Hartlepool Sixth Form College

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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.

Green Light on College Merger

TWO NORTH East colleges have been given the green light to merge, after both boards unanimously backed proposals.

Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Sunderland College announced in March that they were in discussions about a potential merger, and today it was confirmed they will come together to create a super-institution for education.

The proposal will see Hartlepool Sixth Form merge with Sunderland College and Sixth Form in August, creating a more resilient Sixth Form for Hartlepool and a larger, more robust Sunderland College Group. Both colleges have run a wide-reaching consultation process, and there has been overwhelming support for the merger, which has also received the backing of the Sixth Form Commissioner and FE Commissioner.

Chair of the Board of Governors at Hartlepool Sixth Form College Jonathan Brash, said: “It was clear that there was a fantastic cultural fit between Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form, and the board is absolutely convinced this partnership will deliver a strong and sustainable provision for the young people of Hartlepool.

“Ultimately, both Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Sunderland College want the absolute best for the young people of their respective areas and this merger will deliver just that.”

His views were echoed by Stephan Jungnitz, interim principal of Hartlepool Sixth Form College. He said: “We are really pleased to become part of Sunderland College, a move that will strengthen Hartlepool Sixth Form College and further improve our excellent standard of teaching, learning and student support.

“We are looking forward to working with our colleagues in Sunderland over the summer as we join a wider group, and to sharing best practice along the way to ensure that provision in the Hartlepool area is the strongest it has ever been.”

Both Hartlepool and Sunderland have a long-standing history of delivering Sixth Form provision. Originally known as West Hartlepool Grammar School, or Brinkburn Grammar School, Hartlepool Sixth Form College now serves more than 850 16 to 18 year old students, not only from the immediate Hartlepool area, but from neighbouring towns. Sunderland Sixth Form, which was originally Bede Grammar School, is delivered from Sunderland College’s Bede Campus and serves more than 600 students from Sunderland, Washington and County Durham. Sunderland Sixth Form has had a 99 per cent pass rate for the last eight years.

Ellen Thinnesen, principal and chief executive of Sunderland College, who has overall responsibility for the newly expanded portfolio, said: “Young people in Hartlepool absolutely deserve the best educational opportunities in a personalised, safe, innovative, high-quality learning environment that is focused on standards, performance and success; we are determined to deliver only the very best into the future at Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

“As we have gone through the process of consultation, it has been abundantly clear this is a merger that will bring about a great many benefits – a financially stable sixth form college, improved learning resources, a more resilient college that can keep up with the changes the sector faces, but most of all, a college that is absolutely geared up to offer the best possible student experience and support people from in and around Hartlepool to realise their vast potential, which is the absolute primary aim.

She added: “We are very much looking forward to learning from each other, sharing professional practice to enhance academic excellence and ensuring our individual strengths are maximised across Hartlepool and Sunderland. And we have an ongoing commitment to work collaboratively with neighbouring education institutions, the local authority and the Tees Valley to ensure the merger delivers a curriculum offer that meets the strategic needs of the sub-region and ensures the young people of this area have greater choice when they move on after school and upon completion of Sixth Form study.”

Since 2015, the Sixth Form College and Further Education College sector has been under significant scrutiny by Government Departments, with the goal of creating financial viable and sustainable organisations that deliver maximum value for public investment. These Area Reviews have strengthened the mind-set of Sixth Form and Further Education Colleges who across the country have been investigating a range of innovative options to create high performing educational institutions with a priority of achieving maximum value for public money, high-quality and specialised provision, all of which are at the core of the merger between Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

Chair of the Board of Governors at Sunderland College, Rob Lawson, said: “The board wholeheartedly believe this merger will bring about huge benefits for young people in Hartlepool, the wider Tees Valley, as well as strengthening Sunderland Sixth Form and Sunderland College’s position.

“We recognised immediately that the closeness of the colleges geographically, and the alignment culturally and academically meant this would be the best possible ‘fit’, and having consulted widely, we remain confident this is the best possible outcome for young people in Hartlepool and in Sunderland.

We have answered some frequently asked questions about the merger which you can read here.

Resolution to Dissolve the Corporation of Hartlepool Sixth Form College

At a meeting of the governors, who are the members, of Hartlepool Sixth Form College, to be held on 5 July 2017, the following resolution will be proposed:

The Corporation resolves to dissolve itself on or after 1 August 2017, subject to entering into, and completing, an agreement with Sunderland College to transfer its property, rights and liabilities to Sunderland College.

HSFC Student to Study in the US

A Hartlepool Sixth Form Year 12 student has just gained a place on the Sutton Trust US Programme 2017 - US-UK Fulbright Commission. The programme is designed to encourage academically talented, low and middle income British students to consider studying in US Universities.

Lydia Hewitt, formerly from St Michael’s Catholic Academy in Billingham, was chosen from a competitive application pool of over 1,000 students for a place on the programme that will see her travel to the USA in June/July of this year. She successfully came through a rigorous testing and selection programme and passed with flying colours!

Lydia will accompany another 150 students from the UK and abroad and will spend time living on campus and visiting a number of US universities. She will get the opportunities of summer schools at either Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Yale, with a university fair hosted at Harvard.

Lydia, who currently studies Maths, Further Maths and Physics at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, is delighted at the opportunity and has been fully supported by the College’s bespoke Honours Programme for academically gifted students.

