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17 December 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

EPCS6 End of Autumn Term 2020 

Firstly, I would like to say well done to all of the students and staff involved with EPCS6.  It certainly has been a challenging term with lots of changes and restrictions to how we normally run our sixth form. However, we have all pulled together, to hit the challenges surrounding the pandemic head-on and to ensure that our students get the opportunity to realise their true potential.

Although we move into the next term still with some uncertainty around the summer exams, the best advice we can give students at the moment is to ensure they are fully prepared to perform in those final exams.  After all, it is better to know that you did your best, than to wonder ‘what if’.

Despite any barriers we are in a very strong position regarding university applications. 80% of our current Year 13 cohort have applied to universities, with many taking part in virtual interviews and almost 100% of applicants being offered all five of their course choices.

Pleasingly, we have a huge increase in applications to top universities too: Oxford University for example as well as a number of applications to Russell Group universities (otherwise known as the top 25 universities in the UK).  Our Year 12s are also following in their footsteps with 5 students being accepted onto the prestigious Reading Scholars programme and others applying for the Sutton Trust programme and Social Mobility Foundation. This further underlines the ambition that our students are showing and we are here to support them!

There have been a number of apprenticeship opportunities too.  Although we have been unable to have visitors on site to talk to students about their apprenticeship opportunities, these have still taken place virtually. This includes two alumni talks with past students (both currently studying Degree Level apprenticeships with Microsoft and Unilever) as well as talks with Pathways CTM (who offer careers training and mentoring), AIM Group (who specialise in training, career and apprenticeship opportunities), ASK (the government’s Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge service) and of course our virtual visit to the Higher Education and Apprenticeships Fair at the start of November.  The engagement with these events proves that our students are not allowing the current restrictions to limit them which is refreshing to see.

Please continue to encourage your child to aim for the very best!  We look forward to more of these opportunities in the next term.

We were also still able to hold a few social initiatives thanks to members of the Head Team.  We have had three different fancy dress days, two movie nights and two very well received quizzes for the whole school.  These excellent charity events highlight the community spirit that the EPCS6 students share.  The organisation of the Christmas shoe boxes appeal by the House Captains for example, has been phenomenal.

I do hope that over Christmas, the students enjoy a deserved break from the pressures of A Level and BTEC exams.  At the same time, I ask that you remind them of the need to stay abreast of their work in the New Year.   When we return in January, we will go straight into our first round of Pre-Public Examinations (PPEs).  It is really important that all students are prepared for these exams so that they can perform to the best of their abilities. The PPEs will take place from Tuesday 5 until Monday 11 January 2021.  This will mean that students on A Level courses will only need to attend school for their exams.  All BTEC (L3) and Ready to Work (L2) lessons will continue as normal because of the heavy coursework element involved. The quiet study rooms will remain open for students who require a quiet working space.

From Tuesday 12 January 2021, all remaining sixth form lessons will resume. The PREP curriculum will also be reinstated. Unless there is significant news regarding the coronavirus from either local or national government, students will be expected to resume attendance to morning and afternoon registration, as this is a large part of their curriculum time that is being missed.

Next term promises to be a busy and exciting one as our Year 13 students make some key life decisions such as whether to decline or accept their offers.  Our Year 12 students will also delve deeper into their subjects and start to define their future career paths.

I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Yours faithfully

Mr R Tamale

Senior Teacher – Director of EPCS6