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.

Newsletter August

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

August brought record temperatures to Palma as we worked throughout the month preparing the College for the start of the new term on September 9th.  It was also exam results month which brought joy and disappointment, thankfully not in equal measure.  Many of our founding students achieved excellent results and can now approach the rigours of the A Level courses with enthusiasm and determination.  For a very few the inevitability of some resits looms, but with small class sizes and excellent teaching staff we will be able to offer every support.

August also saw the awarding of the first scholarship place in Performing Arts.  We had a number of auditions from hugely talented young people and it was a very difficult decision to select just one person.  Olivia May Green from les Bendinat school will be joining us on a part time basis over the next two years to study for her A Level in Applied Performing Arts.  Congratulations to Olivia and well done to everyone who auditioned.

We look forward to the start of a busy and exciting year where we will be providing the highest quality of education and working with our students and their parents to help them achieve their goals.  The Enrichment Programme has so many exciting activities on it: from personal finance to circus skills; food and nutrition to dry stone walling; preparation for interviews and university applications.  So much more is included and we will be posting the final programme on the website very soon.

If you are still looking for a sixth form education for this session please contact us as soon as possible and we look forward to meeting interested families for next session and beyond at our next Open Morning on Saturday 9th November.

Newsletter July

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

Time appears to have flown by this month.  We had another Open Day on 13th July but were slightly hi-jacked due to the Baleares Symphony Orchestra giving a wonderful free concert 100 metres from our building with associated road closures!  Still, the hardy  managed and we welcomed some young people looking to enrol for 2014, as well as a few of our pioneering students who start this year!  Those who are going to study Art and Design have decided to come in one week before the beginning of the autumn term in order to refresh their skills and explore options for assessment with Maria Eugenia the art teacher.

We were delighted to welcome film industry experts on Open Day as the ten week film course begins in September.  Debbie, Matthew and David all have enormous practical experience in film making and will be mixing theory with practical application about all areas of the industry.  This is a course for everyone, young and old alike!

Language classes are also going on throughout August, despite the heat.  We can prepare candidates for the Cambridge Certificates at Palma College,  including the Advanced Certificate and the teaching is based on your abilities when you register.

The rooms are ready for our students to begin their work in September and the atmosphere is lively with staff and visitors popping in each day.  We are remaining open during August and in particular for results days on 15th and 22nd August.  Please do not hesitate to call or email if you didn’t achieve the grades you wanted, or in fact did better!  There is always a way forward.

Newsletter June

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

How time is flying past for all of us here at Palma College.  Our second Open Day is fast approaching on Saturday 13th July and all our current island based staff will be there to answer questions about subjects, combinations and careers.

Before we reach Open Morning our summer classes begin on 9th July for two and a half hours per day.  Conversational Spanish classes are leading the way but we also have English classes; the opportunity to take Art classes and some catch up or revision for academic subjects if required.

We have been asked by some slightly more ‘mature’ students if they can come and either re-take a single A Level for university entrance and, in particular, join our Performing Arts course.  We are happy to discuss flexible and life long learning programmes.  After the shock of school exams becomes a distant memory it is often appropriate to return to education purely for the love of a subject.  We are currently putting together a twilight Film Studies course for the Autumn in connection with film industry experts which promises to be both educational and instructive.  More details to follow shortly.

Finally we are open all through July if you want to pop in for a chat (please check website for exact times).  We will be in College for results days in August for both A Level and later for GCSE.  The most important thing for students on those days is not to panic if you don’t achieve your predicted grades.  There are ALWAYS solutions, just keep calm and consider your options.  Your current school should be open for advice and help during this period but we are also happy to help parents or students if they have queries about next steps.

We hope everyone has a long, happy summer.  If you have holiday work to do don’t forget it and, if you are entering Upper Six after the summer and are applying to a UK university, remember to get working on those personal statements!

Newsletter May – Our open day

Written by admin. Posted in Newsletters

A first glimpse for our students inside the walls of Palma College on 25th May during our first  Open Morning.  We feel it is an exceptional environment to study in; a seventeenth century palace right next to Palma Cathedral.  The students will be able to use the city for both study and pleasure during free periods and lunchtimes.  We welcomed not only new students but many of the staff who will be teaching next year, some even flying in from the UK for the event.  They  were delighted to explain all the courses for next session.

The fee breakdown was explained in simple terms to the visitors, an all inclusive fee with no ‘extras’ bills appearing; highly qualified experienced sixth form staff, and no huge add-ons made by charging for examination fees. Students from various schools in Mallorca were in attendance together with parents from incoming international students and also some who were hoping to come straight into the second year of A Levels; unusual but entirely feasible. It is exciting to be able to offer more choice of subjects to the youngsters, especially as the College caters entirely for the post sixteen age group who have historically been ‘tagged on’ to the end of GSCE years.  Our focus on Arts and Humanities offers more choice and variety in A Level subjects.

A second Open Day will be held on Saturday 13th July and we would encourage those who are entering Year 11 in September to come along and find out about what we can offer in Sixth Form.

Newsletter April

Written by admin. Posted in Newsletters

Welcome to the first newsletter of a brand new college.  It is a privilege to be welcoming our students to the only dedicated sixth form college in The Balearics.
Students and staff shall work together to make our environment positive and optimistic, and I look forward to getting to know the students and their families over the coming months.  The two years of Sixth form is a challenging period for any young person, as they are making choices that will affect not only their present, but their immediate future and we, as adults, bear a great responsibility in helping them make the correct choices, and equipping them in skills for life.

I hope our founding students will make the best of their time with us and use this coming term wisely: work hard; take advantage of the enrichment programme; make new friends and most of all help one another to entrench in the college a sense of community and support.

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