Head's Blog

"Hi all..." - The weekly email from the Head of College to our students

Hi all

I hope you’ve all had a busy week of hard-work and revision. The weather at least helps focus your minds because there is no opportunity to nip outside for a few rays.

On our website is the piece from last week about Revision, in particular Rapid Regular Reinforcement of the key content that you need to know. Please ensure you have read the piece – even if you only take one idea and make that work it will have been worth it. In Staff Briefing this morning we shared resources and strategies used by different departments as part of revision or pre-exam booster sessions. The creativity of resources demonstrated by your teachers was amazing. I know that I should stress it more often – the College is lucky to have such a committed and talented staff – both those in the classroom and those who support the smooth running of the college that make us what we are. 

INSPIRE: I is for INTEGRITY

As an Examiner, I thought it would be useful to outline to you all how the marking process actually works: so that you have confidence in the INTEGRITY of the systems used by the exam boards so that you get the right grade in August. For most subjects it is not as straight-forward as marking multiple choice questions, so exam boards need to rely on their markers' professional judgment in deciding which mark best reflects the standard of your work.

The actual ‘marking process’ starts with the way that assessments are designed. The exam paper is constructed to accurately test different ranges of ability which means that all examinees are more likely to get the right grade, and markers are much clearer about how many marks reflect the standard of the work they are assessing.

As exam boards are relying on markers to use their professional judgement, they need to make sure they have the right people in place. Examiners are qualified teachers who are teaching, or have recently taught, the subject they are marking. These examiners also go through rigorous training so they are up to date with the latest research and developments in assessment design.

  • How papers are marked

While examiners are experts in their subjects, all have different levels of experience when it comes to marking. I have been marking for 13 years – some of my team have double that experience and some are doing it for the very first time. There are strict quality controls in place to check marking all along the way. Here is a brief overview of the process and quality controls.

  • Standardisation

Before marking starts, all examiners attend standardisation meetings so they fully understand the mark scheme and where to award marks. This helps ensure the marking is consistent across the subject. To guide examiner’s judgements and to make sure they are consistent, the Principal Examiner sets out the criteria for awarding marks in the mark scheme. Exam boards then continuously check the marking of examiners to ensure it is as accurate as it can be and that examiners are applying the criteria set by the Principal Examiner.

  • Regular checking

Nearly all marking is now done ‘online’. This means that your script (answer paper) has been scanned in and allocated the barcode number you can see in the answer book. This has the great advantage that any examiner’s marking can be constantly checked. When marking starts, certain answers are 'seeded' and the marking for these answers is automatically reviewed. This is how a “seed script” works in ensuring consistency:

  • the answer is marked and the mark agreed by all the senior examiners for that subject;
  • it is then given to the team of markers to mark;
  • the system compares the mark they award to the mark previously agreed by the senior examiners;
  • if the mark is different, the system detects this and marking is stopped;
  • a senior examiner is alerted and intervenes before marking can continue;
  • if incorrect marking recurs, all the answers (already marked by that examiner) are re-marked by another marker;
  • On average one in ten to one in fifteen scripts is a “seed script” so examiners are being continuously checked for the quality and accuracy of their marking.

Exam boards realise that every mark and grade change is significant for both students and teachers and they are doing everything they can to make a large-scale system, which involves an element of human judgement, as accurate and reliable as possible. So, now you know a bit more about it, I hope you feel that enough checks are in place to ensure there is INTEGRITY in the system – and that you are confident you will get the grade you deserve from your paper. 

Ten Tips for Maintaining Concentration

  1. Prepare a revision timetable, and start each revision session on time.
  2. Study in an area free from distractions and interruptions.
  3. Work in a comfortable area – good light, fresh air, seating, etc.
  4. Undertake demanding tasks when at your best; do more straightforward tasks at other times.
  5. Actively engage with your revision rather than just reading passively (as mentioned above)
  6. Complete each task within the time allocated.
  7. Review each task for a few minutes before moving on to the next.
  8. Don’t work for too long on any one task.
  9. Mix up different kinds of activity.
  10. Take frequent breaks. As a minimum, take a few deep breaths, stand up, flex your arms, have a brief walk about.

Dragon Boat Racing

On Wednesday 24th May, in periods 3 and 4, Beibei is running a cultural session around the Dragon Boat Festival which is running on 30th May.  There will be food tasting involved.

Attendance is open to anyone who wants to find out about something a little different and not just those going to China in October.

Register to Vote – Deadline is Monday

You need to be on the electoral register to vote in elections and referendums. To vote in the General Election on 8 June, you need to register by 11:59pm on 22 May. Here is the link – this is your last chance to register: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Thank you Megan

Thank you to Megan for her help on Wednesday. Megan volunteered to help out at the athletics at Harvey Hadden and worked tirelessly in the wet and horrible conditions. She team-managed the whole of the Bramcote School team (approx. 40 students) and did a fantastic job.

Year 13 - Apprenticeship Opportunity

We have been contacted by Claudio, the community manager of Bridge & Stitch Ltd. They are a forward-thinking Nottingham-based project management firm for clothing brands and they provide textile and clothing design, manufacturing and consultancy services.

They are currently offering a job opportunity especially targeted to a Year 13 student who wants to kick start their career in the office administration within the clothing industry. The post would be called “Apprentice Project Administrator” and the role would provide you with a very good understanding of how the industry works.

Please feel free to visit their website http://bridgeandstitch.com/ Melissa has a copy of a more detailed job description if you’re interested.

