The 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 with regards to a number of recent activities. Important guidance notes relating to the examination and summer period have also 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 the guidance notes 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 under 'Documents - Student Notes' and students can access via Moodle.
A summary of key dates for the Summer period is also included - located at the end of this Newsletter. The College website also provides many key items of information including Term Dates for 2018/19 year and the Provisional Term Dates for 2019/20 year are now also posted.
I have also recently sent a letter, by email, to parents of all Year 2 students, Advanced Foundation Programme and IB 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. Details of a wide range of some of the 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 - and includes images as well as reports and accounts. The News pages are updated regularly. All key documents and important information for parents is posted on the College 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 a Reunion and Awards Event (for students leaving us this summer - and their parents/family members and friends) at Charter Hall, on the evening of Tuesday 18 December 2018. A significant range of student achievements and contributions will be recognised and celebrated on this evening. Invitations will be sent out to all parents of students leaving the College this Summer in the mid-autumn period (and to their sons/daughters via their parents' home address).
A very busy Tutorial Programme has taken place this academic year. Activities have included activities relating to Anti-Bullying, Online Safety, Safeguarding and Prevent, a series of Charity and Community Support activities, Safe Driving, Health Awareness 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, who have been working with the Borough and other local agencies to support local Syrian refugees (see later section for detail) - and also the Colchester Citizens Alliance Group who have been working in conjunction with a range of other local organisations including the University of Essex, local charity, church and community groups.
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.
Public Examination Arrangements
The summer programme of public examinations is now underway. The IB Diploma examinations for Year 2 IB students started on Wednesday 2 May and a large number of oral and practical assessments and some exams have taken place over recent weeks in a range of IB, AS and A level subjects and for a number of other qualifications. The main national programme of AS and GCSE written examinations begins on Monday 14 May.
In March, all AS/A and GCSE students were given outline individual examination timetable information for the summer period and in mid-April students were given a paper copy of their final detailed individual exam timetables (this is also available to them electronically, on an ongoing basis 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 11 May and for Year 2 A Level students at 4.05pm on Wednesday 23 May. There will also be a year 2 Exam and Study Leave day on Wednesday 16 May.
All students have also 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, of course, 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 their students and there will be some further revision classes and workshops made available in a number of AS or A level subject areas in May and early June. The programme of revision classes and workshops for the Easter vacation period were very well attended. 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 29 May to Friday 1 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. Examination Boards will usually require a medical certificate, from a GP or a hospital for a student to be eligible for 'special consideration' where there are significant last minute medical issues. It is essential that we are notified as quickly as possible of any problem which emerges 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 also 'shared' with parents (e.g. giving a parent a copy of the timetable) to help them with regards to their organisation and to avoid making serious mistakes with regard to their arrangements. A student who mistakenly attends an afternoon session instead of a morning session or attends the day after their exam has taken place 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.
In line with Government and Examination Board regulations, students have been briefed and they must ensure they do not bring mobile telephones, iPods, iPads, Tablets or any other 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 feel it necessary to bring in such items into College and cannot make alternative secure storage arrangements the College operates a system where mobile telephones and other electronic items can be handed in, and left for safe keeping with the General Office during an examination.
From 16 August, (when A/AS level results are published), and then from 23 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 the exam boards levy charges. Requests can also 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.
All 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 Friday 6 July and AS and A level students on Thursday 16 August from their Moodle accounts. GCSE students' results will be available from their Moodle account on Thursday 23 August. It is expected that AS/A level and GCSE results will be electronically available from approx. 8am 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
Through the winter and spring periods Year 1 students 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 at the beginning of May - 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 (13, 14 & 15 June) and a range of other progression options and activities have been organised. A UCAS Regional HE Convention ('Superfair') will be held at the University of Essex, Wivenhoe Campus on 20 and 21 June. Further details 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 3 July at the Parents' Consultation Evening. HE update and finance presentations will also be offered on this 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 for 2018/19. By then, it is expected that the Government may have finalised any remaining decisions regarding the HE Student Finance arrangements for the 2019-20 year. This will provide 'direction' for those considering HE as an option in autumn 2019 or beyond. For those who wish to attend on 3 July, appointments with subject staff will need to be planned around a chosen presentation time. The presentation is expected to last about fifty minutes. Invitation letters and further detail regarding the arrangements for 3 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 13 June - as will Year 1 IB students. (IB students do have timetabled commitments prior to 13 June and IB staff have given students specific details). All Year 1 students will initially be involved in a 3-day programme (13, 14 & 15 June) of briefings, subject sessions, careers activities, progress reviews and action planning. Year 1 AS level students will also confirm their A Level course choices for their second year of study. Any possible changes to proposed academic courses for the 2018/19 academic year should be carefully considered and discussed with relevant staff and parents during June. A 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 - including 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 16 August and before the start of term on Tuesday 28 August, appointments can be made by telephone via Senior Tutor Support team. Senior Tutors will be available for appointments from 9am Friday 17 August.
