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  • Ely College IS the ‘School of Rock’ as opening night of their first whole school musical blows audiences away!

    Published 21/01/22

    Opening night of Ely College’s first whole school musical is a ROCKING success as students smash all expectations with an awesome showcase of talent. With shows on Friday and Saturday evening to follow, these sold out seats were the hottest tickets in town and elated audience members declare Ely College as ‘the school that truly rocks’!

    With over 150 students taking part, the decision to put Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘School of Rock’ on as a school production was an easy one; this is the first school musical in a while but it is fun, witty, involves fantastic music and provided a wonderful opportunity to get as many students involved in the arts as possible. Jonathan Newsome, Musical Director and Head of Music at Ely College continued on to say: “Such high levels of students participation and the commitment they have shown is a testimony to the vision and ethos of the college; to provide the most enriching educational experience we possibly can. The students have, in turn, shared this with our exceptional community over three show nights!”

    Catherine Seymour, Head of Drama at Ely College also directed and produced the show and commented on the array of talent at the college: “We can honestly say it has been an absolute pleasure to work with such a talented, enthusiastic and inspiring group of young people. These kids are going to have their names in lights one day! They have shown exceptional resilience during what has been the most challenging of circumstances, supporting each other and coming together to put on this amazing production.”

    The musical, based on the 2003 comedy film starring Jack Black, features new music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber as well as lyrics by Glenn Slater and script by Julian Fellowes. With Year 10 student Alfie McCreadie smashing the leading role, it follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn money by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. There, he turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. While teaching these pint-sized prodigies what it means to truly rock, Dewey falls for the school’s beautiful, but uptight headmistress, helping her rediscover the wild child within.


    Speaking of his decision to roll the show out to schools, Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “I’m delighted. I encourage teachers and their students to pick up their instruments, get going on the script and show the world everything they’ve got to give.” Ely College students have certainly taken this to heart and attacked rehearsals with an inexorable pursuit of ‘musical fusion’.

    With what was described as ‘roof raising energy’ and seats limited due to Covid measures, parents and community members lucky enough to get a ticket had rave reviews to offer as they came down from the highs of such a spectacular show: “[I emailed] to say how brilliant it was and how blown away we were with the level of talent, from the acting and singing to the musicians and the behind the scenes team. The children were all incredible and the hours that they have put in to achieve such a high standard was evident. The dedication of your staff is always something we appreciate and it is clear that those staff members involved in this production have gone above and beyond to organise every little detail.”


    The musical is especially relevant as we navigate changing measures and restrictions; it places a huge emphasis on togetherness, the impact of live music and the importance of protecting creativity in schools. Mr Warburton, Principal of Ely College described the show as a “love letter to live music, the arts in schools and learning”. A real feel good, high energy, positive show, he added: “It champions every one of our students, it champions music and being part of something together, playing live and putting yourself out there.”

    Show dates run from Thursday 20 January to Saturday 22 January 2022. Tickets sold out back in November but everyone at the college is keen to build off the successes School of Rock has produced and look forward to more shows and musicals like it in the coming years.

    Photo Slideshow below - more available on our Facebook page.



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  • Duke of Edinburgh Awards for Year 11

    Published 20/01/22

    Following what has been a difficult couple of years, Mr Waters was delighted last week to have awarded so many Bronze DofE awards to our Year 11 students at Ely College.

    Coronavirus has closed campsites and prevented face to face training sessions from taking place but these students in Year 11 have overcome barriers to achieve their award as well as focus on their upcoming GCSEs.

    The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme lasts for a lifetime as it imparts skills and builds character in our young people. Employers reference the Duke of Edinburgh programme favourably and Colleges and Universities look upon the challenges of the scheme as a reflection in the young people who rise to them.

    Our Year 11 Bronze award winners this year are a real credit to the college. They were fantastic on the expedition weekend back on October half term and throughout the year when completing their Physical, Skills and Volunteering sections.

    Ely College is keen to build on the success we've had in offering the DofE and looks to roll this out to more students each year! Currently, students in Year 10 can access the Bronze award scheme, and we are seeing record numbers take part.

    For now, we look forward to handing out more certificates to our Year 11 cohort shortly, and hope in the future we will be able to extend this scheme; maybe even introduce the Silver Award scheme in college!

    Mr Waters commented: "I am particularly keen that no student in the college is left behind; we can support students with disabilities to complete the expedition and offer a package of support our pupils to ensure they can access the scheme including kit hire. At Ely College, we believe in extending the boundaries of learning, achievement for all and pursuing excellence, in fact all our core values can be found in the Duke of Edinburgh Award."


