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Cotham School

Term Two at Cotham Post 16

The second term of this academic year began with a brilliant success story, with 16 Cotham students gaining places on the Access to Bristol course for this year. A2B is a highly competitive university preparation course (usually delivered at the uni, but online this year) which gives students a real flavour of subject specific study at undergraduate level. It is a testament to our amazing students that, even at such challenging times, they continue to be ambitious and look for opportunities to further their learning beyond their studies. 

To that end, the Post 16 team have been hugely impressed by the way students have been making use of Upgrade (our collaborative independent study space) this term, especially with the new extended opening hours meaning a large number of students are staying well beyond the school day to focus on their studies. Ms Dutton, one of our Academic Mentors commented “The general atmosphere and companionship shown in the room is wonderful, with many students working together and supporting each other.”
We can’t talk about the academic resilience of our students without mentioning how proud we are of our Year 13 students for the way they have handled themselves through their mock exams. National school closures in the spring/summer meant that this year group missed this important assessment window when it was originally scheduled in Year 12; we have been so impressed with the way they have conducted themselves through this process. A short video update message was shared with Y13 students last week to talk about support and next steps. 
It has also been a fantastic term for enrichment achievements, with our staff and students working hard to pursue these important opportunities in a COVID-safe way. In particular, a HUGE congratulations to our students who completed their Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition by walking 100km over 4 days. Their team work, attitudes and energy was incredible.


We have also received really positive feedback from   The ELY Project who we have done some shared work with this term. The ELY Project is an organisation aiming to help students from BAME and low participation backgrounds who want to pursue a career within psychology. Some of our Y12 students have taken part in a pilot group and the founder gave the following feedback: “Your students have all been so lovely, kind and committed to the programme. I've been very impressed with each of them showing up every week. They're all incredibly bright and they get along great with myself and my mentors too. My mentors have also expressed how great the students are too. They are a credit to your school.”
Within their studies, many of our students have had to really think outside the box this term to complete some of the practical elements of their course. We were incredibly impressed by the way our Foundation pathway students worked to create  COVID-safe events for their Business assignments by organising socially distant talks on mental health for Year 12 and Islamophobia for Year 7. 


A shout also goes to our Year 13 geographers who have adapted really well to all of the changes around their NEA (coursework). In October they did a belated visit to the Harbourside, which was really successful preparation for their coursework expedition in January.


Also looking a bit different this year is our Year 12 Core Programme. These sessions are usually delivered by visiting speakers and involve lots of collaborative and practical discussions and problem solving. However, as with many things, we’ve gone online this year and students are working with  Votes 4 SchoolsVotes 4 Schools to explore a range of pressing topical issues from “Are we too invested in American Culture?” “Do you feel safe?” And “Will the Arts sector survive COVID?” A testament to our students’ engagement with the programme is that, every week this term, student feedback from Cotham P16 has been featured in the national round-up. As well as some important learning, the student feedback is also shaping the national and global conversation with partners including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Crime Agency.
A final congratulations to our students in Year 13 (as well as those students currently on a gap year) who have now submitted their university applications via UCAS. A further well done to those students who will be completing an interview as part of the process and have been busily preparing through mock interviews with Cotham staff in readiness. 
We wish all of our staff, students and their families a well earned rest over the break. Holidays can be tricky at the best of times, but perhaps even more so this year. We would encourage all 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); this is a reminder of the range of wellbeing support they can access. We would also encourage you to keep an eye on our weekly careers bulletin as there are a HUGE number of exciting opportunities currently available (many that can be accessed online and for free). You can view this here.