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 17 July. A considerable amount of A level and IB teaching will be undertaken and appropriate work will also be set for completion in this period - and also work will be set for the first two days of Autumn Term (28 and 29 August) and 31 August, 3 September when most Year 2 students are not needed in College). At this time, those students who will be new to the College will be involved in Enrolment arrangements. All Year 2 students are, however, required to be College from 9am to 1pm on Thursday 30 August.
Following their AS exams, a good number of students, including those applying for a competitive degree course or employment areas, will progress with completion of an individual Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). There are many ways that an EPQ can be achieved and EPQ briefings have been given through the Spring period outlining the criteria, arrangements and the series of possible EPQ pathways and options. Many of the students involved in completion of EPQs are advised to undertake their EPQ work on an 'accelerated 'basis in the June/July/August period.
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 the summer period, as well as meeting the general and subject specific academic progression requirements, they will be unable to progress to a programme of Year 2 study in September.
Tuesday 26 June and Wednesday 27 June are the College Induction Days for our 'prospective' students. Year 1 students will not, therefore, generally be required to attend College on either of those two days but students will be set work in each subject area - to be completed either at home, or using Library study facilities at College if preferred.
There will also be a briefing evening, on Wednesday 4 July, for the parents of those students potentially 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.
All students continuing with their studies at the College in 2018/19 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 www.essex.gov.uk/schooltransport. The website www.suffolk.gov.uk/EducationAndLearning/Schools/TransportToSchool 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, will 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 2018/19 'Transport Guidance' will also be posted on the College website (via Parents Page link on the home page) - as soon as the range of transport operators have confirmed their 2018/19 arrangements.
Year 2 Students
Year 2 A level students will begin their Exam and Study Leave period at 4.05pm on Wednesday 23 May and there is an additional Exam and Study Leave day next week on Wednesday 16 May - in a context of the large number of year 2 students undertaking AS level or other exams on this day.
The College is very pleased with the HE offers that our 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 and training offers that students have received and reported to us.
In late April a letter with attached materials was emailed to parents of Year 2 students. There is an outline 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 A level results on 16 August), and also a pro forma for completion in connection with book and learning resources deposits. The materials also included an invitation to the Year 2 'HE Evening' update on Thursday 10 May. Invitations were sent out in mid-April. This meeting will provide 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 2018/19 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 information, supported by oral briefings in March, regarding their examinations and leaving procedures. The written instructions can also be found on the College website (via Documents/Student Notes) and will remain there until early September. The official 'Leavers' Day' for all students who are completing their A level or GCSE programme of study this term is Wednesday 4 July and for IB students Friday 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 Wednesday 2 May and finish before the end of May. IB Results Day is Friday 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 17 August onwards. Senior and Careers staff will also be available in College to support those A level students who need help during the period between AS/A level Results Day (16 August) until the start of term on Tuesday 28 August. It is recommended that appointments are made via our switchboard (01206 500700).
Very recently (8 May) the Performing Arts Department have held an Awards evening where they have celebrated the success and commitment of our students in their academic, practical and extracurricular activities. All departmental course 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 a range of extracurricular activities.
The Performing Arts Department will be hosting an H.E conference on July 5th 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.
It has been a busy and demanding period for dance students, including the completion of AS and A level (Dance) practical assessments. Students are currently preparing for their written exams. Following the exams, we have a full timetable of Dance workshops planned, delivered by our alumni students from around the country currently studying or working within the Dance industry. As always, we look forward to welcoming them back. Some of our current students are in the process of applying to be part of the National Youth Dance Company auditions will be held on July 1st at Jerwood House, DanceEast in Ipswich. In addition to all of this exciting planning, we are also well into our preparations for the staff and student 'FlashMob' - to be performed during this year's Induction days.
Drama and Theatre students studying AS and A level completed their practical exams in the winter and early spring period. 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.
