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All the latest News from Ely College

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  • Reaching the GOLD standard!

    Published 18/12/18

    Reaching the Gold standard!

    A hard working Etheldreda House student has become the first this year (and only the second ever!) to achieve a Gold PLEDGES accolade. Just 20 months since the school officially rolled out the reward and behaviour system at Ely College, the Bronze and Silver awards have been rolling in, but this is the only current Gold.

    Christopher Atkinson in Year 10 took part in a number of activities to achieve his Bronze, Silver and Gold PLEDGES. These included taking up the role of Sports Leader in Year 9, fundraising (both for his House charity and via fun runs), being part of the archaeology dig trip, taking an extra GCSE in Latin, and even attending a Russian wedding!

    Speaking about his achievement, Christopher said: “It has been hard work to meet the criteria but I have really enjoyed the challenge. Working towards my PLEDGES has taken me into new and different experiences. I like that something you do out of school like experiencing cultural diversity at a family friend’s wedding can earn you PLEDGES in school. I’m going to push myself further and help others with their PLEDGES.”

    Adding to his PLEDGES points 'beyond the classroom' was the secret to his success, with things like his piano grading and youth leadership work via his local church, all counting towards Gold! He added: “The Gold PLEDGE means a lot but I have always tried to give back to my community. Taking the lead on running holiday clubs with the church and putting myself forward for form representative in school means I can speak up for people my age.”

    Since Ely College joined the CMAT trust, the college has introduced a simple but broad set of PLEDGES that pupils are expected to complete during their time at the school, at bronze, silver and gold levels. The fact that Christopher has complete the set before Year 11 is very impressive. Students gain their PLEDGES through activities and work across seven categories: Participation, Leadership, Environment, Diversity, Giving, Excellence and Service.

    The PLEDGES form part of the school's parallel curriculum – a system that is designed to develop the whole child and complement the academic courses. Similar to the Duke of Edinburgh scheme (also offered at Ely College!), it helps pupils develop character and skills that can be taken into their adult life.

    Richard Spencer, Principal at Ely College said “The scheme has really helped drive a wide range of activities and improved relationships. It encourages students to give back to the school and their communities. Through PLEDGES, we can recognise, encourage and reward those important aspects of personal development and learning that examinations do not. I’d like to congratulate Christopher and look forward to giving out many more gold awards in the months to come”.

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  • ‘No one left on the bench’ as Ely College students take up the challenge to design for disability

    Published 13/12/18

    On Thursday, Ely College welcomed John Willis, founder of Power2Inspire. His charity promotes inclusive and adaptive sports, so no one with disabilities or impairments is ‘left on the bench’. Ely College invited John, who was born without fully-formed arms or legs, to speak with their design and technology students and start on a collaborative journey of designing for purpose.

    Speaking with mixed years in assembly, John introduced students to what Power2inspire does for people of ALL abilities. Bringing disabled and non-disabled children together for the Power House Games and regular Festivals of Inclusive Sport, everyone is able to keep fit and active together. John, on his own is an inspiration, having completed a personal challenge he set himself back in 2016.

    His ‘Road to Rio’ challenge saw him take on all 34 Paralympic and Olympic sports, having a go at everything from archery to judo, ending with a charity game of golf. John reflected on the challenge: “You can imagine playing Handball with no hands was tricky, but it was a great privilege to make friends with professionals and show how fantastically welcoming the world of sports can be.”

    Inspired by his talk, Year 10 Design and Technology students moved on to a workshop exploring how this remarkable man has to overcome barriers in his everyday life.  Working in groups, students looked to invent or adapt everyday items that could help John with real world problems. To help them, John explained: ‘the challenge is not in coming up with solutions, but phrasing or forming the question in a way they shows that these young people really understand the problems less able bodied people face. Empathy is a big part of the project today as students reframe their world, experiencing problems from a new perspective. I have been very impressed with their efforts.”

    This is the first time Power2Inspire has worked with a secondary school young designers: “Ely College has really embraced this concept of collaborative designing, working together around a contextual problem. We are challenging young people to think of solutions for issues they haven’t encountered, which is good practice for the future where they will need solutions to issues we have yet to face.”

