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All the latest News from Ely College

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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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  • Raising awareness of infant asthma with student-led designs

    Published 17/10/18

    Ely College students successfully design novel packaging solutions for infant asthma treatment, as part of a challenge set by Cambridge researchers. 

    The ‘Unpacking Asthma’ challenge, set by Designing Our Tomorrow (DOT) at the University of Cambridge and COSMOS at the Cambridge Science Centre, encouraged participation from more than 300 students in Years 7, 8 and 9 from across East Anglia.

    DOT is a collaboration between the Department of Engineering and the Faculty of Education. All DOT resources are created with teachers and industry partners, and are mapped to the new GCSE and A-Level specifications for the design and technology curriculum. DOT’s mission is to equip every student with the thinking tools to spot and solve problems in a complex world. 

    Over a six to 12-week period, students learned how to solve a real-world engineering challenge, which in this instance, was designing a packaging solution that brought together all the necessary equipment and information needed to effectively treat infant asthma, and help reduce a child’s fear and/or anxiety of the condition in the process.

    We are teaching students to be empathic engineers and developing their conceptual thinking in the process - Melanie Smith, Designing Our Tomorrow

    There are 5.4 million people in the UK currently with the condition, and 1.1 million of those are infants (1 in 11)1

    Melanie Smith, Operations Manager at Designing Our Tomorrow, said selected students now have the opportunity to develop their concept packaging ideas with designers, and potentially contribute to a systematic assessment in NHS hospitals. 

    “We are so excited to see how the students’ design ideas progress and the enormous potential and subsequent impact they may have on children with asthma in the UK,” said Melanie. “DOT also continues to work with the NHS in London through the Healthy London Partnership, which is raising awareness of infants with asthma as part of its #AskAboutAsthma campaign. We are teaching students to be empathic engineers and developing their conceptual thinking in the process.”

    Melanie added that feedback from the students had showed they had understood the complexity of not only the design brief, but also the implications asthma has for children diagnosed with the condition and those connected to them.

    As one Year 7 student said: “We learned that asthma doesn’t only affect the person with the condition, it also affects all the people that are around them. It made me think about how packaging has to be – not just child-friendly, but it has to be easy for all people to use.”

    A regional awards ceremony was held at the Department of Engineering, prior to the national Starpack Industry Awards held at The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) where students enjoyed a trip on the London Eye. Winning students from Ely College were presented with prize certificates and plaques for securing three bronze places and one silver.

    Source: Asthma UK 



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  • Year 11 Matters Timetable

    Published 08/10/18

    The new Year 11 Matters timetable is now LIVE!

    Many thanks to all staff contributing additional sessions in support of our Year 11 students. These are fantastic opportunities to support GCSE revision and coursework catch-up.

    Remember... be like Bill because Year 11 does matters.

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  • Ely College students showcase their design and technology learning at a key national conference

    Published 04/10/18

    Year 8 students from Ely College were invited to showcase their exceptional work at the Design and Technology Association conference in Birmingham on Monday 1st October. The conference aimed to influence government policy on how we train the next generation of British designers and engineers.

    Enjoying keynote speeches and panel discussions at the event hosted at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, four students, who had previous won awards for their work on the Asthma Design Challenge, met with influential leaders across the education and design technology industries. The event set out a vision for how design thinking can be embedded within our education system, equipping all students with the knowledge and skills required to confidently face the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

    Focusing on what we should be doing to inspire more young people to study design and technology as a route into careers in the design industry, engineering and manufacturing, Ely College students demonstrated a range of creative digital and technical skills to captivate delegates. The college was asked to showcase how students use techniques to remove design fixation, demonstrating how they create abstract drawings using a range of visual stimuli and by what means sketch modelling can be used to both design and test possible outcomes.

    Pictured: Alex Brewis, Lilia Cassam, Jennifer Morgado and Charlotte Wragg

    Their showcase reinforced the message that design and technology should be an essential curriculum option; a ‘life subject’ for all students, supporting policy intent on creating more high-tech engineering and digital opportunities in a society that is increasingly reliant upon technology.

