Head's Blog

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

Hi all

I hope that all of your hard work preparing for your exams is paying off. We discussed this morning how impressed we all are with the time and effort that you have clearly put in to your revision: I cannot remember seeing so many notes / charts / mind maps being used across the college as this year. Perseverance and hard work will pay off.

Another week, another sad tragedy I’m sorry to say. As I originally come from London, I found the events of Tuesday night hard to watch. In the midst of this terrible loss-of-life we should, however, remember and be grateful for the selfless work of the hundreds of men and women from the Fire Brigade who were called to the 24-story block in the early hours of Wednesday to tackle the horrific fire which ripped through and up the tower. Sixty-five people were rescued from the burning building by the fire service, who worked throughout the day and into the following evening. According to the BBC, at the height of the incident, 250 firefighters and 40 fire engines were working on the scene.

Photos showing scores of fire-fighters lying on the ground and sitting against walls in a state of exhaustion have since been circulating on social media as people paid tribute to the men and women in the fire service for their bravery. Someone poignantly wrote: “First ones in, last ones out.. Incredible”. Their selflessness and dedication can only be called inspirational. Have a listen / watch of this – a very moving account from the wife of a firefighter: https://www.facebook.com/BBCRadioLondon/videos/10158889968605154/

Year 12 Mock Timetable

The final mock timetable for Year 12 exams is attached. Exams start on Friday 7th July and finish on Thursday 13th July. Mock Exams are only for subjects where all exams are at the end of Year 13. If you’ve already taken an AS-Level exam this summer in a subject then there is no mock exam this time around.

 A2 / AS / Year 12 Mock Exam Arrangements

 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 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 13 and 12 – Result’s Day arrangements

The AS and A-Level results will be released on Thursday 17th August 2017. If relevant, GCSE results are released on Thursday 24th August 2017All results will be available for collection from Bramcote College.

On the 17th August, Bramcote College will be open for Year 13 students to collect A2 results from 8.00am.  Year 12 students can collect their AS Level results from 9.00am. On the 24th August, GCSE results can be collected from 9.00am. Results will not be issued to you prior to the times above - even if you arrive early.

If you are unable to come to Bramcote College to collect your results on either 17th or 24th August, please leave a stamped-addressed envelope with Melissa prior to the end of term and results will be posted out to you on the relevant date (s).  Alternatively, someone may collect your results on your behalf, but please note that you must inform Melissa who this person will be in advance by providing a signed letter detailing whom you wish to pick up your results. The person picking up the results must bring a form of photographic ID with them. Any uncollected results statements for which we have not received a stamped addressed envelope will be retained and will be available from Melissa from the start of the autumn term in September.

Year 13 – Disabled Student Allowance

Please see the information below about the Disabled Student Allowance, which you can now apply for online.  This will only apply to students beginning courses in September/October 2017. You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) if you have a disability, for example a:

  • long-term health condition
  • mental health condition
  • specific learning difficulty like dyslexia or dyspraxia

You must also:

  • be an undergraduate or postgraduate student (including Open University or distance learning)
  • have a condition that affects your ability to study
  • qualify for student finance from Student Finance England
  • be studying on a course that lasts at least a year

If you have any other questions, please see Faye.

Year 12 - Summer Term dates

Please note the following dates for mock exams / work experience:

7th July            Mock Exams start

13th July          Mock Exams finish

14th July          NEXT STEPS DAY – Find out about all your options after Year 13.

17th July          Year 12 Work Experience Week

24th July           Collect Mock Exam Results / Summer Holidays begin

Please do ensure that Melissa has received any outstanding WEX forms as soon as possible. Thank you.

End of Year Assembly

The Next Steps Day (Friday 14th July) will start with an Assembly to celebrate your achievements this year and also to run through arrangements for Year 13. 

INSPIRE: P IS FOR PERSEVEARANCE

Perseverance is a trait for people focused on success. Perseverance is the ability to keep trying no matter how many failures you might have. By learning this trait you will eventually be able to be successful at anything you try.  Especially if you mix in both having the right attitude and a good, healthy amount of self-confidence then you will have the right formula for success. Even if you fail 100 times with enough perseverance you will continue to keep trying and that is all that matters.