Want to be a poet?

Please find a link to Nottingham City of Literature’s search for a new young Poet Laureate. This might be of interest to those of you with a creative mind: http://nottinghamcityofliterature.com/blog/launching-the-search-for-nottinghams-young-poet-laureate

And finally….

Well, the Eurovision was a predictable disappointment last weekend and I think this weekend does not offer much hope of anything better. I am a fully-signed up member of the ABC Club (Anyone But Chelsea) so the fact they have won the league is something I don’t really pay much attention to. AFC finished their season a couple of weeks ago, so I am left with high hopes for BGT tomorrow night: yes, even your Head can be persuaded to enjoy absolutely trash TV.  Now, if I admitted that ‘Take Me Out’ was also a guilty pleasure, you’d probably think that I’d gone mad.

Have a good weekend.

Cheers

James

Hi all

Year 12 Sport kicked-off the summer 2017 exam season earlier in the week: I hope that exam went well. Good luck to all of you with exams next week too. The next few weeks are all busy exam weeks and so this email has a clear focus on revision. There are hints and tips not just about how to revise but also to ensure that it is effective: what I call Rapid Regular Reinforcement of the key content that you need to know. Please ensure you read all of the email – even if you only take one idea and make that work it will have been worth it. There is also a change to ‘Word of the Week’ which has been rethought and rebranded (thanks Dan) as ‘Essay Keyword of the week’. This week’s essay keyword is Discuss – see below. 

INSPIRE: E is for ENGAGEMENT

There is no single ‘correct’ way to revise. Effective revision involves you engaging with your work in an active, imaginative and varied way, since different types of information lend themselves to being memorised and recalled in different ways. What works well for one person won’t necessarily work well for another; so, developing effective revision techniques of your own will involve a degree of experimentation. If it works, use it; if it doesn’t, try something else. But what is true, as a general rule, is that our brains work much more effectively when seeking answers to questions than from passive reading. Attempting to revise by simply reading and re-reading your notes is dull, tiring and ineffective.

What you should instead do is process your notes: for example, by converting them into short, punchy, and portable revision notes that give pointers to possible answers for exam questions. These revision notes should consist of concise summaries or outlines of topics covered, lists of essential information, etc. Some students aim to end up with flashcards showing the minimum amount of information necessary to trigger recall of what they have learned. Other students will create mind-maps or spider-grams that show how different ideas and information fit together within a topic. The use of colour, images and shapes provides additional meaning, while the visual imagery serves as a powerful tool for recalling and making sense of information during the exam. And the time spent in producing such revision aids is an extremely effective investment of your time as it requires you to engage actively with the subject matter.

The process of memorising information should be balanced with time spent monitoring your progress. Test yourself on what you have read, maybe by devising a question and seeing if you can answer it, using brief notes, diagrams or orally (use your phone to record your answers). Check out your answer in the text, looking for any omissions.

Alternatively, test yourself by answering questions from past exam papers. A brief outline answer, as a list of points that could be covered or a spider diagram, is enough. Answer one or two questions from each paper in full. This will help you to check out your timing and style. Look again at these answers after a couple of days from an examiner’s point of view. Try to be as honest with yourself as you can: how many good points have you made? How many have you omitted? Have you answered the question fully? Is your style OK? Is your handwriting legible, etc? Working on past papers also means that the format will also become familiar to you and so less intimidating.

Maintain your engagement in the revision process by varying activities. For example: 

  • Create written lists; structure your notes with headings, sub-headings, titles, categories, chronologies, etc;
  • Arrange information diagrammatically – into flow diagrams, hierarchies, groupings and relationships;
  • Personalise your information, using metaphor, synthesis, images, shapes, colours,Patterns, tune, rhythm, intuition, emotion – in other words, engage your imagination...
  • Create your own mnemonics (e.g., Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain = colours of the rainbow)...

REVISION – Rapid - Regular -Reinforcement – the benefits

Revision ideally happens for a short amount of time, but very frequently. If no revision of revision material is done, the recall of this material falls dramatically:

 (see the email version of this for the graphs)

  • If, however, material is reviewed, recall improves.

  • With each additional review, recall improves

    Below clearly shows the benefits of RAPID - REGULAR - REINFORCEMENT

  • Revision is also more effective is planned breaks are taken during revision sessions, rather than trying to complete one marathon session:
  • Ten Tips for Maintaining Concentration 

    1. Prepare a revision timetable, and start each revision session on time.
    2. Study in an area free from distractions and interruptions.
    3. Work in a comfortable area – good light, fresh air, seating, etc.
    4. Undertake demanding tasks when at your best; do more straightforward tasks at other times.
    5. Actively engage with your revision rather than just reading passively (as mentioned above)
    6. Complete each task within the time allocated.
    7. Review each task for a few minutes before moving on to the next.
    8. Don’t work for too long on any one task.
    9. Mix up different kinds of activity.
    10. Take frequent breaks. As a minimum, take a few deep breaths, stand up, flex your arms, have a brief walk about.

    Revision Resources

    Our website has been updated and this page contains resources created and collated by us for the Easter Intervention sessions to help you with the key areas of revision in the weeks coming up to your exams:

    1) Effective Revision Skills
    2) Note-Taking Skills
    3) Essay Writing Skills
    4) Learning Quotes
    5) Mindfulness

    Please also remember that what really matters at this time of year is that you don’t rev in neutral: if you need help, guidance or advice about how to plan / how to revise / mindfulness – please let us know as soon as possible. We are happy to help individuals or even to deliver some group sessions to help support your achievement. Please do come and talk to us: no issue or problem is too small.

