Parents and carers play a very important role in this process. To this end we have produced this article and our Parents’ Charter, which attempt to provide useful information and answer the questions that parents most commonly ask. I hope that you find these useful and that your sons and daughters enjoy, but more importantly, fully benefit from their experience at the College.Jayne Clarke Principal
The aim of this information is to provide some answers to the questions parents most often ask as their sons and daughters join the College. Please note that for the purposes of this article the term ‘Parents’ also refers to legal guardians/carers. Perhaps the most frequently asked of these is “How does College differ from school?” Much is made of the big step between school and College and it can be a daunting move for both students and their parents. We like to think of College as a ‘stepping stone’ towards independence, providing opportunities for developing within a structured and supportive framework that will be as ‘strict’ as is needed in individual situations.
On a day-to-day basis, the College day runs from 9.00 a.m. to 4.15 p.m. Lessons are 70 minutes long and, on average, your son or daughter will have 6 study periods per week, during which time we recommend they make use of the excellent study support facilities in College in order to work on homework, complete additional reading or research and generally supplement the work completed in their lessons. It may be the case that your son or daughter does not have a 9.00 a.m. start every day, but (s)he is very unlikely to have more than two later starts in a week and, in any case, it is good practice getting used to coming into College and studying.
As a parent, you will receive regular feedback on your son or daughter’s progress through our reports and Parents’ Evenings. You are also very welcome to make contact with us whenever you choose if you feel you need more information or wish us to be aware of anything. The vast majority of our communication, as you might expect, is with the students themselves. We encourage them to take more responsibility for their learning than they will have been used to at school, giving them study periods and some more independent learning opportunities. Where there are problems with progress, however, we will seek to identify these and support students, involving and informing you as necessary.
In terms of what you should expect to see your son or daughter doing outside of College hours, homework is set on a regular basis and although there may be some peaks and troughs in the amount set, on average around 8 to 16 hours additional study outside of lessons, each week, will be expected. The College is very well equipped in terms of facilities for independent study and access to I.T. There is a Learning Resource Centre and a number of study areas open for independent and supported study throughout the College day. So, if your son or daughter appears to have hardly any work and says they are not due in College until after 10.00 a.m. most days, then you would be right to be worried!
We have high expectations of our students and work with them on setting targets and reviewing progress towards these targets regularly. Planning towards what they are aiming to do after College is another essential part of their time with us and we encourage students to start this planning early in order to produce strong applications and have the best chances of success.
Linked to the strength of students’ applications is the wide range of ‘extra’ opportunities available at College beyond the ‘traditional’ academic programme. Our Enrichment programmes offer extra qualifications, experiences and opportunities to extend existing skills or acquire new ones, all of which contribute to the crucial ‘all round’ development that is part of being a student at the College. Students are encouraged to participate in courses other than their main programme of study in order to broaden their experience, develop additional skills and prepare for higher education or employment.