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  • More courses launched at Bishop Laney Sixth Form during successful open evening

    Published 26/11/21

    Last week, the doors of Bishop Laney Sixth Form opened to prospective students and their parents for the school’s annual open evening event.

    Due to Government restrictions, last year’s open events had to be held in a virtual environment and so Bishop Laney Sixth Form were delighted to welcome prospective students in person this year. This gave the opportunity for visitors to meet staff and current students and find out all that the Sixth Form has to offer.

    At the open evening, Bishop Laney Sixth Form, part of the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT), announced they would be further increasing their choice of courses for students – now offering 37 courses in total.

    These include a blended offer of A-Level and Technical courses to allow students to tailor their Sixth Form programme and support students’ progression beyond the college in their future careers.

    New A-Level courses for this year have included Further Maths, a more challenging qualification, aimed at extending and deepening students’ understanding beyond the standard A-Level Maths subject. Music Technology has also been introduced for those who are interested in the development of popular music, and in learning and developing practical skills through creative composition, performance and production.

    Adam Steels, Head of Bishop Laney Sixth Form, said: “It was wonderful to be able to welcome people into our college this year and great to see so many families in attendance.

    “We’re so proud that being a student at Bishop Laney Sixth Form has many benefits. We pride ourselves on having an enriching curriculum offer led by our dedicated team of staff who are passionate specialists in their subject areas.

    “Every student is known, valued and supported within Bishop Laney and our extensive selection of study programmes ensure we align with our students’ future aspirations. We have also developed excellent relationships with the local community and beyond, to offer students further opportunities and experience. This can be seen through our thriving partnership with Norwich City Football Club, designed to develop students’ employability and wider skills through the club’s Regional Football Development Programme.

    “We hope all those in attendance of our open evening gained a real insight into what the college has to offer, our supportive learning environment, and I look forward to welcoming many of them into our Sixth Form next academic year.”

    Prospective students were able to take part in demonstrations across the college’s A-Level science courses, try out the workshop and studio environments on offer to Design Technology and Fashion & Textiles students and test out their theoretical reasoning with the Philosophy department. Students could also visit the college’s Skills Centre, to see the Bistro laid out for a full student-led three course service, receive a mini treatment from Beauty Therapy students and visit the A-Level Maths department, where they could sample some high-level question papers.

    Families attending the open evening were encouraged to take a lateral flow test before the event and wear face coverings while in the school building to ensure a safe and Covid-secure environment.

    To find out more about Bishop Laney Sixth Form, visit: 

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  • Schools across Ely mark Remembrance Day ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

    Published 17/11/21

    Students and staff across Ely schools paid their respects to those who lost their lives during special services and initiatives to commemorate Remembrance Day.

    At the Lantern Primary School, which is part of Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT), the whole school was able to come together via Microsoft Teams to take part in a Remembrance Day assembly at 11am. The school listened to the Last Post and sat silently for two minutes.

    Following the assembly, pupils took part in art activities and listened to poems about remembrance which helped to mark the day’s significance.

    Benita Sherrington, Acting Principal at the Lantern Primary School, said: “In addition to our special service, our Year 6 pupils recycled plastic bottles to create 200 poppies which they planted into the bank of our front playground for us all to enjoy.

    “After all the poppies were placed, pupils observed two minutes silence in front of the display which moved some to tears. The significance of the ceremony was made more poignant for the Year 6 pupils who are currently studying World War Two.

    “Throughout the day and during the two minutes silence, the children were so mature and respectful, and we are so proud of them all.”

    At Downham Feoffees Primary Academy (DFPA), which is part of CMAT, the Principal, Susan Jaques, led a whole school outdoor assembly to commemorate Armistice Day. All members of the school community, including the Chair of DFPA's Academy Council, Mr. Hollington, observed the two-minute silence at 11:00am. DFPA’s Heads of Pupil Voice read the famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae.

    Julia Stead, Assistant Principal, said: “It was very moving to see such respect and consideration shown by all our children.

    “Children who are part of the Scouting and Guiding Movement came to school dressed in their Rainbow, Brownie, Beaver and Cub uniforms, looking very smart in honour of the significant day.”

    During the afternoon, as part of DFPA’s work to link maths with the wider curriculum, Year 1 enjoyed using 2D shapes to print poppies, plus different types of paper to create landscape backgrounds. Year 6 continued to link all activities to their topic this term, World War II.

    At Ely College, which is also part of CMAT, the school observed a two-minute silence at 11am on Thursday but deferred their official Act of Remembrance to Friday as the college was hosting the school vaccination team for the delivery of the Flu Vaccines for students. The following day, students gathered once again, joined by the Ely Branch of the Royal British Legion standard bearers. The college’s principal, Simon Warburton, read the Exhortation and the music students sounded the Last Post.

