News from the Autumn Term at S6C

Here is a roundup of news from the College in the Autumn Term.

S6C has capability to run full curriculum online

Last academic year when schools and colleges had to close, we were one of only a small number of colleges that ran our full curriculum online, to timetable, very successfully.

This term some of our teaching and learning has had to move online to support the Government guidelines for social distancing and to keep students and staff safe. 

In November the decision was made for clubs and societies and the Life Skills programme to move online. Pastoral Lead, Rebecca Anderson, kicked off the online programme by asking students to look at some material and send in their views on values that shape this country, and the way these can ensure both protection and freedom, if we all work together as society. This was followed up with feedback to Year 12, having read all their responses – celebrating the strengths in their answers and addressing a few ongoing misconceptions. Pastoral Lead, Rebecca Anderson, said, “It has been so good to read so many insightful, kind, and positive views on acceptance, tolerance and diversity. The future is in safe hands with educated and empowered young people!”

Teaching also moved online for Year 12 during the mock week to reduce the number of students in the building and just have the ‘Year 13 bubble’ on site. This decision was made to support all Year 13 students, including students currently learning from home as a pastoral decision during the national lockdown.

Much like when we had to move online during lockdown last academic year, all lessons for Year 12s ran at the same time as the normal timetable, and self-directed study tasks were set to be completed in between lessons. Staff ran all subject lessons using Google Meet which students accessed through their Google classrooms. Staff were able to have a dialogue with the students at appropriate points in the lesson, so students could respond and share their answers and ideas using their microphones and cameras. Students could choose to change their background on Google Meet before logging in or whilst in Meet so that the privacy of their home is maintained. 

Fantastic new courses at S6C!

S6C is excited to present our new courses for September 2021 entry: we will be the only college in Salisbury offering Esports for 2021 entry which is an exciting new course that will help you navigate a career within the Esports industry or help you progress to university to either study Esports or subjects like marketing, video game development, computer programming, sports management and coaching and so much more. 

S6C will also be offering two accelerated pathway programmes which have been developed to support those students who may not have quite reached the grades to study a full A Level programme and will enable them to leave S6C with a level 3 qualification and a route to their next stage, whether that be employment, apprenticeship or university. As well as this, S6C will be offering new courses in Environmental Science (A Level), Core Maths and, following the success of our Extended Certificate in Applied Science, we can now also offer the Extended Diploma in Applied Science.

S6C students enjoy covid-safe trips to art galleries

Back in term 1 our art students enjoyed covid-safe trips to local art galleries – Messums Gallery in Tisbury and Sarum Studio in Salisbury – where they met artists who gave them a tour and presented their work.

At Messums Gallery, students had the opportunity to sketch, inspired by what they saw, and also recreate a piece from the studio replication of the original Elisabeth Frink’s Studio. Students looked at Frink’s work and watched a video about her life, and life’s work, before they began the task. Art student Amy Patterson said, “at the end of the task, each of us came up with a completely different style and view of what we were creating, as everyone has a different interpretation of art, which is what makes it so great.”

At Sarum Studio, students met Nick Beer who welcomed them and gave them a tour and presentation of techniques used by the Italian traditional school of painting.

Year 12 student Amy said that the trips helped her to “better understand art and sculpture. It showed me that I don’t always have to rely on accuracy and detail, and can instead concentrate more on form, tones and structures. I think that my time there really helped me to further understand the way in which Frink works.”

Student recruitment goes online

We have had to adapt the way we enable students to research their course choices at the College and apply to join us. In September, October and November we held online Open Evenings, where prospective students joined our teachers and some current students in live virtual video chats to hear about the courses and ask questions. 

Teachers tried to give an experience close to a real Open Evening here at the College and the feedback from participants was positive with one visitor saying that the evening was “very good. Technology worked brilliantly, we were able to ask direct questions to tutors and discuss questions.”

We have also begun our interviews for applicants wishing to join in September 2021. These are also taking place virtually using telephone calls and video calls to “meet” our prospective students. Video calls gives the applicants an opportunity to share work with the interviewer and enables our teachers to really see the students’ passion.

Mental Health Development Day

On Wednesday 6th October S6C held our annual mental health development day – full of positive messaging, resources and activities to promote mental and emotional wellbeing, so students are empowered to look after themselves and others.

Activities included outdoor sport, playing with clay, mindfulness, yoga, relaxing colouring, an interview on coping skills with a local doctor, an illustration of mental health using a backpack, a video on kindness provided by the Student Union, and making lists of unhelpful and helpful strategies. The newly created MHST (mental health service team) – which we are linked to as part of a national trailblazer test programme – delivered a talk on exam stress, how to manage panic attacks, strategies for minimising anxiety and tips on healthy sleep. It was so good to be able to facilitate the day for students in a Covid secure way and know they have what they need to be able to get advice, information and help, 24/7, whenever they or a friend may need it, now or in the future.

We all need a little help sometimes and being able to discuss mental health issues calmly, positively and practically is healthy and helpful. More information on the extensive pastoral support systems in college can be found on our website or by contacting the Pastoral Lead.

S6C Reverse Advent Calendar and Christmas Jumper Day

At the beginning of December, Rebecca Anderson, Pastoral Lead, launched a reverse advent calendar in the College. Usually advent calendars mean you take an item each day, with a reverse advent calendar, you give an item. Throughout December students and staff have donated unopened food basics, food treats, toiletries, Christmas decorations or novelties, small gifts, seasonal food items, sanitary products, pet food, pet treats and other items that could be spared or bought and donated.

Pastoral Lead, Rebecca Anderson says “Acts of kindness help our own mental health as well as helping those around us, so it’s a win win project!”

Donations have been placed in a box at S6C Reception and will be shared out across food banks and homeless projects in the local area at the end of term.

Vice-Principal, Louise Henderson, says “This year, we are facing a very different Christmas. Covid might deny some of us the family feasts of years past, but it won’t stop us spreading comfort and joy in the Salisbury community with our reverse advent calendar.  Covid-19 has put record numbers of families at risk of going hungry and we recognise the importance of service to our community and some festive cheer – to those in need.”

The College has also been supporting Save the Children by participating in the Christmas Jumper day on Friday 11th December. Staff and students were invited to wear their best Christmas jumper and donate to the charity.