It’s sufficient to say that this past academic year has been a very strange year indeed! We have had to keep students in bubbles, adapt to new teaching methods, and get used to an entirely new ‘normal.’
However, one thing we would like to reflect on and celebrate over the past year has been the first complete year of our new Junior College.
For those of you who don’t know, our Junior College is situated in the heart of campus. It teaches students aged between 14 to 16, who are ambitious and feel that they need more stimulation and challenge than the mainstream education curriculum provides.
The students commit to a two-year qualification throughout what would have been year 10 and 11, mixing required GCSE subjects such as English and Maths, along with qualifications that will give them a head start in the creative industries. They are taught by tutors who are experts in their field of study and still active in their industry, whilst also within industry-standard facilities.
In September, we welcomed six students, to be the pioneers of this new and exciting alternative to secondary school education. Term kicked off, and the students began to learn!
In October, our students explored the possibilities of Architecture and 3D design, looking specifically at designing sustainable accommodation pods or habitats.
They explored the wider curriculum in the forms of RE and Philosophy; looking at comparative religion, Black Lives Matter, Civil Rights and early philosophy, Health & Fitness learning about healthy habits and wellbeing.
In November, the students developed ideas and created outcomes around Fashion and Textiles; using pattern, colour, and form to create unique items or designs. Designs included t-shirt printing and some high-quality dressmaking by one of our gifted students interested in fashion.
In December, despite the second national lockdown, students remained resilient and focused, despite the fact that the situation made this more challenging. We moved towards Christmas having had a good first two terms.
By January however, we sadly had to go back into lockdown and our Junior College students had to learn from home throughout this month and February. While this was challenging, our students continued to work hard.
In March, our students were able to return, and the Junior College took part in Community Week. As they could not leave the campus, they instead dug up some trenches around the building, with the plan to plant some vegetables and flowers to brighten up the campus and provide a tasty snack!
In April, the students developed their final major project ideas into strong responses to their own self-directed projects. By May, the students were then able to refine and complete their various projects: Costume Design, Digital Animation, Architecture, Interior Design and Stop-Motion Animation. This was absolutely incredible work from our first cohort of students!
In June, the students learnt about the history of Pride, and decorated the Junior College with flags. They also learnt about Juneteenth and made a display along the walls. The main college held the Student Awards, and the Departmental Award for the Junior College went to Jodie for her hard work and resilience and her ability to go the extra distance to push her ideas.
July has brought the end of the first year, and we can’t wait to see our next cohort of students joining us in September.
We would like to give our Junior College students a huge round of applause and look forward to seeing them continue to be successful in all their endeavours.