    Simon Warburton, Principal at Ely College, said: “It was lovely to see our students across Ely College and Bishop Laney Sixth Form making us proud today.

    “Thank you to the Ely Branch of the Royal British Legion standard bearers for joining us for such a commemorative day. To be able to come together as a community and remember those that gave up their lives for our freedom was a special experience and I want to thank everyone for their contributions to such a respectful service.”


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  • Tickets on sale Friday 5th Nov!!

    Published 02/11/21

    Remember Remember... Tickets go on sale on Friday 5th November!

    Get your Tickets from 9am Friday via Wisepay for one of our three School of Rock musical dates! We had to postpone this year, but we are rocking out in rehearsals and have an amazing show lined up for you all!

    Thank you for supporting this production and Ely College!

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  • CMAT staff complete 10 Peaks challenge in aid of charity

    Published 15/10/21


    Staff from the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT) pushed themselves to the limit as they took on the Lake District 10 Peaks challenge in 10 hours on the 10th October to mark the Trust’s 10th anniversary.

    The Lake District 10 Peaks Challenge was a one-day event which drew in 11 summits over a walking distance of 17 miles and saw CMAT staff encounter difficult terrain, lengthy ascents and steep descents along the way.

    The challenge required a great deal of endurance and strength from the brave group of staff who completed the Linear Route, which started in Buttermere and ended in Great Langdale.

    Ely College Principal Mr Simon Warburton, joined them. Each member of staff walked to raise money and awareness for a particular charity based in the local area of a CMAT academy. The charities involved include Northamptonshire Mind, Sawtry Foodbank, Wooden Spoon Charity, Ely Foodbank and Opportunity Playgroup. Any money raised will be split equally between these charities.

    The estimated completion time of the challenge is around 12 hours, but the colleagues completed the journey in just 10 hours and 10 minutes, honouring the Trust’s 10th anniversary. They also bravely returned to work the following morning.

    Mark Woods, Trustee and Chief Executive Officer of CMAT, said: “We are proud to be celebrating 10 years of CMAT and providing high quality education for all in our communities.

    “This challenge is just part of many activities which will be taking place throughout the year to celebrate our 10-year anniversary and mark this important milestone for the Trust.

    “CMAT is at the heart of its local communities, and we want to give back to our communities for the support they have given us by raising money for vital causes which have become more important than ever during these challenging times.

    “We hope everyone will get behind us and donate to these brilliant causes. Any form of support would be greatly appreciated.”

    To sponsor or donate to the fundraising initiative, please visit:

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  • Climate Change Debate with Lucy Frazer MP

    Published 15/10/21

    “This house believes no issue is more important than climate change”.... A fantastic and quite emotive debate took place today as students came together with Lucy Frazer MP to discuss climate change and other world issues.

    The students on each side were outstanding! Their arguments were cohesive and persuasive. Huge thank you to Mr Burke and Mrs Clark-Hope, for coaching and adjudicating this fantastic #PLEDGES opportunity. It was a pleasure to welcome Lucy Frazer back to oversee the debate. We hope this event might lead to further opportunities to represent Ely College in London at the House of Commons.

    Principal of Ely College, Simon Warburton, said: "We are delighted to be able to take part in Lucy Frazer’s debating competition and our students enjoyed the chance to present to Lucy in college on Friday. 

    "Our students presented to a very high standard on a emotive topic.  They showed real skill to be able to adapt their presentations to the arguments presented in the early deliveries and offer rebuttals with no preparation.

     "I was really proud of the skills our students showed and am confident that we will be able make a very strong presentation in the Palace of Westminster after half term."

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  • #Year 11 Matters

    Published 05/10/21

    The new #Year11Matters timetable has been issued, shared in Year 11 assembly and with Tutors. These take place both at break times and after school aka. #Session6. Most of them are open to all, but some are targeted and teacher will encourage students to attend. If you are unsure, please email your child’s subject teacher directly.

    Many are revision sessions for the Mocks that begin on 15th November, but some are also catch-up sessions, ideal for coursework. We hope that you will encourage your child to attend.


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  • Ely College awarded Gemini Boat Race Bursary

    Published 28/09/21

    Gemini Boat Race Bursary supports 5 youth projects.

    We are delighted to announce that Ely College is one of five projects selected as recipients of The Gemini Boat Race Bursary Fund. Believing in the transformative potentials of sport, Ely College looks forward to building further on its local partnerships and using the profile of the world-famous Boat Race to inspire our young people.

