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Cotham School

Term One at Cotham Post 16

As we end a busy first term of the academic year, congratulations are offered to Y13 student Hemlata, who received a community-nominated “Thank You Award” for setting up a successful gardening club in her local park in Lawrence Hill for families and children last summer! You can check out the Instagram page for the club @newtown.natureclub for more information and pictures. Hemlata has been interviewed by the BBC about this work and will be appearing on the One Show very soon!

Term began for us with the celebration of another fantastic year of A Level results in August, seeing our Year13 leavers move on to a wide range of exciting and ambitious destinations. We then moved quickly into enrolling our new Year 12s who took full advantage of the induction process and have made a brilliant transition to Post 16 life. The launch of our NBP16 Student Hub has provided increased support around independent learning habits and future-thinking. All key resources and information about Post 16 can be accessed here (requires a student login). We were really pleased to see so many of our students at our lunchtime mixer. Levels of competition in the quiz were exceptionally high, but spirits remained friendly throughout!

Student leadership has been a strong feature of the term, with fiercely fought elections for positions on the 2022-23 Student Leadership Team. Students went through a rigorous process of applications, interviews, campaigning then a brilliantly attended Hustings event, before the polls were opened and the democracy ran its course. Congratulations to Sam, Eleanor, Charles, Yumna, Yousuf, Will, Hemlata, Samira and Fizza. We are all excited to see what you have in store for the year, beginning with Culture Day in Term 2. 

Black History Month celebrations have been a feature of this term, with the election of our Co-Leaders of Equity and Diversity onto the Student Leadership Team. Students have also taken part in a range of debates and discussions through tutor time, as well as a focused exploration of the Seven Saints of St Pauls. Wear Your Hair day was an opportunity for students to celebrate their hair as a fundamental part of their identity and understand more about the history of hair and its function in society. 

Enrichment got off to a great start this term with a huge number of activities running, both staff and student led. We were so impressed to learn this week that 27 of our students have been accepted onto Access to Bristol university taster courses for their enrichment next term. These are highly competitive courses and we are exceptionally proud to see Cotham students represented in such large numbers once again. 

We have also seen our students thinking about all things Futures this term. 31 Year 13 students submitted early applications to UCAS, with ambitions to pursue study at Oxford or Cambridge, as well as those looking to pursue medicine. This was quickly followed by a significant number of these students undertaking course specific admissions testing, including the BMAT exam. We are keeping everything crossed for them and have every confidence we will see their hard work and high standard of application convert to interview offers next term. All students are encouraged to regularly check for the wide range of opportunities shared with them via our Futures Bulletin (emailed to them directly every Thursday). 

Academic enrichment has also been a feature of the term, with 50 students competing in the Senior Mathematical Challenge. This opportunity presents significant challenge and ambition from all A Level mathematicians taking part and we are very proud of them all for rising to this. Furthermore, a large number of Year 12 students took part in a seminar hosted by professional psychologists as part of the Bristol Educational Partnership earlier this term. Several returned with a clarified focus on pursuing this subject area at degree level and the range of professional pathways this would open up. A similar event was hosted by Bristol University as part of the Bristol Festival of Economics and was well attended by Year 12 Economics students seeking to learn from high ranking professionals and undertaking an economics challenge. Our Foundation students have also been building their wider skillset through the Skills programme. This became especially competitive in a communications exercise which sent students out into the wider community to complete a number of collaborative challenges, galvanising the support of some of our enthusiastic new Year 7s along the way!

During Core sessions this term, Year 12 students have had sessions delivered by UWE on identifying skillsets and opportunities for growth. They also took part in a session introducing the Cotham Respect Project which is a student-led initiative seeking to reframe and give amplifications to the conversation about sexual harrassment and discrimination in schools. 

Finally, we want to wish our students a restful half term break. Teachers have given guidance on how to use the time to be in a strong position at the start of next term, but it is also critical that the time is used for rest. As always, we encourage students to make use of the help and support in the Wellbeing Bulletin, which is shared with them at the end of each term and always accessible via the wellbeing page of the Student Hub.