New College Day

The next OPEN DAY is on Wednesday 13th November 2019, 5:00-8:30pm

From September 2017 we changed the College day by adopting a new timetable. We did this because we believe it provides a better way of learning and better prepares our students for their futures. Please read below for more information. 

Why is this ‘a better way of learning’?

     Better study time

  • Increased teaching time for students, of up to 50 hours per year
  • Longer lessons which bring students academic benefits

     Better use of the day 

  • A later start means that students are ready to learn
  • Avoids students having periods of trapped time between lessons
  • Enables blocks of time for students to study, or undertake work experience, enrichment activities or part-time employment
  • More respectful of students’ other commitments and less ‘school-like’ 

     Better preparation for the future

  • Longer sessions give students more time to develop their independent study skills, more time to get support and better prepare them for university and employment.

Fiona Webb, Curriculum Manager for Humanities and Social Sciences said:
"The adapted timetable has revolutionised teaching and learning. The longer lessons enable teachers and students to work their way through the thinking skills required for successful outcome at A Level: from the basic content recall right up to formulating an argument, reaching an evaluative conclusion. Every lesson, students are able to apply their learning to exam practise, enabling them to self-reflect and receive feedback from their teacher!"

Steph Forward, Teacher of Psychology, has stated that her students have a much better understanding of a topic when they have been able to cover it in one lesson. 
In a longer lesson we can cover the content of a topic, have plenty of time for discussion and application activities and also look at how to use their knowledge in exam questions.  Students are engaged for the whole lesson as it is split up into many different activities and they really enjoy having plenty of time to think in more depth about a topic and ask more questions.”

Why did we change the College Day?

Students and parents told us that the College day and timetable did not work as well as it could because:

  • Sometimes there could be long gaps between lessons
  • Starting at 8.50am meant that some students left home as early as 7am to get to College on time
  • Students had up to 4 different subjects in one day: this meant 4 subjects to focus on, 4 lots of homework to be working on and 4 lots of books to bring in.

Why did we change to a later start time?

Academic research shows that students learn better later in the day and that an early start time is not optimum for teenagers. Professor Colin Epsie, Professor of Sleep Medicine in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford states that: 

'We know that something funny happens when you’re a teenager, in that you seem to be out of sync with the world. Your parents think it’s because you’re lazy and opinionated and everything would be ok if you could get to sleep earlier. But science is telling us that teenagers need to sleep more in the mornings.'

We discussed our new timetable model with a number of academics both at home and internationally and all commented that the new model will help students to learn. 

Dr Paul Kelley of the Open University (and formerly Research Associate at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford) states:

'A better way of learning: Why starting school at 10:00 improves education and health? Teenage years are critical for both education and health. During late adolescence major physical changes mean teenagers need more sleep. In addition, biological changes occur, making them naturally wake up and go to sleep later in the day. So later starting times protect student sleep and student health. The 10am start will also improve learning, partly because students will be in better health, and partly because teenagers and university students learn better later in the day.'

Will the College only be open during lesson time?

No, the College is open as usual from 8.30am until 5.00pm. Learning resources will be available as normal during these times. It is only the timetable that is changing.

Why we have fewer, longer lessons. (2 x 2.5 hour lessons each day).

Fewer lessons in a day gives students just two subjects or units to focus on with just two teachers. This allows more time to explore, discuss and learn about subjects that they enjoy.  In addition longer lessons provide more direct teaching time and support which sets us apart from other Colleges with a more traditional timetable.

The new timetable also provides periods without lessons to be used for study, work experience, extra-curricular activities or other commitments. 

Are there breaks in the new longer lessons?

Yes. There is a flexi-break in all the lessons. This break happens at an appropriate time in the lesson dependent on the activity. 

We also changed our approach to Personal Tutor time.

Tutor sessions take place at the end of a morning lesson (once a fortnight), with the teacher who has just taught the lesson. This is a 30 minute session with a small group of students focusing on academic progress and progression. There is also a large group ‘Forum’ session for students every other week. This takes place in the Martin Read Hall where specialist staff will cover a range of issues from UCAS to Apprenticeships and Resilience to Cybersafety. 

What will a typical timetable look like?

Please click here to view examples of some new timetables.