    The delegates and organisers at the conference commented on how well the students represented the college. Teacher of Technology at Ely College, Mr Bausor commented: “The showcase has been brilliant and their attitude and focus was exemplary throughout the day.”

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  • Bishop Laney visits Emirates Stadium for UCAS and Apprenticeship Fair

    Published 01/10/18

    On Friday 28th September, Bishop Laney Sixth Form students visited the Emirates Stadium for the latest Search Fair. The UCAS and Apprenticeship Fair brings together hundreds of universities from across the country as well as employers who offer apprenticeships.

    Students have the chance to speak to universities first hand to understand and find out what they offer, how to apply and what the universities look for in students. There was the chance to speak to American Scholarship representatives as well as many varying industry professionals all offering apprenticeships at different levels.

    With thousands of sixth form students in attendance, there was a real buzz about the place, with plenty to see and discuss. Talks were held throughout the day on different aspects of the UCAS application (some of the photos here are from the talk on personal statements).

    A fantastic experience as our Bishop Laney students build on their successes and plan for their futures.

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  • Bioinformatics Blitz

    Published 28/09/18

    Bioinformatics Blitz

    Today 50+ students from Ely College took part in the national Bioinformatics Blitz.  Run by the Wellcome Trust and Sanger Institute, to celebrate the launch of Lifelab in Cambridge, Peterborough and Ely, the challenge was set to see how many young people could complete the bioinformatics task at the same time!  

    What is the challenge?

    Working in teams of four, could our Year 11 students correctly complete the Function Finders BLAST activity? The idea is they translate DNA sequences into amino acids and use computer programmes to identify the protein that the amino acid sequence belongs to.  The fastest group from each school is set to receive a small prize!

    We are so grateful to our Science staff for making new and exciting connections with industry leaders such as Life Lab and the Wellcome Genome Campus, forging new partnerships with the biotech research community. We hope to bring more hands-on science projects and events to our students and build on this fantastic launch success.

    Follow @camlifelab and @WGCengage for more information. #Bioinformaticsblitz


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  • New Student Librarians get to work

    Published 21/09/18

    Students involvement in the running of our school library has never been so active. Mrs Shaw, our LRC Manager explains the work involved.

    With the beginning of the new school year, we are pleased to present our fantastic new team of Student Librarians for 2018 / 2019. Students from Year 8 onwards can apply to join the team. After attending an interview and accepting the position, training can begin.  Student Librarians work on the main LRC desk issuing and returning books, serving at the School Shop and often help to shelve the books. As well as these everyday duties a vital part of a Student Librarian’s work is to support fellow students in the LRC with any queries: from searching for a book, to helping them access our dynamic online library system.

    New recruits are trained both by Ms Shaw and the Senior Student Librarians. Younger students are overseen by more experienced Student Librarians. Training and learning from one another is a collaborative process the students certainly benefit from; as the Student Librarians grow in seniority and experience, so do their responsibilities. Team spirit is very important and as training progresses, the feeling of mutual support is wonderful to see.

    Championing lifelong learning, our Students Librarians can often be found in the LRC quietly reading or encouraging lively debates in reading groups. They charge themselves with promoting everything the LRC has to offer, including computer spaces for homework catch-up. Our Student Librarians also undertake other projects such as competitions, literary polls and various fundraising efforts. Students who become Student Librarians use this experience to gain PLEDGES Points, which quickly build towards their Awards.

    Watch this space for some exciting LRC initiatives coming up this term. Student Librarians are heavily involved in organising, selling and promoting the hugely successful Book Fair which takes place towards the end of the Autumn term – just in time for Christmas, so an ideal time to do some gift shopping for friends and family. Our 2017 Book Fair allowed the LRC to claim just over £200 of free books for the LRC. Student Librarians are also currently helping get ready for the school’s Booked Up programme which will see every Year 7 student receive a FREE book during their first term at Ely College. More about this soon so keep an eye out for our next newsletter.


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