    Trying to make lives easier by designing for disability, it is hoped they can stumble upon innovative solutions that are often better than those when we design for the norm. Dave Bausor, Lead Practitioner for Design and Technology at Ely College added: “We are keen to develop a supportive partnership going forward. Today is the students’ first steps on journey of design. We are looking forward to taking their ideas, and developing models and practical proto-types for John early next year, as well as supporting the charity through our PLEDGES and Sport Leaders programmes.”



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  • Scott House Food Drive

    Published 13/12/18

    A group of Ely College students have spent their free time over the past few weeks collecting food to donate to the Ely Food Bank.

    Students across school were inspired by those in Scott House, who have organised this year's collection. Everyone donated an array of food to give to those in need, from baked beans to cornflakes. The donation was wholly organised by the students with form groups S-EHI and S-IBU taking the lead and making sure the large haul reached it final destination.

    Richard Spencer, Principal at Ely College, said: “It is heart-warming to see our students voluntarily helping their community and those in need within it. At Ely College, we seek to develop well rounded individuals who are an active part of their communities and these students are a shining example of those values. They should be very proud of what they have achieved”.

    The Ely Food Bank is open very grateful for all the students efforts and also would like to thank the parents at home who have supported students in giving a little more at this key time of the year.

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  • CMAT Lantern School to get playground makeover

    Published 10/12/18

    An Ely primary school will be getting an an extreme makeover to its outdoor space to enable children to remain more physically active - whatever the weather.

    Planning permission has just been approved to tarmac a section of the top field at the Lantern Community Primary School to turn it into an all-weather surface to be used throughout the school day, as well as for out of school activities.

    Headteacher David Lawrence said: “I’m delighted we’ve finally got permission to go ahead with this. It will improve the play facilities for the children enormously.”

    Building is due to start in February, depending on weather, and will cover an L-shaped section of the field, which gets muddy throughout much of the year.

    “Mr Lawrence said: “From October to May we have problems with the field as it is. This is the solution.

    “For the children it’s going to be brilliant - they need space to run around. This means they can have it all year.”

    The new playground, costing just over £70,000, is partly funded by £10,000 raised by Friends of the Lantern School, the school’s PTA, last year. 

    The rest of the money comes from school funds and the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT).

    FOTLS chair Andrea Roose, whose son Milo, six, attends the school, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to contribute £10k to this project. 

    “It reflects a fantastic year of fundraising by the committee and our volunteers and wouldn’t have been possible without the continued support of all our children, parents and the school.”

    In addition the current trim trail equipment will be reconditioned or replaced within the next few weeks.

    The school has just been gifted a section of grass by Ely College, which is also part of CMAT.

    The Ely primary caters for about 450 children as well as running Goslings Pre-School.

    Future plans include turning a strip of land at the side of the school into a vegetable garden.


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  • Ely College’s first Christmas Market raises £1400!

    Published 03/12/18

    Ely College’s first Christmas Market was a gift to… and from the community

    On a wet and cold Thursday evening, the people of Ely turned out in their hundreds to support their local college and small businesses. Ely College Christmas market on 29th November was a fantastic festive success, raising £1400 for their PE and Drama departments. An event set to be repeated next year!

    Earlier this year, two members of staff had a plan to give something back to the community, an opportunity to come together and get some Christmas shopping done; all whilst hopefully raising funds for the students. It was the rest of the community who went above and beyond to make this market such a spectacular occasion.


    Whether it was the Bishop Laney catering students offering homemade mince pie and refreshments, or the drama club entertaining the crowds, staff and students gave a helping hand. Hair and Beauty students were also on hand to pamper and prepare visitors for the party season.

    Supported by members of the Ely Military Band and fresh from their royal performance for HRH the Prince of Wales earlier in the week, the music department provided the festive spirit. Our LRC’s Book Fair was also popular, selling Scholastic titles, which in turn has already earnt the school library over £100 in free books.


    The support from parents has been overwhelming, with a flurry of tombola donations and local companies donating services and prizes to the grand raffle. Organisers Bev Saddington and Victoria Cutforth are grateful for the support, which has raised enough to make some worthwhile improvements to student resources: “With over 30 different stalls, we are proud that Ely College were able to host such an event providing a wide range of gifts and products.”

