July 2013


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July 2013

  1. 1. July 2013 Dear Parents and Carers This letter accompanies our new style final report of the academic year. We have put a great deal of work into providing you with more detail at this stage and we hope you find the report helpful and accessible. We’d welcome your feedback on the report or any other matters, as ever, via parentfeedback@osfc.ac.uk This letter is the first to be sent out under our newly refreshed logo. Since our previous College logo had been the same for over 20 years we have taken the decision to refresh the look, giving it a modern feel which is more appropriate for use with today’s electronic marketing materials and social media as we look to the future. We hope you like the new logo and are sure it will soon come to be identified as closely with OSFC as the previous version. Please feel free to give us your feedback on it. To coincide with its launch, there are some adverts for the College on local buses at the moment, so look out for our successful former students around and about on the buses! I’d like to correct an error in my previous letter home, regarding the return date for current Year 12 students moving into Year 13. Lessons restart for Year 12 progressing into Year 13 on Tuesday 3 September, not Monday 2 as I previously stated. New students and any current student who has been given permission to re-start Year 12 will start on the Monday. Prior to this, AS level and BTEC results are distributed to your sons and daughters by email from 12 noon on Thursday 15 August and we have a Year 13 enrolment day on Wednesday 21 August for all current Year 12 students to confirm their programmes of study for the next academic year. PARENTS’ LETTER
  2. 2. Your son or daughter will have already completed a Y13 enrolment process via their tutorials, but until results are known, this cannot be confirmed and there are occasions where students change their minds about their programmes in light of their results, hence our introduction of a day dedicated to this process, with all subject staff in college and available to help ensure the right decisions are taken. Full details of this process have already been sent out to students covering both results day and Year 13 enrolment day, including confirmation of their appointment time, room and interviewer for 21 August and details of what to do if there is any problem with this. We are also open on results day for students to come in and see staff about any concerns regarding results and appointment slots will be available by phone. Our Chair of Governors, Steve Lowe, is stepping down from the Board this summer. Having been involved with the College since its inception, Steve has devoted countless hours and enormous efforts to the College over the last 21 years. Amongst many other things, he helped establish the College, played a role in bringing Higher Education to the town, helped secure the Science Centre and has championed the work of the College in numerous contexts, all ultimately to the advantage of our students. We are a stronger college as a result of Steve’s involvement with the Board. We will miss his involvement and are enormously grateful for everything he has done to support the College. A new chair of Governors will be confirmed at the next Board meeting, taking place later this week, so I will be able to confirm who has taken on this role in my first letter next term. There have been a number of new appointments to the Board of Governors this year as other terms of office have ended. New Governors in the last few months are Naila Akhtar, a lawyer working with Platt Halpern solicitors in Oldham, Cllr Shoab Akhtar, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council and Great Communities Manager at Great Places Housing Group, Peter Dunlop, Director of Development at Innovative Technology and Mike Gibbons, Director of Student Recruitment and International Development at the University of Manchester. We are very pleased to welcome these new Governors to the Board. Governors play a very important role for the College, providing vital challenge and support, all on a voluntary basis. Should you be interested in getting involved, we currently have a vacancy for a Parent Governor. To find out more about the role, please contact the Clerk to Governors, Mrs Jan Jones, either by telephone or email jjs@osfc.ac.uk I’d like to publicly thank all the staff and students who have worked so hard to ensure students went into the exam season as well-prepared as possible. There have been many additional revision sessions within and beyond the College day, and we hope all has gone well for all concerned. In addition to all the exam-focused hard work, there have also been a huge number of additional events and activities taking place since my last letter, including some that are new this year.
