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Cotham School

Student Services

We understand that two years in Post 16 can fly by incredibly quickly, despite these being two of the most challenging in a young person’s life. At the North Bristol Post 16 Centre, we are very proud of the student support structure we have in place to ensure that each of our students is guided and cared for in the pursuit of high aspirations.


Upgrade is a supervised study facility where students can access resources and support during their school based study periods. The space is monitored actively by Academic Mentors, who work as a link between students, teachers and parents to ensure all students make the best possible progress. At each progress review, some students are timetabled into additional Upgrade sessions to ensure they are supported in reaching their potential. In addition, weekly workshops are run on a range of skills including time management, organisation, revision and stress management. 

Click here to download a printable revision timetable.


Every morning, all students attend compulsory AM registration sessions for fifteen minutes in their tutor bases. There, they take part in a range of activities:

Monday The Big Question - a topical subject to debate
Tuesday Attendance Check - tutors review data and process paperwork for authorised absences
Wednesday Assembly (fortnightly briefing) or Unifrog (see below)
Thursday CEIAG - tutors check-in re. IAG appointments, UCAS applications, etc.
Friday Quiz - weekly quiz with scores added to league tables and prizes for highest termly scores

The tutor is the first point of contact for students and parents and, wherever possible, will remain with a student for the duration of their P16 journey.


The years from 16-19 can be some of the most challenging in a young person’s life. This time presents a period of significant personal change, alongside the transition from education into the wider world. We have a committed team of Post 16 staff who will always put the wellbeing of learners at the fore of their priorities. The Assistant Headteacher and the Student Services Leader both work exclusively with Post 16 students and operate an open door policy for any support requirements, from induction to progression.

Should those pressures become unmanageable, students can self-refer for our counselling service, which operates on one day a week (Wednesdays, when students have fewest lessons). This provision is largely allocated on a first come, first served basis, but we also prioritise need and safeguard the most vulnerable. When students complete a course of counselling (6-8 weeks), they complete a survey to evaluate its impact. In the last academic year:

  • 100% of students surveyed said that counselling improved their overall happiness and wellbeing

  • 100% of students surveyed said that counselling had improved their resilience

  • 100% of students surveyed were satisfied with the methods and approaches of their counsellor

Click here for more information on Mental Health and Wellbeing


We work closely with our partner schools to transfer SEND records to ensure a smooth transition for our learners with additional needs. As part of our enrolment and induction process, students are encouraged to raise any history of need with the Post 16 team so that provision can be established from the start.

In many cases, we identify additional need for students as they progress through their Post 16 studies. We liaise with teachers and, where appropriate, organise access arrangement testing. We make rigorous arrangements for the application of these during examination, including training sessions for students to ensure they optimise on this support.

Post 16 Bursary

For students who might require additional financial support to remove barriers to learning, there is bursary support available, based on income. This fund can be accessed to help with travel, books and other learning costs. We also have a bank of resources, including cameras and laptops, which can be loaned out to bursary students.

If a student has previously been entitled to free school meals, or has attracted pupil premium funding, they are encouraged to apply. Assessment is based on household income. Students should enquire at Post 16 reception if they require an application pack.

Post 16 Library

The Learning Resource Centre at Charnwood House is the place for Post-16 students to borrow textbooks and to conduct secondary research, private study or quiet reading.

The Post 16 Librarian is happy to help you find resources, use a laptop or print your work. Suggestions and recommendations are always welcome!

There are 18 laptops and 4 iMacs available for use within the LRC, as well as a printer/photocopier/scanner. Video camera resource packs and a selection of DVDs are provided for film and media students. DVDs with gold stars can be borrowed by all students.

We subscribe to several periodicals, which are a great source of relevant, up-to-date information about your subjects. We also subscribe to the excellent, photocopiable research tools, Factfile and Essential Articles, as well as Key Organisations, which provides information on charities, businesses and other important organisations. We keep the physical copies of these resources in the library, but searchable online content is available here: (username and password available on request from library).

As well as resources for study, we have a growing collection of fiction and graphic novels. Why not search our catalogue to see if there’s anything you’d like to borrow.


We work relentlessly to support our learners in securing their Post 18 pathways, be that to university, apprenticeship or employment.

All students have a login for the Unifrog website, where they can use comprehensive search tools for every university course, apprenticeship and MOOC in the UK. They also have access to a personal statement building tool and resources, support with apprenticeship applications and, for Y12 especially, a skills log. Into this go key skills developed through the enrichment programme and external activities, which students then recall for use in their personal statements and applications in Y13.

All students also have 1:1 careers appointments during their time at Post 16. For Y12, there is particular focus on those looking for work experience, which is actively encouraged for all students. For Y13, the focus is on securing destinations Post 18: support with UCAS, gap years, apprenticeships, sponsored degrees and school leaver programmes. Students can self-refer at any time across Y12 and Y13 but, from January of Y13, students who have not applied to university are referred for compulsory support.

Futures 18

The Futures 18 programme is an intensive two-day event comprising a day long conference and a day long intensive workshop to consolidate learning. On the first day, 32 workshops take place, of which students select those they wish to attend. The first carousel is focused exclusively on wellbeing, with sessions led by Tiger, Barnardos and Off the Record, amongst others. The second, third and fourth carousels concentrate on progression options, with workshops led by universities, apprenticeship advisers and gap year providers. On the second day, students choose whether to focus on the UCAS process or apprenticeships.

Applying to University

The majority of students’ UCAS support begins with Futures 18 week. This takes place in July of Year 12, with students drafting statements over summer. A full guide to the application process is produced for students, with bespoke support through the process from the student’s tutor.

The Oxbridge / Medicine / Veterinary Science / Dentistry cohort is identified earlier in Year 12 by responding to prior attainment and student voice. This group receive additional support throughout Y12 including access to schemes like Cambridge's HE+ and the University of Bristol’s Medstart programme. In September, this cohort are targeted for intensive support, including mock interviews.