Hartlepool Sixth Form College

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Students gain support of local MPs for Love our Colleges campaign

Students from Hartlepool Sixth Form led a debate with local MPs to highlight the importance of colleges for economic development and social prosperity, as part of the national Love our Colleges campaign.

The Hartlepool students joined forces with their counterparts at Sunderland College to quiz the panel, which consisted of Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health; Bridget Phillipson, Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South; Julie Elliott, Labour MP for Sunderland Central; and Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive of Education Partnership North East (created through the recent merger of Hartlepool Sixth Form and Sunderland College with Northumberland College).

The Love our Colleges campaign calls on the government for better investment and fair pay and aims to demonstrate why the Chancellor should ensure meaningful and sustainable investment of colleges in his Comprehensive Spending Review.

Panel member Sharon Hodgson MP, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West, said:

“It was a privilege to take part in the Love our Colleges debate recently with students, and hear their personal concerns about further education funding.

“At a time when there is a skills gap and a high number of vacancies, the government are continuing to cut funding for further education.

“In order to close this gap, the government must invest in further education so that everyone has the opportunity to learn and develop new skills that they can utilise in employment.”

The students aged 16 to 18, who are studying a range of academic and professional and technical courses at Hartlepool Sixth Form and Sunderland College, were given the opportunity to discuss with the panel how important colleges are in developing a strong workforce in the region, what the panel can you do to help ensure colleges receive the investment they need, the consequences of a lack of investment in colleges and the impact of austerity in the further education sector affecting the future workforce and creating skills shortages.

18-year-old Blessing Ihuoma, who moved to Hartlepool from Nigeria, is studying A-Levels in Law and Sociology and BTEC Music at Hartlepool Sixth Form. She said:

“I was involved with the debate as I wanted to get to know the MPs representing us and gain a better understanding of what they are doing to help colleges. The Love Our Colleges campaign is an excellent idea and helps students to understand that there are people fighting their corner to ensure they have a great education and a chance to achieve their goals.

“In Nigeria, students have to jump from secondary school straight to university. I’m grateful that I have had the opportunity to attend Hartlepool Sixth Form, to find my feet and explore what I’m good at. I was aiming to progress to a career in law, however after coming to sixth form I have discovered a passion for sociology. Sixth form has transformed my life in helping me to decide what I want to do with my life and has allowed me to find the right pathway for me.”

According to research by the Association of Colleges, colleges have suffered an average of a 30% cut in funding over the last decade, during which time costs have increased dramatically. This has had a detrimental impact on students, businesses, communities and the wider economy.

Colleges educate and train 2.2 million people every year. Through top-class professional and technical education, A-Levels, apprenticeships, higher education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges support people of all ages and backgrounds to fulfil their potential and achieve their ambitions.

Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive of Education Partnership North East, commented:

“We were delighted for our students’ voices to be heard and to have the support of our local MPs during this vitally important campaign, which highlights the impact of further education colleges on our economies and communities.

“Further education colleges need to be able to respond to regional and national agendas and support central and local government to achieve its ambitions. However, a sufficient level of funding is required for colleges to provide a wide and responsive range of provision, lead innovation, drive forward skills agendas, build strong business partnerships and continue transforming lives and communities.”

The Love Our Colleges campaign is a partnership between Association of Colleges (AoC), National Union of Students (NUS), Association of College and School Leaders (ASCL), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union (NEU).

North East colleges join forces to call for sustainable investment

Colleges across the North East are joining forces to demonstrate the importance of their role in transforming lives and driving economic growth and to call on the government for better investment and fair pay.

As part of the second phase of the national Love Our Colleges campaign, from Monday 13th to Friday 17th May, governors from colleges across the North East are hosting events and speaking to their local MPs, staff, students and local business partners to demonstrate why the Chancellor should ensure meaningful and sustainable investment of colleges in his Comprehensive Spending Review.

Over the last decade, colleges have suffered an average of a 30% cut in funding, during which time costs have increased dramatically. This has had a detrimental impact on students, businesses, communities and the wider economy.

Rob Lawson, Chair of Governors for Education Partnership North East (created through the recent merger between Sunderland College – including Hartlepool Sixth Form – and Northumberland College), said:

“Further education colleges play a vital role in society and the economy but are often overlooked within the education sector. As Chair of the Board since 2013, I have seen first-hand, the impact and transformation that education has on people’s lives and economic growth.

