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All the latest News from Ely College

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  • Ely College and Bishop Laney Alum composes theme tune and score for BBC police drama

    Published 02/05/24

    👏'The youngest TV composer in British history'... let that sink in for a minute... We always knew he would go far, but to see ex Ely College student Paddy Bennett launch his career while he is still in his first year at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts is awe-inspiring!

    🎼This time last year he was finishing up his exams at Bishop Laney Sixth Form & now he's composed for a major BBC drama & is working on a film next! Season 2 of Granite Harbor goes out Fri evening. Listen out for the new theme tune composed by Patrick!

    WATCH THIS SPACE as this alumni student is going far and we look forward to following his progress! Congratulations Paddy!


    Read the full story here:

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  • Meridian Trust launches Geography Sixth Form lecture series

    Published 28/03/24

    On Tuesday 5th March, the Meridian Geography Sixth Form Lecture Series was launched. Organised by Mike Smith (Geography Curriculum Director), A Level Geography students from across the Trust, including Bishop Laney Sixth Form, were invited to attend and listen to an online lecture on physical geography, presented by two assistant professors from the University of Birmingham.

    The series is designed to stretch geographical thought from beyond the A Level, whilst also making key links to the content in the Specification that the students are taught. There were also some passionate GCSE Geographers tuning in as well! Professor Adam Sheppard started by speaking about studying Geography at University, and what careers the subject can lead into, then Professor Benedetta Dini gave an inspiring lecture about her work in the field of tectonic hazards, specifically relating to landslides.

    Mike Smith said: “Prof Dini took us on a motivating tour through areas of Bhutan, Nepal and Peru and explained how and why natural hazards occur, and what the impacts are on local populations. Whilst she was talking and it made me realise how important it is to take more time for us to look at hazard prevention, rather than reacting to disasters when it’s too late. It was great to see so many students from across the Trust engaging with the lecture and I hope it has reiterated just how important being a geographer is in today’s world, with the countless challenges we face as a global population interacting within difficult physical environments.”

    A student, Matthew, from Nene Park Academy said: “I found the lecture incredibly informative and engaging. The graphics displaying how deformation is measured and hence how landslides are predicted (a new way of presenting geographical data) was very interesting. It was also really thought-provoking to consider how wide the impacts of landslides are, right up to the global scale.”

    The next lecture in the series is being held on Tuesday 23rd April, hosted by the University of Leicester, and will have a human geography focus.

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  • Annual Ely College Science Festival caps off a busy week of trips, PLEDGES and much more!

    Published 22/03/24

    British Science Week (8-17 March) is an exciting time for students and teachers alike, as it provides a special platform to showcase the wonders of science and its many connections to our daily lives. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, this year’s British Science Week theme was ‘TIME’.

    Ely College have been ‘maximising the minutes’, packing in a host of trips, workshops and extra curricular experiences that saw one of their busiest terms yet. From entering robotic competitions, to Duke of Edinburgh timed tent challenges; parliamentary debates and a tour to oracy and confidence workshops - staff and students have showcased their passion for ‘extending the boundaries of learning’. The week culminated with their annual Science Festival, spearheaded by Year 8 students. 

    Mr O’Neil, Teacher of Biology who organised the Science Festival commented: “We were very impressed at how diligently students worked to carry out their scientific investigations in lessons and collaborated to present their projects with such flair. Throughout school there has been a real buzz and we have excitedly waited for the opportunity to see the results of all the hard work that has gone on this term.”

    After weeks of trail and errors, hypothesising and observing, students presented their findings to their families, staff and peers. It was a great opportunity for the students to showcase their scientific knowledge and creativity as well as learning new skills, building confidence, and working in teams to develop a love of science that will stay with them for years to come.

    As part of the Meridian Trust curriculum, the college takes this time to develop a passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) before their important subject choices and GCSE years. Year 7 & 8 students work towards their CREST Award - CREST is a national scheme that encourages young people to think and act like scientists and engineers. To achieve a CREST Award, students complete these hands-on projects.

    Principal, Mr Warburton, who opened the festival with Mr O'Neil was eager to get involved and safely demonstrated the impressive potato clock experiment. He commented: “We are very proud of our Year 8 students – the Science Festival is a tribute to our Trust values in action. Many thanks to the families and friends of the college for attending the day and supporting their projects at home.”

