Hartlepool Sixth Form College

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College merger to create an ambitious new future for the region

Northumberland College and Sunderland College have today confirmed plans to merge in a move that will bring significant benefits and an ambitious new future for the North East region.

Following a detailed review, they will work in partnership to merge the two colleges by March 2019. The merger will create a large dynamic Regional College Group with campuses across Northumberland, Sunderland, Washington, and Hartlepool.

Jacqui Henderson CBE, Chair of Governors at Northumberland College, said:

“In seeking to extend and further develop the further and higher education opportunities across the region, we are delighted by the creation of this new strategic partnership.

“This new model creates a brilliant opportunity for the two colleges to each bring their own significant strengths and expertise to the delivery of the diverse skills required across the North East region.”

This announcement follows the successful merger between Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form College in August 2017. Commenting on the merger with Northumberland College, the Chair of Governors at Sunderland College, Rob Lawson, said:

“This merger is an exciting opportunity to increase capability and capacity so that both colleges can excel in meeting the region’s educational and economic needs.

“Both organisations clearly strive for excellence and place the student at the heart of everything they do. I am confident that our cultures will align very easily as we prepare for merger.”

Northumberland College, which is the only further education college in the county, has campuses in Ashington, Kirkley Hall, Berwick, Newcastle, Hexham and Blyth. Ian Clinton, Principal and Chief Executive at Northumberland College, said:

“We are delighted to be merging our strengths and expertise with those of Sunderland College. Together we will be a major force in the North East, to shape education and skills to meet the region’s current and emerging social and economic needs.”

Sunderland College, one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the North East, has three campuses across the city of Sunderland and a sixth form college in Hartlepool. Ellen Thinnesen, Principal and Chief Executive, said:

“We feel very privileged to be chosen as a merger partner for Northumberland College. Building on the success and values of both Colleges, our merger will maximise opportunities for students, apprentices and employers across the region.

“Together we will pursue our vision to put ‘excellence into the heart of everything we do’.”

Both Northumberland College and Sunderland College have been operating as usual since the merger announcement and continue to be committed to providing an outstanding learning experience and delivering high quality education in the communities they serve.

HSFC scores with new girl's rugby academy

Hartlepool Sixth Form College are launching a brand new girl’s rugby academy this September.

Girls aged 16 to 19 will have the opportunity to develop both their academic and rugby playing performance by joining the new academy. Hartlepool Sixth Form College is believed to be the first college in the North East to offer a rugby academy especially for girls.

Johan Olckers, Lead Rugby Academy Coach at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, said:

“There has been a dramatic growth in the number of girls playing rugby and it is more high profile in the media now than it has ever been.

“We are excited to launch our new academy for girls who want to follow their passion for rugby and stay at the top of their game. It is proving to be very popular, with girls already signed up for this September.”

The new rugby academy at Hartlepool Sixth Form College will combine professional coaching and competitive match play at an elite standard with an academic or vocational programme of study.

The sixth form college now offers six sport academies, for more information about any of Hartlepool Sixth Form College’s sports academies contact Ian Hewitt ian.hewitt@hpoolsfc.ac.uk or ring 01429 294444.

Sixth Form College football academy celebrates success

The men’s football team at Hartlepool Sixth Form College have been celebrating a successful 2017/18 season with individual success for players who have progressed to top level football and even international scholarships.

The men’s first team finished the season runners-up in the NECL Premier Division and the men’s second team finished mid-table in a very competitive NECL Championship Division. The first team also made it to the NECL cup final, only to be beaten by a very strong Sunderland College team.

Individual player successes include Matthew Ridley who was selected for the England Colleges team during his time at college, and has now gained a scholarship to play football in the United States in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). Guilherme Baltazar, who was also selected to play for the England Colleges team, has appeared for Whitby Town FC in the Northern Premier Division.

Other players from this academic year have progressed to Northumbria University and Durham University BUCS squads, and Northern League Division 1 side Billingham Town.

Head Coach for the first team, Lee Bullock, is also Assistant Manager at Whitby Town FC and a former player of Hartlepool United and Cardiff City. He said:

“We are thrilled with the success of our Football Development Academy this season and the achievements of all the players and coaches. We are looking forward to starting another successful season at Hartlepool Sixth Form College!”

Dave Newton supports Lee with the coaching duties and brings an added depth to the coaching team. Dave is Chairman of Greatham Community Football Club, highly regarded as one of the best community clubs in the North East.