    The good news is that experts agree that the right preparation can improve your results by two grades. There are many ways to review work, and hard work, planning and starting early will maximise your chances of getting the best grades you can. The top of the webpage also has the complete examination programme for summer 2017. Thanks to Dan for sorting all of this out.

    Exam Arrangements

    You should have now all received a copy of your examination timetable. Please ensure you have all read the following carefully.

    • Morning exams start at 9.00am. You need to be in the Dining Hall no later than 8.45am.
    • Afternoon exams start at 1.15pm. You need to be in the Dining Hall no later than 1.00pm.

    I am sure you all know the regulations around conduct in exams. Just as a refresher:

    • Phones must be switched off and must be stored at the back of the room or handed to Melissa;
    • You may not communicate with any other candidate once in the gym / exam room;
    • Smartphones may not be worn;
    • Bottles must have all their labels removed;
    • Coats and bags should be left at the back of the gym / exam room.

    Business Breakfast

    Thanks to Paige Gass, Tyler Smith, Emily Orchard-Robson and Tim Robertson who represented the College at Tuesday’s successful Business Breakfast organised by Mel at Holme Pierrepont. And thanks also to our new ‘just passed’ minibus driver, Paul, for transporting them. 

    And finally….

    I’m combining two themes from recent emails here: elections and ABBA. Yes, despite BREXIT, we are still part of the Eurovision Song Contest. It would not be the Eurovision Song Contest without the annual accusations of ‘political’ or bloc voting: where groups of neighbouring countries, or those that are culturally similar or politically sympathetic, will give more points to each other rather than to countries with different tastes on the other side of the European continent.

    To some people, the often predictable nature of the voting process only adds to the fun; for them it can be amusing to see the old alliances and rivalries still going strong in the non-threatening arena of a song contest, like a rather camp Euro-pop microcosm of the politics of Europe. Others say that they have had enough of the unfairness of the voting system: in particular the predictability of voting patterns and the lack of appreciation of the actual music have completely discredited the contest, which should even be abandoned.

    Could our entry (Lucie Jones) win? Absolutely not. Part of the reason is that the song is dreadful. But the main reason is because of the annoying irony that nine months after we voted for Brexit, the UK entry is called Never Give Up on You. The theme (hope) of the song is of Theresa May abandoning Brexit - Lucie’s message to Europe is Brexit doesn’t mean Brexit. My guess is that the Eurovision audience probably won’t buy this idea from our 26-year old (politically unelected) entrant. Instead, they’ll boo Britain for Brexiting and make the UK into this year’s Russia (who are normally the ones booed but they are banned this year). The final reason is that we really do not want to win because of how expensive it would be to host Eurovision next year. Enjoy watching it all unfold tomorrow night only if you can pull yourself away from revision.

    Have a good weekend.

    Cheers

    James

    Hi all

    I hope that you’ve had a good (short) week and that not only have you sorted your revision plan but that you are sticking to it too.

    As you will be aware, students from the Bramcote School are moving onto this site from September 2017. I therefore just wanted to outline at this stage what stays the same and what changes for current Year 12 students.

    Firstly, the Common Room is staying as the Common Room for post-16 students only. We recognise the fact that you value this space and that it helps develop a collegiate ethos. Secondly, the quality of teaching and learning will remain as good as it is now or better. Thirdly, the timings of the college day also remain the same. We will also retain use of all the college laptops that we’ve bought over the last year or so and all the key people will still be here to help guide and support you.

    What will change is that all but a handful of lessons will now not be in the ‘main block’. Science, and to a large degree Sport, will continue where they are now. For all other subjects that don’t need specialist equipment such as Product Design and Photography, our plan is to build a ‘post-16 village’ on the courts which will be easily accessible from the Common Room and it is this ‘village’ where the majority of post-16 lessons will take place. In many ways, I think the quality of the learning environment will actually improve: the classrooms will be smaller and more appropriate for our average group size. We will have the chance to establish a strong culture of learning in our own space. There are a number of meetings between now and the end of the month about practical elements such as utilities etc. However, rest assured, as soon as we have the detailed plans I’ll happily be sharing them with you all.

    Exam Arrangements

    You should have now all received a copy of your examination timetable. Please ensure you have all read the following carefully.

    • Morning exams start at 9.00am. You need to be in the Dining Hall no later than 8.45am.
    • Afternoon exams start at 1.15pm. You need to be in the Dining Hall no later than 1.00pm.

    I am sure you all know the regulations around conduct in exams. Just as a refresher:

    • Phones must be switched off and must be stored at the back of the room or handed to Melissa;
    • You may not communicate with any other candidate once in the gym / exam room;
    • Smartphones may not be worn;
    • Bottles must have all their labels removed;
    • Coats and bags should be left at the back of the gym / exam room.

    Year 12 China Trip: October 15th – October 28th 2017

    I don’t deny being very envious of those lucky enough to be going: 2 weeks in China, including a visit to the Great Wall and some panda watching alongside a range of cultural experiences including visiting Chinese Schools and some evening boat trips. Thanks to the support of the Confucius Classroom programme, the 2-week trip will cost a maximum of £500. More details are on the attached power point. This cost includes all of your travel (flight and coaches to / from airport); 3 meals a day / all hotel accommodation and all entrance fees. It is a remarkable deal and really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    We have 1 place left – if you are interested in going to China, please see Faye or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible.