    Applications for the fund, which opened in June, were received from all over the UK from a wide range of clubs and organisations focused on making a difference to the lives of young people. Ely College joins Brixton Wings, Behind Every Kick, Firhill Youth Project and Warrington Youth Rowing; recipients hope to use the funds to support and engage with young people after lockdown or enable existing programmes to expand.  The judging panel were both impressed by the dedication and commitment of the volunteers, coaches and youth workers involved in all the projects.

    The Five Projects

    Ely College

    Located near to Cambridge University Ely Boathouse, Ely College, a state school, has in recent years partnered with Isle of Ely Rowing Club to offer rowing taster sessions to over 200 students.  The Gemini Boat Race Bursary award will give more students the opportunity to take part in an activity previously perceived as financially, physically or even mentally inaccessible. Students will have the opportunity to showcase their evolving teamwork and physical skills in local and national competitions, both on the water or as part of indoor Ergo teams.  The well-established college partnership with Isle of Ely Rowing Club, has meant rowing has never been more popular at the school and the support from Gemini will allow for the continuation of summer and Easter taster sessions to ensure the maximum number of students will have any barrier removed, allowing them to taking part in regular rowing sessions.

    Jason Coe, PE and Sports Curriculum Leader at Ely College commented: “We are delighted to have received our recently awarded grant from Gemini in partnership with The Boat Race. This grant will allow us to build a strong and sustainable programme of rowing within the college. Rowing provision in the last 2 years has grown tremendously with over 200 students having taster sessions, and many going on to join the local club. We envisage with the support of this grant that Ely College students will be able to develop their experiences and go on to represent the college in both local and national competition in years to come. Look out for us on our beautiful local rivers.”


    Behind Every Kick

    This organisation empowers young people through a shared love of sport; the charity’s programmes help develop skills learned through playing sports which can be harnessed to create opportunities in students’ wider lives. Gemini and The Boat Race are delighted to be supporting the BEK Development Programme which delivers a series of modules unlocking a lifetime of potential in young people.  These sessions will be delivered by two BEK Trainers from September to December 2021 to 6th Form students at School 21, Stratford London. The students will then plan and execute a range of projects from January 2022 onwards, which build on the BEK Development modules and their rowing experiences.

    Brixton Wings

    The Gemini Boat Race are delighted to support this ‘can do’ grassroots organisation formed in 2010 whose mission is to advance the life chances and ‘lived experiences’ of young people, who might fail to engage with, or have access to niche sports. Brixton Wings helps participants realise essential life skills through sport. Gemini Boat Race funding will support 50 underrepresented 11–18-year-olds from Brixton and Lambeth to join ‘Learn to Row’ development rowing courses over the half-term holiday in Autumn 2021 and will support life coaching and intergenerational conversations. Gemini and The Boat Race recognised the impact of Brixton Wings work, in improving coordination and concentration, gaining confidence in communicating and supporting positive behaviours and wider life outcomes.   

    Firhill Youth Project

    This Community Sports Hub has worked very closely with the community in North-West Glasgow, to provide sports opportunities that best suits the needs of the area. Based in the Firhill Basin, beside the Partick Thistle Football Club Stadium - the centre provides free weekly rowing sessions along with other water sports activities.  With support from volunteers and college students, there is always a warm welcome to young people from North Glasgow. Since 2019 eighty-five 11–18-year-olds have taken part in the Learn to Row programme.  The Gemini Boat Race Bursary is delighted to support the expansion of this project to double the number of free rowing sessions offered and enable more young people to experience the benefits of taking part in sport.

    Warrington Youth Rowing (WYR)

    Opening empty rowing clubs across the UK for daytime access so that hundreds of school children can learn to row is the ambition of this initiative.  Founded to offer rowing to young people who might otherwise might not have the opportunity to join a rowing club, Warrington YR now has two additional hubs in Liverpool and Northwich.  In the space of five years, 28 secondary schools and 2 special schools now have over 300 students involved in rowing at local rowing clubs. The GBR award will support the WYR ambition to grow the number of schools involved through the appointment of a school liaison officer. 


    The Boat Race Chairman, Tim Senior says, “We are thrilled to work with our partner Gemini in supporting these five projects, making a difference to young people in the UK. Each project brings a unique opportunity to experience and take part in rowing in a local community, and has been carefully selected from a raft of applications, because of the impact it can have on youngsters’ lives. We hope that the combination of rowing and the life skills offered by each project, will mean that participants can step forwards in their lives. We look forward to meeting the young people who join the projects and hearing more about their rowing journey.”