Ben Robinson, Director of Student Guidance and Support, said:

I am absolutely delighted for Lydia! One of our main focuses at the college is to encourage students set their aspirations high and support them in the fullest way possible to achieve their goals. Lydia is an exceptional young lady and I’ve no doubt this experience will be hugely influential in her future ambitions and success.

For more information about the Honours Programme and student experience at Hartlepool Sixth Form please contact the college on 01429 294444 or apply online to receive a bespoke consultation interview.

National Company Calls on HSFC Student

One of our International students Liu Zhaocheng (John) has built a program for a national company that tracks trends in sales to try and predict future sales and targets. He decided to do this as part of his coursework and put in a lot of independent research and many hours outside of College trying to learn how to program it, including teaching himself Javascript.

John said

I was looking for a project that would help me achieve a high grade and I am interested in solving real-life problems. I really enjoyed working on the project and I am very proud it’s being used across the country.

John has also built responsive web pages for a local roofing company during his internship with a local design company M Media & Design over the summer. He is planning to go to Edinburgh University to study Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence in October.

HSFC Students Excel on the National Sporting Stage

Students from Hartlepool Sixth Form College competed at the AoC Sport National Championships in Nottingham last weekend, coming home with gold and bronze medals as representatives of the NE team.

25 students, competing in Rugby, Netball and Table-Tennis, travelled to the University of Nottingham where they battled against athletes from colleges across England and Wales during the three-day event.

The Rugby Academy travelled to Nottingham as the reigning National Champions and competed against the best colleges in the country winning 7 from 8 games. This included a win over the eventual gold medallists SEEVIC College. The lads had a 100% record until the very last game of the weekend against Neath Port Talbot College, Wales. After battling back from a slow start they took the lead until the very last play of the game saw the Welsh cross the line to agonisingly win by 2 points. The upshot of this was a 3-way tie at the top and on tries scored Hartlepool Sixth Form were in bronze medal position.

Elite Sport and Academy Manager, Chris Hyndman said,

I am immensely proud of the boys and how they conducted themselves. The competition was fierce and to achieve the record they did is testament to our programme. We are disappointed not to retain our national title but being ranked 3 in the UK and beating the gold medal winners is very satisfying and further emphasises our programme amongst the best in the country. We now have a national cup semi-final in Leicester to prepare for so it straight back to training for us

The Netball Academy travelled for the second year in succession to Nationals after securing a 6th place finish at the 2016. The squad were hopeful of improving on this placing after already winning the NE Regional Performance League. After a slow start, the girls won 2 matches in succession and there were some sterling individual performances. The competition is an extremely high level with many players representing Super League Clubs. The team finished in 8th position overall.

Marie Lithgo (Head Netball Coach) said,

The girls know that some of the matches lost were there for the taking and we came away feeling that as a squad we underachieved. That said, the competition is of a very good standard and we have a young team who will have learnt a lot from the weekend. I am looking forward to next season and working with the current players and the outstanding new athletes we have coming in

Amy Webster represented Hartlepool Sixth Form College as part of the NE regional table-tennis team. After winning gold at last year’s championships in the mixed doubles, Amy was unable to defend her title due to a change in format to a team event. However, the gold medals just keep on coming, as the NE team were crowed national champions beating the SW 4-1 in the final.

Amy said,

I’ve had another great weekend and to pick up my second gold in 2 years is fantastic. I would like to thank the college for all the sporting and academic support I’ve had and I’m moving on the study a Sports Degree in Nottingham next year

Further success has come in Football this year, with Matthew Ridley and Guilherme Baltazar representing England at Colleges level and travelling to the FA Headquarters at St Georges Park to train along with a tournament against International teams in Italy last term.

The newly formed Basketball Academy were also regional league winners, under the guidance of Ian Hewitt who is also involved in coaching the England U15’s.

As well as individual glory, teams were aiming to accumulate points for their region and win the prestigious Wilkinson Sword trophy.

The South East became the new winners of the Wilkinson Sword trophy, wrestling the title off local rivals the South West in a highly competitive weekend.

The region - who were 2016 runners-up - finished 22 points clear of last year’s winners in second, while the West Midlands once again finished in third place, just a point behind the South West.

More than 1600 college students took part in this year’s National Championships, now in its 39th year, at a series of incredible sporting facilities including the University of Nottingham’s David Ross Sports Village, Trent Bridge, Nottingham Wildcats Arena, Morley Hayes Golf Club, Nottingham Tennis Centre and Nottingham Tennis Centre.

The athletes competed across 13 different sports, including football, squash, hockey, basketball and cricket.

AoC Sport Managing Director Marcus Kingwell said, “What a fantastic weekend we’ve had at this year’s National Championships.

Thanks to the hard work of the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Conferences, Visit Nottinghamshire, volunteers, AoC Sport staff and, of course, the competitors, coaches and college staff, the past three days have been a resounding success.

Congratulations to all who took part, we’re already looking forward to seeing you all again next year.”

For more information on how you could be part of the Elite Sport and Academies programme at HSFC please contact the college on 01429 294444 or contact Ben Robinson via email.

Internship in China

Have you considered a gap year abroad, teaching English to primary and secondary students while learning Chinese language and culture, and getting paid up to £12,000? If interested please feel free to take a look at the Internship Programme leaflet and contact Maoge via email by clicking here.