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All the latest News from Ely College

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  • Ely College welcomes Jewish Free School to explore their shared heritage

    Published 10/05/22

    Last week the History department, had the pleasure of taking a group of Year 9 students into Ely for a rare shared cultural experience; to meet up with the London based 'Jewish Free School' and learn more about the Jewish evacuees who came to Ely during the Blitz to escape the heavy bombings in the East End. Their own Year 9 students along with staff were visiting the City and the rural communities that hosted Jewish Free School evacuees during WW2.

    The day started with a workshop at Ely Museum where students gained an insight into our shared heritage, hearing in-person, the experiences of evacuee Michael Cohen, and considering the challenges faced by JFS students. 


    For the Jewish children of the East End back then, it was the first time they had left London and lived outside of their community.  For the people of Ely, a largely Christian community at the time, It was the first time that many of them had ever met a Jew. What followed was a story of friendships forged across the barriers of religion and class.

    Later in the day the Jewish Free School students enjoyed a walking tour of the city. They visited the Countess Free Church hall that was given over to act as a Synagogue; which Michael clearly recalls as the venue of the Pesach Seder he experienced during evacuation. They also visited Oliver Cromwell's House which at the time was the home of Mrs Knowles, the vicar's wife, who was instrumental in setting up the Jewish boys' hostel for 70 refugees, as well as the schoolhouse near St Mary's Surgery.


    The village of Isleham also welcomed students to view the Menorah that JFS students handcrafted in 1940 and donated to the community as a gift of gratitude. It is still displayed and used in the village church. Today, many members of the Ely community remember the children they knew, and it is wonderful to welcome a new generation of students from the Jewish Free School to maintain a link between our communities.

    Being reminded of the importance of 'welcoming the stranger' and how the actions of individuals, such as Mrs Knowles can make a difference seems pertinent given current events. Those at Ely College look forward to continuing the tradition of building a relationship between our two communities, widening horizons and breaking down prejudice and misconceptions about different faiths.

    The BBC documented the day as part of a news item marking the commemoration of VE Day on 8th May. We hope some of you manage to see it. The highlights on BBC Breakfast News are no longer on IPlayer.




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  • Short-listed Author Julian Sedgewick visits Ely College Reading Group ahead of Carnegie Shadowing and Awards

    Published 03/05/22

    Great to welcome back Julian Sedgwick last week to visit our Reading group students and talk about Julian Sedgwick Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards 'Carnegie Shadowing'. From now until June, students are encouraged to read as many of the 8 short-listed books as possible, they will then be able to vote for their favourite book!

    There are 2 prizes awarded to authors, one is the librarian’s choice and one is the student’s choice. Carnegie is the most prestigious book award for authors of young people’s fiction. Julian very kindly gave his time to attend Reading Group after school to answer questions from the students about his short-listed book ‘Tsunami Girl’. He also showed them some of his notes from planning the material and shared with students how much it means to him to be short-listed for this award.

    We wish him every success. As an official Carnegie Shadowing School, Students will be watching the award ceremony via a live link with London on 16th June.



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  • Ely College students reach Westminster as Lucy Frazer MP hosts the annual schools debating competition in Parliament

    Published 29/04/22

    Lucy Frazer MP welcomed students from South East Cambridgeshire to Parliament last week as part of her annual schools debating competition. 

    Ely College Debating Club, joined students from Linton Village College, Witchford Village College, Soham Village College and Impington Village College to take part in two debates as part of the competition. 

    The first was ‘This House believes that Scotland should remain part of the UK’ and the second ‘This House believes that animal testing is unnecessary’. 


    Having previously visited Ely College for the earlier rounds, it was a momentous occasion for our students to visit Westminster for the final debate.

    The competition was judged by Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham and solicitor general who offered students practical advice on giving a speech, including how to construct persuasive arguments and the importance of the concluding parts of a debate. 

    Year 11 Charlotte was selected as one of the winners, for their overall high standard of debate. Huge congratulations to her, the Ely College Debating Club and all those from local schools who took part.

    A big thank you goes out to Mr Burke and Ms Clark-Hope for coaching and organising this regular Session 6 club and accompanying them to London.

    Lucy Frazer MP said: “It was fantastic to welcome students and teachers back to Parliament."