    Bramcotes Got Talent 

    Please see Emily or Paige if you’re interested in taking part in BGT. 

    Fashion Show tonight at TBS 

    Clearly not an event I’d ever be asked to work at. Please do come along tonight from 6.30pm to support (and buy).

    Non-BC students 

    As we move into examination season, the Common Room becomes a place of revision, preparation and mutual support. Therefore, from Monday onwards, we will not sanction any non-BC students spending time in there as it is important we focus on supporting each other. No guest will be allowed ‘on-site’ at any time between Monday May 8th and the end of term in July.

    INSPIRE: R is for RESPONSIBILITY

    Positive thinking becomes a helpful habit. Excuses fuel failure.

    You are totally responsible for your life. This is the essential understanding you need to embrace if you plan for happiness and success in life and work. For many people, everything is someone else’s fault. Every problem can be explained away with reasons why they can’t affect the situation or the outcome, especially at work. But without taking responsibility, you're all the more likely to look at your time at college and beyond as a failure because you allowed any passing wind to blow you around, all the while blaming the wind for how things turned out.

    Making excuses instead of taking ‘one hundred percent’ responsibility for your actions, your thoughts, and your goals is the hallmark of people who fail to succeed both in their professional lives and personal lives. The next time you catch yourself making an excuse, whether for the late homework, the unmet goal, or something at work - gently remind yourself - no excuses. Spend your thought time planning your next successful action.

    People who take complete responsibility for their lives experience joy and control of circumstances. They are able to make choices because they understand that they are responsible for their choices. The most important aspect of taking responsibility for your life is to acknowledge that your life is your responsibility. No one can live your life for you. You are in charge. No matter how hard you try to blame others for the events of your life, each event is the result of choices you made and are making.

    • Eliminate blame, eliminate excuses. If the blame track or the excuse track plays repeatedly in your mind, you are shifting responsibility for your decisions and life to others.
    • Listen to yourself when you speak. In your conversation, do you hear yourself blame others for things that don’t go exactly as you want? Do you find yourself pointing fingers at your friends or teachers or your parent’s influence? Are you making excuses for goals unmet or tasks that missed their deadlines? Only you can stop the repetition.
    • If someone, like your teacher, gives you feedback that you make excuses and blame others for your woes, take the feedback seriously. Control your defensive reaction and explore why this is a perception of you. People who responsibly consider feedback attract much more feedback.

    Your aim should always be to live every day as if what you do matters – because it does. Every choice you make; every action you take – matters. Your choices matter to you and creates the life you live. Your choices matter at college, too. You choose the path of hard work and putting the hours in or, you choose the path of an underachiever who blames others. Which path is it for you?

    And finally…. 

    One of my favourite sporting moments was watching the TV when John Terry famously slipped and missed his penalty in the 2009 Champions League Final penalty shootout which led to Manchester United going on to win the trophy. Not just because I really don’t like Chelsea: because I really don’t like John Terry either. 

    The more fervent football supporters amongst you may have seen the news this week that there is a proposal to change the way that penalty shootouts work in the future. No longer will it be Team A followed by Team B before Team A goes again. This is because it is now recognised that there is ‘additional psychological pressure’ on the team going second leading to the fact that over 60% of penalty shootouts are won by the team going first. The proposal is that there will be an ABBA system (much like the tie-break system used by tennis) in which Team A takes one penalty before Team B takes two penalties then back to Team A for 2 penalties and so on until there is a winner (I think you get the idea). 

    I think the ABBA idea is a great improvement. Knowing me knowing you this is all to do with money money money. Mamma Mia! Here we go again. I am not sure if this is the best way for the Winner to take it all. No doubt some players will be saying take a chance on me and gimme gimme gimme the ball, Fernando.

    I realise much of the above will be lost on you but those of us of a certain age secretly know a lot more ABBA than we care to admit. The only sure thing about any change to the penalty shootout rule is that one result won’t be affected: Germany win, England lose. 

    Have a good weekend.

    Cheers

    James

    Hi all

    I hope you’ve all had a good week: at least it is only a 4-days next week. If you’re in Year 13 – please note the information about the UCAS decisions deadline below: if you’re in Year 12 – why are you not going to China in October?

    As I am sure you know, our esteemed AFC Wimbledon-supporting Prime Minister, Theresa May has called a ‘snap’ General Election for June 8th 2017. For many of you this will be the first time that you get to use your democratic right to vote. Voting in elections is an inherent element of every form of democracy. Therefore, voting should be regarded as a privilege, which involves a certain degree of responsibility. When we are voting we have an influence on every aspect of our lives from the economy, education, Brexit and security. By voting we are making our voices heard and expressing our opinion on how we think the government should operate.

    Many people argue that their vote does not really count. Some people say that they do not know enough about the issues and therefore they should not vote. Others still say that they do not know where or how to vote or how to register even. The truth is that every vote counts. In order to make democracy effective we must be an active group of participants, not simply observers. I’ve always said that someone who does not vote does not have the right to complain about the government’s decisions. Voting is one the most fundamental civil duties. Even if none of the political parties running in elections or candidates represent your views comprehensively, you can always vote for a party or candidate who is the closest to your political perspective. There may be some situations when you decide to vote for any party or candidate who staunchly oppose extremism represented by another party. The message should be clear: voting matters - so vote.

    But in order to vote you need to ensure that you are on the Electoral Register. To ensure that you are on, please follow this link.