Some benefits of perseverance are that:

  • You will build more self-confidence
  • You won’t give up easy
  • It will lead to more success
  • You will get more things done
  • You will learn more
  • You will develop more self-confidence
  • You will have more experiences
  • Failures will become less painful

When you persevere you are going to keep trying at all costs. Knowing sometimes that things won’t always work out the way you plan and that you will have failures. You will also learn that failures equal a great learning experience for you to make improvements. Once you entwine this into your personality you will find it easier and easier to not give up on anything you try.

When you succeed at things you will start to build up a healthy level of self-confidence. Each triumph no matter how small is still an accomplishment and each one brings more belief in your talents and abilities. As your talents and abilities develop you will have an easier time reaching your goals.

When you keep trying and growing you will be led into more situations and in turn have more life experiences. That is why perseverance is such a very important trait to have. Can you imagine having the ability to fail and still grow stronger? Or what happens if you succeed? Either way it is a win, win situation if you persevere.

Once you fail at something you don’t need to keep trying it the exact same way that you have been. Try something different or change your approach. In order to make that success you need to do things just slightly different from the time you had failures. If you need to make changes start out with something small and if you still feel like you are way off just scrap your current strategy and start fresh. Sit down and make a list of the parts of your strategy that worked well and the ones that were a disaster. Keep the ones that worked out well for you and try to take the ones that didn’t and turn them into something that can work out for you next time. Take the time to research your task at hand and learn everything you can before trying again. Spend time making a plan and set some realistic goals. If you have the opportunity to try something that you failed at in the past by all means try again if you get a chance. If you can challenge something from your past that you have failed at and give it another try – that is perseverance and succeeding will only help boost your self-confidence levels.

And finally

After last week’s family revelation, I have been incessantly asked if I am aware that I speak in a posh accent. Clearly this is something that I ‘just do’ but for those of you who want to mimic my cousin or oneself, here is a brief guide on ‘How to speak posh’.

  1. Listen and copy

Find videos of The Queen and other ‘posh’ people (here is one of J R-M) speaking in a posh accent and try to copy them. Pay close attention to how certain words are pronounced and how they form their sentences. Why not do this with a friend so they can check if you sound the same as the person in the video or record yourself and play it back to compare the accents?

  1. Pronunciation and enunciation

Pronunciation is the way you say words and enunciation is how clearly you say them. To speak like The Queen, you need to make sure you pronounce words correctly AND you enunciate everything you say (speak very, very clearly and with confidence).

If you want to speak with a posh accent, you will probably need to change the way you pronounce certain words and letters. For example the ‘r’, ‘u’ and ‘t’ sounds are pronounced differently. Visit this website for a detailed lesson: http://www.wikihow.com/Speak-in-a-British-Accent

A simple trick for speaking posh is that many words are pronounced as they are written (e.g. when people say the word ‘February’ they usually pronounce it ‘feb-you-ry’ or ‘feb-you-air-ree’ but if you want to speak with a posh accent, you should pronounce it ‘feb-rue-air-ree’). You should also try to make your vowel sounds longer (e.g. instead of pronouncing ‘lovely’ as ‘luv-ly’, posh people pronounce it ‘laahh-v-ly’). Media becomes ‘mee– dee - are’.

  1. Learn posh vocabulary

If you want to speak ‘posh’ then you will probably need to start using different vocabulary. For example, you should start using ‘oneself’ to replace ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘you’ and you should replace ‘common’ words with more ‘elegant’ ones. To accept a dinner invitation, instead of saying “Yes, let’s go for dinner”, you could say “Indeed, one would be delighted to join one for dinner”. The loo, or toilet now needs to be referred to as ‘the lavatory’.

  1. Practice, practice, practice

When you have mastered all the above, it is important that you practice as much as possible. The more you practice, the easier it will become and the more naturally posh you will sound. Why not arrange a post-exams ‘talk like The Queen’ evening at your house where everyone has to speak with a posh accent all night?

Have a good weekend. Keep revising.

