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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a convenient time.
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.
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!
March and April News
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.
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.
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.