April and May 2019

On the closing day of our Spring term, the College came together for the long-anticipated announcement of our new Senior Student Leadership Team. Led by Rosie, our new Head Girl, supported by her two Deputies, Emily and Lily, the new team have already addressed the College about their plans for the coming year. It is clear that these plans are ambitious, and that we can look forward to exciting developments in areas including student voice, peer tutoring and the ways in which our community recognises and celebrates diversity.

The very final event of the Spring term was the Top of the Pops dance competition, in which our Sixth Form students display their hard work as both dancers and choreographer. This brought the House year to a close and, on this occasion, Curie Fry emerged victorious much to the pride and delight of their House Captains and House Prefects for 2018-2019, Abbie, Emily, Esme and Holly – and their Tutor, Mr Braithwaite!

April and May gave Sixth Form students two new and important opportunities to reflect on their wellbeing, and that of those around them. First, Dr Aric Sigman visited the College to speak to both students and parents about issues surrounding the use and misuse of alcohol. For students, Dr Sigman’s message was clear and his warnings were stark: alcohol abuse has far-reaching implications for cognitive function and mental health. Explicit parental disapproval of alcohol misuse was identified as an important protective factor for young people. On the other side of the Easter holidays, the Sixth Form welcomed Jonny Benjamin MBE, who was joined by his colleague and friend, the actor Danny Rahim, and JCG Old Girl, Rose Ahier. Jonny is a mental health campaigner, who, along with Danny, speaks in a frank, moving and ultimately inspiring way about his own ‘mental health journey.’ One powerful element of Jonny’s message is that anyone – even a total stranger – taking the time to listen, to express concern and to offer comfort can make all the difference to someone in need. Rose shared her own experiences of working to promote the mental health of students at university, providing a reassuring picture of some of the networks of support available at institutions of higher education.

The arrival of May saw the exam season get truly underway, with Year 12 sitting internal exams and Year 13 reaching the end of their formal schooling as they embarked on study leave. Our assemblies have explored the importance of cultivating a sense of self-efficacy, through methods including observing and learning from the success of others, and reflecting on our own experiences of success, given that in the words of The Student Mindset: ‘first, you need confidence in your abilities – confidence is the key to academic success.’ One important source of this confidence is being sure you know how to study effectively. Through its use of A Level Mindset activities, our Tutorial programme has guided students to reflect on their approach to revision, aiming to ensure that they achieve an appropriate balance of committing content to memory, applying this knowledge through purposeful practice, and seeking and acting upon feedback to refine their approach. School closures, due to industrial action, led to some changes to the timetable for Year 12 end of year exams, and it is to their credit that our students responded with resilience, maturity and flexibility

Although examinations have loomed increasingly large in the minds of Sixth Form students, they continue to involve themselves in all facets of College life. Recently, these have included the work of a group of students, led by Mr McGarva, considering the proper place of mobile devices in College, and preparations for the always spectacular House Fashion competition, which will take place after the May half-term.

The 10th May was Year 13’s final day in College. They said goodbye with good humour and good grace, even if their old uniforms were left rather worse for wear by the ‘waterslide’ that somehow materialised alongside the Science block! The Leavers’ Lunch, held at the Royal Yacht and kindly sponsored by Saltgate, allowed us to bid our departing students a fond farewell  – through the traditional media of a ‘slideshow’ of nostalgic photos and a video goodbye expertly produced by Mr Vibert and Miss Morris – at least until we see them all together again for the Leavers’ Service at the end of June!

We wish all of our students the very best of luck for their exams!


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