15 May 2023

The Monday Briefing: Good Company

The Monday Briefing: Good Company

In amongst the anxiety, stress and endless revision of the exam period, which commences today, it’s important not to become tunnel visioned about it all.

Maintaining such an approach is challenging, but it really is critical to remember that there are a huge number of students in the College who are not sitting the exams which will consume every thought they have over the next month or so.

In reality, the job is as good as done with Year 11 and Year 13 students. To a certain extent, it’s a case of ‘over to you.’

The College strives to empower students to stand on their own to perform as best they can in these assessments - and the acid test has arrived for them. We, as staff, have strained every sinew to get them as prepared as they can be, guiding them to harness the skills they have been taught in order to use the knowledge they have in the most effective manner. The transitions they are now in the midst of: from GCSE to A Level for Year 11s; from A Levels to university for Year 13s; require the development of a mindset whereby students take the lead for themselves. The onus is no longer on the teacher to get them there - they have to do that themselves.

We will, of course, always be on hand to help in times of need, and I’ve been heartened by the planned approaches of many of our students: not leaving College until they are, in a sense, forced to do so at 5.30pm; ignoring our ‘study leave’ protocols to seek out every possible moment of time with their subject teachers to check responses and tackle areas of doubt; committing to ‘working lunches’ with each other to support progress collectively. Most pleasingly, perhaps, is the sense that this is not borne of fear, but rather the overriding impression I get is of an overwhelming majority of the exam-sitting cohort identifying themselves as a self-motivated group, hell bent on doing the best they can - because that will bring pride: to their teachers; to their parents; to themselves.

But enough about those students - they know what they have to do, and are applying themselves to make it happen.

As mentioned above, it’s important to keep a keen eye on other College developments.

Whilst many of our College community are transitioning out of the College - though, of course, a sizeable proportion of our Year 11 students will continue with us - thoughts are starting to shift towards recruitment for next year.

The College is in a strong position at present, close to capacity, but moving to expand possible numbers so that demand for places can be satisfied.

It has been exciting to see such growth in both enquiry numbers and accepted offers in the last two or so years. Though most students will join us in September for the commencement of the academic year, where capacity remains, it is possible for younger students to join the College mid year.

Our admissions process is quite straightforward, with one key goal: ensuring that the right relationship, one which is mutually beneficial, is established - for the College and the applicant. 

After any enquiry is made, interested parents are always encouraged to make an appointment to visit the College, during which they undergo a tour of our facilities and speak with a senior member of staff so that all parties can start to get a feel for whether the College is the right environment for progress. Crucially, at this juncture, our admissions tests are set up for the student. We can tell much not only from their performance in these tests, but also in just how promptly they are completed.

The second interview gives the chance for a full analysis of the results, along with the chance to discuss the finer details of any enrolment.

Following on from this, it’s recommended for students to attend a taster day - an important chance to identify whether those initial thoughts about the viability of enrolment can be firmed up. It provides a ‘warts and all’ experience, where visitors are accompanied by a ‘buddy’ who escorts them around the College, ensuring that they feel comfortable in and out of their lessons. They truly experience a day in the life of an EIC student.

Generally speaking, this usually leads to an enrolment, and it also leads to a great deal of interest from the students as to whether the guest will be joining the community, when they will come and how much they enjoyed their day.

Such enquiries also come when staff come for interviews. They care so much about the special and unique nature of what we have here, that a primary thought for them is to protect and enhance it.

They go above and beyond to provide the good company we seek from them and they want that good company to be enriched with like-minded individuals.

We had two guest students who enjoyed a taster day on Friday, both looking to transition to the College for different reasons. Our hope is that if, and most likely when both join, they will dedicate themselves to the culture of empowerment, inclusion and sense of community which brings with it confidence, personal growth and academic success.

With the recruitment period now starting to build for us, it’s great to feel that momentum all around.

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