Newsletter September 2014

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

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.

Teaching personal protection and break away techniques

Teaching personal protection and break away techniques

10483987_840404929323080_7979950193806258026_n 10624645_840404992656407_952864961744432826_n

Newsletter August 2014

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

August brought the results of our first set of Public examinations.  We were very pleased with them and the students did well.  Our first university applicant was offered a place in both Barcelona and London on the basis of completing two full A Levels in one year (normally a two year course).

We have had a busy month interviewing new students and making changes in the accommodation to house the increasing numbers.  Thankfully the extension to the original College premises has provided the wonderful Art, Drama and Business departments with bright, well equipped spaces.

September approaches and we look forward to welcoming seven new staff to add to our existing team which brings the number of subjects offered at A Level to 13.  Our plans for 2015 include introducing ICT A Level and more flexibility in the Art courses.  We shall, of course, await the outcome on the review of Applied A Levels and will be introducing the new two year courses for English and Maths from next year.

Newsletter June & July 2014

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

End of 1st year dinner

End of 1st year dinner

The end of the inaugural year of Palma College was celebrated in some style by students, staff and parents at a formal dinner at the end of June.  There was much to be celebrated as the efforts of all members of the community was recognised.  The students have, on the whole, given off their best in this first year.  There has been some very steep learning curves and the word ‘deadline’ is now taken a great deal more seriously than it was at the start of the year!  The staff have been tremendous in their efforts and we were sad to say goodbye to Jo Doddington who has returned to the UK for personal reasons.  The parents, who are vital to the success of Palma College, were effusive in their good wishes and we would like to thank each and every one of them.

Summer holidays now stretch in front of us; holiday homework aside!  The results of the first sittings of examinations are expected to be released to the students on 14th August and we are looking forward to this as it will be the measure of how well they have done in this first year.

Work continues in the office with new student registrations and planning for next year.  All appears quiet without the comings and goings of the students but we are still working with those who are applying to universities in the UK and Spain so we are not totally alone.  With a larger community next year there will be changes to some of the teaching space, the hall will become the ‘Common Room’ for all students and there will be a new staff room to accommodate the extra staff who are coming on board to add to the list of A Levels we offer.

We are excited to have students coming from farther afield next year; those who have chosen to study at Palma College rather than in their home countries are being welcomed.  We can arrange home stay accommodation for these students and we know that they will add a tremendous amount of variety to our already international community.

If you would like an appointment during the summer please contact us at office@palmacollege.com to arrange a convenient time.

 

Ali Lawrence

Head

 

Newsletter May 2014

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

Hardly had we all returned from our welcome Easter break than the exams were upon us!  The students have remained calm and focused so far but they are examined in various papers over a period of nearly six weeks so it can be draining for all of them.  The classes are not suspended for ‘exam leave’ here at College.  After the students have completed their own series of exams they follow a work orientation programme and then a project week where they will be setting up an Amnesty International Group; looking at applying for Eco Schools status; finding out what it is like to be disable and finally making a promotional video for the College. As soon as the final ‘chunk’ of exams is finished we begin the A2 courses. Results day is 14th August for the students and we hope they get the results they have been working for.

Looking ahead we now have key staff responsible for university applications in various countries.  This will add a specialism where the staff responsible can keep their knowledge current and guide the students through the process.  The students applying for UK universities have already started work on their personal statements and those heading to Spain are checking the points required for entrance and ensuring they are taking enough exam subjects.

All the new staff have been appointed for the additional A levels we are bringing on line for September (Biology, Chemistry and German) and we will also be offering additional qualifications in subjects such as photography and finance.  The ongoing programme of expansion and development of facilities is underway and with a change of use for some of our teaching spaces we are looking ahead with excitement to the second year of teaching. PQA

We are delighted to announce a collaboration with The Pauline Quirke Academy. (http://www.pqacademy.com/locations/mallorca/ )

The Performing Arts students will be joining PQA classes on a Saturday morning from September until February, as part of their course in order to experience many more opportunities in all aspects of Performing Arts. This will also enable them to take part in productions of a larger scale, make and produce films and learn many new techniques such as movement, production, make-up, lighting and attending specialist Masterclasses.