    “This was our first Christmas Market held at the school and it certainly exceeded everyone’s expectations. We hope to hold another Christmas market next year to help raise funds for other college departments. For now, we would like to say thank you to everyone who came and supported us.”



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  • A Royal Perfomance

    Published 03/12/18

    Royal Visit to Ely

    Last Tuesday, braving sub-zero temperatures and Arctic conditions, the musicians of Ely College met HRH Prince Charles and his wife Lady Camilla, Duchess of Cronwall during their visit to Ely.

    Musicians from Ely College, joined by pupils from Ely St Johns and Rackham Primary schools entertained the crowds as they waited to catch sight of the city’s Royal guests.

    Our school woodwind and brass ensembles really did a fantastic job, especially considering the harsh conditions. Musical instruments become significantly more difficult to play in extremes of temperature and Tuesday was no exception. Together with chilled fingers and the biting wind even the most stalwart of professionals would have called it a day… but not the musicians of Ely College! They not only stayed but also played and did so very well indeed. They were a credit to themselves and to the school; their families should be very proud.

    HRH Prince Charles spoke to two of our musicians, Eloise Barter and Zoe Ayres, marvelling in their hardiness and ability to play so well in such cold conditions. He thanked our musicians for their excellent music, which was a compliment well deserved. HRH the Duchess of Cornwall shook the hand of Isabel Simper to both thank and congratulate her and the rest of the ensemble.

    It was certainly a day to remember.

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  • Ely College remembers with hundreds of handmade poppies as the Last Post is sounded

    Published 09/11/18

    On Friday, Ely College students and staff marked the Armistice Centenary and remembrance weekend with a moving Last Post Ceremony. All 1100 students from Ely College and Bishop Laney Sixth Form gathered together as a community to show their respects for the fallen. They were joined by Mayor Rouse and representatives from the Royal British Legion.


    Over the week leading up to Remembrance Sunday, Ely College students have enjoyed helping the textiles department create an inspirational art installation to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One, the fallen of all conflicts and those who still serve. Every student hand made a poppy, with hundreds of them being hung in the main hall. Assemblies and tutor time activities have explored the nature of service, sacrifice and remembrance for the victims of conflict.

    At the Remembrance service, students and visitors fell silent for two minutes at 11am, after which the Last Post was sounded as Principal Richard Spencer read The Exhortation.

    Joined by standard-bearers from the Royal British Legion and one of the ‘There But Not There’ Tommy silhouettes, students were praised for their respect. Having hosted a touring exhibition that details a centenary history of the Cambridgeshire Regiment, students reflected on 1918, which saw the heaviest losses for the 1/1st Battalion, more so than any other year of the War.

    Mr Spencer commented: “Working in partnership with the local groups and historians has allowed students to gain a deeper understanding of the events of WWI. Ely College and the people of Ely shall not forget.”













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  • Bookbuzz free books for Ely College students encourages a passion for reading

    Published 01/11/18

    This week, as students at Ely College were welcomed back after the half term break, a special assembly hosted by Ms Shaw and the English department saw every Year 7 student get a FREE book.

    Thanks to the Bookbuzz reading programme run by the UK’s largest reading charity, Book Trust, each student was given the opportunity to choose their own book from a list of selected fiction titles with the aims to encourage and inspire a love of reading for pleasure.

    Ms Shaw, Manager of the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) explained: ‘At Ely College we feel reading for pleasure is important and by reading regularly, both independently and during dedicated time, students are able to fulfil their potential. Bookbuzz has really boosted the reading culture in school and we hope parents will encourage this at home’.

    These books are now theirs to keep free of charge, and come with a series of linked activities and challenges to complete as part of student PLEDGES. Swapping title with friends, exploring new genres and reflecting on their reading is all encouraged. By entering fun inter-house competitions, including a design challenge and being photographed reading on location students are able to earn PLEDGE points.


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  • Mother Tongue Other Tongue 2018

    Published 01/11/18

    Just before half term, EAL Co-ordinator Gosia Bates accompanied four Ely College students to Murray Edwards College in Cambridge for the Mother Tongue Other Tongue 2018 award celebration.

    Mother Tongue Other Tongue is a national project, led by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy with a poetry competition for 11-16 year old Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) and English as an Additional Languages (EAL) students,  run in this region by Routes into Languages East.

