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Cotham School

Term Five at Cotham Post 16

While most of our students have had thoughts filled with exams this term, we start this update by wishing all of our students and parents observing Ramadan at this time a Ramadan al-mubarak. We appreciate the challenge many of our students face at this special time whilst trying to balance their exams and have shared guidance with all on the support available to them.

We continue with some individual congratulations. Firstly, to Ellie Boyd who has managed to gain a place on the prestigious (and highly contested) City Leadership Programme this summer, hosted by Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees. In addition, we congratulate former student Oona Cardew for her fantastic work with the Projects Abroad organisation in Nepal, during her gap year. Projects Abroad contacted the school directly to offer their commendation.

As well as individual achievements, it has also been a great term for teamwork. Several of our students took part in the Ten Tors expedition this term, either as part of the school team or scouting groups. In this event, students navigate themselves independently around Dartmoor over various distances: 35 miles, 45 miles or 55 miles. It was a huge challenge that required a significant commitment, strong team work and some impressive skills. We are really proud of all who took part this year.


In addition, we have seen further triumph for our Young Enterprise team this term, who are celebrating victory after being placed second in the West of England for their project this year. The team also picked up the award for 'Best Teamwork' during the area finals. The students delivered an engaging pitch to an audience of 200 people and created a feel-good atmosphere in what was a jam-packed evening. The students won these accolades with their product, The Cooking Atlas. The Cooking Atlas is a self-published cookbook encompassing dishes and recipes from their family cultures to celebrate the diversity of the group, and the North Bristol Post 16 Centre as a whole. Students had previously cleaned up at the regional finals, winning three of the five awards available, including best business. You can read a full report here. Copies of the Cooking Atlas are available for purchase from P16 reception.


Core programme has been filled with some really valuable sessions this term. The team from TIGER came in to deliver a session on gender and sexuality in the media, looking at the impact that the representation of sex and relationships has on real life.  Click here for more information on who they are and services provided. In addition, we had staff from Oxford Brookes University in to deliver a session on student life, applying to university, higher apprenticeships and alternative routes into education.

This term also saw the marking of Mental Health Awareness Week. Our Respect Ambassadors delivered assemblies to their peers (and younger students) on how we can evolve from the stigmas of mental health, as well as how to access support. Other resources and links were shared with students and, as always, we encourage students to look out for the Wellbeing Bulletin at the end of term (you can access this here). A reminder that we also have a counsellor, a Post 16 ‘Reflection Room’ and a mindfulness and wellbeing drop-in session on a Thursday lunchtime.

Mental Health Awareness Week was capped off by a visit from former student Maya Jama, who is now a presenter for Channel 4 and MTV, as well as hosting her own show on Radio 1. Maya is an ambassador for the NSPCC and, during her visit, met with the student leadership team and some of our respect ambassadors to hear about their work around mental health support. She brought with her various influencers, including plus-size model Felicity Hayward and her brother (another former NBP16 student) Omar Jama. You can read the Bristol Post report on her visit here.


Sadly, this term we had to say goodbye to our Year 13s. The occasion was marked with an energetic and tear-filled leavers assembly, which included visits from several Cotham School alumni as well as local MP Thangham Debbonaire. The event was hosted by, and featured performances from, Y13 students. There were a wide range of awards given out, including the annual ‘Grafter Scholarship’ and the event ended with an emotional farewell from teachers. Exam season is now well underway and we wish our students the very best as they put two years of learning to the test over the coming weeks.


Finally, we offer congratulations to our Year 12 students, who conducted themselves impeccably through mock exam season. There is a great deal to celebrate in the results that have been coming out to students; we are immensely proud of them for rising to the occasion and reaping the rewards of their hard work and enthusiasm for courses. We are now starting to look ahead at future plans and are putting the final touches to our Futures Conference, which will take place at the start of July. In the meantime, students should keep an eye on the Careers Bulletin, which is updated and issued weekly. You can preview this at any time here.

As always, we wish all of our students a happy and healthy half term break. We look forward to welcoming them back for their final term of this year on 3 June.