will complement other activities taking place during Black History Month and inspire students generally. This will include activities during a Tutorial period. 

Environment

Following on from the popular Peregrine Watch events which ran during the Spring and Summer Terms, the College’s Environment Committee and Conservation Volunteers have announced a new project to establish a colony of Swifts at the College. In the past two decades, the population of Swifts in Britain has halved and one of the reasons is believed to be the lack of suitable nest sites in modern buildings. Essex Swift’s expert John Smart, has visited the College to advise on suitable locations for up to 20 Swift nest boxes and the north face of the mid-site building looks like being the perfect site. Students are looking into ways to raise funds to buy the specially designed woodcrete boxes and to hire a cherry-picker as the boxes need to be over 5 metres above the ground.

The College’s Conservation Volunteers have a full programme of work parties for the year ahead, starting with pond maintenance at Highwoods Country Park. In October, the group will join Matt Cole, the warden of Fingringhoe Wick, for the last time before Matt leaves the Essex Wildlife Trust for a post in North Wales. Matt has been an inspiration for Sixth Form College students interested in conservation work for the past 12 years.

The relatively new College pond is now establishing well. A large number of dragonflies were seen in the area over the Summer and we are hoping this will encourage other wildlife to take up residence. With the help of Michael Padmore and the Hawk and Owl Trust the Peregrine watch earlier this year was a great success. A watch point was set up in the College to view the pair of Peregrine Falcons nesting on the large water tower, ‘Jumbo’ and was attended by a large number of students, staff and the general public.

In a further effort to reduce plastic use in College, we have now introduced a hot drink loyalty card: when using your own cup/mug, buy nine hot drinks and get the tenth one free. In addition, we are beginning to phase out plastic stirrers and cutlery. Following the clean air day promotion earlier in the year, College have now adopted a no idling policy on College grounds for all staff and visitors vehicles on site.

The Environment Committee have had a great start to term with over twenty active members including both lower and upper sixth students. The Committee will be promoting World Toilet Day and Toilet Twinning in November, hoping to raise funds to add a third twinned toilet. The Committee will also be working closely with the Conservation Group with a number of members attending the conservation work which will take place later this month.

Sport

The College has begun the year with another comprehensive fixture list, covering a very wide range of sports. An excellent range of competitive and recreational opportunities, either regularly or in batches or on a ‘one-off’ basis, continue to be made available, with an overall aim of encouraging high levels sports participation.

Both Netball teams performed extremely well last year and although many of those students have now moved on to university or training, hopefully we have recruited another strong squad that can again be very successful. The Basketball and Soccer squads also look forward to successful seasons.

The Association of Colleges regional sports competitions begin in October and the College is looking forward to another enjoyable and successful year, with hopefully, a large number of successful qualifiers for the finals. Jack Lock continues in the role of College Coordinator for the AOC competitions.

We continue to work in collaboration with the satellite volleyball club in conjunction with the University of Essex which furthers the opportunities available to students to begin, continue and improve their sporting prowess. Following on from the initiatives begun the previous year Boxing and Yoga Additional Studies continue to attract significant student interest. A new indoor cricket initiative has also begun as well as opportunities to participate in tennis coaching at the university. 

The Sport and Physical Education department run a range of courses including the BTEC Certificate in Sport with the first cohort now following the Extended Certificate in Sport following a successful first year. The reformed A level is underway as well as a new coaching course ‘Sport and Physical Activity‘ both at Level 2 and 3. These courses have large numbers of students and they also enhance the links the College has made with local primary schools. Students gain practical coaching and leadership experience. Students also continue to gain part time and later full time employment from these awards. This year’s cohort has already begun their coaching in schools.