    Four of our students were shortlisted for awards and all of their poems are now published in the competition's anthology. This year there were 99 entries from 14 schools in the East region in 22 languages.

    Huge congratulations to Tymek Niewodniczanski who was a winner in Year 7 category. His parents also attended the award night and as a college we are so proud of the hard work and passion all of our EAL students have shown by entering their thoughts and poems into this annual competition. Well done to all involved and huge thank you to Mrs Bates for her support!


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  • Bishop Laney Open Evening

    Published 29/10/18

    Our Bishop Laney Sixth Form Open Evening on Thursday 1st November will be a great chance to take a look around the high quality provision we have here at Bishop Laney.

    We hope all Year 11s and their families in East Cambridgeshire will join us as well showcase our study programmes; allowing us to articulate in person what we mean by 'Distinction on your Doorstep'.

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  • National Youth Arts Trust Taster Workshops

    Published 17/10/18

    Amanda Kelleher from National Youth Arts Trust came to Ely College today to offer a taster workshop to our Year 9 Drama students.

    We are hoping that Amanda has found new members from today’s taster workshop to join her as she sets up a new Youth Theatre on a Saturday mornings.

    Taking place at Kings Junior School, the Youth Theatre company workshops will teach a range of skills and activities including script writing and devising work, acting techniques, physical theatre, improvisation skills and skills in movement and voice. They also run theatre trips, visit drama schools, put on performances for the local community and hold masterclasses with industry professionals.

    The classes are open to all young people aged from 12-19. For more details please contact Ms Seymour and / or email:

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  • Year 9 Ely College students attend ‘university in a day’

    Published 17/10/18

    As part of PLEDGES and Futures Day, more than 180 Year 9 Ely College students took part in workshops and visited a local university to experience life at university first hand. Funded by the Department for Education through the Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area, the event was organised by Take Your Place.

    ‘University in a day’ was all about introducing the 13 and 14 year olds to the world of higher education, giving them information to help them form their own opinions on their futures. The day included a campus tour with current students at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and four workshops back at school in Ely – led by Take Your Place staff and Ely College alumni.

    Verity Allen, Higher Education Champion from Take Your Place and organiser of the day explained “For Take Your Place, the project is all about raising aspirations and uncovering hidden talents.

    “We designed the workshops at Ely College to focus on topics surrounding course options using prospectuses. They also learned about the education pathways they can take from GCSE through to university or degree apprenticeship. We also had current Anglia Ruskin students in to talk about ‘day in the life of a student’ and past Ely College students explaining the routes they have taken since their time at school.”

    The students took advantage of having Anglia Ruskin student ambassadors on hand to ask far ranging questions about university. The most popular questions were about student finance and living independently. Some of the questions answered by the Ambassadors included, "What's the behaviour system like?", "Is it hard to settle when you first start?", "What's the social life like?" and "How do you pay for uni?"

    Dr Norton-Berry, Assistant Principal at Ely College said “As a school in one of the Opportunity Areas we have been working closely with neaco for some time. This has allowed us to give our students many fantastic opportunities that would have otherwise been extremely difficult and expensive to deliver. The day that Year 9 just experienced is a case in point. Having the opportunity to see a university in action at this early stage in their secondary school journey is an invaluable opportunity – it gives some of our students who wouldn’t otherwise aspire to attend university, the impetus and the drive to do so. My thanks go to all at neaco for the day which was brilliant.”

    Tricia Prichard, Chair of the Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area, said ‘I want all pupils in the Opportunity Area to aspire to a bright future and fulfil their potential. I am delighted that we have been able to fund Take Your Place to help more young people explore the world of university and make informed decisions about their career options’.

    The Fenland & East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area has been identified by the Department for Education as a ‘social mobility cold spot’ and aims to improve social mobility by providing access to high quality education, training and employment.

    Beka Avery, County Coordinator for Take Your Place Cambridgeshire and Peterborough explained, “We are engaged in a wide range of activities in schools and colleges across the region, all designed to have a long-term impact on higher education progression. This project is a great example of what can happen when schools, universities and like-minded organisations work together to showcase the many different opportunities on offer to help young people reach higher education.”


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