     

    Year 12 China Trip: October 15th – October 28th 2017
    Last night Karsten hosted a meeting with the students (and their parents) who are going to China for a fortnight in October. I don’t deny being sat in the room feeling very envious of those lucky enough to be going: 2 weeks in China, including a visit to the Great Wall and some panda watching alongside a range of cultural experiences including visiting Chinese Schools and some evening boat trips. Thanks to the support of the Confucius Classroom programme, the 2-week trip will cost a maximum of £500. More details are on the attached power point. This cost includes all of your travel (flight to and from China and coaches to / from airport) / 3 meals a day / all hotel accommodation and all entrance fees. It is a remarkable deal and really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    Given all that, I am somewhat shocked that we still have 2 places left – if you are interested in going to China, please see Faye or contact Karsten as soon as possible.

    Y13 UCAS Decisions Deadline – May 4th 2017
    For those of you who have applied to university, please be aware of the strict external decisions deadline of 4th May 2017 that applies to some candidates.  If you received all of your decisions back before 31st March 2017, you have until 4th May to make your decisions.  Failure to do so will mean ALL of your choices will automatically be withdrawn and you will not be able to re-apply.  If you have any questions, please ensure you see Faye ASAP.  More information can be found here: https://www.ucas.com/ucas/events/find/scheme/undergraduate/type/key-date

    Wordle Use
    Well done and good work to Stash for his use of a wordle as heavily promoted in this email last week.  Please do take the time to look at the one Stash used: the key words that stand out are SUCCESSFUL and MANAGEMENT. The point being made in the lesson was that these two words ARE FROM THE QUESTION (Assess the reasons why the management of some Tectonic hazards is more successful than others) and therefore the wordle establishes that there is a clear focus on answering the question asked (and therefore likely to be a high-grade answer). This is what examiners want – an answer that answers the question. 

    Year 13 Student Finance
    If you have applied for university and intend to start in September, please remember that the closing date for applying for Student Finance is May 31st. If you need any help, please see Faye. 

    Year 13 – Apprenticeships info
    If you missed the Apprenticeship Workshop before the holiday then Caryn is delivering one last session on Tuesday 4th May at break. Please attend if you would like some help in finding an apprenticeship.

    INSPIRE: I is for INNOVATION
    I’m sure that you are all familiar with your teachers putting on their serious face and talking about exams, revision and how your entire life depends on these crucial few months of preparation before doing a past paper completed in "exam conditions". Nobody is going to lie to you and say that revision is easy or fun, because let’s face it, it's not. There's a million other things that you would rather want to be doing but this is something that you have to do, but on the bright side, it's only for a few months and it's completely worth it for the end results. Here are a few different techniques that just might make the time a bit easier for you. They're innovative, helpful and they might even be a bit of fun.

    Writing stories to remember – if you’re trying to remember Geography and information about countries and are interested in English and creative writing, write a story about an explorer and his adventures and troubles. Use your notes for the facts and read it over and over and you’ll picture it in the exam.

    Writing songs or rhymes – if you find words that rhyme in your notes, why not make up a rap or a song to help you to remember them. Don’t be shy, write down the lyrics and find a tune it could fit to and sing it to yourself in the bath or just around the house. You know every word to every song on the radio as they’re easy to remember so why not?

    Drawing and painting – if you’re artistic or just think you remember better by visualising, draw out your notes. For example for English literature, make a mood board or a drawing of the texts you’re studying and have key words and themes and relationships showing. Label it too with quotes, you could draw Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights and then around him write quotes about his appearance and personality and so on.

    PowerPoint presentations – spend half an hour on a unit making a PowerPoint about what you know/have learnt, make it look nice and use videos from YouTube and revision materials. Then email it to your friends and that way share resources with each other.

    Quiz Night - people always say “have a revision day with friends!” but I’m not sure that works. Holding a quiz night is fun, get into teams and you each write a list of questions and answers about different subjects (still revision itself). Find a quiz master and get revising.

    And finally….
    Happy Ed Balls Day to you all. According to the radio this morning, April 28th is the day we celebrate the anniversary of that time Ed Balls, former Strictly contestant (and Shadow Chancellor) accidentally tweeted out his own name on Twitter. Apparently, on Thursday 28 April 2011 Ed Balls, was shopping in Asda when an aide suggested he search for an article on Twitter which mentioned him. He began typing in his name into the 'compose tweet' field instead of the search box, then he became distracted by a phone call, and accidentally hit 'send' on his Blackberry, thus tweeting his own name out into the ether.

    The first time (above) he tweeted out his name it went viral, with thousands of people retweeting it, making '"Ed Balls" the top trending topic in the UK. Then in 2012 some bright spark decided to celebrate the anniversary of this very silly trending topic - and that has continued to happen every year since. Five years on, the joke does not seem to have worn thin with even Dominoes and Virgin Atlantic joining in.

    I will know that Ed Balls Day is here to stay when Jeremy Corbyn proposes it as one of his extra bank holidays.

    Have a good weekend.

    Cheers

    James

    Hi all

    I hope you all had a good break and now feel ready and prepared for the final term of the year. It is that time of year which you could call ‘The Crunch’. This is an article from ‘The Week’ blog about what needs to happen if you want to succeed this summer:

    A Kent grammar school has told teenagers who are feeling a bit poorly to “suck it up, cupcake”, and get to class.  In response to a surge in sick days, Norton Knatchbull School sent its sixth-formers an email warning that “feeling slightly faint, headaches, tummy aches and generally feeling slightly low” were not good reasons for missing school: they should “deal with it like the mature adult you think you are”.