  3. 3. In terms of trips and visits, Business students have visited Chester Zoo and the National Mining Museum to support their studies of Business Marketing. In the final week of term, a group of Accounting students will attend a masterclass at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Manchester. Language students have seen ‘Après Mai’ in French at the Cornerhouse cinema, in preparation for their A2 studies and a group visited Manchester University to find out more about the Language degrees on offer there. From the Humanities department, History students attended the ‘Discover History’ day at Manchester University, Archaeology students visited Arbor Low and Stanton Moor stone circles in the Peak District to practice the field survey techniques that they will use as part of their individual coursework projects into a range of sites in the region. These visits took place on 20 and 21 June, coinciding with the summer solstice, a time of major significance to the Bronze Age builders of the monuments. Religious Studies students have visited the local Catholic Church, St. Patrick’s. Possibly our most exciting new trip this half-term was the Physics trip to CERN, Geneva, which involved 23 AS and A2 Physics & Electronics students spending a day at CERN which houses the largest Physics experiment in the world. They took the official tour in the morning including a trip to the Magnet Testing Facility and the AMS control centre (a particle-physics detector that looks for dark matter, antimatter and missing matter from a module attached to the outside of the International Space Station). They then had a very rare opportunity to go 100m underground to the ATLAS experiment. ATLAS is one of two general-purpose detectors at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It investigates a wide range of Physics, from thesearchfortheHiggsbosontoextradimensionsandparticles that could make up dark matter. It was only possible to go down to this amazing machine because Ana Soldner-Rembold (who formerly worked at CERN and now teaches Physics and Electronics at the College) was able to organise this for us. An unforgettable, inspiring trip for all involved. Other Science department trips and events included Biology students’ field trips to Ainsdale Sands, Chemistry students visiting the School for Environmental Sciences at Salford University, GCSE Science students visiting Fiddlers Ferry, to study the generation of electricity and a taster day visit to Lancaster University for students interested in studying STEM subjects. In addition
  4. 4. to these off-site visits, Science students have attended various lectures and masterclasses held in the Science Centre and at other local venues, including Dr Jim Wilde from Lancaster University who gave a lecture on the solar system, a lecture on particle physics by a leading professor in this field from Manchester University, a lecture by Prof. Fred Loebinger on Quantum Mechanics, hosted by Hulme Grammar School and an insight into studying Material Physics at Oxford University which was hosted by Blue Coat School. Finally for Science, Biology students have been engaging in an e-mentoring scheme with the University of Huddersfield. To complete the very long list, Leisure Studies and Travel and Tourism students have visited Blackpool Pleasure Beach to gather information for their case study assignments, Law students have had a taster day with the Law department at Huddersfield University, Health and Social Care students have visited Oldham Library to conduct some research and practice referencing skills and in the final week of term Sport students will visit Trafford Watersports Centre and Textiles students will visit Gallery Oldham to see the ‘Born to be Wild’ fashion exhibition and collate research for their practical project in the autumn. Cross-college events include expeditions to the Lake District for the Duke of Edinburgh scheme students, students from the Oxbridge Group visiting Oxford University and the girls’ football team watching England senior women’s football team vs. Japan at Burton Albion FC. Our Sports Leaders award students hosted the very successful Junior Super Athlete event for a fantastic 260 local primary school pupils and our in-house ‘Olympathon’ ran just last week, involving 60 students and the PE department staff completing 26.2 hours of sport, raising money for Christies in the process. The students started off the event early on Thursday 27 June and took part in 26 activities such as Goalball, Bocchia and Kabaddi and more traditional sports of volleyball, hockey and football. The Olympathon finished on Friday morning with a well- deserved relaxing yoga session, followed by a ‘dance-off’ between the various teams of students as part of the closing ceremony. Their stamina and team spirit throughout was really impressive and I know this will be an event they remember for years to come.