We have a good number of workshops and activities planned for the Summer Term. The student event 'Unplugged on the Concourse' will take place on Thursday 5 July 12.30 - 1.30pm and there will be a series of performances and workshops during the Arts and Culture Festival.
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 21 June 4pm until 6.30pm at the end of the Art and Design show in the Art Department on the third floor. Work on display will largely 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.
Olivia Browne has also organised an AS Art and Design exhibition for our students at the Art Exchange gallery at Essex University. First year students from across the Art and Design department will have the opportunity to have their work selected for this exhibition, which will be curated by the gallery and AS Art History students. The Private View at the Art Exchange will be on Friday 22nd June - students selected for the show will be emailed more details.
An Arts and Culture Festival will take place on Thursday 12 July involving the whole student body. The programme of events will be broad including a range of creative workshops such as drumming, printing and oil painting as well as a wealth of performances to watch from dance, performance and music students.
Visits, Exchanges and Expeditions and other Activities
A large number of successful field trips and visits have taken place through this academic year (much was reported in the Spring Newsletter - and in the period after the public exams there will be a further series of opportunities.
Early Modern History students recently visited Hampton Court - with involvement in a special tour on the Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey, one of their A level topics. A group of Physics students will visit Cern in June to visit the exciting test and research facilities. In early July, a group of English students will visit Stratford upon Avon. Geology students will be visiting the Isle of Arran in early July where they will complete fieldwork relevant to A level assessments. Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award students have already completed practice expeditions and will undertake the assessed expedition in the Yorkshire Dales in July. Also in July a group of Citizenship students will be visiting Chelmsford Crown Court and the Arts committee have organised a trip to Thorpe Park for students towards the end of the Summer Term.
The new college pond is now complete, some marginal plants have been added and along with the wildlife shed we hope to attract a variety of fauna to further increase bio-diversity on campus.
The pair of Peregrine Falcons that took up residence on Jumbo last year have returned. Last year they successfully reared two chicks so we are hoping they have the same fortune this year. These magnificent creatures catch their prey in mid-air and can reach speeds of up to 200 mph during a dive manoeuvre. A number of local societies are involved with the College in arranging viewing and monitoring.
With the help of Michael Padmore and the Hawk and Owl Trust there is an exciting extension of our conservation work, arrangements have been made for a peregrine watch point to be set up in the college grounds to enable students and members of the public to enjoy views of the pair of falcons nesting. The watch point will run on five Saturdays as well as some weekdays (weekdays for students and staff only).
We again promoted Jane's Walk this year, including one walk 'Greener Living in Colchester' which included a walk around College campus championing our green initiatives. Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was a writer, urbanist and activist who championed the voices of everyday people in neighbourhood planning and city-building. Jane's Walks encourage people to share stories about their neighbourhoods, discover unseen aspects of their communities, and use walking as a way to connect with their neighbours.
In a further effort to reduce plastic use in College we are considering introducing a loyalty card, buy so many coffees/teas using reusable cups and the next one is free. We hope to see this initiative up and running in the next few weeks.
Dr Bike (Andy) will be back in College in May offering free cycle checks and minor surgery. Andy is a fully qualified mechanic with over 23 years of experience in the cycle industry so you can be assured your bike will be in good hands.
Charity and Community Activities
Further to the range of activities mentioned in the Spring Newsletter, Caitlin Williams-Macklin has recently raised over £2,000 for Prostate Cancer by having her head shaved in April. A cycle marathon was also held in support of Sport Relief and raised over £300, a NSPCC Games night raised over £100 and bucket collections were held for World Cancer Day and raised over £400.
Friends Not Foes have continued to work hard raising awareness of issues concerning our local refugee community - and working alongside Colchester Refugee Action, supporting events such as The Syrian Cookery Classes that have recently been taking place at FirstSite. The Friends Not Foes Bake Off at the College that attracted some excellent entries. Judging was great fun, with our own versions of Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood helping out. They also ran a Vintage Clothes Sale over the final three days of the spring term. Contributions were piled high and students and staff really enjoyed rummaging for a bargain. We raised £200. All left over clothes were picked up by Emmaus, a charity which supports the homeless community, who were very grateful. The Friends Not Foes group ran an installation on Holocaust Memorial Day, in which shoes were displayed in order for participants to reflect on the identity of the wearer. Participants were invited to write a character profile which was tied to the shoes. The installation was displayed in two sites around college and at FirstSite. Dr Zakariya Absi from the University of Essex will be coming to college to deliver a lecture during the summer term, explaining the complexities of the conflict in Syria.