Cheers

James

Hi all

As I am sure you know, the result of the election last night was a hung parliament (see link for an explanation). Aside from Jeremy Corbyn, undoubtedly the biggest winner was the voice of young people who played such a huge role in determining the final outcome. Experts believe a 'surge' of young people backing Corbyn proved pivotal in the general election results. The BBC polling guru Prof John Curtice says three things indicate that this may be correct:

• The swing to Labour was "a little bit higher" in places where there were more young voters;

• Turnout increased more in constituencies with more young people;

• Labour turnout "did better" where turnout was higher.

"It looks as if the Labour party profited from younger voters," he said, with Mr Corbyn's "bold vision" paying off. Interestingly, voting here yesterday gave Corbyn’s Labour Party 60% of the vote (The Tories came second with 18%). Some estimates predict turnout among 18 - 24 year olds yesterday was as high as 72%. This compares to only 43% in 2015 and shows us all the power of young people using their democratic right to vote. The age breakdowns of the Brexit referendum polling last year showed that the vast majority of younger people backed Remain while older people voted Brexit. Whatever my own political beliefs, I think it is great that the younger generation clearly stood up and spoke up. Clearly many feel that the only voice in town was the 52% who voted for Brexit and the cries of the 48% who voted remain were continually ignored. That would be part of my explanation for last night’s result, anyway. My only regret? That too few young people registered to vote in the Brexit referendum last year. 

Federation Election Results

Slightly different from the national picture but backs up what I was saying above. Thanks to Sophie for organising the election and Caroline for promoting it here. 

  Alderman White School The Bramcote School Bramcote College
The Conservatives 8% 9% 18%
The Green Party  14% 18% 5%
The Labour Party  57% 54% 60%
The Lib - Dems 10% 4% 12%
UKIP  11% 15% 5%

The Bramcote School Ofsted Report 

Three weeks ago, the Bramcote School received its latest inspection. The full report can be found here, but the overall judgement was that The Bramcote School is a GOOD School. This is the first time that The Bramcote School has received a Good Ofsted judgement and it is very gratifying that the hard work and dedication of teachers, support staff, directors and, of course, students is recognised in such a positive way. The fact that this follows so quickly on the back of our excellent Ofsted report into Alderman White and Bramcote College completes the hat-trick for the Federation.

Exams

This week and next sees the bulk of the A2 examinations in particular. A massive thank you to everyone for their punctuality which has allowed for every exam to start on-time. Please keep this up. Thank you again and well done.

Year 12 Mock Timetable

The final mock timetable for Year 12 exams is attached. Exams start on Friday 7th July and finish on Thursday 13th July. Mock Exams are only for subjects where all exams are at the end of Year 13. If you’ve already taken an AS-Level exam this summer in a subject then there is no mock exam this time around (that would be just a little cruel). 

Completion of Year 13

Just to confirm the procedure:

  • Examination Subjects: You finish each A2 subject the moment the invigilator says ‘Stop Writing’ in your last exam in each subject. From that moment on, you no longer need to attend lessons in that subject.
  • BTEC Subjects: You finish the course when your teacher confirms you have met or exceeded your target grade which will not, for most of you, be for another three weeks. Until that point you must attend every lesson and intervention session. 

Year 13 and 12 – Result’s Day arrangements

The AS and A-Level results will be released on Thursday 17th August 2017. If relevant, GCSE results are released on Thursday 24th August 2017.  All results will be available for collection from Bramcote College.

On August 17th, Bramcote College will be open for Year 13 students to collect A2 results from 8.00am.  Year 12 students can collect their AS Level results from 9.00am. On August 24th, GCSE results can be collected from 9.00am. Results will not be issued to you prior to the times above - even if you arrive early.

If you are unable to come to Bramcote College to collect your results on either 17th or 24th August, please leave a stamped-addressed envelope with Melissa prior to the end of term and results will be posted out to you on the relevant date (s).  Alternatively, someone may collect your results on your behalf, but please note that you must inform Melissa who this person will be in advance by providing a signed letter detailing whom you wish to pick up your results. The person picking up the results must bring a form of photographic ID with them. Any uncollected results statements for which we have not received a stamped addressed envelope will be retained and will be available from Melissa from the start of the autumn term in September.