    “This is the highlight of my parliamentary year, and the arguments and standard of debate by those taking part were very convincing.” 

    The winners of Lucy Frazer MP's annual schools debating competition were Reece (L - Witchford Village College,) Charlotte (M - Ely College) and Phoebe (R - Impington Village College). - Credit: Lucy Frazer MP


    Read the full local news article here:

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  • Bishop Laney Applied Science BTEC trip to the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

    Published 27/04/22

    On 20th April students taking the Applied Science BTEC course visited the Wellcome Trust Wellcome Sanger Institute. They learnt about the research being done at the world leading centre for genomics including the crucial part they played in the understanding of the Covid-19 virus and the development of a vaccine.

    They also had a talk from a researcher from the company Illumina who are leading the way in sequencing technologies to help better understand inherited diseases, including cancer. The students enjoyed this unique opportunity to see a working DNA sequencing laboratory and were able to have a go at using bioinformatic software.

    Find out more here:   Huge thank you to Mr Fricker and Yourgenome for organising this fantastic trip!

    Home | Wellcome Genome Campus


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  • Year 7 Cambridge University trip with the Insight Discover Programme

    Published 27/04/22

    Just before the Easter break a group of year 7 students visited Cambridge University as part of the Insight Discover program. The day introduced the ‘All about me’ project that encourages the students to start thinking about their futures. Throughout the day there were team building activities, including blindfolded Lego tower building. They had a Q&A session with 3 current Cambridge University students which included questions such as ‘How many lessons do you have?’ and ‘ Do you get much homework?’. The day finished with a trip to the Museum of Cambridge.

    Find out more about this exciting programme here: Big thank you to Mr Fricker for organising this trip and working closely with Cambridge University to offer our students exciting opportunities beyond the classroom.

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  • Meridian Trust secondary schools join forces for hub event

    Published 24/03/22

    We were proud to hold a hub event for secondary schools across Meridian Trust, sharing resources and creating opportunities for student collaboration. The three hub schools (The Ferrers School, Swavesey Village College and Sawtry Village Academy) played host to secondary schools across our Trust for an afternoon of activities, focusing on three subject areas: Geography, History and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL).

    During the MFL session, students looked at other means of communication, centred on sign language. The objective of the session was to develop students’ ability to work in a team, to improve their communication skills, as well as to have a better appreciation of the diverse language needs in today’s world.

    As part of the geography session, students in Year 7 looked at disaster management, considering different types of hazards, how we respond to these and trying to build and design earthquake-proof buildings. The aim of this session was for students to understand the link between engineering and geography.

    For History, the three hub schools participated in sessions all focussed on investigating different types of sources. At Swavesey Village College where our Ely College students attended, they examined objects, artefacts and sources from The Fitzwilliam Museum which were created before, during, and after the transatlantic slave trade – these form part of the collection at the University of Cambridge Museums.


    Guest speaker, Dr Zoe Farrell from the University of Cambridge visited Sawtry Village Academy to deliver a valuable talk on sources and material culture and provide students with in-depth knowledge on life in sixteenth-century Europe. Using sources from the National Archives, students at The Ferrers School reviewed Chamberlain and Hitler documents to explore the policy of appeasement before World War II.

    We are so proud of our students for their hard work and for showing such an enthusiasm for learning. It was fantastic to see everyone working well together and making friends with students from other schools.

    Well done to all the students involved, the three hub schools in particular for being such welcoming hosts and to Ross Perkins, Ines McMahon and Alan Lovesey, the subject leads for History, MFL and Geography, who collaborated to provide such a well organised and productive session for our students.

    Read more via our socials here:

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  • Careers Week: Top UK vet inspires students to think about future choices

    Published 18/03/22

    In the latest in our series of guests for our Year 7 to 9 students we were treated to a fantastic virtual presentation and discussion from Dr Mandisa Green.

    Mandisa is a prominent veterinary surgeon and the Former President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

    Her interest in animals was sparked when a young child living in Trinidad. Mandisa recalls helping her family to take care of their chickens, one breed kept for eggs, and another for their meat; as well as a whole host of pets that included cats, dogs and a tortoise.