    Blair Halliday, Head of UK, Gemini says:We are proud to announce the sponsorship of these five selected projects through the Gemini Boat Race Bursary Fund, which support young people across a range of communities in the UK. The projects we have chosen to sponsor provide life-changing opportunities to make sport and rowing both inclusive and accessible to young people who would otherwise be excluded. The popularity of the sport has grown tremendously over the years, and we are excited to help grow the sport further by bringing it to a more diverse and inclusive audience.”

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  • Open Evening 2021

    Published 19/09/21

    Open Evening 7th October 2021

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  • Covid-19 Vaccinations - 1st October

    Published 17/09/21

    17th September 2021

    Dear Parent/Carer

    Covid-19 Vaccinations

    You may be aware that the government has, this week, decided to offer the Covid-19 vaccine to all children aged 12-15 in England this autumn. The vaccination programme will be administered and run by healthcare staff from the School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS), who will be legally responsible for the delivery of the vaccine. You can read the government’s full guidance on the vaccination programme here.

    I received confirmation this morning that the Hertfordshire and East Anglia School Age Vaccination Service will carry out vaccinations at Ely College on 1st October 2021.

    We will play a very limited role in supporting the programme. We have been asked to perform the following tasks:
    • Share the information letter and consent form supplied by the SAIS team with parents and children;
    • Inform parents, via our website and school communications, of the session date at college;
    • Provide the space within the college, and the time away from the timetable, to enable vaccinations to take place.

    I am aware that vaccination and issues of consent are a matter that some people hold strong views about. I wish to make it clear to all parents and carers that no school staff or members of the Academy Council will be drawn into discussion or correspondence around this matter.

    I have instructed staff to offer no advice or comment on this matter to either students or families. The only information we will share will be official information provided by SAIS or the government, or details regarding the process such as the consent forms, reminders and invitation letters.

    Please find attached the Parental Information letter. The online link for consent is contained within that attached letter and the window for consent will close at midday on 30th September 2021.

    Yours faithfully

    Simon Warburton

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  • Student Mentoring: Could you inspire a lifetime of ambition?

    Published 02/08/21

    Student Mentoring: Could you inspire a lifetime of ambition?

    student-mentoringBishop Laney Sixth Form, near Ely, is focused on preparing students for a professional life. Every course offers professional relevance and each student will have the opportunity to be supported by a business mentor from the local community which we manage.

    Could that mentor be you?

    Bishop Laney Sixth Form have partnered with Ely Cathedral Business Group to recruit professional and inspiring men and women to provide 1:1 or group support for these motivated, yet impressionable young people.

    Imagine how you would feel building a strong, trusting relationship with a young person that you know will make a very real difference to their life.

    A business mentor is in a privileged position. You act as an advocate for your mentee, working alongside the teaching staff: understanding your mentee’s motivations and interests; firing ambitions; setting targets and providing advice on how to achieve them; guiding and advising about possible career options and the different routes that might be taken to secure them. After training, you will also help nurture the skills they need to land that all-important first job: interview skills, support with CV writing and advice on how to secure work experience.

    You will give a great deal, but you will also gain a great deal in terms of personal development and especially the tremendous feeling of ‘giving something back’ to the community in which you live. The outcomes we look for, and usually achieve, are an increased awareness of progression routes, greater confidence to pursue goals, and higher levels of engagement with learning- as evidenced by improved progress. You do not give academic advice (that’s the teacher’s job), just supportive.

    The programme is managed through the Bishop Laney Sixth Form by Belinda Lennon,, in partnership with Ely Cathedral Business Group. It will be in place for our Year 12 students, although there may be some Year 13 who have missed the opportunity because of the COVID pandemic.

    • July - September: Complete the registration form, get in touch and let us know you want to be involved.
    • September - December: You will provide a profile that will allow us to match you with the most appropriate student (matching criteria such as shared interests and passions). You will also be DBS checked to ensure we met our Safeguarding requirements. We will match you with a mentee. In November/December you will receive professional training to equip you with the skills you need to engage with young people; safeguarding issues and how to deal with any challenges that are likely to arise.
    • January - December 2022: Depending on the COVID situation prevailing you will spend either 1 hour a month in College or on-line with your mentee if you are involved in 1:1 mentoring or take part in a group mentoring session. Bishop Laney will facilitate all meetings and be available to deal with any questions or issues you may have. You will not have any contact with your mentee outside of college hours.

    Next steps

    To register your interest, please complete our short form via the button link below.


    If you would like to find out more, please email Belinda Lennon at or call us to discuss the opportunity on 01353 652818.

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