Another academic year has come to an end and we are delighted to say goodbye and good luck to all our leavers. After having five unconditional offers from prestigious universities in Spain and the UK I can say that this year we have even more confidence in the abilities and outlook of these young people who have benefitted from being part of the College. The remainder of the students all have good offers based on their results, or are awaiting confirmation of placements in Apprenticeship schemes throughout Europe.
The Lower Six have also worked hard this year; it has been a steep learning curve for many of them and they are now establishing good working habits which will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. With our focus being on independent learning and skills for life we are proud to observe the changes that many of them have made throughout the year. Of course, they are young people who sometimes make errors, but overall we are very pleased with their progress.
The College has expanded again and we are adding to the teaching staff next term, with three new members of staff. Sadly, our teacher of German has had to take a sabbatical for family reasons but we look forward to welcoming her back in 2018. The Modern Languages Department has therefore two new members of staff and we also welcome our teacher of Psychology. The Art Department will have two teachers and Mathematics and Sciences have strengthened their number when our current part time teacher of Maths and Physics becomes full time in the Autumn. We are delighted with the commitment and professionalism of all our fully qualified teaching staff and that we have a truly international staff room.
The next academic year will see the College expand in student numbers although we will always keep each class to less than 10 students. Being based on two sites this year has given the students an opportunity to refresh themselves mentally and physically between classes with the short walk between buildings and this has worked well.
For your information, may I remind you that examination results will be available on 17th August from College. It is helpful for the students to come into College any time after 10am to collect their provisional grades and then confirm university places. Staff will be on hand to assist with queries. Those awaiting GCSE results can collect them on 24th August. The term dates for next year are available on the website but all students will be expected to be present on 6th September for our first day.
Jill and I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and to wish you all a very happy summer with your families.
Ali Stanford Lawrence
Reflecting on the third Leavers’ Dinner held on 30th June Head Teacher Ali Lawrence stated that the College is in excellent health and that the entire staff is delighted to note the success of this year’s leavers in either securing university places throughout Europe and America, or taking an alternative route into work or planned GAP year projects. Life is very challenging for young people where the world has changed almost beyond recognition in terms of jobs and security and it is essential that education is preparing them for life and its adventures. It was great to see our first ever leaver return from his second year at university to support the College at the dinner!
A new Maths, Science and Performing Arts Centre has been recently acquired by Palma College in order to accommodate the growing number of students. With many of the 16 A Level subjects already filled for September 2016, and in some subjects with two classes running, it was an opportune moment to move Maths and Sciences into their own dedicated space in Palau Reial which is a four minute walk from the main building in C/Can Veri. The new accommodation will host Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology; additionally there is a large studio space for Drama and Theatre A Level courses. The Departments of Languages and the Arts remains in the original building where A Levels in English Literature, Fine Art, Business Studies, ICT, and the modern languages of Spanish, French, German, Italian and Russian are taught.
With the number of different nationalities totalling 22 Palma College is where cultural diversity is celebrated and where the students learn so much more than how to pass examinations. The Enrichment Programme also teaches youngsters how to make the transition from school to independent living and provides life skills which future employers rate as essential be it critical thinking, team work, flexibility or simply being a useful part of a community.
Jill Witkamp and Ali Lawrence, founders of the College, are delighted to be celebrating this move into additional premises and are looking forward to welcoming 50 students in September.
A busy half term has now come to an end and a much needed break is upon us. The students finished the half term by listening to a career panel talk about their own journeys from school onwards. We were extremely fortunate to hear from journalist Jan Edwards; mechanical sculptor Simon Blades; Director General of Ca’n Solé Petit Hotel and CEO of group Events and Feelings Joan Enric Mulet Cañellas; Area Manager from TUI Charlie Bridge and last but not least Michael Leahy from the British Council.
The L6 students are busy with extending their learning skills and many of them are involved in writing lengthy coursework pieces. The Performing Arts students have welcomed many guests from the world of the Arts over the past few weeks and Currusca, our drama teacher, continues to provide inspiration from real life experience for them. Art students are similarly busy finalising their individual plans for investigation and some are a little surprised at the academic study which is involved in Art! The modern languages students have been out and about in Palma visiting different attractions and putting their language skills to good use. Business Studies and Travel and Tourism students have been out asking people to complete surveys and questionnaires to help with their studies and the Science students have been travelling to Parc Bit to use the state of the art laboratories for their practical work. A busy time indeed!
U6 students are now working on their own next steps; sights are fixed on various pathways such as applications to university in the UK, Germany, Austria, Italy and the US. Those who wish to follow a more vocational route are looking at opportunities within the performing arts world in France. As a staff we all hold individual experience in helping with applications for different parts of the world and also in helping young people into apprenticeships or even into work.
After the first few weeks of a new term the students are, on the whole, settled down and working hard. It has come as quite a shock to many of the new students just how much effort and application is required of them and the leap between pre 16 and post 16 education is high.
