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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. 

We first of all need to congratulate Year 13 student Ed for provoking brilliant discussion at the Bristol Education Partnership Philosophy Society event hosted at Cotham in February. We were joined by staff and students from Redmaids, Clifton High, Badminton, QEH and Redland Green for an evening of discussion and debate, ably facilitated by Ed and his presentation exploring the enormous question: what is religion? Congratulations also go to the brilliantly talented Natlie in Year 12 who has been selected to have her artwork featured in Mingle Bristol’s ‘Hong Kong in Your Eye’ exhibition as part of Hong Kong March, an event designed to highlight and celebrate the immigrant experience. Congratulations also to Sara in Year 12 who, as part of ‘Bristol Youth Empowerment’ raised an incredible £6427.50 for earthquake survivors in Syria and Turkey. You can read more about this on Bristol Live here. Finally, we congratulate Lily, winner of our Post 16 short story competition. A popular winner, with her tension-filled submission ‘The Specialist’ which you can read in full here.  

Another notable achievement this term has been the way our Year 13 students have responded to the feedback from their January mock examinations. This is such an important phase in their studies and a last opportunity to practise those examination skills within a full exam hall experience ahead of the summer season. Feedback from teachers this term has been exceptionally positive, particularly in the way our incredible young people have been seeking advice and support to ensure that they are pursuing their ambitions in healthy balance. We cannot congratulate on academic achievements without also commending all of our Extended Project Qualification students who have met their submission deadline this term. We have had some of the best submissions we have ever seen, from original musical compositions, to innovative and intricate artwork, as well as some truly thought provoking and intellectually challenging essays, many of which have been produced to undergraduate level. 

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, we had a session from Into University who came to talk with Year 12 about the range of different Post 18 opportunities available to them, including Apprenticeships, Higher Apprenticeships, gap year volunteering and work-based routes. The final session of this term was focused on revision hints and tips, supporting Year 12 in building healthy study habits ahead of their mocks at the start of next term. As always, summaries and resources for all Core sessions can be accessed by students via the P16 Hub (student login required).

There has been plenty of subject extension activity this term, with 12 A Level Film students braving the snow in March to visit ‘Screenology’ in Temple Quarter. They took part in a combined set of activities during the afternoon, including a screening of student films, a tour of the studios and a chance to have their say on regeneration in the city. Our brilliant business Foundation students also undertook their event management projects this term with a range of fundraising activities taking place from staff vs student sport to a charity quiz. Year 12 A Level Literature students attended a fantastic talk by renowned poet Moses Mckenzie. Moses' debut novel An Olive Grove in Ends, focuses on the life of a young man growing up in Stapleton Road in Bristol and vividly captures life on the east side of the inner city, reflecting the melting pot of cultures in its skilful blending of modern English, Jamaican Patois, Arabic and multicultural slang. The author spoke about his experiences as a school pupil, student and writer growing up in Bristol, followed by a question-and-answer session. The term then ended with our Year 12 geographers setting off 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 the rain, they did themselves proud. Ms Meek said “The weather was very wet and cold, but the students were absolutely brilliant”.

Year 12 mocks will be upon us in the second week of next term and you can view the summary timetable here. We are keen to remind students that support with organisation, revision and a wide range of other study skills can be sought from our brilliant Academic Mentors in Upgrade. We also encourage Year 12 to familiarise themselves with the assessment support materials on the Upgrade page of our NBP16 Hub, which contains a huge bank of bespoke resources and information, put together by NBP16 staff and students, to support the assessment process, including managing anxieties. A reminder that all students eligible to use a reading pen for exams can borrow one of these from Ms Beaver for any in-class assessments to practise using them.

Thank you to all parents and carers who joined us for the Year 13 post-mocks surgery (identified students only) and the Year 12 online parents evening. Your engagement with us is enormously valued and provides such an important bridge to support the academic ambitions and achievements of our young people. 

Student enrichment has been another highlight of term four, with brilliant engagement in a really wide range of enrichment activities. This year, we once again have huge numbers of student-run groups, which is a testament to how well our amazing Year 12 students have adapted to life at NBP16. Clubs that have been really popular this term are D+D and our brand new crochet club!

With futures on the mind following a brilliantly well attended Year 12 trip to the UCAS convention in Exeter, we would encourage students to make sure they keep an eye out for the weekly Post 16 Futures Bulletin, which is emailed to them directly but can also be accessed here at any time

All that remains is to wish our students a well deserved Spring break and Ramadan Kareem, for all those who are observing. We encourage students to find some time for rest and to have a look through the ideas and resources in our end of term Wellbeing Bulletin, which is emailed to them on the last day of term and can be previewed here