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!
Teaching requires a flexible skill set and last Wednesday this was put to the test when my football management skills were on trial as we visited John Henry Newman for our first sporting fixture of the year. The result didn’t go the way we wanted (we lost 3-0) but the performance was genuinely pleasing with lots of effort and no little skill on display. Management and leadership gurus say you must be able to 'turn your style on a dime' and I took this to heart with a mixture of Clough, Menotti and Klopp. We look forward to the return fixture.
This week we’re beginning a different coaching initiative with our year 12 students. Whilst there’s a link to sport in the name, this is really about coaching to bring out the best in people in any sphere using the well - known GROW model. Studies have shown that those who learn how to coach and those who are coached tend to be more successful and happy than their peers so we’re going to give it a go! All students will have four hours of training in the coaching model and we hope to develop a routine where coaching conversations become a normal feature of our sixth form life.
You will no doubt have read about The Gambia in the news. We’ve had to take the decision to postpone the trip but the students are still keen to go and we are hoping that this can happen in February 2018. The students have worked so hard on fundraising and will now have time to raise even more money.
An annual feature is how great it is to see the reaction of students when offers come in from Universities and training providers. It’s interesting to reflect on the life-changing opportunities that these represent and to speculate on what might develop in a few years’ time. That’s one of the brilliant things about working with sixth form students; you can see the potential without quite knowing exactly what shape it will take. Already our year 12 are taking advantage of various higher education experiences and are applying for Nottingham University and Sutton Trust places. Details of these can be found at the following links:
My book choice on twitter this week is Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh. ‘Compellingly odd’ is my description.
Don’t forget to follow on @Coleshill6th4m
So the mocks are over, University applications are all sent off and it's back to something like a routine. But to be honest there's always so much going on that each week brings us new opportunities and surprises.
For example, this week we welcome Sinite, our exchange student from Switzerland. These exchanges are always a win win; Sinite will gain so much from spending four months with us but our students will also gain by spending time with her and widening their horizons. Already some have actually found Switzerland on our common room map.
Widening horoizons is something that we want to do with all our students and it can have an international dimension or a much more local one. Last week, our students who are visiting The Gambia in April hooked up with B46 The Coleshill Business Networking Group to explore ways of partnering local businesses in their fundraising efforts. More locally we have been taking to Solihull Council about their new IT apprenticeships and looking at a scheme with Woodlands school where our students will work alongside their students on an integrated skills project. We also had some great news in that three of our students have been accepted onto the prestigious Cambridge University Law Conference. This is a real accolade in our first year of teaching Law at A level.
I'm not sure that Sixth Forms do enough sport so we're delighted to announce our inaugural fixture of the season this Wednesday at John Henry Newman. The squad were put through their paces in a training session last week and are looking forward to the 'total football' approach demanded by their coach. It should be interesting.
Last week also saw the first deadline for applications to our sixth form and we've already had some first class applications. We are still taking applications and have places available. If you're reading this you may already be a part of our Coleshill community but if you're exploring it to see what we offer don't hesitate to get in touch and find out a bit more about our great sixth form.
Happy New Year to all students, parents, carers and anyone else who comes across our Sixth Form blog page!
This week we’re straight into mocks which will give us a clear picture of student progress, especially for the new A level specifications. The timetable is running as normal around the exams but lessons will be focused on revision where appropriate.
Year 13 students hoping to go to University will now have made their UCAS applications and we’re really pleased with the range of offers that are coming in. Many of our students are getting offers from all of their choices which is testament to the excellence of their applications. For those not taking the HE route, we advise keeping a close eye on the apprenticeships’ website and particularly on local opportunities. Reminders will be posted regularly on this page.
Year 13 had a presentation from Student Finance England in December so you should be well prepared for making the application when the portal opens soon on https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-register-login
As ever I’m going to take the opportunity to promote engagement with wider learning and reading. I completed my first Future Learn course last term and I know that several students have completed one, too. Check out what they have to offer on www.futurelearn.com ; the courses take a few hours a week and are set up with superb materials. It will look brilliant on your CV or personal statement.
If you are a twitter user don’t forget to follow us on @Coleshill6th4m where there are daily updates on all sorts of interesting matters relating to the sixth form experience.
Have a great 2017.