    The range of experiments and presentations on offer was impressive. Other stands run by students included how to create lava lamps using household ingredients, fruit batteries made out of lemons, designing mini catapults, floating tea bags and how to make fireworks glow different colours.

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  • ROWING: Statement of Intent

    Published 21/03/24

    Great to bolster our long standing partnerships & community ties. Rowing at Ely College is going from strength to strength as we team up again with @EAYouthRowing. Thanks as always to @IOERC for the coaching & continuous support. See our Statement of Intent:

    Reviewed and updated from statement initially published on social channels.

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  • All-round triumph as Ely College delves into Brecht’s ‘Caucasian Chalk Circle’!

    Published 13/03/24

    On Thursday 7th and Friday 8th March, Needham’s Hall was transformed into a theatre-in-the-round for Ely College’s enthralling production of ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’ by Bertolt Brecht. Both shows brought the audiences to their feet for two unforgettable evenings that celebrated the joy of live and immersive theatre.

    The play follows the character, Grusha, a servant girl who rescues baby Micheal during times of war and conflict. Played by Year 10 student Eleanor Wallman, she goes on to be a better mother than the child’s wealthy and contemptible biological parents, but in the final act a decision needs to be made; who will raise ‘the precious child’?


    The tightknit ensemble took the audience on a transformative descent into the Brechtian chaos, and just as quickly, raised their hopes and spirits as they witnessed justice prevail. From the very start students interacted with the audience, making them feel as if they were one of the villagers. Guests were asked to hold props and were given delicious produce whilst sides were formed. Brecht’s unique style of ‘a play within a play’ was captivating as were the young actors.


    After two large scale musical productions, this was the first time the college as part of Meridian Trust had set their sights on such a challenging play. These young actors were joyously committed – many of whom had not previously performed on such a scale – but took to the stage in an extraordinary & moving epic drama with music, song, demanding physicality, a central love story and an immersive depth not seen before in an Ely College production.


    Laura Tod, Teacher of Drama and Director thanked everyone involved in making the show such a success, proud that they had all taken a risk with this relatively unknown play: “We knew the themes would challenge our young cast. I am incredibly proud of all the students involved and how they have engaged with the play in such a mature and thoughtful way. Their willingness to take risks, think outside the box and collaborate with each other has been outstanding. It was amazing to share our project last week with family, friends and the local community.”

    This production showcased not only the students’ incredible acting, but also displayed some phenomenal musical talent. A powerful quartet, Catrin Andrews, Leyah Christensen, Annabelle Martinez and Harper Thurow narrated through song, this thrilling and explosive drama. The ensemble doubled up their work, using their skills and talents behind the scenes, creating clever lighting and staging, culminating in yet another high-quality performance.


    Escaping via a rope bridge made of moving suitcases, as well as some impressive and imaginative use of props to aid the performance, the use of a handmade puppet for the character of Michael was extremely unique and clever. Director Laura Tod explained how they brought the puppet to life: “We watched some National Theatre tutorials online which helped us understand how to animate the puppet. One of the main things was to be able to move the head freely. This really helped demonstrate that Michael was a curious little boy with a strong attachment to Grusha.”

    Principal Simon Warburton commented: “I thought the show was a wonderful experience to watch.  It is a challenging and complex text but our students acted with a confidence and assuredness that truly belied their age and experience.  The company have produced an inspirational togetherness and resilience and have developed longstanding friendships across a range of age groups.  I am very grateful for the wonderful teaching and guidance from all the staff involved with this production.”


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  • Ely College celebrates World Book Day with our favourite authors

    Published 13/03/24

    We've had an amazing #WorldBookDay! Not only did every Year 7 get a #freebook this week & every student get their #wbdvoucher but we were also joined by children's author Julian Sedgwick for an amazing talk, multiple book signings (due to sheer demand) & a fabulous creative workshop!

    We have links with some AMAZING authors & we're always so honored when they visit. Regency author @Peter James Bowman very kindly donated some stunning vintage maps earlier this year & last week we welcomed Inbali Iserles into Bishop Laney as part of a Royal Literary Fund academic writing workshop.

