Hartlepool Sixth Form College


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Fundraiser was icing on the cake for Sixth Form College

Students at Hartlepool Sixth Form College took part in Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee morning, to raise money for the cancer charity and to celebrate a special occasion in the life of the college.

Staff, students and the local community were tempted with a tasty selection of sweet treats and cakes and some fantastic raffle prizes.

The icing on the cake was that the date of the coffee morning coincided with the 80th anniversary of the Sixth Form College building opening as a school.

Joanne Franks, Health and Social Care and Childhood Studies Lecturer at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, said:

“Our coffee morning was a huge success and we were pleased to have increased our total raised from last year. The event was even more special this year as it was the College’s 80th anniversary.

She added:

“We were very proud of our students for getting so involved in all the activities. Health and social care students and childcare students took turns to sell, and childcare students worked hard to set up the event. The students enjoyed the whole experience and were all very supportive to the cause, bringing in cakes and raffle prizes, and being excellent ambassadors for the College.”

Olivia Woolsten, who is studying Level 3 Foundation Diploma Health and Social Care, said: “I really enjoyed helping to support and raise funds for Macmillan. We have learnt all about Macmillan in our coursework and I was pleased to help out and raise money for this amazing charity.”

NE college principals to march on Parliament to demand fairer funding

Principals, staff and students from further education colleges across the North East will next week march on Parliament to demand increased funding after a decade of decline.

The unprecedented joint action will see college CEOs protest alongside colleagues, learners and education unions in a rally at Parliament Square next Wednesday.

The demo is part of a coordinated national campaign by the Association of Colleges, National Union of Students, Association of College and School Leaders, University and Colleges Union, Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union.

‘Love Our Colleges’ is calling on the Government to increase 16-19 funding by five per cent a year for five years and provide additional ring-fenced funding for pay, reversing cuts over the past decade which have seen college funding cut by 30 per cent.

The campaign, part of the Colleges Week celebration from October 15 to 19, follows a report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies which shows funding for students in school sixth forms and FE colleges has been “severely squeezed” since 2010.

Its inaugural annual report on education spending found that while funding for early years has gone from almost nil to £3bn since the early 1990s, and spending per student in higher education has risen by nearly 60 per cent since 1997, there has been an “almost complete lack of growth in spending on further education”.

The IFS report found:

  1. Funding per student in sixth forms is now at its lowest level since 2002-03.
  2. By 2019-20 funding per FE student will be at about the same level as in 2006-07 – only 10 per cent higher than it was 30 years ago.
  3. There has been a 45 per cent drop in spending on adult learning since 2009-10.
  4. The number of adult learners almost halved between 2004 and 2016, from four million to 2.2 million.

The Association of Colleges says the impact of the cuts has included fewer hours of teaching and support for young people, a drastic reduction in the number of learning opportunities for adults, and the value of staff pay falling by over 25% since 2009 – with college teachers earning £7,000 less on average than school teachers.

It is calling on the Government to:

  1. Increase the 16-19 funding rate by five per cent a year for the next five years.
  2. Extend the pupil premium to cover post-16 students.
  3. Fully fund a National Retraining Scheme to support Level 3 to 5 skills.
  4. Introduce a lifetime learning entitlement to fund skills training for all adults who have not previously achieved a Level 3 qualification.
  5. Provide immediate exceptional funding, ring-fenced for pay, to cover the costs of a fair pay deal for college staff from 2018-19 onwards.

Further education and sixth form colleges from across the North-East are supporting the campaign: Bishop Auckland College; Darlington College; Derwentside College; East Durham College; Hartlepool College of Further Education; Middlesbrough College; New College Durham; Newcastle College; Newcastle Sixth Form College; Northumberland College; Redcar & Cleveland College; Stockton Riverside College; SRC Bede Sixth Form College; Sunderland College and Tyne Coast College (South Tyneside College and Tyne Met College).

Ellen Thinnesen, Principal of Sunderland College, said: “We have taken huge steps to support efficiency models through merger with Hartlepool Sixth Form College in August 2018 and our proposed merger with Northumberland College in 2019.

“We have responded to the needs of government to create larger and more resilient organisations. However, this alone is not enough. For the sector to continue to be a driving force in the development of a higher skilled workforce, colleges need to be able to invest in their people, resources and facilities. This is only possible through a more realistic funding mechanism that better supports colleges.

“We are fully in support of the Association of College’s campaign that reminds communities and those political influence of the vibrant, innovative and creative learning environment we create and the continued success in ensuring the skills of today and tomorrow are met.”

