With the new year upon us, our Sixth Form students have been preoccupied by other kinds of new beginnings: what life will bring when they leave Jersey College for Girls. As Year 13 deliberate over the various offers they have received, whilst continuing to attend interviews and auditions in some cases, Year 12 students have begun researching courses and institutions under the auspices of their dedicated Higher Education Enrichment Tutors. Some students have indicated that they have an aspiration to study Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or Dentistry, or to study at Oxford or Cambridge, or to take a Gap Year or proceed directly into employment. All three groups, the last of which will work closely with our Employability Co-ordinator, will follow bespoke programmes in parallel to the Life Skills and Choices support offered to all students.
The decisions facing students concerning where and what to aim for as they finish school can be daunting, and we aim to facilitate as much research as possible so that students can make informed choices. This month, Sixth Formers have attended our very own JCG Careers Fair, at which a wide range of local organisations offered information, opportunities and even the occasional free pen. Unfortunately, in a familiar feature of island life, adverse weather conditions prevented a representative of the University of Southampton from visiting JCG, but her presentation – on choosing university courses – made its way be email and was delivered to Year 12 nonetheless! As well as looking forward, it was also a pleasure to look back on past successes when Year 12 were presented with their GCSE certificates; their outstanding achievements in Year 11 should help to motivate and inspire them in the Sixth Form.
Year 13 students have had a demanding to start to term, as well as an important opportunity to assess their progress towards the post-18 goals they have set themselves, in the form of mock examinations. As a year group, they have taken an impressively scholarly approach – hardworking students being much in evidence in the Sixth Form Centre during their mock weeks – and the important business of responding to feedback is well underway.
A timely reminder to balance academic rigor with a commitment to looking after ourselves came from an excellent assembly, delivered by members of the Durrell team, on the well-established benefits to mental health and well-being of feeling connected to the natural world. Another assembly saw us celebrate the wonderful reasons staff had to award Achievement Marks to Sixth Form students in the Autumn Term. These ranged from ‘repeatedly high quality homework submissions’ and ‘excellent sustained effort commitment and participation’, to being ‘an excellent role model and Peer Mentor’ and an ‘amazingly kind caring’ Buddy! Congratulations to those who won prizes for amassing the most Achievement Marks.
As January drew to a close, we welcomed John Sullivan, of Elite Survival Training, back to Jersey to address the Sixth Form. Speaking separately to Year 12 and to Year 13, John addressed questions of leadership, teamwork, grit, determination and ‘feeding the rat’: doing what it is that you truly love and which truly excites you! John’s visit contributed to Year 12 Leadership and Teambuilding Day, at which all Form groups led an activity, which they had devised in preparation for the event, to test their peers’ capacities for collaboration and listening! The day also included a workshop in which students reflected on the attributes of effective leaders and team members: both those they currently possess, and those to which they aspire. Our Principal also invited the students to consider the legacy of leadership: as leaders of the College, what do they want to leave behind when they move on at the end of their studies? During the day, students were introduced to the procedures for applying for positions on the Senior Student Leadership Team, and we are excitedly expecting a wealth of strong applications: https://www.jerseycollegeforgirls.com/school-life/sixth-form/
As part of our ongoing efforts to cultivate an A Level Mindset, our focus in January has been on ‘Attitude’ and on ensuring we maintain a Growth Mindset. Every conversation we have with young people can reinforce the message that grit and passion, and not just innate talent or natural ability, allow us to make extraordinary progress, no matter what our starting point: this belief can be nurtured, and it is extremely powerful.