  5. 5. We were delighted to be able to offer the GMP ‘Natural Born Leaders’ scheme for a second time this year. This enabled sixteen students to complete a week-long programme run by Greater Manchester Police. The carefully selected group spent the week building teamwork, leadership and communication skills, visiting GMP training centres and taking part in exercises designed to test the skills and leadership capabilities of GMP staff. The week finished with the team presenting a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to a panel of guests and a talk from Sir Peter Fahy, the Chief Constable of GMP, who also presented the students with their certificates of achievement. Another project new to the College this year is the Bright Futures scheme, which offers innovative ‘real job’ placements to students during their second year at college. We are trialling this scheme next year and so far have secured 15 placements with Barclays Bank, Odeon Cinemas and MC2, a marketing company, all of which are based in central Manchester. Students apply for posts and complete a selection process involving staff from the companies and then will spend one day a week from late September to Easter next year working in administrative posts based with the companies involved, alongside continuing their studies at College. This promises to be an excellent scheme for the selected students, providing a wide range of employability skills that should enhance their future prospects tremendously. We have recently appointed our new Student Ambassadors for the next academic year and once againhadafantasticfieldofapplicantsfromwhichtochoose. I’dliketopassonmycongratulations and thanks to the new team, because they have already been working hard at the various school partnership events that have taken place in the last couple of weeks. We try to involve students as much as possible in our various events for schools and we are consistently told how valuable having student input is and what excellent role models our student ambassadors are. The new cohort is already living up to this strong reputation. You may be aware of the recent industrial action by two of the main teacher unions. We were able to keep the college open on the day of action (27 June), though there was some disruption to lessons. We notified students about our position in advance of the day via email and reminders through Twitter. We also notified those parents for whom we have details via our parent portal and through a notice on our website, but I just wanted to take the opportunity to remind parents who haven’t yet done so that you can still sign up for the parent portal. This has undergone substantial development during this year and we hope to make even more use of it next year so if you haven’t yet signed up, please do, either by phoning in for a registration code or by requesting one by email, using the parentfeedback@osfc.ac.uk address. Similarly, if you use Twitter, please follow us on OSFC_Info as this is a very handy and quick way for us to pass on key messages.
  6. 6. Moving on to financial matters, you may recall at the time your son or daughter enrolled with us last summer, our request for a donation to the College Fund. This is an annual request to parents and it is made to supplement reducing Government funding in order that we can continue to enhance each student’s learning experience and improve college resources. We are extremely grateful to parents for their ongoing support via these donations which, in recent years have enabled us to refurbish the learning resource centre and multigym, to the benefit of all students. We are now able to receive payments for 2013-14 and would prefer payments where possible to be made using our online system (ParentPay). Payments can be made any time from now to September. Alternatively there will be a finance desk available during the Y13 enrolment day on the 21 August if you would prefer to pay by cash or cheque. Many thanks again for your generous support. Students who have been in receipt of the College bursary this year will have received an email to reapply for next year. If your circumstances have changed or you are applying for the first time you should read the information booklet on the College website and download the application form. This should be handed back in with a photocopy of your supporting evidence on 21 August 2013. I hope all students (and parents!) enjoy a restful yet productive summer break. Regardless of students’ future plans, using the break to enhance their experience and develop new skills will be helpful when it comes to completing application forms. Whether this be volunteering, part- time work or informal work experience with family and friends, it can all be very useful. We held optional masterclasses for year 12 students who are keen to apply for Primary Teaching, NHS courses, Dentistry and Medicine over a three week period this half term. Students were given extra support for preparing to apply for these particularly competitive courses. All Year 12 students are being encouraged to continue to research their ideas for progression after college over the summer and those planning to apply to university can now begin their application forms online. Full details are on the careers blog http://blog.osfc.ac.uk/careers/ Thanks to everyone involved with the College for their support and hard work this academic year. Wearelookingforwardtosomestrongresultsin thesummerandhaveseenfurtherimprovements in our retention (staying on) rates this year, all of which bodes very well for students’ progression next year. With very best wishes, Jayne Clarke Principal Highly Commended 2010-2011 Principal: Jayne Clarke, BA(Hons), MA (Ed) Oldham Sixth Form College Union Street West Oldham OL8 1XU Tel:0161 287 8000 Fax:0161 650 1100 E-mail:principal@osfc.ac.uk Website:www.osfc.ac.uk
  7. 7. GALLERY 2012 - 2013
  8. 8. Dates for diaries Thursday 15 August AS results emailed at 12 noon. Support available in college 9am-2pm. Wednesday 21 August Y13 enrolment day (for current Y12 students) Appointments slots have been emailed to students Thursday 22 August GCSE results day Tuesday 3 September Lessons start for Y13 students (current Y12)