We have already had some excellent Enrichment sessions amongst which we have had workshops on Managing Finances; Life Coaching; Interview Skills; Entrepreneurial Pathways; a presentation by The Rotary Club; an Artist’s afternoon, Study Skills and a presentation on Drugs and Sexual behaviour. The students have remained open and interested in what our speakers have to say and we are looking forward to more exciting activities throughout the term and to our Sponsored Walk on 26th September.
The U6 have begun their applications for the next steps be it university, a further education pathway or a planned GAP year. We do encourage all of them to have made firm decisions by the end of this term in order for us to assist in the many and varied applications that they have.
Palma College also hosted for La Caja Blanca an event for art lovers to meet the artist who they were presenting during the La Nit de l’Art 2015 – Maria José Argenzio’s (Ecuador, 1977) debut show in Spain, with an exhibition entitled “Nobleza Obliga” curated by Fernando Castro Flórez.
We are very proud of the first cohort of students who have completed their two year A Level courses with some excellent grades, including some with 100% pass marks! All the students who applied for university this year were successful in their first choice courses and we have spent this week confirming acceptances for September starts.
The AS grades were also on the whole very positive although it is apparent that, in a few cases, more effort needs to be given to this essential year as some students were taken aback by the level of difficulty compared to the GCSE course; there is a huge step up in terms of homework and keeping on top of important coursework assignments. For the new students joining us on 2nd September I cannot stress this highly enough.
We are inviting all parents to an information evening on Friday 4th September in the courtyard of ABC Mallorca offices adjacent to the College. This will begin at 5.30 and end about 7.30. This is an evening only for parents both to make new friends but also to dispel some of the music that the youngsters try to spin!
In the interim we hope you all enjoy these last few weeks of holidays.
Ali & Jill
Summer is well and truly upon us as seen in the soaring temperatures of the last two weeks or so and students and staff are enjoying a well-earned break after a hectic term.
Summer term is always challenging in a college: examinations are spread over a number of weeks and the students not only face these but the L6 go straight into three weeks of A2 level classes. This gives them an excellent ‘head start’ on the time they have for next year’s course content and gives them a focus for keeping up their learning over the summer break. Some students also have a longer period of work experience arranged which is a great idea as it will help them refine their university choices.
Our leavers all have conditional offers from the college or universities of their choice, apart from the option of studying in Germany which is always a late entry. We are delighted with the successes these young people have enjoyed and are looking forward to results day, 13th August, when we will be able to confirm choices with them. The College will be open from 9.30am until12.30 pm for students to come in and pick up results.
Examinations were not just the focus of last term. We enjoyed some fantastic Enrichment experiences plus extra workshops in Art. The whole College was privileged to be in the audience for the Performing Arts examined pieces and the cast of the adapted ‘The Crucible’ were outstanding. The PA students also managed to write and record a charity single for Cancer Support Mallorca which was produced to educate young men about the risk of testicular cancer. This was so successful that the British charity ‘Ball Boys’ is to make us a visit. We were honoured to receive a plaque from The Rotary Club to mark our involvement in the charity walk last September as the school or college with the highest proportion of students to take part and we are looking forward to this year’s walk.
As always we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of those in the workplace who give up their time to work with the young people. Adults who give up time to inform, educate or provide work experience are invaluable in enriching the lives of youngsters and helping them to explore future options.
Our Leavers Dinner held this year at Bar Cuba was a lovely evening with all the students looking their best. We now have to look for a larger venue for next year as the College is growing quickly. There are very limited courses with openings for this September.
Looking ahead, the College is in great health and we are adding an additional A level course in ICT for next year. We have many different nationalities represented and look forward to welcoming students on 2nd September with AS students joining us at 9.30 and A2 returning at 12. We will also be inviting parents only to an information and informal gathering on Friday 4th September on the terrace of ABC magazine.
All that remains for us to say is enjoy the beautiful summer on our wonderful island!
The end of a packed term is upon us and students and staff are looking forward to a well-earned break. We have had a really busy time recently, with the regular teaching and learning taking place; the mock examinations; offers of university places coming in and of course a rich and varied Enrichment Programme.
In addition to our top Physics results from January examinations, the L6 students had their first taste of mock examinations and it was clear that some of them were better prepared than others! However, there were some promising grades awarded to those who had revised and were thinking ahead to the very short teaching time left before the actual exams begin in May.
We are delighted that ALL the UK applicants for Higher Education or Degree courses have had firm offers from the universities or colleges of their choice. There was particular strength in the Performing Arts applications which is fantastic and the recipient of our first Performing Arts Scholarship, Oliva May Green, has been given a place to study singing and songwriting so we are especially pleased with this. Applicants for universities in Holland, Germany and the US have a longer time scale in which to apply and we will report back on these as soon as we hear.