“During Love our Colleges week, we have joined with our sector colleagues to highlight the excellent work colleges across the North East do in improving lives and economies, and ensure further education colleges receive the recognition and support from national government that they deserve.”

Colleges educate and train 2.2 million people every year. Through top-class professional and technical education, A-Levels, apprenticeships, higher education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges support people of all ages and backgrounds to fulfil their potential and achieve their ambitions.

Rooted in local communities, colleges also play a vital role in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies.

Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“Improving skills, employability, inclusion and progression is a key part of the North East Strategic Economic plan to boost the economy and create more and better jobs for people living and working in the region.

“The North East’s colleges play a vital role in this by supporting people to gain academic qualifications and valuable encounters with employers, ensuring they can make informed choices about their future careers. It also means businesses are able to employ people with the skills they need to flourish and grow.

“In recognition of the fantastic work being done in our region, the North East LEP area is home to the country’s only College Careers Hub, which supports colleges in the North East and across the country to implement and deliver the Gatsby Career Benchmarks.

“The North East LEP values the important contribution colleges make in improving our economy and building inspiration and aspiration among its students.” The Love Our Colleges campaign is a partnership between Association of Colleges (AoC), National Union of Students (NUS), Association of College and School Leaders (ASCL), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union (NEU).

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:

“The financial viability of colleges is as hard as it has ever been. This is despite the fact they are embedded within their local community and work with employers to provide solutions to people of all ages.

“If we want to achieve success, locally, regionally and nationally, we must ensure they’re properly supported.”

Media and Photography students get behind the scenes experience at the BBC

Hartlepool Sixth Form students recently visited the BBC Look North TV Studios to see how TV news is produced for the region.

The Media Studies and Photography students got the chance to see at first hand the real world experience of how media professionals cover news stories. The students were able ask questions on how they got started in the industry and were offered advice on how to begin their own journey in this industry.

The tour was scheduled carefully between live television broadcasts so the students were able to gain a valuable insight into the hub of the BBC in the North East and Cumbria.

Alan Sill Hartlepool Sixth Form Photography Lecturer said: “The students really benefited from this first-hand experience, seeing for themselves the process of news reporting, how fast paced the working environment is and that it’s not as glamorous as they may have thought!”

Jake Armstrong, BTEC Level 3 Media Studies student added: “I was really interested in seeing the news production studios and the different technology, it was a great visit and we learnt a-lot about the industry!”

The sixth form are hoping to engage with Northern Film and Media, based in Newcastle, to give the students further opportunity to tour film productions filming in the North East of England.

If you are interested in studying media studies or photography at sixth form, click the links to find out more and apply online!

Royal Society of Chemistry Analyst Competition

Three of Hartlepool Sixth Forms A-Level Chemistry students were recently entered into the first round of a Chemistry Analyst Competition which took place at Teesside University.

A range of schools and colleges from around the region, ranging from Durham in North to Ripon each entered team of three Y12 A-Level Chemistry students to undertake a three hour analytical task to solve a problem around the support of life on Mars.

This opportunity helped students Ellie Crossman, Daniel Liddell and Ethan Capes to develop a wide range of skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving and practical skills. They successfully carried out a range of experiments, gathered accurate results and utilised their Chemistry skills to arrive at conclusions to answer the problem in the allocated time.

James Donkin, Hartlepool Sixth Form Chemistry Lecturer said: “The competition really challenges the students as they have to carry out unfamiliar techniques as part of the task. It was a real pleasure watching Ellie, Dan and Ethan at work as they showed fantastic teamwork and produced a very thorough and accurate set of results. Fingers crossed we make it to the final!”

Ellie Crossman & Daniel Liddell A-Level Chemistry students added: “We found the whole experience fun and very interesting. It was great to be able to use equipment we don’t have at college and get an insight into study at a higher level. The task was challenging but in a good way!”

Winning team will go through to the national final held later this year, the whole college wishes Ellie, Daniel and Ethan the best of luck!

If you are interested in studying Chemistry at Hartlepool Sixth Form, click here to find out more and apply online!

Students gain insight into Oscar Wilde novel through theatre visit

Hartlepool Sixth Form English Literature students visited the Darlington Hippodrome theatre to see a dramatised version of one of their examination novels – Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’.

