The Head of College Reports
28th March 2022
We have had a very busy and eventful spring term at Sigma Sixth. There have been lots of activities and opportunities going on to enhance our students’ college experience and there has been a real buzz in the air as year 12 and 13 students have embraced life within a sixth form environment. They have also started to focus on what their futures may look like after CCHS and Sigma Sixth, whether that will be university, apprenticeship or the world of work. At Sigma Sixth we help students to explore all of the options available, so that they make the right personal decision for themselves; year 12 are still working on their plans, year 13 have made their decisions and are now fully focused on the summer exams.
Mock exams for year 13 students have just finished and I am delighted to report that they had a very pleasing attitude towards their studies. It has been lovely to see these students in peer led revision sessions, exchanging flashcards and modeling responses on the whiteboard. I applaud their independence and the pro-active approach to their learning. Year 12 students have also been preparing for end of term assessments and completion of coursework units; they have been using their study time wisely.
Earlier this term our student council proposed that year 12 students should be given the opportunity to work from home during study periods. We discussed the idea of a ‘study pass’ and agreed on a suitable criterion. The Sigma Sixth Study Pass was launched at the start of the month with 49 students being rewarded a study pass for excellent attainment, attendance and attitude to learning. We are really proud of their achievements and these students have appreciated the flexibility that the pass provides.
For our sports students, they have been out and about this term, exploring progression routes within the industry and enhancing their comprehension of the subject. In February they spent a day in London, visiting St Mary’s University in Twickenham, with activities in the morning based on campus learning about life at the University, as well as being shown around by one of their senior ambassadors. The afternoon session included a visit to Twickenham Stadium and the opportunity to tour the home of English rugby. I loved seeing their photos and hearing their reports, particularly their account of walking through the players’ tunnel. The year 12 students also had the opportunity to visit The University of Essex Human Performance Unit. Students spent the morning in a lab comparing their aerobic performance to their anaerobic performance and in the afternoon, they looked at the impact psychology can have on performance, focusing on attention, arousal and reaction time. Mr Horsewill said that the students were excellent and represented the college superbly.
We believe that enrichment opportunities are incredibly valuable as they can shape the individual, both thought provoking and providing experiences of subjects and places students would not normally access. This is particularly true of our recent lecture series that we launched earlier this term. This year-long lecture series is being provided by academics from The University of Essex, delivering specially designed lectures including, How to think like a…Philosopher; How to think like an…Art Historian, How to think like an…Environmentalist and How to think like a…Human Rights Advocate. All year 12 students have been involved and we have been proud of their confidence in asking questions and expressing opinions; individuals told us they found this experience ‘amazing’ and the opportunity to ‘talk to a real professor’ very motivating. We had some wonderful feedback from one of our visiting professors who said “I found the visit to be enormously stimulating — inspiring even. It is an extraordinary cohort of students at Sigma Sixth and the staff are doing amazing work with them.”
Preparing students for their post-18 pathways is a focus all year round. I often say to the new intake that sixth form is the period of self-discovery in which they can define their future. This week we have collaborated with CCHS to provide career focused events and activities. We have had ‘pop up’ stands informing students about local employment and apprenticeship offers; a session for year 13 students on managing finances at university; a drop-in with The University of Essex to discuss late applications and all aspects of applying to university and workshops for students specifically seeking employment. Our students have positively engaged with the activities and we are hopeful that it has given them an insight into their post-18 options.
Whilst it is important to look ahead, we also want our students to be aware of what is in front of them. Our students have been following the developments in Ukraine with discussions during our mentoring programme and within lessons. When we received news of a local firm transporting supplies to the people fleeing the conflict our students eagerly responded by bringing in extras from shopping trips, tins and packets from the forgotten corners of kitchen cupboards and spare blankets and duvets. In addition to this, our students have been raising money for essentials by setting up a car washing service for staff. During their lunch breaks they have been cleaning off the Saharan sand, from our strange weather phenomenon, and giving our cars a good polish. Our ISS catering team very kindly responded by providing our students with an ice cream for their efforts, which has gone down particularly well during the slightly warmer weather.
Happy Easter to all of our families and students, let’s hope we are able to enjoy some lovely spring weather over the school break and we look forward to welcoming all of our students back on Tuesday, 19th April.
Sarah McKarry, Head of College