Members of the Football Academy also gain valuable work experience and the opportunity to study additional qualifications such as refereeing and coaching. If you have a talent for sport you could join one of our Sports Development Academies (subject to a successful trial) and combine your full-time studies with an elite training programme involving professional coaching and competitive game play. Academies are available in football (men’s and women’s), rugby (men’s and women’s), netball and basketball. For more information ring 01429 294444.

Matthew Ridley

Celebrating success one year after merger

The merger of two North East colleges has proved to be a resounding success, one year on.

Sunderland College merged with Hartlepool Sixth Form College in September 2017. There was overwhelming support for the merger, which also received backing from the Sixth Form Commissioner and FE Commissioner.

A year on from merger there has been significant benefits and the creation of new opportunities, alongside improved outcomes for students, staff and other stakeholders.

The College has reported an overall increase in AS Level and A-Level pass rates and the overall pass rate for both colleges combined is an impressive 97.5%. The merger has also secured the financial future of the only bespoke sixth form college in Hartlepool and has enabled substantial new investments in the learning environment, with a brand new, state-of-the-art digital academy and curriculum launching this September.

The merger resulted in a single governing board and consolidated leadership, along with new regional job roles working across both college sites for back office staff and support services. Staff at both colleges have been sharing best practice and some have progressed into newly created leadership positions.

Ellen Thinnesen, Principal and Chief Executive, has overall responsibility for both Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form College. She commented:

“We passionately believe in delivering educational opportunities and a high quality learning experience, with students at the heart of everything we do. It has been a pleasure working in partnership with colleagues and stakeholders within Hartlepool and across the wider Tees Valley. We look forward to this collaborative approach continuing.

“We are delighted to report that one year on, the merger has created more opportunities for our stakeholders including students, staff and employers; ensured the future stability of Hartlepool Sixth Form College; improved performance; and enabled both colleges to meet the needs of its local people and local business community.

“Together we have become more resilient, and with our shared vision for excellence, we are creating a future that is ambitious and successful and offers long-term growth.”

Mark Hughes, who was appointed Head of Hartlepool Sixth Form College last August, said:

“During the last 12 months, since merger, we have experienced significant improvements. We are currently enrolling our new intake of students and have seen a 3% increase in applications compared to last year. We are enjoying working with our colleagues at Sunderland and look forward to the future.”

There are currently 266 further education and sixth form colleges in England. This compares to almost 450 when colleges were incorporated in 1993. This change has seen the education sector having to transform and adapt in response to rapidly changing political and economic environments.

To start your journey with Sunderland College or Hartlepool Sixth Form College visit www.sunderlandcollege.ac.uk or www.hpoolsfc.ac.uk

Sixth Form’s rugby academy selected as a prestigious Focus College

Hartlepool Sixth Form College is one of only 40 colleges nationally to be selected as an England Rugby Focus College.

Following an intense application process, the Sixth Form College has been awarded Focus College status, which means that it can expand its rugby focused qualifications and further develop the sport over the next three years.

The Focus College programme, introduced last year by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), is designed to boost rugby union in further education colleges and sixth forms, and grow the sport amongst students.

Ian Hewitt, Sport Lecturer and Sports Academies Co-ordinator at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, said:

“We are delighted to be selected as a Focus College and to encourage more young people to continue playing the sport at a high level alongside their studies. This gives us an opportunity to work alongside the RFU and local clubs to really impact rugby in the region. We have an outstanding coaching team here at Hartlepool Sixth Form College and they are excited to work on a project of this magnitude.”

The men’s rugby academy at Hartlepool Sixth Form College combines professional coaching and competitive match play with an academic or vocational programme of study. The academy, which works closely with professional club Newcastle Falcons, has an outstanding reputation having been the North East Regional 10s Champions for five consecutive years and a Rugby Football Union (RFU) accredited college.

The Sixth Form College has six sport academies, including a brand new women’s rugby academy. For more information about any of Hartlepool Sixth Form College’s sports academies contact Ian Hewitt ian.hewitt@hpoolsfc.ac.uk or 01429 294444.

Hartlepool sixth form students celebrate impressive A-Level results

Students at Hartlepool Sixth Form College are celebrating an impressive set of A-Level results with some outstanding individual achievements.

The College celebrated 100% pass rate in 15 A-Level subjects including Psychology, History, Media Studies, Physical Education and Law.

The College’s overall pass rate is 96.9%, which is an increase from last year. In addition, more than three in five students (68.3%) achieved grades A*-C.

The results have enabled A-Level students to accept offers from top universities including Durham and progress to the next stage of their career journey.