The Y13 English Literature students will be examined on the text in the summer, therefore the visit was arrange to help the students revise their ideas on aspects such as characterisation. Y12 students on the other hand, have just begun to read the novel, therefore the play gave them an insight into the novel and helped with their understanding of the narrative.

Lindsey Tennant-Williams, Hartlepool Sixth Form Lecturer in English Literature said: “Though the original text of ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ is a novel, - one that my Y13s will be examined on this coming June! - I thought that watching a dramatised version would help our students revise and perhaps re-consider their views on aspects such as Wilde’s characterisation and setting.

Our students made really academic comments during the interval and after the performance, in particular regarding Jonathan Wrather’s performance of Lord Henry Wooton. I even overheard some of them chatting to other audience members about their views on why Sibyl’s character should have been portrayed in a different way! Watching the play made it clear how our students have already engaged with the text and that they are well able to argue their enlightening viewpoints! I was impressed and proud of them.”

Amber Smith, Hartlepool Sixth Form A2 English Literature added: “Watching a dramatisation of the novel helped me to understand and visualise more the ways in which the key characters of ‘Dorian Gray’ interact with each other. I found myself thinking that the extra female characters the theatre group substituted for James Vane and Alan Campbell undermined the potentially allegorical point of the text being male dominated and this led to a discussion about Wilde’s homosexuality and the reasons he made most of his characters male. We enjoyed arguing why we were right!”

Andrew Rimmer, FutureMe Coordinator continued: “The FutureMe team were happy to be able to support travel arrangements for students to go and experience Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray at the theatre. We hope they gained significant insight into the text from watching the performance.”

If you are interested in studying English Literature at Hartlepool Sixth Form, click here to find out more and apply online!

Hartlepool Sixth Form forge partnership with Northumbria University to support student athletes

An exciting new partnership with Northumbria University and Hartlepool Sixth Form has recently been formed.

Hartlepool Sixth Form have sport academies in Men’s Rugby, Women’s Rugby, Basketball, Netball, Men’s Football and Women’s Football. With the partnership, the academies will now receive support from Northumbria University in the forms of strength and conditioning, performance analysis and nutritional support.

The sixth form sport academies currently boast being some of the best in the region and are a TASS accredited site, currently offering scholarships to high performing athletes looking to exceed in both their sport and education.

Ian Hewitt, Hartlepool Sixth Form Academy Coordinator said:

“I am really excited about this partnership as it will add real value to our current sports academies. Our athletes will have access to some of Northumbria University’s top students who are training to be specialists in their fields. They will also have onsite strength and conditioning support, video’s will be analysed, broken down and sent to coaches and athletes as well as nutritional advice which will enable us to train our athletes to the highest of levels.”

If you are interested in attending Hartlepool Sixth Form College and are interested in joining an elite sport academy or you currently compete at a national level, get in touch to find out how you can combine your studies with an elite training programme.

Students make a splash with volunteering work

Sports students at Hartlepool Sixth Form have been inspiring the younger generation of swimmers through their volunteering work.

Five sports students volunteered to support a local primary school swimming gala and gained real work skills, which will help them progress to a career in the industry.

Talented swimmer and Hartlepool Sixth Form student Hannah Fenwick, volunteered to be involved in the swimming competition and co-ordinated a team of sports students, which included Danielle Marshall, Sophie Derbyshire, Morgan Rose and Luke Fitzgerald, who were all instrumental in ensuring the event was a success.

The students enthusiastically completed several important tasks such as time keeping, event logistics and ensuring the young competitors were happy, enjoying the experience and inspired.

Ian Hewitt, Sport Lecturer at Hartlepool Sixth Form, said:

“This was a great opportunity for our year one and two students to gain volunteering hours towards their Sport Leaders UK courses. Hannah did an excellent job of co-ordinating the volunteers, using her background in swimming, and was an excellent role model for the young people competing in the gala.”

The sixth form students are required to carry out voluntary work as part of their Sport Leader Award. Hannah Fenwick, who is studying Level 3 BTEC Sport and Exercise Science at Hartlepool Sixth Form, said:

“It has been great to see the younger generation enjoy something I do as a sport and I have enjoyed inspiring and motivating them. The volunteering work has developed my personal skills and I mentored the competitors to be determined and resilient in what they do.”

