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Cotham School

Term Four at Cotham Post 16

This term has been notable for many things, not just some of the oddest minute-to-minute weather shifts Bristol has seen in a while! Despite this, it has been a boost for students and staff to see a bit of warm weather returning and the amazing outdoor spaces we have at Charnwood being utilised to help students keep their health and wellbeing in a positive balance. 

Among many brilliant student achievements this term, a huge congratulations goes to members of our student leadership team involved in championing the work of the Cotham Respect Project. Muna, Charles, Kadija and Lola spoke to a group of headteachers from the South West region about the work we are doing to reduce gender based harassment, discrimunation and abuse, exploring the intersectionality of this issue at Cotham. These students spoke confidently and passionately about some hard hitting topics, which they then further channelled into some training delivered to every member of Cotham staff at the end of term. We are immensely proud of them and the hugely important work they are doing.

Our Year 12 geographers went on their field work trip to Slapton in Devon. This trip runs each year and is part of the geography course, giving students the practical experience to prepare for their non-examined assessment. Despite weather, they did themselves proud. Ms Hodges said “the students really impressed us with how hard they worked and how fun they were to be around!”

Another amazing example of student achievement that has reached its peak this term is the group of 10 Cotham Post 16 students who have joined Bristol University PhD Research as co-researchers to explore alternative ways of learning through creative thinking strategies, especially prevalent in young people. The project has experimented with different ways of mapping everyday experiences to unlock this thinking potential in young people. Students have been meeting regularly for workshops in a dedicated space at the Watershed and have been showcasing their findings to a range of academic experts. 

We were also thrilled to welcome back former student George Millman, now working as a theatre producer in Bristol. He is currently in the final development stages for his original play ‘The Boy Who Made it Rain’, which is being staged at the Alma Tavern in October 2022. The story is mostly set in a school, so George brought his actor and photographer in to get some promotional shots for the play in the classrooms where he learned as a student. 

Core programme this term has provided some great opportunities for Year 12 students to explore new areas to benefit future planning and personal wellbeing. At the start of term, Cotham alumnus George Thompson delivered a taster session for a six week course that George will be offering to our students and focuses on mindfulness. To find out more, have a look at his Youtube page with over 180,000 subscribers. The alumni theme continued through March with ex-student Alfie Lewis co-delivering a session about his job as a Civil Servant and Government, giving students general introduction into what analysts in the Government do. The term’s explorations ended with us welcoming representatives from The Anthony Nolan Trust, visiting to deliver a Hero Project workshop to our students. Guest speaker Elly talked about the work of the charity, sharing her story and the story of others who have been supported by the charity which helps save the lives of people with blood cancer and blood disorders.

In addition to the Core Programme, we have also welcomed speakers to deliver sessions through the Skills programme for our Foundation students. One of which explored healthy habits, including coping strategies and how our students can develop healthy behaviours to improve their wellbeing.We also welcomed speakers who delivered an insightful session on the use of technology in sport, focusing on how new Olympic sports such as skateboarding can be developed for Paralympians. Students worked in groups to explore the needs of Paralympians, analyse the challenges, develop a solution via a sketch/drawing and build a physical model using simple materials.

Student enrichment has been a highlight of term four with brilliant engagement in a really wide range of enrichment activities. This year, we have the largest number of student-run groups we have ever seen and this is a testament to how well our amazing Year 12 students have adapted to life at NBP16. Congratulations to 12CSW who celebrated the best enrichment attendance of the term with a Krispy Kreme themed brunch, and to runners up 12LW, 12SPA and 12JHA. The competition is on for term 5!

Our Year 12 students have been setting their minds to the future this term. A group has been established for ‘Early Applicant’ students (aspiring to apply to university pathways such as Oxbridge, medicine, dentistry and veterinary science). The first session was about information gathering and preparation for the application and overview of how the Oxbridge application process works. This was followed by the Oxbridge Virtual Conference, held at the end of March, which offered webinars around matters like competitive applications, subject specialisms and interactive Q+A with current students. We are excited to see such a large group of our students expressing ambitions and commitment to this pursuit. Whatever their ambitions for the future, we encourage students to engage regularly with the Post 16 Futures Bulletin, which is emailed to them directly every week but can also be accessed here at any time

As Year 12 students move towards their mock examinations at the start of next term, we have seen a really positive engagement with Upgrade workshops around revision and exam preparation, which have been running throughout this term. We know many students will want to spend much of the Eatser break preparing for mocks, but we are regularly encouraging them to ensure that all things are in balance and that the holidays are also used for the necessary rest and respite after a long term. A reminder that the NBP16 Assessment Hub contains a wealth of bespoke support and resources around this, as well as anxiety management, use of access arrangements and much more.

The last mention needs to go to the absolutely amazing end of term Cultural Celebration event hosted by the Student Leadership Team. This was a fundraising event to mark the holy month of Ramadan and offered students the opportunity to donate to their chosen cause, Islamic Relief. We were thrilled to see so many students (and staff) take part in this event and celebrate all that is truly exceptional about the diverse and inclusive community at Cotham Post 16. 


We want to wish all of our students a very well deserved break over the next two weeks. There are some Year 13 revision sessions running over the break and students will have been in discussion with teachers where these would be appropriate for them to attend.  As always, our wellbeing bulletin will be shared with students at the end of term and can be previewed here, this term we have especially focused on support around exam anxiety and wellbeing, with Year 13s on their final approach to exams and Year 12 with mocks in the first week of next term. We would also encourage students to visit the NBP16 Assessment Support Hub which has a range of bespoke resources and activities to support revision skills, organisation and wellbeing management through the assessment period. 

Finally, we would like to wish all of our students and families of Muslim faith a Ramadan Mubarak, as well as wishing a Happy Easter to those for whom this event holds religious and/or cultural value and importance. Both share central themes of family, compassion and reflection, which we can all find connection and resonance with.