With only five weeks until the end of term it feels as if this inaugural year has flown past.  A celebration dinner is being held both for students, parents and staff but also for all the wonderful supporters and providers of enrichment courses that we have had the benefit of over this year. Thank you to all who have given time and support to all of in this exceptional place!

Newsletter March & April 2014

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

March and April News

First Aid Course

First Aid Course

I can hardly believe that the end of Spring Term is upon us.  So much has been achieved in what feels like such a short term.  The students sat mock examinations so there was a great deal of revision and hard work academically and they all benefitted from the experience.  The real A Level Language Orals have taken place already and the lengthy coursework elements for English Literature, Business Studies and Performing Arts are on track.

All the students sat the First Aid course and now have a valid certificate which lasts for three years.  This will enable them to supplement their cv’s whilst undertaking summer jobs.  They were very enthusiastic during this excellent course, particularly with CPR! During the Enrichment Activities this term they have been looking at some very diverse topics.   We have had a variety of speakers in to talk about their own working life and career paths. The students had the first in a series of interview skills exercises which was delivered and filmed by Jason from Mallorca Today TV. They had an excellent afternoon listening to how to live sustainable lives; they have been to the University of the Balearics to look at the damage done to kidneys on the island by the ‘cal’ in the water, and tested their own levels.  This produced some fun pictures! They listened to the superb Sabrina on how to manage stress during exams; hosted Jan Edwards, a journalist, who became a student for a day; put on a drama showcase in the Anglican Church Hall; took an English and Theatre studies trip to London for a weekend and of course took part in the Sponsored Walk.  A great deal has been achieved by them all. The final Enrichment Activity was a visit to Jungle Parc to complete a series of exercises through the tree tops.

Finally the Easter break has arrived.  We have much to look forward to in the summer term and beyond.  Work experience options are being finalised and a huge thank you to all the companies supporting our young people through this.

A number of new courses are being added next session for A Level options such as German, Chemistry, Biology and Photography.  We will be holding Art and Sculpture workshops in our beautiful new art studio and hosting a series of lectures.  Details will be on the website soon.

If you would like information about any aspect of Palma College please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Newsletter February 2014

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

Students raise € 1005

Students raise € 1005

Exciting events have been taking place in Palma College this month, alongside the normal learning that goes on each day.  One of the advantages of being an entirely sixth form college is that we have the flexibility to take opportunities as they arise, hence our Maths and Physics students coming in early so they could visit the amazing natural phenomena of the sun lighting up the Rose window in Palma Cathedral.  The art students have been out and about in the galleries of Palma, most notably the Salvador Dali exhibition.  They have also been fortunate enough to have attended a Masterclass in sculpture with world renowned Joan Waelder at La Residencia Hotel in Deya. The Performing Art students are busy working on their own production – from start to finish – as part of their assessments and last, but not least, we had a whole College charity event organised by our A2 Business Studies students.  This raised a wonderful sum of 1005€ for the local charity Mediterranea. We welcomed journalist Jan Edwards to attend as a student for the day by shadowing ours.

The speakers that have visited us as part of our enrichment programme have held our attention in more ways than one.  The students were professionally filmed making a presentation, and we will be building these skills over the coming months in order to prepare them for interviews at work or for university.  We were lucky enough to have a fascinating talk about sustainable living from a hugely informed speaker Miguel Ramis from Artifexbalear.  Dr James Rieley spoke to parents about keeping the circle of dynamic learning rolling.

Our own exciting news is the expansion of the College buildings to incorporate a new Art studio, a dedicated Performing Arts space and some further classroom accommodation.  We are delighted to announce a working partnership with Lipofarma. This organisation is making its state of the art science laboratories available to us for our science students to conduct their experiments.  We are humbled by the community partnerships we are making, particularly in industry and the Arts.

 

Newsletter January 2014

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

January is both a time for reflection and to look forward to the coming year.  Looking back over the inception and launch of Palma College it seems like a distant memory.  I have been delighted with the way the new students and staff quickly came together as a community and established a positive and supportive learning environment.  The mutual respect that is evident is a special part of College and one which echoes the ethos of the founders.

 

Looking ahead there are new challenges to be faced and deadlines looming for the students.  On top of a heavy academic workload we are now beginning to look to the future and options for life after College whether it be in work or further study.  Interestingly although we have many nationalities the UK appears to be e choice of many young people for further study however, we do look at all options.