INSPIRE: S IS FOR SUCCESS

In the early 1950s, many people believed that it was impossible for humans to run a mile in under four minutes. Runners had been trying to break the four-minute barrier since the late 1800s. The world’s top coaches and most gifted athletes had been trying to go sub-4 minutes for years. They were dedicated, and they’d tried all sorts of training plans. Yet, it seemed, the four-minute barrier was beyond reach. People had tried to break it for so long that many were starting to believe it was impossible — that the human body just could not go that fast. Then in 1954 Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. A month and a half later, John Landy ran even faster. Once Bannister’s time proved to other runners that it really and truly was possible, they were able to make the impossible possible and run the distance in under four minutes, too.

Your beliefs are powerful. If you believe something is impossible, that belief will erode your confidence and turn that impossible belief into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Positive beliefs are just as powerful. If you believe you can and will do something, you will find the means to make the impossible possible. For proof of this, look at History: imagine how the world would be if U.S. President John F. Kennedy believed that it was impossible to put a man on the moon. What if Martin Luther King Jr. had believed it was impossible to achieve civil rights in the United States or if Gandhi had believed it was impossible to overthrow the British occupation of India without violence. Could Barack Obama have become the first African-American president of the United States if he’d thought the quest was impossible? Highly unlikely.

Believing that something is possible is the first step towards fearlessly reaching goals. Fearlessness is a state of mind, not a genetic trait. You can acquire it and strengthen it. Start to build your courage now by reminding yourself of all of the amazing feats you’ve already accomplished in your life. Chances are, you have probably already made the impossible possible several times in your life. What have you already accomplished that you once thought could never be done? Write it down. Keep this list handy and read it whenever you are tempted to believe that you don’t have what it takes to begin to make changes in your life. In a nutshell: Be Fearless: make the impossible, possible.

A tale of Dinosaurs in Inner Mongolia

This promises to be a fascinating glimpse into Inner Mongolia’s Gobi desert and the adventures of an intrepid palaeontologist. Professor TAN Lin will guide us to the Cretaceous Period and explore some of the strangest members of the dinosaur family. Remarking on his long career, he says that "every discovery is a story”, and the professor has many great stories to share! “Only with great patience, rich knowledge, hard work and a little bit of luck, can you bring those long-lost land-shakers into the present” The talk is at Alderman White School on Saturday 17th June from 16:45 to 18:00. Please see the attached poster for more information.

And finally

As many of you know, I am related (he is my cousin) to Jacob Rees-Mogg MP who is often referred to by the newspapers as ‘The MP for the eighteenth century’. This is because he is as traditional and as old-fashioned as they come. Jacob is, it must be said, a genuinely nice man. He is also the poshest man I have ever met, though he does not represent all alumni of Trinity College, Oxford as neither Karsten nor my Dad are anything like him. In 45 years I have never seen him not wearing a pin-stripe suit. He uses a gold-chain to attach his security pass to his jacket. He is also famous for saying the longest word ever used in Parliament – see here. As the BBC says, Jacob has made the record books with the use of floccinaucinihilipilification in the House of Commons. Here is a different clip where Jacob gives his explanation to Andrew Neil - the 29-letter word meant the "act or habit of estimating as worthless" and that the word "came to mind as it does from time to time".

That said, however posh you are, one of the greatest assets in life is not taking life too seriously and being able to laugh at yourself. Whilst out campaigning (he was re-elected last night as the MP for Somerset North East) with his mini-me eldest son, he came across a tattoo parlour that did not encourage conservative supporters as customers as the poster clearly states “Keep sane and don’t vote Tory”. At least Jacob’s Instagram account could see the funny side. 

Jacob Rees-Mogg: We shall have to take our business elsewhere.

Have a good weekend all. Keep revising.

