Hartlepool Sixth Form College

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It's official! We are College of the Year

Staff and students at Hartlepool Sixth Form College are celebrating after being awarded BTEC College of the Year 2019 at a glittering ceremony in London last night.

Sunderland College, which also includes Hartlepool Sixth Form, was recognised as the top college nationally by Pearson, the UK’s largest awarding organisation.

Judith Quinn, Interim Deputy Principal for Curriculum at Sunderland College, said:

“We are absolutely delighted that Sunderland College has been awarded this prestigious national accolade. Students are at the heart of everything we do and this award is a reflection of our dedicated and inspiring staff who are passionate about providing an outstanding learning experience to the next generation of career professionals.”

Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form merged with Northumberland College in March this year, which created Education Partnership North East - one of the largest college groups in the UK. Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive of Education Partnership North East, commented:

“The college’s BTEC provision continues to form the cornerstone of our professional and technical offer, and is aligned to local, regional and national priorities. We have recently been selected to pilot the new, high quality T Levels from 2021, which will further build on our excellence in technical qualifications.

“Our success is driven by our passion for excellence. Through transforming external partnerships and enhancing our approach to corporate social responsibility, we attribute our success to close alignment with a broad range of employers and community stakeholders.

“The impact of a careers-focused approach to our courses and a learning experience built upon the world of work, is life-changing for our students and ensures they progress to a positive destination.”

The college was presented with their award at the ninth annual Pearson BTEC Awards, which celebrates exceptional BTEC providers, students and apprentices.

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson in the UK, said:

“All of the North East’s nominees and winners this year deserve huge congratulations. Learners stand every chance of continuing that success into the careers they are now ready to start. This year’s awards are a fantastic celebration of them, alongside the schools, colleges, universities, training providers, and employers who have underpinned their efforts.”

BTECs are specialist work-related qualifications available in a range of sectors such as business, engineering, health and applied science. They provide students with the skills, practical understanding and knowledge to prepare students for further study, training and employment.

Newly elected Student President for Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form, Zainab Nadeem was proud of the college’s award. The 18-year-old from Sunderland, who has studied a BTEC Photography course at the college for the last two years, said:

“I studied a BTEC course at Sunderland College as it offered me the specialist course I wanted to do for my future career, and I found the college incredibly welcoming.

“The lecturers are just as incredible and they always do their best to help you in any way. I have had lots of opportunities to work on events both in and outside of college to build my portfolio, and I also completed a work placement as part of my course to prepare me for a future career in the industry.

“I feel very proud that we have won BTEC College of the Year, and that I was part of it. It really doesn’t surprise me as it’s an incredible college.”

Zainab hopes to progress to university and study fashion photography.

Sunderland College also recently celebrated their music teaching team being honoured with a Silver Teaching Award for FE Team of the Year at the Pearson National Teaching Awards, an annual celebration of exceptional teachers. It followed drama lecturer Jonathan Wharton’s success at last year’s Awards where he was crowned FE Lecturer of the Year.

For more information about Hartlepool Sixth Form, ring 01429 294444.

Sports Academy students among the best in the country

Students from Hartlepool Sixth Form are among the best in the country after competing in one of the largest student sporting events in the UK and the college’s new partnerships are ensuring that the talented athletes stay at the top of their game.

27 rugby and netball students from Hartlepool Sixth Form’s Elite Sports Academies were chosen to represent the North East region in the annual AoC National Championships after qualifying through a series of regional tournaments.

More than 1,700 students from 131 colleges took part in three days of intense competitions at the 41st annual championships in Nottingham.

Johan Olckers, Head of Rugby at Hartlepool Sixth Form, said:

“We battled with the best in the country and the standard this year was very high. Our players demonstrated professionalism, toughness and talent taking on and beating some powerhouse programmes in the rugby world. The squad were one win away from a medal position and had already beaten the gold medalists in league play.

“The players learned many life lessons including resilience, team work and never giving up.”

The sixth form’s Rugby Union team finished in a respectable fifth position in the Rugby 7’s AoC National Championships after winning six out of nine matches.

18-year-old Sam Wilson from Billingham, who is studying BTEC Level 3 Sport and Exercise Science at Hartlepool Sixth Form, said:

“The National Championships was a great experience and it is good to test ourselves against the best in the country. We are a little disappointed we didn’t win a medal but we showed strength and togetherness all weekend.”

Meanwhile, the sixth form’s Netball Academy upped their game to finish fourth in the country. Danielle Smith, Head of Netball at Hartlepool Sixth Form, said:

“The girls played their best the whole weekend and I couldn’t be any prouder of them. They’ve stepped up and made my first year as Head of Netball an absolute pleasure.”

The Netball Academy currently play in the AoC North East Division 1, the highest league in college sport, and all players receive top coaching and specialist strength and conditioning training.