The Enrichment Programme for the Spring term is packed as always with many visiting speakers, workshops and activities.  We are enormously grateful to the professional people who give up their time to come and speak to the students.  It is by illustrating career pathways and encouraging high level decision taking that our young people are being given the best advice.

We look forward to a busy and engaging term in partnership with all of those who are members of the Palma College community.

Newsletter December 2013

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

Santa Ponsa Christmas Fair

Santa Ponsa Christmas Fair

The holidays are fast approaching and so much has been achieved by the students since half term in October.  Our Performing Arts students appeared in an inter-schools production of The Tempest where they performed admirably in association with two other schools and a theatre company.  All the rehearsals and learning of copious lines was in addition to their normal A Level work so a huge well done to them!  Last Sunday two students performed at the Calvia Christmas Fayre and they sang before a huge audience.  It was delightful to feel the community of Palma College coming together to support these youngsters in their first live performance.  Additionally one of our young singers is supporting ABC Mallorca at two events before Christmas. We held our first parent teacher afternoon and it was delightful to see many parents, accompanied by their sons and daughters, really engaging in the conversations regarding the progress being made and agreeing to support their children in any way they can.

 

On top of the extra curricular activities the students are heads down and getting on with their academic studies.  Many of them are involved not only with one or two course works projects but also art sketch book preparation which involves a huge amount of time over and above classroom hours. The staff are certainly glad that they have their degrees and teaching qualifications done and dusted as it appears the burden of work for young people seems to increase year on year.

 

We are looking forward to our final week of this term when we are holding a ‘taster’ afternoon for new students for entry in September 2014.  The teaching staff are holding mini sessions in their subjects for anyone interested.  There is still time to contact us if you would like a place.

 

Finally it just remains to wish everyone involved with our community a very happy and peaceful holiday season.  We are looking forward to returning fresh and positive in January!

Newsletter October 2013

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

The rhythms of College life are now firmly established just a little over a month after term began and it seems like the students and staff have been here forever.  The timetabled classes have settled into patterns with all of us being purposeful and motivated in our teaching and learning.  That is not to say it isn’t very hard work and by Friday afternoons there are some very tired faces leaving for the weekend!

What has been delightful to see is the growing relationship of mutual respect between the staff and the students.  As we have removed the traditional ‘them and us’ culture common to many schools we have found the students much more confident and open and not afraid to express their opinions. The staff are consulting them about their preferred ways of learning and this is working well. Needless to say teenage habits are harder to break in terms of a habitually messy common room!

We are also having lots of laughs!  The Enrichment programme has particular appeal and the students are always keen to know what is coming next but – for this year – we keep them in suspense!

We have had some unexpected late arrivals to the College and our founding students have made them feel very welcome.   We are on a small island and connections and friendships are quickly established. In an atmosphere of positive attitudes I have seen many delightful and spontaneous acts of kindness towards one another and to the staff.  I hope this has set the standard for the rest of the year.

On a final note a number of the students have already begun to look ahead at life after College and are wisely and carefully researching options including universities.  It is the right time to begin this as around January we will be running a series of workshop on university/ further education or Gap Year pathways.

Newsletter September

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

First Day 2013

First Day 2013

The day we have been all working towards for well over a year finally arrived when the students began their first day at Palma College!  It was wonderful to hear the building filled with young voices and to meet them with their enthusiasm and optimism.  I hadn’t realised how much I missed actually being in the company of younger people!

 

All the students threw themselves wholeheartedly into the morning’s activities which including memory games; a photography session and a time management induction.  After lunch lessons began in earnest and the students and staff settled into what I hope becomes a focused pattern of teaching and learning.  One member of staff even commented that they had overheard laughter in another teacher’s lesson – twice!

 

And so we begin our journey with these young people leading them through the demanding courses that will give them access to Higher Education if that is where they wish to go.  We also have some exciting Enrichment Activities planned for this half of term which will challenge them in all manner of ways.  We are hosting a welcome evening for all parents this week and I know that, already, the students feel confident enough to take their parents round the building and show off their rooms.

 

We look forward to welcoming any interested students and parents at our next Open Morning on 9th November, but are always happy to see people through an appointment.

palmacollege.com

Mrs A Lawrence, Head
al@palmacollege.com

Mrs J Witkamp, Business Manager
jw@palmacollege.com