Individual achievements include Chris Gregory, 18, from Hartlepool who achieved A* in Mathematics, A in Physics and A in Further Maths and is now heading to Durham University to study physics and astronomy. Chris, who has been part of the College’s Football Development Centre, said:

“It’s been such a great experience and I feel it has prepared me for university. I’m pleased everything has paid off. It’s been a long wait but it was worth it!”

22-year-old Niloufar Saffari, who came to Hartlepool as an Iranian refugee, gained three A* grades for Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics. She is heading to the University of Bath to study engineering. She said:

“I’m so happy that my hard work has paid off. The last two years of study have been challenging but the teachers have been brilliant. I have been given all the support I need to progress to university.”

Another delighted student, 18-year-old Anna Acey from Hartlepool, who gained two A* grades in Biology and History and A in Chemistry, said:

“I’m really pleased. It was worth all the hard work. Hartlepool Sixth Form Centre has made me more independent and it has made me ready for university. The staff are really helpful and nothing you ask of them is too much.”

To reward their hard work and to encourage students to celebrate together, the sixth form hosted a breakfast celebration event with pastries and light refreshments at 7.00am. Staff were there to congratulate the students when they received their results. Family and friends who had supported students through their last two years of study were also invited.

Mark Hughes, Head of Hartlepool Sixth Form College, said:

“We are extremely proud of these impressive results and I would like to thank all the staff, students and their parents/carers as it has been a team effort.

“We are delighted that our students have secured places on some of the most competitive courses and at Russell Group and other prestigious universities.

“We encourage our students to achieve the best they can and wish them every success in the next stage of their journey.”

Students who weren’t able to come into college results were emailed their results and college staff were available for any students who required advice and guidance in deciding their next step.

The College and offers one of the largest range of A-Level subjects in the region. In addition to A-Levels, the College also offers a selection of full-time BTEC courses.

If you would like to know more about studying A-Levels at Hartlepool Sixth Form College contact 01429 294444 or hsfc@hpoolsfc.ac.uk

A-Level students Niloufar Saffari, Ben Harrison, Anna Acey, Chris Gregory

Physics expert makes waves at sixth form college

The next generation of scientists were given an insight into the fascinating world of gravitational waves by a renowned physics expert.

Astro-physicist Dr Peter Edwards, from Durham University, visited A-Level Physics students at Hartlepool Sixth Form College to deliver an exciting talk called ‘Einstein, Einstein, give us a wave!’

The students explored a subject usually reserved for post graduate students and physics researchers. They were given a real insight into Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, the technology behind gravitational wave detectors, and how they provide a new way to observe and explore our universe.

Lisa Hall, Physics Lecturer at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, said: “Dr Edwards is an outstanding communicator of physics. He was able to take ground-breaking discoveries in physics in the area of gravitational waves, and communicate it to our students in a highly engaging way. The students thoroughly enjoyed it and there was a real buzz about it.”

Maths challenge adds up to a great experience

Maths Challenge

A team of four A-Level Maths students from Hartlepool Sixth Form College competed in the regional final of the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust (UKMT) Senior Team Challenge at Teesside University.

The team, comprising two year 12 students and two year 13 students, competed against over 25 other regional schools and sixth form colleges in three rounds.

The first round saw the students try and solve as many questions as possible against the clock. In the second round, the team was divided into pairs and was asked to complete a crossnumber, similar to a crossword but with numbers. One pair was provided with the across clues while the other had the down clues. They were tasked with completing the crossnumber without communicating with the other pair. The final challenge, entitled ‘Shuttle’, placed the group into pairs again and the answer to each question was dependent on the previous answer.

Anthony Hanson, tutor of Maths at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, said: “We were very proud of our students. They finished a respectable 13th overall. They worked hard as team and coped extremely well under pressure.”

Hartlepool Sixth Form College to launch state-of-the-art Digital Academy

Mark Hughes, Head of Hartlepool Sixth Form Centre

Hartlepool Sixth Form College is to launch a Digital Academy ready for September 2018. The new academy will teach young people a range of digital skills to support economic growth in this sector, in line with the Tees Valley key economic priorities.

The Digital Academy will be situated at the Sixth Form’s Brinkburn site, and will deliver Level 3 education and training in digital software, coding, cyber security, virtual reality, games, animation and special effects. The Sixth Form will also deliver Specialist NextGen digital skills qualifications, along with only seven other colleges in the UK.

Sunderland College, who merged with Hartlepool Sixth Form College last September, already has strong links with the digital industry and a reputation for delivering sector-focused software development, coding, games design, animation and digital special effects programmes.

Mark Hughes, Head of Hartlepool Sixth Form College, said: “We are delighted to be launching a new Digital Academy for the young people of Hartlepool and beyond, to support in developing digital talent for the future. It is a signal of our focus on providing digital technology focused skills and career routes that meet the needs of businesses and which directly contribute to the region’s economic growth ambitions.