Dr Lindsey Whiterod CBE, Chief Executive of Tyne Coast College (South Tyneside College and Tyne Met College), said: “Funding cuts continue to impact on colleges, undermining the ambition we all share to give the best possible education and training to learners.

“It is essential that post-16 education is adequately funded so that colleges can deliver the skills that are so crucial to driving this country’s economic growth and prosperity,

“Only through better funding and wider access to qualifications do young people and adults have the opportunity to improve their skills and life chances. Colleges Week and its day of lobbying can send a forceful message to the government that it must invest in post-16 education, for the good of all.”

One of the many thousands of employers in the region who benefit from the support of their local college is the Copthorne Hotel Newcastle.

General Manager Ken Ellington said: “At Copthorne Hotel Newcastle we have worked directly with Newcastle College for the past six years, through a combination of student placements across the hotel, student familiarisation visits, Christmas event student participation in the kitchen and restaurant, and in particular our annual takeover events.

“This sees around 40 students participate in a hotel-wide two-day shadowing event, covering housekeeping, reception, kitchen, restaurant, sales, accounts and my own role as General Manager. Through the various joint initiatives, we have identified and employed a number of Newcastle College students in key positions, and find the interaction between the two organisations a highly useful means of spotting future talent, working to address our industry’s greatest challenge – bringing in the next generation of hospitality professionals.”

Caroline Rowley, Area Director (North East) at the Association of Colleges, said: “It’s great to see so many colleges in the North East coming together and campaigning for a common goal. Colleges are critical to economic prosperity and do so much to improve the skills of the 2.2 million people learning in these institutions every day. But for colleges to continue to be able to provide outstanding provision, they need to be funded adequately.

“Government funding has been cut by an average of 30 per cent in the last decade, teacher pay has dropped by a third and the average amount of teaching hours students get is much less than their OECD counterparts. We need to stop short-changing our students if we’re to have the economy we need, especially with Brexit looming.

“This week we are encouraging college staff, students, parents and the wider community to showcase why a lack of investment is hampering this great sector. Colleges are great vehicles for change and success, but to have that, they need the right level of funding.”

UCU regional official Iain Owens added: “For too long the fantastic work done by colleges and their staff has been overlooked and undervalued. Cuts to college budgets have led to cuts in opportunity for local people. If the government really wants to boost the nation’s skills it must prioritise proper investment in our further education institutions and their staff.”

Sixth Form College celebrates new coaching appointments

Hartlepool Sixth Form College has announced three new coaching appointments to their elite Sports Academies to further strengthen the next generation of talented athletes.

Daniel Finney, who is taking on the new role of Rugby Coach, is a product of Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Billingham Rugby Club. Currently a National League 3 player for Billingham, he brings a high level of both coaching and playing experience. As a coach, Daniel has developed players to a semi-professional and professional level, along with many successes from coaching teams to silverware. Daniel said:

“The Rugby Academy is looking forward to a really promising season, with a strong intake that gives the squad a real strength in depth. Exciting games are coming thick and fast with a fixture against Durham School, which will be a great test early in the season. I am setting our sights on a high league finish, as well as qualifying for the nationals and pushing for a medal spot in that competition.”

Danielle Smith, also a former Hartlepool Sixth Form College student takes on the role of the new Netball Coach. She moved to play for Team Northumbria in BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) and also the British Colleges Team for three years. Alongside playing at a high level, Danielle has coached at Oaksway, Northumbria University and Durham County. Danielle said:

“There are exciting times ahead for the Netball Academy with a great intake of girls, which should make for a highly competitive squad playing at a great level. Goals for this year are to qualify for nationals and finish well, and to continue our successful record with in the North East league.”

Mark Elderkin also joins as the new Basketball Coach. Mark is currently playing NBL Division 1 for partnership club Newcastle University. He brings a BBL (British Basketball League) playing experience that will help the Academy grow from strength to strength. Mark also coaches Newcastle University Women in the BUCS Premiership and is the Assistant Coach in NBL Division 1. Mark said:

“I feel very fortunate and excited about taking over the basketball academy at the College! The programme has grown from nothing into a fantastic opportunity for young basketball players to get their education on and off the court. My aim is to boost numbers, offer a great all around experience for young players and to continue to develop the programme’s growing reputation in and around the Hartlepool community.”

Hartlepool Sixth Form College are delighted to add to a growing team, who are able to offer fantastic coaching and elite playing opportunities for students. To find out more about the College’s Elite Sport Academies or to enrol, contact Academies Coordinator Ian Hewitt ian.hewitt@hpoolsfc.ac.uk / 01429 294444.

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.”