For more information about sports courses at Hartlepool Sixth Form, pre-register for our next open event.

Students become Dementia Friends

Health and Social Scare students recently became Dementia Friends, which gave them the chance to learn what it is like to live with dementia and turn this understanding into action.

The students developed knowledge and awareness about the different types of dementia and how to support people living with the disease.

The session linked to their placement and course and also to awareness and tolerance within society. All students and staff signed up to Dementia Friends and received a Dementia Friends badge.

Danielle Simpson, Hartlepool Sixth Form Lecturer in Children’s Play, Learning and Development and Health and Social Care said:

“We all had a fantastic, informative day and I am so proud of the students for taking part in this. The training has developed students’ knowledge and awareness of Dementia support immensely and will enable them to use this knowledge to support others in their community.”

If you are interested in studying Health and Social Care at Hartlepool Sixth Form, click here to find out more and apply!

Sixth Form Values Award Ceremony

Hartlepool Sixth Form recently hosted an awards ceremony to celebrate the hard work of both students and teaching staff.

Students from across the sixth form were awarded for each of the core values; Authentic, Respectful, Innovative and Ambitious. Certificates were also given to students with 100% attendance and for outstanding student contribution.

The awards ceremony raised awareness of student achievement and recognised those who are making successful progress with positive praise. Craig Beattie, Creative and Media Technician and Keiron Braithwaite Maths Lecturer were also awarded for their hard work and dedication to the education and experience of each student.

Mark Hughes, Head of Hartlepool Sixth Form said:

“It’s always important to celebrate success regularly throughout the student journey. We celebrated students with 100% attendance, outstanding achievement and students that demonstrate our core values across each curriculum area. I’m so proud of students at Hartlepool Sixth Form and their evident dedication and commitment to their studies. However this requires devoted and enthusiastic cross college staff to help support students throughout their studies. Therefore it was great to acknowledge individual colleagues too that demonstrate our core values.”

Jennifer Lawson, Hartlepool Sixth Form Humanities, Social Sciences and Creative Curriculum Manager added:

“I am so proud of every student who has been awarded for their hard work at our values awards. In particular I’d like to express my congratulations to Emily Ward, who is always thinking innovatively and outside the box – she recently helped the class to understand Dracula though the metaphor of crisps! Amber Smith is another fantastic ambassador for the sixth form and one of the hardest working students I have come across. She is relentless in the amount of work she completes at home and at college. She is not satisfied with anything less than A despite her target being a C!”

Daniel Liddell, A-Level student continued:

“I was extremely proud and excited to receive an award. It was great to be recognised for all the work I have done over the term, and it will motivate me to carry on working to the best of my ability.”

The awards ceremony takes place at the sixth form on termly basis, to reward and encourage students to keep working hard and striving to achieve their full potential.

English students visit Whitby

A-Level English literature and language students recently visited Whitby to help prepare them for an upcoming exam.

The literature students were set ‘The Whitby Challenge’ to hunt down and photograph the key, named settings of the novel ‘Dracula’. English Language students were tasked with tracing how language has changed from the Victorian period to the present day by analysing the inscriptions on gravestones.

The visit helped the students to visualise the main setting of the novel ‘Dracula’ to help prepare them for their upcoming exam where Dracula is the main exam text.

Lindsey Tennant-Williams Hartlepool Sixth Form English Literature Lecturer said: “The students were fantastic. They were set the challenge of finding ten key settings within Whitby that Bram Stoker used to create his terrifying novel, from the train station, to the whalebone, to St Mary’s Church and the gravestones. We are now going to read Chapters 6-8 that are heavily based around these settings.”

Shauna Winspear and Amy Lupton, A-Level English Literature students added: “The Whitby trip gave us a good portrayal of the scenes within the novel. We now have a deeper understanding of the layout of the town and its surroundings and how Stoker used them in his text. It was a great day.”

Andrew Rimmer of FutureMe continued: “The FutureMe team were delighted to be able to support these students in their trip to Whitby, giving them the chance to explore the town that inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula. We hope this will have helped to raise student aspirations and look forward to seeing these students progress on to great things in the world of literature!”

If you are interested in studying English at Hartlepool Sixth Form, click here to find out more!