    Melissa hopes that the message is clear and therefore she does not need to send the same letter to some of you. Otherwise she proposes introducing a ‘Cup-Cake’ award for the lamest excuse of the week. Not a prize that any of you should be aspiring to win. 

    There are a number of important bits of advice and information below so please read this week’s email as thoroughly as possible. 

    First of all, a serious issue that you all HAVE to be aware of: SEXTING – Please read the following 
    You think it is only a picture? Here are five reasons not send it: 

    Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
    Share a picture or video online or on your phone and someone else might send it further. You could lose control of it and who knows where it might end up? What if your mum, dad or teacher saw it?

    Bullies go for it.
    You've probably heard stories of teenagers who have been badly bullied because of naked pictures online, like the tragic case of Amanda Todd. If you're being bullied because of an image there is help out there

    It’s against the law
    If you're under 18, it's illegal to take or share an ‘indecent’ picture of yourself, or to look at or share someone else's. If it’s naked, a topless girl, contains genitals or sex acts including masturbation it will be 'indecent'! Learn more here

    You could be blackmailed.
    Swapping naked pics with someone you’ve met online? If you send a picture you wouldn’t want other people to see then you could be in danger of being blackmailed. Find out more.

    Will someone else keep your pic private?
    Even if you really trust them, it would only take a moment for them to share it tonight, tomorrow or next year… in that moment they could be in a silly mood, drunk or angry. They could just hit ‘send’ by accident. But the consequences for you could be dreadful.

    Please understand:

    Creating or sharing explicit images of a child is illegal, even if the person doing it is a child. A young person (defined as being under the age of 18 – just so you are aware) is breaking the law if they:

      • take an explicit photo or video of themselves or a friend
      • share an explicit image or video of a child, even if it’s shared between children of the same age
      • possess, download or store an explicit image or video of a child, even if the child gave their permission for it to be created. 


    Year 12 China Trip
    Beibei and Karsten have distributed a letter to parents/students about the China Trip. We will also be holding an information evening for students / parents on Thursday 27th April at 7pm – more details to follow at the start of next term.

    If you didn’t start Mandarin in September but you are interested in going to China – we have potentially 2 extra spaces. If you’re interested – remember, the trip is 2 weeks in China and experience of a lifetime - then contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or me as soon as possible.

    Congratulations Part 1
    Congratulations to Millie who has been offered a place at the Sutton Trust US Scholars Programme.
    There were over 1250 applicants and Millie managed to get through to the final 175 who took part in a residential testing/interview process in London over Easter.  She managed to secure one of only 80 places and will now spend a week at University of Yale in the summer with the chance to have a scholarship there once she has finished her A-Levels.  A huge achievement and congratulations to Millie from everyone at BC.

    Congratulations Part 2
    And the same sentiment to Jess Holmes who has and accepted a place on the prestigious Rolls-Royce Higher Apprenticeship scheme – one of only 20 people to be offered a place out of the 10,000 students that applied. A real reward for all of her hard work and positivity.

    Exam Technique
    The  symbols up in and around the College – they are meant to help you understand the crucial general techniques needed to do well in any exam. Over the next two emails, I’ll clarify exactly what each remaining symbol means.

    WATCH THE TIME AND MOVE ON 

    • Make sure you know how long to spend per mark on every paper;
    • Stick to your timings;
    • Ensure you have ‘staging posts’ of what you must have done every 30 minutes;
    • Leave and move on – don’t rev in neutral.

       

    Revision Resources
    Our website has been updated and this page contains resources created and collated by us for the Easter Intervention sessions to help you with the key areas of revision in the weeks coming up to your exams:

    1) Effective Revision Skills
    2) Note-Taking Skills
    3) Essay Writing Skills
    4) Learning Quotes
    5) Mindfulness

    Please also remember that what really matters at this time of year is that you don’t rev in neutral: if you need help, guidance or advice about how to plan / how to revise / mindfulness – please let us know as soon as possible. We are happy to help individuals or even to deliver some group sessions to help support your achievement. Please do come and talk to us: no issue or problem is too small.
    The good news is that experts agree that the right preparation can improve your results by two grades. There are many ways to review work, and hard work, planning and starting early will maximise your chances of getting the best grades you can. 

    The top of the webpage also has the complete examination programme for summer 2017. Thanks to Dan for sorting all of this out.

    Year 13 Prom
    In short – pay up asap if you want to have a Prom! MONDAY IS THE FINAL DEADLINE – or else the Prom is cancelled.

    Year 13 – Apprenticeships info
    If you missed the Apprenticeship Workshop before the holiday then Caryn is delivering some short catch-up sessions to get you registered on the Apprenticeship Vacancies site.

    • Monday 24 April - any time
    • Tuesday 25th April - anytime
    • Wednesday 26th April - any time break or later
    • Friday 28th April - any time
    • Thursday 4th May - break

     Please attend if you would like some help in finding an apprenticeship.