    Her parents supported her on her journey to becoming a vet. Mandisa’s career began when she moved back to the UK aged 18, ready to start vet school. Mandisa didn’t find university easy but her determination and tenacity got her through. She qualified from the University of Edinburgh Royal School of Veterinary Studies.

    Mandisa’s philosophy, that she told the students, is “If you really, really want something in life you have to face any adversity that comes along, but what you mustn’t do is give up on your dream.”

    Mandisa was elected to the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons 2014-2022 and became its President in 2020. A theme of Mandisa’s presidential year was Diversity and Equality, to champion a more diverse and inclusive profession with renewed intention.

    We thank Mandisa for taking the time to inspire our students to think about their GCSE choices and future options and CMAT for another fantastic Trust-wide livestreaming event!

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  • Ukraine Donations Drives

    Published 11/03/22

    Leaving with their cars packed FULL of desperately needed supplies, we offer a HUGE THANK YOU to various Ely College staff who have facilitated the drop offs & storage of the many student donations this last few weeks. The generosity for our community to aid the Ukrainian Crisis is amazing! #SupportUkraine 🇺🇦🌻

    Any further donations, or if you can volunteer in the local warehouses, we know that Ukraine Lifeline is a local effort that would greatly appreciate your continued support.

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  • Ely College staff recognised as Parliamentary COVID Community Champions

    Published 07/03/22

    It was a pleasure to welcome Lucy Frazer MP to Ely College on Friday as she surprised four of our staff with Parliamentary COVID Community Champions Awards!

    Whilst they themselves were keen to express the 'team effort' over the last few years, we were delighted to recognise their hard work & dedication to the various aspects of our COVID response.

    Taking this time to reflecting on the collective efforts, from 'safe & well' checks in homes during lockdown to whole school testing with our wonderful team of volunteers & speedy compliance; we celebrate them as they have inspired as well as safeguarded our students!

    #aboveandbeyond #PLEDGES #communitychampions



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  • World Book Day 2022

    Published 07/03/22

    World Book Day - Photos coming soon!


    Everyone at Ely College enjoyed 2022 #WorldBookDay thanks to the wonderful Ms Shaw in the Library Resource Centre and our fab English department. Free books for Year 7, World Book Day vouchers for everyone, author visits and inspiration talks! This is what it's about but it's also nice to get home and just find some quiet time to read 📖🪄

    Of course we had another brilliant author visit from award winning and Carnegie nominated children's author Julian Sedgwick. Our Year 7's are inspired year after year by his visits! Poignant this year in particular as his latest book 'Tsunami Girl' offers insights into recovery after disaster.

    After his talk & a very popular lunchtime book signing, our World Book Day (UK & Ireland) celebrations continued. Our short story competition winners earned an amazing indepth experience with Julian. The creative writing workshop produced some excellent ideas & we look forward to sharing some of their stories on our website.

    As always a HUGE THANK YOU to Julian for supporting Ely College. With more WBD free books being handed out today and vouchers to spend at the weekend, we have celebrated tomorrow's #WorldBookDay is style!


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  • Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration

    Published 11/02/22

    Ely College participated in a range of events to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, which occurs annually on 27th January, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

    Across the tutor groups, students were given the chance to reflect on genocides, both historical and more modern. Each tutor group was invited to reflect on the theme of ‘One Day’, that one day we may enjoy a future free from prejudice, hate and discrimination. Students were invited to anonymously write down a message to their future self about the Holocaust, or a reflection on the topic. We took these and created a collage, made up of the many messages of hope for the future.

    In our Year 9 history classes, we had the opportunity to view an interview with a Holocaust survivor,Eva Clarke BEM. We all found the experience very moving, and at times extremely difficult and challenging. Students had the following reflections after the lesson:

    “I found this very moving and would most certainly be interested in studying this in greater detail. I was struck by the fact that similar stories as to what happened to that family, the grief, the pain and the hardships, happened several million times. I found it astounding that one group of people was so determined to exterminate an ethnicity”

    “It’s scary that any person could do those things to another human being”

    “I wish we found out more from Eva Clarke such as how does life compare from the Holocaust to the present day”

    “It was very moving and revealed all the hardships people went through at that time. It also showed how evil humans can be, and why something like that should never happen again”

    “The details shared were so specific and personal that it allowed me to understand the Holocaust in a new way”


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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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