    Today at the end of Julian's creative writing workshop, one lucky winner won...🥁🥁🥁 ...a KINDLE! Kindly donated to the school with the aim of awarding it to the best creative ghost story... but they were ALL soooo good so we had to pick from a hat!👏🏽 An amazing day THANKS to so many kind people! #Meridian Trust

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  • TICKETS NOW ON SALE! The Caucasian Chalk Circle - 7th & 8th March

    Published 16/02/24

    We are so proud to announce the ticket launch for our next whole-school production: "The Caucasian Chalk Circle".

    This is a powerful & moving performance & the students have done an amazing job stepping up to such a challenging piece; interpreting the text in a modern and inspiring way! This is a text usually reserved for A-Level studies so our cast, ranging from Year 8s to Year 12, dug deep to put on a wonderful show for you.

    True, a little different from the last few years of our big musical showcases, but 'performed in the round' we can't wait to welcome you to into our circle for what is set to be a stunning evening of theatre!

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  • Following the recent granting of planning permission for Needham's Tower, MP Lucy Frazer MP met sixth form staff

    Published 02/02/24

    Lucy Frazer MP met senior staff from Bishop Laney Sixth Form in Ely on Friday, 26th January, to mark the beginning of works to expand the student intake from 300 to 400.

    Bishop Laney Sixth Form is the sixth form attached to Ely College and currently serves 150 pupils per year group. Both the sixth form and the school are part of the multi-academy Meridian Trust.

    The £5 million of funding for a new development was secured by the school and the trust after they applied to the Government’s £140 million ‘Post-16 Capacity Fund’, which invited eligible providers of 16 to 19 education to apply for capital investment to accommodate the upcoming rise in this demographic.

    As the local MP, Ms Frazer wrote to Baroness Barran – who is the Minister for the School System and Student Finance – in December 2022 to make the case for the development. In her letter, she cited Ely College as the only sixth form provider in East Cambridgeshire, and the rapid regional growth in recent years, which if maintained, would see the sixth form exceed existing capacity by 2025.

    The bid was accepted by the Department for Education on 7th June 2023, allowing the sixth form to press on with their plans to renovate and upgrade ‘Needhams Tower’ and provide new classroom space for students and staff of Ely College.

    Planning permission was then approved on Monday 22nd January, meaning works can begin.

    Ely College target early 2025 for completion.

    Lucy Frazer MP said:

    “This exciting expansion will give more opportunities to 16 to 19 year olds in Ely and improve the experience of existing pupils and staff at Bishop Laney Sixth Form.

    “As the local MP, I threw my weight behind this bid because I want to make sure we give young people the opportunities they need.

    “The Government is investing heavily in our schools with a record £59.6 billion for 2024-25.”

    Simon Warburton, Principal of Ely College and Bishop Laney Sixth Form, said:

     “We are delighted that planning permission has been granted for the renovation of Needham Tower to become the new home for Bishop Laney Sixth Form. The state-of-the-art sixth-form centre will greatly improve the educational experiences for students in our local community and across East Cambridgeshire.

     “It was a pleasure to show Ms Frazer around the site today and for her to witness the fantastic progress that has already been made. We are deeply grateful for her support of this project and the wider backing of our local community during the planning application. We look forward to watching the progress of the site over the next few months and to being able to invite more members of our community to visit as soon as we’re able to.”

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  • BOOK NOW for our Apprenticeship Fair 2024!

    Published 05/01/24

    Ely College Year 11s will be networking with potential employers during the school day but after 3pm we would like to open our doors to our wider community! OPEN TO ALL LOCAL SCHOOLS, recent leavers and the public after 3pm. Please book in advance via Ticket Source...

    Book now



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  • Meridian Trust launches new careers education website to support parents in guiding their children

    Published 03/01/24

    Meridian Trust is proud to launch a new initiative to support families in guiding their children through careers education and crucial school transitions.

    The newly launched website, Meridian Pathways, is designed to assist the parents and carers of students in our schools, giving them everything they need to get inspired, spark conversations and support their child with planning their future.

    Meridian Pathways guides parents through four pivotal transition points:

    • moving from primary into secondary school;
    • choosing options;
    • looking at post-16 opportunities and courses;
    • looking at post-18 opportunities and courses.