    Year 12 – Be a leader, not a follower
    Hopefully you were inspired by the assembly on Wednesday to join NCS this summer. Here are some reasons why you should take part: 

    • 4 weeks of your summer having an AMAZING time with your friends
    • You are only away from home week 1 and week 2 Monday-Friday (you will be home for the weekends)
    • You can go with your friends either from your school or a different school, just mention their names on the phone
    • The cost is £50 for the whole programme
    • If you are on free school meals/pupil premium then mention this on the phone to get the price reduced
    • Check out the dates available by clicking the following: https://www.ncsingeus.co.uk/summer-2017-dates/ 

    Marathon News!
    London Marathon
    Baasit will be running the London Marathon this Sunday from 10am. He is running to raise money for Gem's Cash for Kids, a charity that raises money for disabled, disadvantaged and vulnerable children between the ages of 0-18. The money he raises will be used specifically to help children and young people within our area (please see link below).  As well as running the marathon, Baasit has also been asked by BBC sport to use a ‘go pro’ and stream the marathon live. This can be seen on the BBC Sports Live Facebook page throughout the day from 10am and should be good listening if you like to listen to a grown man cry. To sponsor Baasit, please click on the following link:https://cashforkidsgem.everydayhero.com/uk/baasit-siddiqui-london-marathon-2017

    Boston (USA) Marathon
    Congratulations to Lisa for running the Boston Marathon in sub 3hours 15mins in heat conditions of 26 degrees. A phenomenal effort. To be fair to Lisa, carrying a gnome around probably slowed her down too.

    And speaking of Gnomes and sponsorship: 

    Sponsor Rosanna please
    This Easter, Rosanna took part in a Skydive to raise money for Mind. Mind is a leading mental health charity. They campaign to end stigma and discrimination against people of all ages facing a range of mental health problems. Many people aren't fortunate enough to have the support that they need and this is where Mind can help.
    Rosanna did a tandem skydive from a height of 13,500 feet. During the freefall section, which lasted for 50 seconds, she reached speeds of over 120mph! 
    Please support Rosanna through; https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rosannabarraclough
    I am pleased to report that both Rosanna and Donald survived the dive.

    INSPIRE: P is for PERSEVERANCE
    It isn't always easy trying to reach the top, but when you're thinking about giving up, remember these five things: 

    1. There's Always Someone Working Harder Than You Are
    Even if you think you've done all you can, you're wrong. Everyone has a dream, goal and motivation. It just depends how far you're willing to go to get what you want.  Success comes from being unique and standing out among the crowd. If you settle for good enough, that's all you will be and someone will surpass you.

    2. Nobody's Perfect
    We are all human. Realizing that it’s okay to make a mistake is only part of the battle to that ultimate goal. Learning and moving forward comes from doing something wrong and being told how to do it right. Riding a bike without training wheels isn't an easy feat, but once we learned the rhythm and how to be in control, it became a skill we wouldn’t forget. If we throw in the towel after the first mishap or the first time we hear people criticize how we handle ourselves, we are letting go of what could have been.

    3. Success Isn't Rewarding If It's Easy
    Reaching that ultimate goal should be a special moment. If it wasn't the hardest thing of our lives, then we didn't achieve it. Knowing that we did everything we could for ourselves and others to earn that goal should be more rewarding than the actual honour itself.

     4. Prove Others Wrong
    When someone says you can't do something, show that you can. Read more, write more, know more and work harder than the person next to you. If he or she runs two miles, run three. If he or she spends four hours working on a project, spend eight. Daley Thompson, a British Olympic Gold-medallist always said ‘I trained twice on Christmas day because I knew my rivals didn’t’. Actions speak a lot louder than words, so instead of complaining and sulking about others perceptions of us, show you can prove doubters wrong.

     5. Rome Wasn't Built In a Day
    This is the most important saying to remember when giving up becomes a legitimate thought. Nobody can create an empire in a day; no A-Level can be revised in a week. No dream is worth giving up on if all the stops haven't been pulled out yet.

    And finally….
    Here are the wordles (a programme that extracts the most used words in a piece of writing or a speech) of the last party speeches made by Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn:

    It should be clear from the above what each leader’s priorities are. 

    But it also make me think about how YOU could use this WORDLE resource in your own work. They are easy to use from this link (copy and paste) and then you can refine each wordle to the most important (most used) words (ignoring common words such as ‘the’ etc). I think it could be a strong learning tool for you to paste your essay or other pieces of work into a new wordle and then try one or more of the following: 

    • Does your wordle accurately summarise the content of an essay or other piece of work?
    • Wordle is handy for your self-reflection. One of the hazards of essay writing is that you can get carried away, and go off the point completely. Can you work out the original question from your wordle?
    • Create a wordle of a presentation and use that as the basis for a discussion, rather than the presentation itself.
    • Pull out vocabulary from a story or lesson.
    • Create a Wordle to aid recall of subject specific terminology.

    And you also can play around with colour / shape / layout – though please don’t spend long on that! 

    Have a great weekend.

    Cheers 

    James

    Hi all,

     

    I hope that you’ve all had a productive last week of term. On Monday we received our final report from ‘our friends’ at Ofsted. It makes for pleasant reading as we have been judged ‘GOOD’ in all areas. In case you are actually interested in reading the whole report it's published on this website. However, I suspect for the majority of you the summary here will do.

    The overall judgement was that we are providing a good standard of education for you all and that all key aspects, namely Leadership, Teaching and Learning, Personal Development, Behaviour and Safety, and Outcomes for Pupils are good. It is very gratifying that the hard work and dedication of teachers, support staff, Directors and, of course, you is recognised in such a positive way. We are delighted that inspectors speak so positively about the progress we have made and are continuing to make.

    Inspectors have recognised the excellent work that takes place at the college. They confirmed that we provide strong support to all students, noting that students themselves say ‘we are all seen as individuals’ and that ‘students are overwhelmingly positive about their experience in the sixth form’. The quality of teaching is also recognised as a strength, and something that we have worked very hard to improve to such high levels. Leadership at all levels is praised and the wonderful extra-curricular opportunities that you can access are also highlighted in the report.

