We are delighted that your child is considering us for the next step of their journey. Coming to college at 16+ offers many opportunities and it also marks the start of a more independent life in an adult environment.
As one of the largest colleges in the UK, we offer you an unprecedented choice of study options after GCSEs: practical skills training, apprenticeships, national diplomas and technical baccalaureates. More than ever before, there is something for everybody at one of our nine campuses across the South West.
We ensure our learners leave us with more than just a qualification, they will also be competent in the workplace, undertake work experience, career planning and personal development programmes to ensure they have the very best start in their working lives.
This section of the website has been designed to help you guide your child through the decision-making process and find the path that best suits their individual strengths. As well as provide useful information for when they may join one of our colleges.
With regular Personal and Professional Development (PPD) group sessions, one-to-one reviews, employability skills and work experience for all of our study programme students, you can be assured that we put the learning experience at the forefront of everything we do.
See how we support our learner’s personal development here: Study Programme Guide
We want the transition from school to college to be as smooth and successful as possible and we welcome your participation in this.
Since 2015 young people have been required to remain in learning or training up to 18 years old. By staying in learning your child can gain the qualifications that they need to help them succeed. They will also have more chance to develop the knowledge and practical skills that employers are looking for.
Choices at 16 are:
- Stay in full-time or part-time education, either at college or school sixth form
- Work with substantial training
To find out more about your options, call one of our advisers today.
What to expect when your daughter or son is studying with us
Your son/daughter will be supported throughout their learning journey with us by our Personal Learning Advisers and Support teams who will also act as your first point of contact for any concerns or queries you may have, or if you need to make us aware of how best to support them at college.
Students are more likely to excel in their learning, personal and career development if a sound partnership exists between them, their tutors and their parents/carers. While we aim to treat our learners as young adults, effective two-way communication with parents and carers is also important. We will be in contact with you via our Student Progress Reports (Autumn and Spring terms) and if we have any current concerns about your son/daughter while they are with us. We welcome your active involvement in helping them make the most of their learning through:
- safeguarding themselves and others in our college site communities
- adhering to our College Values, Code of Conduct, health and safety and safeguarding procedures
- attendance at all timetabled sessions throughout their programme of study (including English, maths (if required), tutorial sessions including PPD and work experience/employability)
- meeting of assignment and assessment deadlines
- active participation in all classes and work experience
Our staff will provide encouragement and support to raise your son/daughter’s aspirations and boost their self- confidence to achieve these. We hope that you will add your support to this.
On a more practical note, with September being a very busy time, we would encourage you to organise the ordering of bus passes and completion of applications for College Bursary Funds during July and August in order to have these in place ready for the beginning of term.
Staff from our Student Services teams on each site will be working throughout the summer to respond to any queries you may have. We are continuing to accept Transport and Bursary funding applications, together with course applications and we will continue to offer interviews for college places via our Customer Services team, throughout the summer period
As part of our Strategic Intent, the College has set the following values that we promote to our students, staff and partner organisations. We encourage our students to aspire to achieve to the best of their ability through setting stretching targets, to make the most of their time at College and to model our College Values which are to be:
- Learner first
- Act with integrity
- Take ownership
- Achieve excellence together
Bad Weather/Emergency Closures
Any site closures will be published on our website in our news section giving as much notice as possible. If students are not able to access their site, they can still complete work at home and, if internet access is available, they can log on to our Student Portal and Moodle sites to access resources.
Absence at college clearly impacts upon the likelihood of successful completion of qualifications and progression from a student’s programme. Young people under the age of 19 years are legally still classed as “children” and are required to remain in education or training until they are 19 years old. For this reason, we have a “duty of care” to ensure that we know their whereabouts and that they are safe. If they are not in class and you have not informed us of their absence, we will contact you as soon as possible to let you know in case they are missing.
We ask parents/carers to support us in:
- ensuring that students attend all sessions of their study programme at all times unless an authorised absence has been agreed.
- notifying us in advance if your son/daughter is unable to attend college via our central absence reporting number 0330 123 25 23.
- emphasising the importance of arriving at sessions on time and with any materials they may need.
- contacting your son/daughter’s Personal Learning Adviser or Senior Learning Adviser to let us know of any personal or family circumstances that may be impacting on their attendance or achievement at college, so that we can put additional support in place for them.
Code of Conduct/Disciplinary Procedures
We aim to treat our students as young adults and foster a more adult environment than school. However, we do expect students to comply with our Code of Conduct which is designed to keep everyone safe, respect all of those who attend our sites and to promote a positive and supportive environment for all; students, staff and visitors.
By logging on to the student portal either within college or from home or elsewhere, learners can view their attendance, RAG (red, amber, green) progress status, targets and any concern notes raised about their progress at college. This information can also be shared with parents/carers by your son/daughter so you can keep abreast of their progress and check attendance.
Data Protection and Confidentiality
At the age of 16 years, although still legally classed as a child, young people also have the right to confidentiality about their own information, providing they have not been judged to not have “capacity” under mental health legislation. College is a first step towards adult life and as such we aim to treat our students as young adults. As part of their enrolment agreement we advise them that we will share information about their progress and attendance with their named parent/next of kin/carer.
Careers Information, Advice and Guidance
We are committed to the provision of high quality guidance to our applicants and students and make these services available through our careers and progression team working across our sites. As well as providing one-to-one guidance to help individuals choose their career pathways, the team run workshops on a range of topics including CVs, job hunting, applying to university and learning good interview techniques.
For more information visit, Careerpilot a free website helping 13—19 year olds in the South of England plan their future study and work which has a lot of useful information for young people and parents.
The Careerpilot Parent Zone can help you as a parent/carer get answers to the career questions you want to ask, about:
- Choices at 14, 16 and 18;
- Further Education College;
- Apprenticeships and Traineeships;
- Higher Education (including HE provided at local colleges);
- Job sectors and growth;
- Funding and support.
Employability and Work Experience
Increasing emphasis on improving young people’s work related skills in being driven by the Government in response to the feedback from employer organisations such as the CBI. We have risen to this by developing our own unique Steps to Success framework to help young people build up the skills they need to compete successfully for jobs and maintain work in the future.
Equality and Diversity
We are a diverse college, welcoming all individuals as staff or learners and respecting differences in gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, faith, ability or disability, personal background and circumstances.
We aim to ensure that everyone feels valued, safe and included in the college community and to achieve their full potential and we expect our students to demonstrate acceptance of and tolerance towards those with other beliefs, faiths or differences.
Exams and assessment
Exams and assessment are an inevitable part of any student’s college life. The frequency and format of exams and assessment will vary according to their programme of study. Most vocational studies programmes are based on on-going assessment rather than one final exam, as opposed to GCSE/A-level provision. If your son/daughter had special exam arrangements at school, such as a reader or extra time, it is very important that you notify us as early as possible into their programme to give time for these arrangements to be agreed with the various exam boards well ahead of any exams.
College life offers a wide range of opportunities that we hope students will take full advantage of. These include trips abroad and within the UK, social events, cross campus competitions such as Beach Olympics, freshers’ fairs, summer balls, theme park trips, volunteering opportunities, National Citizenship Scheme, involvement with the Students’ Union, live music events, paintballing, attendance at NUS events and much more.