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Term Four at Cotham Post 16

A huge amount has been packed into a short term at Cotham Post 16. Firstly, we celebrate the fantastic achievement of this year’s Young Enterprise team who triumphed at the regional trade fair, winning three out of the five awards available (best trade stand, best social media and best customer service). They have made a recipe book filled with personal family recipes that are from all around the world, representing their diverse group. The book is made from 100% recycled paper and has a mixture of sweet and savoury recipes, with a selling price of £5.99. If you would like to get your hands on a copy of the Cooking Atlas, please email their staff rep, Ms McDonagh, at: mcdonaghk@cotham.bristol.sch.uk.

      

Core Programme has also been filled with valuable experiences this term, including a workshop run by a trainee Clinical Psychologist who provided lots of tips on how to deal with stress and anxiety and build resilience. Students have also benefited from a session run by Bath University on study skills and revision/exam tips, which was an excellent opportunity to gather some tips in preparation for the upcoming year 12 mock exams (which start week beginning 29th April).

Some of our Year 13 students attended a brilliant workshop on Decoding Gender in the Media run by Bristol University.  It provided a set of structured activities in which participants explored representations of gender and sexuality in different media, supported by academics and post-graduate researchers. The students found it very interesting and insightful, with one commenting “It was really nice working with the facilitators, they helped guide us and taught us different terms and ideologies which will be useful for me in the future.” This work will be extended out to the whole of Year 12 next term as Tiger come to deliver a workshop through Core Programme on gender identity.

It has also been a term for Year 12 students to start casting their minds to Post 18 options. This year’s UCAS Conference was attended by the majority of our Year 12 students, who spent the afternoon visiting university stalls to explore the range of options available to them. In addition, a group of students then attended the annual Oxbridge Conference, where taster sessions of subjects were run alongside advice and guidance sessions. Our FutureQuest students have also attended a ‘Life Skills’ conference this week and the University of Bristol Women in Law Society came in to support students with their applications to law pathways, including the LNAT test. Next term, we will be launching a weekly careers bulletin, which we will share with you via our next update. In the meantime, a wealth of information for supporting futures discussions can be found here.

We also celebrated another fantastic school production this term, which saw a cast of students perform Little Shop of Horrors to approximately 600 people over 4 nights. It was a great week with the students upping their game night after night. It would be wrong to mention any individual performer as they were all fantastic, but a special mention must go to Esther and Peggy from Year 13 who both assistant directed/produced. The performance would not have happened without them. One audience member emailed the school to say “Please may I congratulate everyone (staff, students, others) on the fabulous performance of the play”.

    

Our student leadership team have been busy this term, delivering assemblies to update students on their work, as well as launching their new self-referral form for students to utilise if they want to seek additional support for one of their courses (form can be picked up from the form bank in Charnwood canteen). With input from this team, we have also created a brand new Post 16 Reflection Room in Charnwood for students who need to have some quiet time or for those who would like to pray.  There are comfy chairs, reading resources, soft lighting, plants and prayer mats; all students are welcome to use this room when required. The student leadership team are currently working on a video to help students access all of the wellbeing support on offer at the Centre, which we hope to share with you in next term’s update.

Earlier this term, we had a visit from our local MP Thangam Debbonaire, who came to see the research our post 16 students had conducted through their Authentic Biology enrichment project. She seemed delighted at the knowledge and passion our students had shown regarding higher level scientific research and meaningful contributions to researching genes associated with cancer. She also gave an insightful talk on current affairs to a range of students, followed by a Q&A where our students took the opportunity to ask some brilliant questions (one was even raised the next week at PMQs!)

There has also been a lot going on in curriculum areas this term, with Frankie, Ellen and Mary in Year 12 being selected to represent Cotham on the Lessons from Auschwitz programme in collaboration with the Holocaust Educational Trust. In addition, our A Level language students brought their study of child language acquisition to life by conducting some research with the help of some Cotham staff offspring. The activities were a great success, with very few tantrums (from toddlers or teenagers).

          

A final thank you to those of you who came to engage with our Y12 parents evening event at the end of this term. Feedback was very positive and we are pleased that these conversations have felt so powerful and timely, ahead of mock exams. All students should have received their mock exam timetable this week. If they do not yet have this, they can find the overall timetable here (clashes will be resolved on individual timetables, which can be collected from tutors). You may find our latest online Parent Engagement Presentations of value in supporting students through this phase. These cover the topics of ‘Staying on Track’ and ‘Stretch and Challenge’. Template revision timetables have also been shared by the Upgrade team.

As we approach examinations for both year groups, please encourage students to look out for the wellbeing bulletin, being emailed to them at the end of term (you can preview a summary of this here). Many of our students attend the resilience lab run by off the record this term on managing anxiety through exams. If they missed the session, they can access information here. We wish all of our students a well deserved rest over the next two weeks.