The Enrichment Programme has been varied and challenging. We have too many people to thank individually here for giving up their time to support our young people, but we must mention in particular Dr James Rieley, Dr Helen Cumming and Mr Jason Moore amongst others. They are all tremendous supporters of Palma College and we are lucky to have such a wealth of talent and experience in business to draw on. The students have been cooking Indian and Thai food; looked at effective study skills with Martin from Mallorca Tutoring Academy; approached the concept of budgeting; had healthy yoga and de-stressing techniques; worked on their interview skills; conflict resolution skills and more! Charities have been engaging with the students and we have had really moving presentation form Fundación Rana.
We are proud to be able to display some of the amazing work that the students produce in and around College; particularly in the Art room. We also have the L6 Performance Showcase which promises to be very entertaining indeed! Next term the U6 Performing Arts students are presenting ‘The Crucible’ for the examination piece and they have been rehearsing well for this.
November and December 2014
It is always difficult to keep a calm and purposeful atmosphere in the run up to the holiday season but I have to stay that most of the students remained focused and diligent in their studies almost until the last. This was helped in no small part by some of the subjects having a mini ‘mock exam’ on the second last day. These tests and mock examinations help the students to gauge their own progress and to see if there are gaps in their knowledge. Hopefully the Christmas break allowed for not only some rest and relaxation but also time to revise and consolidate the learning of the term.
November was a busy month not only academically, but also with a 3 day trip to Barcelona, Thai cooking workshop and a very interesting (and shocking) talk about 21st Century Slaves from Médicos Del Mundo.
An end of year lunch saw students bringing various dishes from their own countries to enjoy with staff.
Our final morning saw the student body walk up to Teatro Principal to watch Duncan perform so admirably in ‘A Christmas Carol’. This
professional and hugely entertaining production by Isla Theatre Group was enjoyed by all of the audience and it was wonderful to see how far Duncan has come in his acting abilities. In between College work, rehearsals with not one, but two productions, Duncan has also been flying back and forth to the UK to audition to study acting/theatre studies at university. He is not alone in this and we have been delighted that so many of our students who wish to study in the UK are busy attending interviews either in person or on Skype. Our European hopefuls apply a little later in the year and those heading for the US sit entrance tests in October and November this year.
As always College is a thriving and busy environment and we look forward to seeing our first cohorts receive the offers from the universities or colleges that they wish to attend
The end of the month gives students and staff a welcome break from the frantic pace of teaching and learning. The new students have been more than surprised at the increase in work between GCSE or equivalent and AS level. The coursework elements in some subjects are onerous and demanding and they are, so far, coping with this! Similarly our art students are expected to spend a great deal of extra time on their projects and sketch books. Performing Arts students also have a Saturday morning lesson at PQA where they enjoy both skills teaching and Masterclasses in all aspects of the profession.
The Enrichment programme has seen Asian cooking classes; interview and presentation skills; talks from diverse groups such as Cancer Support Mallorca and Ondine Association and guest speakers like Birgit Unger from Mallorca Deluxe magazine. Some students went to Radio One Mallorca to be part of the morning show and one even sang her own songs live on the radio. Our final Enrichment Activity for this half of term involves dark spaces and laser guns!
Both the Biology and Chemistry students have been to the laboratories of Lipopharma in ParBit for their first round of practical experiements.
University applications are continuing with the first Art student having already sent hers off and is awaiting interview dates. The Performing Arts students are applying for a variety of courses including Global Theatre Studies which involves some time in the US. Those students who are applying to universities in Europe have different criteria to fulfil and are researching places in Spain, Holland, Switzerland and Germany. Each student has a duty to research the requirements for entry and we began this process with them in Lower Six to ensure they were studying the correct subjects!
We are holding our Open Morning on November 8th from 10am until 12.30pm and welcome visits from anyone who is interested in a place for 2015 or beyond. The students will be on hand to show visitors around and the teaching staff can give you more information about their subjects.
We also offered the new students the opportunity to take part in a Barcelona trip taking place in November. This is a joint department trip for Languages; Sciences; Business Studies; Travel and Tourism; Art and Drama. We have planned a full and busy programme over four days with specific activities and visits relevant to the courses being studied.
As always we have an exciting programme of Enrichment activities planned although one young man thought that having a hypnotist to come and demonstrate skills may be a good idea. We are not sure about that! The students do have the opportunity to make suggestions that they feel would improve their overall experience in Palma College and I was proud of our Student Leadership team for going to local businesses and cafés and negotiating discounts for Students: this is the kind of initiatives we encourage the young people to take.
So the hard work begins. Looking at the schedule of deadlines for various departments to have all the assignments in, marked and ready to send off to the exam board it does look daunting. This is even before the actual exam season begins. We ask the young students to take every opportunity given to them to do their very best academically so that they will be ready for the next steps in life after College.