Welcome to the Sixth Form blog/news page. I will post on here at least every Monday and more often as the occasion demands. It’s not a formal site as such and will not replace official announcements and letters but its intention is to reflect on sixth form experiences and events, to keep abreast of good practice in Post 16 education and to alert students and parents to opportunities now and for the future.
I know students have plenty of work to do in their A level subjects but I have an impassioned view that it is what they do beyond that which can often make the real difference in personal development, employability and fulfilment. So you’ll hear plenty on here about those opportunities.
Just to kick off I’ll mention three of my favourites:
TED talks is an online video library of thousands of talks on a huge variety of subjects. Always interesting, usually challenging and often entertaining.
Future Learn offers free online courses from universities and specialist organisations. I’ve done two so far and several students have taken them up. Have a look – they’re brilliant
Reading books makes a difference.
Have a great 2017!
Last week we had our Higher Education and Employment Progression week. I suppose it’s a fancy title for what is in fact a week where students start seriously researching the next step of their development.
I was really impressed with year 12’s focus and interest; it’s quite easy to switch off at these events and mentally put your feet up after a week or two of exams. It’s great to see students becoming motivated by thoughts of their future and it makes their studies so much more real and relevant. When you know you have to achieve ABB to get into the university of your choice, study takes on a slightly different dimension. I often ask students to imagine what their doppelganger might be doing in, say, Leighton Buzzard. They want that same university place so what will you do better during the year to make sure it becomes yours?
But it’s no good just concentrating on the University sector when so many students are considering apprenticeships or training of some kind. As a school we work closely with B46 - a partnership of Coleshill businesses – to give students an understanding of the career opportunities locally. Last week we worked with Marie from Academy Training Services and Abhi from 3Twenty to give our students an insight into some of the skills the employers say that they want from school leavers. Students had a fascinating set of workshops which dealt with, inter alia, your social media profile, networking to help you progress, developing your potential, planning the next year and recognising your strengths. I’d like to thank everyone involved for making the week such a success.
We’re pretty much back to normal now with year 12 who have five weeks of normal lessons to begin getting stuck into the second year content of their A levels. Each student will have a one to one interview this week to reflect on their mocks and support their planning for what will happen beyond Coleshill.
As for year 13, they've been getting on with their final exams with a noticeably calm sense of purpose. We've remarked upon how measured they've been and can only hope that this means that everything has gone well.
They have their final assembly on Friday of this week which is always a poignant but happy occasion. How time flies!
I have to start with the news that Ian McEwan is on form with his latest novel ‘Nutshell’. Its narrator is an unborn child who hears everything going on in his parents’ lives and the result is by turns hilarious and terrifying. Think of the theme as a modern Hamlet. Irresistible!.
Thoughts in year 12 turn this week to planning for the future. We’ve got a HE and employment focus which has so far include a visit to the UCAS convention and an introduction to the UCAS process. We’ve got local universities and businesses visiting and by the end of the week our students will be well prepared to start getting serious about their applications.
We talked a good deal about the myths and legends of applications and it’s good to know that students are already planning open days this term. I’ve also seen students who used the UCAS convention superbly in finding institutions and courses which they didn’t know existed but which could turn out to be the perfect match for them. I always set students the task of finding the most obscure courses and this year has thrown up Baking Technology Management, Circus and Physical Performance, Viticulture and Oenology and The Beatles, Popular Music and Society.
I point students towards the UCAS website for most of their research and it’s brilliant for parents too but there’s nothing better than visiting a place in which you may spend three years or so.
In any case, check out the dedicated UCAS channel at:
It’s got a video on just about every conceivable topic to do with the process of applying to University.
I was really impressed with the students’ response to our talk from a member of staff from The University of Leicester. Well - mannered students are always good at giving the impression of listening but this group not only listened but also acted immediately on the advice. By the end of the same afternoon all the students who had been in the presentation had registered with UCAS and begun their applications. In all my experience this has never happened before. Well done year 12!
Back after half term to a rainy June Monday but I hope the students haven’t noticed that much because both year 12 &13 have exams on their minds. Blazing sunshine doesn’t always lend itself to the best revision focus and routine.
The last blog was written before the appalling events in Manchester and London. I’m not going to pontificate here about it but we did spend tutor time and assemblies reflecting on Manchester. We’ll do the same this week to allow students to ask questions and share their perspective on the terrible events. I was impressed by students’ empathy and understanding and also their up to the minute knowledge of current affairs – something we promote strongly in tutor time and assemblies.
Those who are old enough will have the opportunity to vote on Thursday and it seems that record numbers of 18 -25 year olds have registered. I always urge students to make sure that they cherish their democratic vote.
We have more interviews for the Deon Burton Football Academy this week and we are also finalising the names for our exciting Outward Bound leadership week in September. You can have a look at what they do at this link:
There’s lots going on this term. Year 13 are nearing the end of their Coleshill experience and have been planning their final assembly and ball (I refuse to call it a prom) and year 12 will spend next week on research and planning for what they hope to be doing when they finish in just over a year’s time. We’ve got local businesses coming in to work with our students on ‘soft skills’ and the Universities of Leicester and Coventry working with them on researching Higher Education. There is also a visit to the UCAS convention on Monday afternoon- students should already have registered for this.