|Year 7 students had a very pleasant trip to Cheddar in ideal weather. They visited the caves, the museum, and climbed the Gorge to learn about Cheddar’s geology, pre-history, history, and how the Gorge is managed today. It was an ideal Year 7 trip, a mix of learning, fun, indoors, outdoors and some exercise!! The students were fantastic ambassadors for the College.
Year 8 students enjoyed all the horrors of life during the English Civil War provided by a company of re-enactment experts from Great Torrington. What did they eat? How did they cook? What did they wear? What if they were ill? How did they deal with injuries? What did they believe about witches? How did a musket work? Why were pikes so important?
Year 9 divided into different programmes – these included an English/Media based activity of producing a magazine in a day, using a range of creative skills, but also learning the tricks of the trade and the specialist language of by-liners and standfirsts. Other Year 9 students engaged in pizza-making and packaging, or developing a burglar alarm using ICT!
Year 10’s Day of Difference was also a mix of fun and learning which drew out some very powerful and though-provoking ideas challenging difference, prejudice, intolerance and racism. An initial ‘colourful’ activity saw students create individual societies and form ideas about each other. This introduces the idea of assumptions and prejudices, which is then extended through a variety of visitors who are ‘different’ and have experienced intolerance or discrimination. These sessions are particularly powerful.
Year 11 were exam-focused as their GCSEs approach. Most of the year group received a motivational presentation from ‘Positively Mad’, an educational company which specialises in challenging student assumptions, improving attitude, and focusing on revision techniques in the context of how the brain works. Students also chose from a range of relaxation techniques and/or coursework catch-up. A targeted group worked on improving their English Language portfolio. In the afternoon, all students received their Records of Achievement in a special informal, positive assembly, which included several excellent student performances in dance and music, including excerpts from ‘Les Misérables.
Year 12 and 13 students had a highly motivational learn to learn presentation from Positively Mad. The course showed the students how to reduce exam-related stress by preparing more efficiently. It gave them an understanding of the principles of memory and how to move information from short into long term memory. They were taught how to revise effectively, deal with pre-exam nerves and have a positive attitude towards learning. We hope that all the students will use these skills to improve exam performance; it was lovely to see some of them being tried out by students in their independent study sessions the following day.