17-year-old BTEC Sport and Exercise Science, Roisheen O’Callaghan from Hartlepool, said:

“The weekend was challenging but so rewarding. We kept a strong mind and were able to show the country what were really made of. I am proud to be a captain for this team and has ended my time at Hartlepool Sixth Form on a high.” Further demonstrating the high calibre of the sports students at Hartlepool Sixth Form, earlier in the year two of the sixth form’s Netball Academy players were selected for the AoC national netball squad. Maddie Ryder and Libby Skidmore, both 17, were chosen from 70 other girls from colleges across the country, after a rigorous two-day trial. They were the only ones selected from the Tees Valley area. Libby, who is studying A-Levels in Psychology, PE and Sociology at Hartlepool Sixth Form, said:

“When I found out that I’d been selected for the AoC squad, I didn’t believe it at first! Being part of Netball Academy at Hartlepool Sixth Form College gave me the opportunity to trial for the squad and Danielle, our coach, is really supportive on and off the court.”

Ensuring the elite athletes at Hartlepool Sixth Form remain at the top of their game, the TASS Dual Career Accredited college has recently formed a partnership with Northumbria University. The new partnership will provide students with access to top-of-the-range sports performance analysis and nutritional support.

Elite Sports Academy students also receive expert strength and conditioning coaching from CrossFit Hartlepool at their state-of-the-art venue in Havelock Street Hartlepool, thanks to a new partnership with the sixth form.

Sport Academies Co-ordinator at Hartlepool Sixth Form, Ian Hewitt, is looking forward to more sporting success in the future. He commented:

“I am extremely proud of the elite Sports Academies at Hartlepool Sixth Form. They are a huge credit to our coaching staff and the programmes that they run.

“I’m looking forward to see how we perform next year. The new developments and partnerships planned for the 2019/20 season will add value, enable us to train our athletes to the highest level and build on our enviable reputation for sporting success.”

The Sports Academies at Hartlepool Sixth Form enable students with a talent for sport to combine their full-time studies with elite level sport.

For more information about sport at Hartlepool Sixth Form College visit the next open event

Free extended placement to support your business

From October 2019, students from Hartlepool Sixth Form will be taking part in extended industry placements.

The T-Levels will offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approx. 45 days). These placements will provide the students with the knowledge and experience needed to open the door into skilled employment, further study or a higher apprenticeship.

The students will be matched to a host employer one day per week, between October 2019 and June 2020, to work within their business as an unpaid extended placement for the duration of the academic year.

Are you a business looking to benefit from free student support?

To find out more, get in touch with our employability team on 0191 5116040 / 07841214993 or email recruitment.team@sunderlandcollege.ac.uk

English student gains skills for a career in journalism

Hartlepool Sixth Form student Jess Sharkey is building up her journalism portfolio by contributing to Sixth Form student bulletins.

Jess, who studies A-Level English Language, Literature and Sociology, is now making monthly contributions to the student bulletins.

Jess is looking to start her career in journalism now by building up a portfolio of work. Additionally, part of the A-Level English Language course involves producing original and topical pieces of writing; writing for a genuine reading audience will help to boost Jessica’s skills for her final year exams.

Working on the student bulletins will significantly improve Jessica’s journalistic skills and prepare her well in advance when progressing to university study level. Making regular contributions will help to sharpen up her writing tone, buff up her vocabulary and give her the confidence to write in any style, she has recently worked on topics such as writing a live blog on dealing with exam stress to a principled polemic on world politics.

Lucy Goggs, Hartlepool Sixth Form English Language Lecturer said: “I’m incredibly proud of Jess for putting herself forward for the role; I am looking forward to her next article!”

Jessica Sharkey, A-Level English Language student continued: “I have always been passionate about writing and jumped at the chance to be able to contribute to our sixth form student bulletin. This is a great opportunity to start building my portfolio before I start my career in journalism. I enjoy writing about world issues that don’t always receive the press that they deserve.”

If you are looking to study English at Hartlepool Sixth Form, click here to find out more and apply!

Through our eyes and with our hands A-Level exhibition

As part of their final year, Hartlepool Sixth Form A-Level art & design and photography students had to complete an external exam based on a set theme, this year’s theme is ‘Variations and Similarities’.

The students were tasked with creating art and photography to reflect the following theme, “Nature is infinitely variable, but this stems from a few simple laws. There are only four DNA variants, but from these the whole incredible diversity of life has evolved.” with selected works exhibited in the “Through Our Eyes and With Our Hands” at the sixth form.

Alan Sill, Hartlepool Sixth Form Photography Lecturer said: “The exhibition title “Through Our Eyes and With Our Hands” really says it all, the work presented defines the talent and creativity of this group of emerging artists, ideas and concepts given full form using the media of Art and Design and Photography that stay with the viewer.”

Shannon Starling, Hartlepool Sixth Form A-Level Photography student added: “Studying A-Level Photography at Hartlepool Sixth Form, has allowed me to develop creative and technical skills which have given me an excellent foundation to take forward into my chosen career path. The creative arts staff have been very helpful and supportive throughout my time here – thank you all!”

Kelly Kay, Hartlepool Sixth Form Art and Design Lecturer continued: “This exhibition showcases the exceptional talent in which to display the individuality that is our students”

Caitlin Gobie, Hartlepool Sixth Form A-Level Art and Design student concluded: “Through my artistic endeavours I have visually tried to capture the inner complexities of the body through a textile response. Hartlepool Sixth Form has provided me with an array of skills to enable me to make my design become reality.”

You are invited to come along and view the fantastic student work on display between the 10th and 14th of June, 10am – 3pm.

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!