“We have taken the new digital qualifications that have been designed with input from industry leaders such as Sony, Atom Hawk, CCP, Coatsink, Ubisoft and Tombola to ensure our young people in Hartlepool have the skills and knowledge to make a direct contribution to supporting this dynamic growth sector.”

The Tees Valley Combined Authority and the Local Enterprise Partnership have identified the digital sector as having a global significance.

Sunderland College are currently working with Aim Awards, ESL, The British Esports Association and UKIE to deliver the UK’s first college Esports qualification. The College is leading the way in digital innovation and has recently invested over £12,000 establishing a new Esports studio. Mike Jaques, Curriculum Manager for Digital Design said:

“Esports, which is essentially competitive gaming at a professional level, is a £1 billion industry that is rapidly growing. As a result, there is expected to be a huge demand for staff to work within the industry.

“Our Level 3 Games, Animation and Special Effects students will be the first in the country to be able to complete a Level 3 Esports qualification and to experience how Esports events are planned, managed and delivered. They’ll also have the opportunity to compete in a newly established regional Esports team. We are currently the only college in the North East involved in the inter-college British eSports tournament and are thrilled to be sharing our expertise with our colleagues at Hartlepool Sixth Form College.”

Mark set to lead Hartlepool Sixth Form’s charge

THE REGION’S best performing Sixth Form for AAB grade-percentage has appointed a new Head of Sixth Form following a merger with Sunderland College.

Mark Hughes has been named the new Head of Hartlepool Sixth Form College, having held a role as Collaborative Outreach Manager with the University of Hull. He brings with him more than 15 years of teaching and management experience within specialist sixth form and further education college provision.

The sixth form college recently completed a merger with Sunderland College and Mark has replaced joint interim principals Dr Stephan Jungnitz and Trevor Wray, who were appointed in April to lead the college through the merger process.

Ellen Thinnesen, Principal and Chief Executive of the sixth form college, said she was delighted to welcome Mark: “We’re thrilled to be able to appoint someone of Mark’s academic experience and background.

“He has successfully managed outstanding academic and business support areas in Hampshire, Surrey and Lincolnshire and recently managed a multi-million-pound collaborative outreach programme for the University of Hull that supports school pupils and college students from across Yorkshire and the Humber to access higher education pathways.

“As passionate advocate of sixth form and higher education, Mark is determined to ensure every young person at Hartlepool Sixth Form College receives an outstanding academic learning experience and that they achieve and progress”.

“I’m also delighted that Mark’s passion includes ensuring young people studying in sixth form education are set realistic and aspirational targets, targets that stretch and challenge each and every student to make positive progress, achieve their qualifications, improve their confidence and self-esteem and remain motivated to progress to higher-level courses, training or employment.”

She added: “Another key theme of Mark’s career has been close working partnerships with parents, Schools, Colleges, Universities and the wider business community. Mark and I will be working closely to develop partnerships and to ensure the College contributes positively to a cohesive educational offer in Hartlepool and the wider Tees Valley. Ultimately our focus will however be about equipping young people with skills that will lead to high quality jobs and which support the economic development of this region.”

Mark first moved into academia following a successful career as a rugby player and personal trainer.

Sport and fitness have had a significant influence on his early career and during his first post as a Sixth Form College PE teacher, Mark was instrumental in helping develop the south east region into an area of sporting excellence both through coaching and the identification of early talent.

With experience of managing football academies at Basingstoke Town and Ashford Town, Mark also oversaw the British Colleges Sport South East regional team and selection to the national squads.

In more recent years, he helped develop a centre of sporting excellence with Chelsea FC.

He said: “Despite my career in education, sport still plays a key part in my life but now as a spectator at London Irish rugby matches or taking part in marathons or gym challenges.

“I’m honoured to be joining Hartlepool Sixth Form College as its new head, and I’m very much looking forward to working with a talented team in what is going to be an exciting chapter in the college’s history.

“The Brinkburn site is a special place. I’m delighted with the College’s recent results along with their success in progressing Hartlepool’s young people to some of the best Universities in the world. Along with the support of my staff, I’m really looking forward to seeing Hartlepool Sixth Form College excel even further into what I am happy to say will now be a long and bright future.”

Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Sunderland College officially merged on August 1st, creating a more resilient Sixth Form for Hartlepool and a larger, more robust Sunderland College.

For more information about Hartlepool Sixth Form College and its courses, visit www.hpoolsfc.ac.uk.