    Inspectors praise the ‘culture of ambition’ they saw at the college. They are confident that our students make good progress across the curriculum. They said that students are given excellent support and advice to plan their next steps after College, and all go on to suitable destinations because ‘staff give good advice to students before they join the sixth form and then support them well during their time at the college’. Students themselves told Inspectors ‘they recognise the role that college leaders play in ensuring their progress and were appreciative of the support they receive’. They saw on the inspection that students continue to develop English and Maths skills well and benefit from a ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum.

    We are delighted and proud that YOUR conduct is described as ‘exemplary’, and that they feel that you are all confident learners. We are also very pleased that the work that Faye, Phil and your tutors do to promote personal development and your personal development and safety is praised so highly and that the work we do with our bursary programme is highlighted positively.

    We will use this report as a springboard to continue our improvement – we have the highest aspirations for all of you at Bramcote College and we will build on this success in the coming months and years. Our area to improve from Ofsted is to deliver ‘exceptional progress’ for you all and we are all committed to ensuring that we meet this target. And on that note...

    Time to Get Revising…

    I am sure you wake up most days thinking ‘what can I do today except revise?’ It probably feels like a war between procrastination (see ‘Word of the week’ below) and the need to study which never seems to end. I’d guess that these feelings happened at GCSE and now they are happening again at A-Level.

    I’m sure that you’d all love to be sitting on your beds, drinking tea whilst watching Game of Thrones instead of revising Photosynthesis or Volcanoes. However, Tyrion Lannister won’t write your exam for you. Spending the day revising, reading articles and doing a few questions isn’t much fun. However, YOU have to try to make it fun. You have to get the grades. You have to start revising and doing practice questions. Continually moaning about how much you hate revision will mean that you won’t revise and will be unprepared for the exam.

    So get cracking: get organised and start revising. Just remember – you’ll get to enjoy an extra-long summer holiday in less than 3 months’ time. Please also remember that it really matters at this time of year is that you don’t rev in neutral: if you need help, guidance or advice about how to plan / how to revise / mindfulness – please let Faye, Phil, Melissa or me know as soon as possible. We are happy to help individuals or even to deliver some group sessions to help support your achievement. Please do come and talk to us: no issue or problem is too small.

    Easter Intervention

    Faye, Phil and I have set aside 2 days at the start of the Easter holidays to provide targeted support to any student who we feel is underperforming either in a single subject or in general. The aim of the days is that all students reach their full potential, by developing the right mental attitude and taking practical steps to revise effectively. These days are:

    ·         Tuesday 4th April (9.30am – 3.00pm)

    ·         Wednesday 5th April (9.30am – 3.00pm)

     I am publicising the dates and the timetable for each day through my email so that any other student who wants to come in – to finish off a portfolio / complete coursework or just to work at college  – is aware that SLT are in on these two days and can try to support your studies.

    If you do Biology, English Literature or History then we are putting on some revision sessions in those subjects (let’s face it, you wouldn’t want me teaching A-Level Maths). Please feel free just to come in for those sessions if relevant and you’re not in already.

    The days will not just be sat at a desk revising: we have built a programme to try and help support you through the next three months. The workshop sessions are detailed on the attached timetable. There will also be subject-specific sessions in the summer half-term as these will be just before you sit the actual exams.

    INSPIRE: S IS FOR SUCCESS 

    Powerful words. History is littered with famous people who did not do well in exams (I think it is true that Churchill once got 1 out of 100 in a mock Latin exam: the 1 mark he got was for spelling his own name correctly).

    The good news is that every expert agrees that the right preparation can improve your results by two grades. The bad news: waving a magic wand won't help. You might be one of those people who prefers to read textbooks in the bath when revising or you might benefit from plastering your walls post-it notes covered in facts. There are certainly many ways to review work, but there is no magic formula guaranteeing exam success. What EVERYONE agrees on is that only hard work, planning and starting early, certainly NOW if you haven’t already, will maximise your chances of getting the best grades you can.

    Here are some top tips:

    • Make a solid revision plan - those who have a working style based on breaking down tasks into small, manageable parts end up with better grades.
    • Revision should never simply be seen as soaking up knowledge. You should try to get involved in what they are studying - preferably by trying to ensure you have clear and effective notes on the topics you are revising.
    • Writing out plans for exam answers and doing full timed exam questions are also really important.
    • Work with your teachers to ensure you have detailed knowledge and understanding of the mark scheme.
    • Model answers help to show exactly what the difference is between an A*and a C grade, and they also show you just how much work you need to do to get the top grade.

    Only through dedication, organisation, motivation and most of all HARD WORK will you get the SUCCESS that you want. 

    And finally….

    There have been a lot of mentions of SUCCESS this week which is really positive and hopefully success drives success. I know that the holidays are, well, the holidays but I do need to stress (especially for Year 13) how important these holidays are. As I mentioned earlier – you’re going to have a very long summer holiday starting somewhere in June – which is something to really look forward to. But in the meantime, it is about nothing more than hard work and a focus on your goal for next year (well, September) and beyond. As the quote used this week makes clear – dreams do not make people successful. It is about your dedication to your cause because these exam results are all about YOU. Please ensure you give the next three months your all – and that means that you have maximised your chances of SUCCESS when the results come out.

    I hope you all enjoy your (working) break.

    Cheers,

    James