Cheers

James

Hi all

As I am sure you have seen, the UK in general and Manchester in particular is still reeling from the disgusting and shocking attack following the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena that left 22 dead and 119 injured on Monday night. This awful terrorist act has been met with an inspirational response from people in the city of Manchester and beyond. Stories of Mancunians’ defiance and incredible selflessness prove that terrorism will never win – whilst a huge sum of money has been raised via online fundraising pages. As happens in our open and democratic society, the callous and cowardly attack has brought out the very best in humanity in response:

  • Incredibly, so many people gave blood as soon as they could on Tuesday morning that no more donations were needed – and Give Blood NHS described them as lifesavers.
  • Many people were inspired by the heroics of homeless man Chris Parker, who described the moment he comforted a dying woman – so much so that an online donation page has been created for him to buy him his own house.
  • Others went out of their way to provide food and water to those in need of help – including the city’s Sikh temples, who threw open their doors without hesitation, offering food and shelter to people in need.
  • NHS workers attending a conference in the city offered to pitch in and help despite being off duty.
  • Taxi drivers turned off their meters and managed to get terrified people caught up in the attack away from the area.
  • Heroes of the day included Paula Robinson, who has been dubbed the ‘Angel of Manchester’ for rushing to help traumatised teenagers, taking them to a nearby hotel and sharing her number online so concerned parents could contact her.
  • A fundraising page set up by the Manchester Evening News smashed its £300,000 target. It is now over £1.5 million.

No amount of security and intelligence gathering is ever going to make us perfectly safe. We are fortunate enough to live in an open society and not a police state. So the best response to a tragedy like the one in Manchester is to go on with your life, eyes open. Alert, but not paranoid. As the government advice states: If you see something, say something.

Completion of Year 13

 Just to confirm the procedure: 

  • Examination Subjects: You finish each A2 subject the moment the invigilator says ‘Stop Writing’ in your last exam in that subject. From that moment on, you no longer need to attend lessons in that subject. But up until that point – all remaining lessons in each subject are compulsory.
  • BTEC Subjects: You finish the course when your teacher confirms you have met or exceeded your target grade which will not, for most of you, be for another five weeks. Until that point you must attend every lesson and intervention session. 

INSPIRE: N is for NURTURE 

We are all born unique at birth and acquire different skills and knowledge through our lives, yet many people try so hard to copy others in order to fit in that they lose their sense of uniqueness and originality. There are enough copies in the world as it is, while an original is one of a kind and impossible to duplicate. Many pieces of art work are valued because they are an original, and the fact that there is not another one like it anywhere makes us appreciate these pieces even more. When it comes to people this is also true, but many cannot see this because they are worried about not fitting in or being liked or popular.

The very best thing you can do is to be yourself, and nurture yourself to be true to who you are. Don't waste time or effort trying to make others like you or worrying about what someone else thinks. If you copy others then you are a clone and there is nothing special or unique about how you are pretending to be, you’re just another sheep in a flock. Your uniqueness is what makes each and every human being special in their own way and you should embrace this instead of trying to hide or eliminate it. Make sure that people know the true you, the one on the inside and who you truly are, and not the person that tried to be just like everyone else and snuffed out your unique special traits in the process. As I read somewhere recently: in order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.

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

Want to be a teacher?

The Future Teaching Scholars programme is a new and exciting route into teaching maths or physics. Applications are now open for cohorts wanting to start either autumn 2017 or autumn 2018. 

  • What’s on offer

The Future Teaching Scholars programme is an exciting new initiative from the Department for Education to get more maths and physics students into teaching. Successful applicants will be awarded a significant scholarship programme that includes a £15,000 grant whilst they study at university, a place on an initial teacher training course paid as an unqualified teacher, support in finding their first teaching job, as well as extensive personal and professional development support for six years through a network of outstanding Teaching Schools.

Interested? Applications for the current round are open until 31st May 2017. To find out more and / or apply, visit www.futureteachingscholars.com.

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. 

And finally….

#ACITYUNITED

I thought the above hashtag to be rather clever (if obvious once you think about it). Twitter has changed much of the way we live in the past decade – from how we find out about what’s going on in the world, to the way we interact with celebrities (the most re-tweeted tweet is still, I think, the selfie of Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars). Hashtags have also captured the events and feelings around some of the world’s saddest moments, such as the Paris attacks with #JeSuisParis and the one above referring to events in Manchester. I was surprised to find out earlier this week that the most tweeted hastag ever is #FridayFeeling (or #FF). I can understand why today though: Fridays are all the better when it is a half-term Friday too.

Have a good break and keep working hard.

Cheers, 

James

 

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