    Each transition point is a time for reflection and consideration about the future and at each point, we have set out a series of activities and questions that parents could ask and/or complete with their child during the transition points in their school journey. 

    The website has been created in collaboration with Careers Leads across all of the Trust’s schools, with invaluable feedback from existing Meridian Trust parents. The information shared is shaped around the context of the Trust and each of its schools and communities to ensure it is tailored to the families who will use it.

    The Meridian Pathways initiative aims to make career planning a collaborative and engaging process for both parents and pupils, acting as a starter for an important conversation. The website provides a framework for families to reflect on achievements, discuss aspirations, and make informed decisions about future educational and career paths.

    Angela Manley, Director of Careers at Meridian Trust, said: “We are delighted to be launching the new Meridian Pathways website today. This resource has been a hugely collaborative process, bringing together colleagues from across the Trust to create a useful resource which we hope will be an area of support and guidance for parents.

    “We know that starting conversations with your child about their future can be difficult and we hope these activities and conversation starters will provide some fun and easily accessible ways to get families talking and inspired for the future.”

    Visit the Meridian Pathways website to find out more:

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  • ‘Charities Day’ sees Ely College students raise over £5000, with an equal split going to our six chosen House Charities

    Published 20/12/23

    Established in 2017, each year students at Ely College set themselves the challenge of raising as much money as they can for their House Charities. This year with a change to the proceedings and an equal split of all the money raised, students set their eyes on the inaugural ‘Charities Day Cup’, with House pride & bragging rights up for grabs.

    On Wednesday 20th December, every student contributed to this massive fundraising effort. Not just a 'normal non-school uniform day', this festive fun day is only possible because of the generosity of parents and carers who donated raffle prizes and resources, as well as money. Raising £5700 so far in online donations, meant that every student could spend cashless vouchers on the day at a huge range of stalls set up by their peers.  


    In the lead up to the big day, students voted for their House charity for the year. It was a difficult process as so many worthy causes were on the table, but overall each House leaned towards a charity that help children. Students shared their thoughts and empathised with young people their age who face difficult challenges or life threating conditions. This year, Ely College will be supporting the following six charities, with an equal split of the funds raised:

    • · Arthur Rank Hospice - Scott House

    • · Spectrum Cambridge- Etheldreda House

    • · C9 Cancer Ward at Addenbrookes - Franklin House

    • · East Anglian Air Ambulance - Turing House

    • · Ely Food Bank – Seacole House

    • · Addenbrooke Charity Trust (ACT) - Bishop Laney Sixth Form

    Students brainstormed fundraising ideas, planned and prepared their activities and stalls and the culmination of their hard work came together as they celebrated the end of term! The school was divided into event areas with tuck shops, a sports zone, a ping pong disco and even the return of the ever popular ‘stage door haunted house’! The Sumo Obstacle run was a big hit, as were glitter hair extensions, face paints and various delicious hot chocolate and cake sales.  As well as the traditional lucky dips and tombolas, we had some new ideas; the penalty shoot out against Mr H the T-rex was great fun!


    Congratulations go to Seacole House, who earned the most vouchers and won the new Charities Day trophy! Charities Day is not just about the end of term celebration. Offering students the opportunity to earn their ‘Giving Pledge’, this day is one of the Meridian Trust’s well-established ‘PLEDGES and Future Days’, where students work towards their PLEDGES programme, broadening their skills and experiences that will aid them in the future.


    College Principal Simon Warburton thanked everyone who supported the event, especially staff and form tutors. He said: “PLEDGES and Futures Days are so important because they play a vital part in helping our students to develop empathy as well as more tangible skills such as teamwork and the responsibility that comes with event planning.”

    “We are delighted with how the students have embraced their House Charities this year and look forward to running more fundraisers throughout the year. We want to thank our families for their support also. Given the current economic climate, the total raised is a testament to our wider community. We’ve always aimed to be ‘an exceptional College for an exceptional community’ and moments like these show we are hitting that target. We wish you all a restful festive break.”

    The WisePay link is still OPEN if anyone would still like to make a donation.



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  • In case you missed it: Our Winter Wonderland winners!

    Published 15/12/23

    Huge congratulations to our Winter Wonderland competition winners! Some talent on display...

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