The 2015 Review!

2015 was another fantastic year for the College. Highlights include outstanding student successes (potential, current and former) across all subject areas; being placed as the 2nd highest-achieving Hampshire College; Students' Union members lobbying government to #dropthelearningtax and fantastic VIP talks @altoncollege!

Here's a round up of just some of our achievements:

Alton College was ranked the second highest-achieving Sixth Form College in Hampshire and the third in the South by The Sunday Times.  Moving up an overall seven places from 2014, the College takes 11th place of the 75 surveyed UK Sixth Form Colleges.

The results taken from Department for Education data, include the top students’ exam results specifically the percentage who achieved AAB grades at A level including two facilitating subjects. 

Students at Sixth Forms across the country helped the Sixth Form College Association with the campaign to #dropthelearningtax. All Sixth Form Colleges pay VAT whereas academies and school sixth forms are exempt. Alton College students backed the campaign and wrote and directed this video to show their support.

After the spending review in November, it was stated that Colleges can have the option to become Academies which would allowed VAT exemption.

Our annual Above and Beyond competition for Gifted and Talented students, based on Alton College’s Extended Project Qualification, was won by The Petersfield School on the theme of ‘The Biggest Global Threat’. The EPQ is taken alongside other courses and is highly valued by Universities as it develops critical thinking, research, planning and reflection. 

Alton College alumni continue to excel in a diverse range of areas. Music graduate Laura Jurd, formerly at Amery Hill School, was named Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year at the prestigious APPJAG Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2015, whilst Joe Waller, formerly at Mill Chase School, appeared on The X Factor. Brad Taylor, formerly at Eggar's School, was named Captain of the England Under 19 squad by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The links between Alton College and Xinghua High School in the People’s Republic of China were strengthened this year with visits from students and staff on two occasions. In addition, the College’s first two international students successfully completed their A levels and have gone on to study at Russell Group Universities.

College student Abbie Hines, previously at St Nicholas' School, was featured on The One Show on BBC One in a section called ‘Medical Memories’. Filming took place on campus over half a day which translated to a short section on the programme which explored her diagnoses of a rare form of liver cancer at 18 months and her subsequent full recovery enabling her to live a normal life and to secure a place to study at the Arts University Bournemouth.

This year Alton College has welcomed a variety of external speakers to campus as part of an ongoing initiative to inspire and give insight outside the classroom. Talks@altoncollege began with Dr Vanessa Lawrence, Secretary General of Ordnance Survey International who gave an inspiring talk to Geography students giving insight into how geography is used across all aspects of everyday life. Second year students Amie Jones, previously at Weydon School and Amy Bleakley, previously at Bohunt School not only qualified to represent the UK at the Geography Olympiad in Moscow but were also invited to attend a lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in London with Dr Lawrence.

 

Careers advice for Government and Politics students was on offer from Tamsin Heath, a senior official with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office discussing her role in government. Ian Dunn, Chief Executive of the Galapagos Conservation Trust gave a fascinating presentation on ecotourism, volcanoes, current confluence, sustainable tourism and much much more! In early December, ITN newscaster and journalist Alastair Stewart OBE and his son Freddie, previously at Bedales School before he studied at Alton College, hosted a brilliant Q&A session for students in the Wessex Arts Theatre.

Once again, the Students’ Union has been very active this year. Representatives attended the NUS conference to speak on their motion with regard to #dropthelearningtax. They led activities to raise over £1000 for Comic Relief and took the time to make a revisions tips video for Year 11s. They were also very involved with pitching some excellent questions to the main five parliamentary candidates at the Hustings held on campus in the lead up to the General Election.

A broad range of trips have been enjoyed by students throughout the year both home and abroad. This year’s photography and textiles trip was to the flamboyant and vibrant country of Morocco, whilst another creative arts trip visited Istanbul. The Spanish department went to Salamanca and French students visited Paris. Selected students on the Public Services course experienced life for a week at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines Lympstone in Devon and the ski trip this year was to Leysin in the Swiss Alps. English Literature students traced the footsteps of local poet Edward Thomas from Steep to the Somme, while Physics students thoroughly enjoyed the annual trip to CERN.

Sports students continue to excel – the College rugby team finished the season in second position in the Hampshire College Sport Association league whilst three students completed a race in the Portsmouth Duathlon Series. Nathan Gibson, previously at Weydon School, and Freya Davis, formely at Hawley Place School, participated in the English Schools Cross Country Championships in Blackburn as part of the Hampshire Schools Team. The Alton College Tennis Team had a great year finishing as the Hampshire College’s boys doubles champions and the College Equestrian team jumped to success at Hurstpierpoint College National Championships. Pathways student Toby Prudence, previously at Hollywater School participated in the 2015 British Special Needs Open Judo Championships and won silver. Ben Tyler, previously at Swanmore College, an Options group student won the bronze medal in both Mens singles and doubles for people with Learning Difficulties. He has also qualified to be selected for the Special Olympics in 2017. Terry Brigdale, formerly at Egar's School, recently represented England in karate at the European Championships in Denmark and won two gold medals.

In July, the College campus was buzzing with new students at WelcomeFest, our unique welcome day dedicated to giving our next cohort a chance to speak to our brilliant, experienced staff and amazing students alongside a special taste of the Alton College atmosphere. The morning was dedicated to exploring subject areas through workshops and talks while the afternoon was more relaxed watching world champion beatboxer Shlomo (fresh from Glastonbury) and talented current students perform at a Battle-of-the-Bands for a chance to play at Butserfest.

Alton College is dedicated to encouraging and promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. This year we were one of three colleges in Hampshire to be accepted by the Royal Society Associate Schools and Colleges scheme.  Several students did extremely well in the British Biology Olympiad, Megan Keeping, previously at The Petersfield School and Claudia Kirby, previously at Tormead School, had success at the UK Mathematical Olympiad for Girls, another outstanding set of results were achieved by College students at the Senior Maths Challenge, and the Maths Team Challengers qualified for the UK final. Three students made the top 10 National Finalists to compete at Worldskills in the Industrial Electronics category. Jimmy Page, previously at Perins School, went on to get gold and Tom Andrews, previously at The Petersfield School, came fourth – both boys have been selected for Squad UK to be trained for selection for Abu Dhabi Worldskills 2017.

Once again, students from Alton College achieved excellent results in their summer exams. Over three quarters of A level students were awarded A*-C grades while 91% of those taking the Extended Project Qualification achieved A*-B (100% passed).  An amazing 77% of BTEC students achieved the highest grades.

Photography student Eliot Finch, previously at The Petersfield School, was shortlisted for this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. One of his images was used on the Ordnance Survey ‘Snaps on the Map’ for the Haslemere & Petersfield map. Two students had their works selected to be on display at the Lloyds Register Gallery and at the Royal Society of British Artists annual show. Art & Design students took part in a Dragon’s Den style session pitching their concept, brand, press pack and products to a panel of industry experts.

In the summer, OFSTED inspectors visited the College’s on-site Nusery and rated it Outstanding. The report described it as having a ‘highly stimulating environment, both indoors and out’ and stated that the children are ‘very independent and develop extremely well’ making ‘excellent progress’ with ‘excellent support’ from staff.

To read more on these stories and other achievements see altoncollege.ac.uk/news

Applications for September 2016 are open and close at the end of March altoncollege.ac.uk/applynow

Our next Open Day is Monday 4 July 3.30-8pm.