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Cotham School

Term Two at Cotham Post 16

The December snow has been a fitting end to a memorable term at Cotham Post 16. So much has been packed into this term, which has had several landmark moments for our students including their first progress reviews of the year and the internal UCAS deadline. 

Another such event was our Family Consultation Day where we were excited to be able to invite parents and carers onsite to join in with meetings for the first time since the pandemic. The event was extremely well attended and we were, as always, enormously grateful for the family and community support which is such a key part of NBP16 life. 

The student leadership team have been busy this term with a range of events, including our annual Culture Day which saw large numbers of our students come to the Centre dressed in traditional cultural clothing. Events were staged throughout the day, including a student delivered assembly, breaktime poetry reading, cultural playlist and a celebration event at the end of the day with students bringing samples of home-prepared food to share with their peers. They are ending the term in similarly celebratory fashion, with the P16 PRIDE Club hosting an all-day karaoke marathon charity fundraiser, with proceeds raised split between a Bristol LGBTQ charity and one supporting migrant workers in Qatar. 

The UCAS deadline had all of our students focused on life after Post 16. All study spaces were buzzing with students finalising applications and supporting one another with personal statements and those all important university choices. Well done to all of our Year 13s who have now submitted applications and are already starting to hear back from their selected universities. It’s a tense time, but we are with you every step of the way. Further congratulations are offered to our early applicants, many of whom have this term undertaken admissions tests and/or interviews for Oxford, Cambridge or medicine courses. The wait is now on until the new year to hear the outcomes of these endeavours. This industry has certainly rubbed off on our Year 12s, who took part in their Futures Launch this term. They came off timetable for a morning where they had an introduction from a range of speakers on the three core Post 18 pathways: university, employment and apprenticeships. Students learned about the variety and opportunity within each of these pathways and plenty of myth and misinformation was banished! Students then worked with their tutors to explore the Unifrog site which we subscribe to as a Centre. Offering support for so much more than university, students are encouraged to make regular use of this software during their Futures Hour. The Post 18 planning doesn’t stop there, with a range of smaller events taking place this term, including a talk and Q+A for our aspiring medics with University of Bristol course leader and consultant cardiologist Yasmin Ismail. A reminder that our weekly Futures Bulletin (access here) is updated weekly and contains a huge range of opportunities for students to boost their skills and experience. 

Core sessions this term have been wide and varied. At the start of November, the Anthony Nolan Trust Hero Project came in to talk with Year 12 about life-saving opportunities to become an organ donor. This session was collaboratively and sensitively delivered, in light of the range of ethical and faith questions students were exploring through the session. Later in the term, we were joined by the University Alliance, in affiliation with UWE Bristol. The aims of the session were to investigate changes in the world of work in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and explore important skills and knowledge areas for future employment pathways (including those which don't even exist yet!) A further session was delivered by the brilliant Into University who presented on building effective independent study routines, as well as the support available through their organisation. In the final week of term we were joined by the BE Project who are seeking to revolutionise the way drugs education engages young people in Bristol, focusing on their four principles of: be informed; be in control; be safe; be yourself. Students can find full details and resources from all Core sessions via this page of their Hub (student login required). 

We have been really pleased to see our students making great use of the newly restocked Post 16 library with its extended opening hours. As part of the enhanced provision, author visits began this term starting with a visit from Booker nominated author and Cotham alumnus Derek Robinson. Derek generously donated a number of his latest book ‘Why 1914?’ to Cotham students and took the time to share some stories about his life and career, offering encouragement to students in pursuing their dreams. He also gave a brilliant insight into life at Cotham School in the 1940s. Later this term, this was followed with a further author visit, this time from local author Kalpna woolf, who came to talk about her book ‘Eat. Share. Love; Our cherished recipes and the stories behind them’

It has been a jam-packed term for sporting achievement too. Following a three year absence, the North Bristol Post 16 Centre returned to the basketball court in their brand new kit, with home and away fixtures against Bradley Stoke Community School U18s side. They were well supported at both games, and confidently took the win each time. A reminder that training takes place on Monday afternoons 3:30-4:30pm. Congratulations must also go to Year 12 student Rachael Adams, who has gained a place on the prestigious British Fencing Diploma in Sporting Excellence and once again represented team GB in the sport this term, this time travelling to France for the competition. 

With mocks approaching for Year 13 in the New Year and Year 12 in the spring, we continue to be proud of the study routines and work ethic our students continue to develop. Especially in their pursuit of developing themselves as whole, skilled people above and beyond examination success. This is exemplified by the brilliant range of enrichment activities and enhancement courses that students are undertaking. We are really excited to be launching Italian and Arabic A Levels next term for some of our exceptionally talented bi/multilingual students to gain credit and profile for this enormously valuable skill set.  As always, we work hard to promote the value of healthy balance and urge students to look out for the Wellbeing Bulletin shared with them at the end of term (preview here). The winter break is filled with excitement, but can also be a challenging time for many and this resource offers a range of resources and support routes for students to access over the holidays should they need it. All that remains is to wish a very Merry Christmas to those who will be celebrating. Thank you to all our parents and carers for your support this year; we look forward to seeing our students back with us in 2023!