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Ely College

Ely College

All the latest News from Ely College

May 2019

  • Ducks and balloon armchairs teach students about teamwork and business skills

    Published 20/05/19

    How a fun business simulation run by The Skills Service helped local students to develop vital employability skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving, leadership and entrepreneurship. 

    Jo and Rebecca from Enterprise East Cambridgeshire recently spent time working with students at Ely College and Witchford Village College, judging balloon armchairs and origami paper ducks.

    At first glance that might seem like a very strange thing for an Economic Development team to be doing, but read on to find out how this fun business simulation helped local students to develop vital employability skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving, leadership and entrepreneurship. 

    Ducks Enterprise Challenge

    Year 7 students (age 11 to 12) took part in The Skills Service’s Ducks Enterprise Challenge, making and selling origami ducks to a team of ‘buyers’ from the local business community.  One of the aims of Enterprise East Cambridgeshire is to help establish links between local schools and businesses, so off we set to participate in the Ducks Challenge.

    Students participated in a manufacturing simulation, running a virtual business with each group member assigned a role in their company: 

    Managing Director: leading the team

    Accountant: managing finances

    Buyer: purchasing materials for making ducks

    Sales executive: negotiating the best prices for the ducks with external buyers (us)

    Production workers: making paper ducks and responding to supply restrictions and changes in buyer demand

    Each team then competed with the other teams to see who could make the most profit.  The aim was to run a virtual business in teams, using skills that you would find in the business world.  The teams had to source stock material (coloured paper) from a supplier using a start up loan. Once they had bought the raw materials they then set up production of their origami ducks.  This stock was then sold on to a team of buyers - us.   More money was paid for excellent and original ducks whilst less for poor quality. 

    This process is repeated over five virtual working days, each lasting around 15 minutes, and various problems or challenges are introduced at different stages to reflect real business life and encourage team working skills.  Imagine having spent your budget on pink paper only to find the next day that pink is soooo yesterday and nobody will buy the ducks you spent ages making!  There were, most definitely, lessons learned.  Fines and bonuses were issued at the end of each day to penalise or reward certain behaviours.  Winners were duly crowned, with their team having made the most profit.

    Balloon Armchairs Challenge

    As part of Ely College’s 'PLEDGES and Futures Day', the Balloon Armchairs challenge also tests the teamwork, communication, planning and lateral thinking of groups of students. Armed with only 20 balloons and a roll of sellotape, each team has to make a balloon armchair, with a base, back and arms. The final challenge involved all teams testing their armchair. The last bottom remaining off the ground, firmly on their balloon based armchair is the winner! The grand finale can be quite a noisy one with some chairs robust, others, well...just bust. 

    You can only imagine the noise level of so many students during such an energetic and fast paced activity, and the event was a huge success with students all really engaged, gaining confidence and using skills they might not have realised they have.  We can highly recommend getting involved with The Skills Service and contributing your business skills to benefit local students.  We had a great time and will be back again next year.

    For more information on the Skills Service visit 

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  • May Half Term Revision - y11 Matters

    Published 17/05/19

    Please find attached the revision sessions running over the May half term holiday. We hope Year 11 students will be in attendance and find the sessions useful. There is no requirement for students to wear uniform. They should arrive promptly so that they can be accompanied to the sessions.

    For those sessions that run Tuesday to Friday, students should enter the usual way. On Sunday 2 June, students should meet at the Bishop Laney Sixth Form entrance which is where the sessions will occur.

    Morning sessions are 10-12:30 and afternoon session are 12:30-3.

    Students have been wonderful in this first full week of exams and we are confident that this will continue next week. We are encouraging Year 11 to have a rest over half term so that they are on their best form for the two weeks that follow half term too. If you would like to discuss anything, please contact me directly.

    Mrs Mustill

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  • Young Writers Published

    Published 15/05/19

    Congratulations to four of our amazing Creative Writing #Session6 students who entered a Young Writers competition and were selected from 8,000 entries to be published!!!

    The POETRY ESCAPE competition inspired students to express themselves through poetry, providing them with a platform to voice their opinions, thoughts & feelings, to break down barriers, destroy stereotypes and liberate their creativity. A fantastic #PLEDGES achievement!

    Well done to Emily, Eloise, Esme and Jenna!

    "The students really responded to the idea that their voices can be used to speak of injustice. Each student is able to home in on what they truly care about and what they would like to see change in the world. Breaking the silence had sparked debates and conversations that extend beyond poetry. We look forward to reading all the entries in the published anthology."

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  • PLEDGES and Futures Day

    Published 03/05/19

    Yesterday was a another fantastic #PLEDGESandFuturesDay ay Ely College and a great way to celebrate the last one of the year in style! Here's a recap of the day and a big shout out to our staff and external speakers who make the day so engaging and meaningful to our young people!

    Year 7 worked in the hall most of the day with Learn 2 Earn activities, provided by Young Enterprise. Students worked as a year group, empowering them to make informed decisions about their future careers and finances.

    Year 8 completed a series of Citizenship sessions including:
    • Safety for School, led by Sgt Phil Priestly and his team at Cambridgeshire Constabulary. Introduced by Lucy Frazer MP, they cover conflict resolution, Cyber Safety, County Lines and Knife and Gun crimes. 
    • Work Shadowing preparation, led by The Skills Service including team building fun with balloon armchairs and other citizenship, diversity and British Values sessions.

    Year 9 celebrated the diverse nature of our school community. Led by our amazing Ely College staff, sessions took a closer look at their home nations, including culture, sport, food and festivals.

    Year 10 were lucky to get a tour of Anglia Ruskin University followed by a series of workshops on Higher Education in school. Perfect as they start to think about Post-16 options and life after school.

    Year 11 showed amazing commitment to their revision schedules and took the day to focus on exam preparations, working on their core subjects. They appreciated the time to take a deeper look at various modules.

    Please do consider building on this all-round fab day at home; ask questions about their thoughts or feelings on what they learnt yesterday, and continue those key conversations about their safety or the PSHE skills they need as they manage their lives now and in the future.

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