Recently the group have said goodbye to their founder second year members who have run the committee and supported all events so well. We would like to wish them all the best in their exams and for the future, in which we know they will continue to work with compassion supporting vulnerable communities.
A very busy Sports Season has taken place with many team and individual successes. Of particular note is the Netball Squad who have had an outstanding season. The first and second teams have won both of the Association of Colleges Eastern Region leagues. The first team won Division 1 and the second team won Division 2. We have never before won either of these regional leagues, so this is a fantastic achievement. The second team also won the local North East Essex League.
Both the 1st XI and 2nd XI soccer teams performed well throughout the year, with over 40 students playing and training regularly throughout the season. 1st XI team won the North Essex League 2 and remained unbeaten in the league. They also reached the semi-finals of the league play-off and the semi-final of the Essex Cup. The 2nd team finished 3rd in the North Essex 3rd League and got to the 2nd round of the cup.
The college entered the range of British Colleges regional sports competitions in the attempt to qualify for the National finals held at Nottingham University. A team of three students qualified and helped to represent the Eastern region in Badminton. The format included Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles, Men's Doubles and Women's Doubles. The weekend was a great success.
A number of individual student successes to report include: George Dobson (Yr. 1) who represents Colchester School of Gymnastics in Trampolining competed in the English Championship qualifiers on Saturday 7 April. George performed two solid routines consisting of one set routine, with limitations as to tariff, and one voluntary routine. George's performance in the qualifying rounds gained him a place in the final where he successfully achieved 1st place. George is now through to the overall English championship finals held in Sheffield in October. George is also competing in a national league competition in Cardiff in the next few weeks and he has national team finals in Birmingham in June.
Charlie Dobson represents Colchester Harriers Athletics Club. Charlie recently won the 200m at the English Indoor Championships in a time of 21.02, which is the fastest time for a GB junior over indoor 200m for a decade. Admirably, following on from this competition, Charlie then ran 20.74 over 200m in another competition, which qualified him for selection for the World Junior championships in July.
Piper-Rose Tatum has been a regular member of the Essex squash team. Recently, Piper and her teammates helped to secure 3rd place for Essex at the National finals in Nottingham. Piper also competes in many 'silver tournaments', which involve playing the best players around England.
The annual College Sports Awards Event will be held on the Thursday 10 May and will celebrate the wide range of significant sporting success and contributions throughout the year.
A variety of sports industry speakers will be attending the 3 Day Programme, 13, 14 and 15 June to help inspire our students as they consider their future options. There will be representatives from universities as well as from sport related employment.
A group of our Sports Leadership students are organising a Primary Schools Tag Rugby Competition -to be held on 23 May. This tag rugby tournament organised by College students runs every year at Colchester Rugby Club. This years is the biggest one ever to date held with 56 teams attending from local primary schools. It is organised and run by students following the Level 2 Leadership through Rugby Union qualification. The aim is to provide the children with some experience in rugby and hopefully encourage them to then play more rugby outside of school. It provides the children with teamwork, communication and friendship skills. There will also be special activities such as the Northampton Saints 'Run, Kick, Pass' challenge for the children to participate in. The tournament attracts local media attention so look out for the coverage shortly after the event; spectators are also very welcome.
2018 Key Dates
|AS &GCSE Study Leave starts and Public||Monday 14 May|
|Yr2 Parents HE Briefing||Thursday 10 May|
|Exam and Study Leave Day||Wednesday 16 May|
|A Study Leave starts||Thursday 24 May|
|Half- term||Monday 28 May to Friday 1 June|
|Year 1 IB College Activities week||Monday 4 to Friday 8 June|
|Year 1 IB Group 4 Project||Monday 11 & Tuesday 12 June|
|AS Year 1 return to College||Wednesday 13 June|
|3 Day Programme||Wednesday 13 June to Friday 15 June|
|A Teaching commences||Monday 18 June|
|Non-Teaching Days - Induction||Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 June|
|Parents Evening||Tuesday 3 July|
|IB Leavers' Day||Friday 6 July|
|A and GCSE Leavers' Day||Wednesday 4 July|
|Last day of term||Tuesday 17 July|
|Release of Examination Results:|
|IB (Year 2)||Friday 6 July|
|AS/A/IGCSE/Applied General/EPQ||Thursday 16 August|
|GCSE||Thursday 23 August|
|Year 2||Thursday 30 August - [AM]|