17 Sep 2014 The NCS Opens… And What A Start!
On Thursday 4th September the Newham Collegiate Sixth Form opened its door to our first ever cohort of students. After many months of planning to ensure that we provide our students with a first class A-level education and unrivalled enrichment opportunities, our staff welcomed their new students with a fantastic two-day Induction programme.
Our first cohort, mostly drawn from our nine Newham partner schools, have entrusted us with their A-Level studies and we are absolutely confident will not let them down. Our mission is highly ambitious but quite single-minded; we will provide the highest quality learning and teaching to enable our students to succeed in their A-Level exams and gain entry to the world’s most prestigious universities. More than this, we will ensure our students acquire the personal and intellectual skills, habits and confidence to enable them to become the future leaders of society.
Induction – A taste of things to come!
As our first students arrived at our new Sixth Form in East Ham on a beautiful September morning, there was a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air. Ex-Little Ilford student Zergham Ahmed, when asked what it felt like, simply said ‘Success!’ Elizabeth England (Ex-Cumberland) who has the honour of being the first ever student enrolled at the NCS declared she was ‘so excited’.
Students heard an inspirational first address from Principal, Mr. Mouhssin Ismail, where he thanked the students for their trust and promised that the NCS would not let them down and would exceed their expectations. Staff then led the students in two interactive sessions designed to get them to plan for their success and to begin to see themselves as leaders of the future.
Preparation for the future:
Friends of the NCS work with our students
This was followed by a number of amazing workshops delivered by high-profile companies and academics. One of the many outstanding features of what the NCS will offer students is the quality of the universities and prestigious companies who already support us. Students were spoilt for choice as they attended sessions by UCL professor Dr. Tong, who explained the science behind his revolutionary invention of the solar-powered, battery charging Vodafone umbrella.
CitiBank and KMPG, the world-renowned finance company, provided advice for our future accountants and bankers. International Law firm CMS Cameron McKenna advised potential lawyers and Doctor MacDonald and SAMDA (medical students from Barts and the London) were very popular as they prepared our students for future careers in Medicine and Dentistry. However another well attended session was on entrepreneurial skills, called ‘How to get rich or die trying’ given by local business man Riz Patel, whose silver Lamborghini was an added attraction!
‘We’re all going to Cambridge University’
The second day of our Induction offered our students a glimpse into the future. As part of our planning for the NCS we have met with the most prestigious universities including Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial and LSE and asked them a simple questions … ‘What are you looking for in the students you take?’ and we have built their answers into our planning for the NCS. However, they have been hugely impressed with our vision for the students of East London, so much so that Cambridge University offered to host the second day of Induction!
For many of our new students this was their first visit to one of the great universities of the world. They were greeted by Dr. Andrew Bell, Admissions Tutor, in the lecture theatre of Lady Margaret Hall College. He told the students what Cambridge are looking for in applicants and gave fantastic advice on how students should approach their A-Level studies. This was followed by world-class lectures from eminent professors in Science, Maths and the Humanities to give NCS students an early taste of undergraduate learning. Our students admitted that they found these challenging but as we explained, the work of the NCS over the next two years is to prepare them to be ready for this kind of learning. The lectures were followed by a chance to look around Cambridge and its colleges and many students came away with the thought … ‘This could be me in two years time’. Our thanks to Cambridge for organising a brilliant day.
Learning is our priority. Beyond A-Level
After the excitement of Induction, lessons began first thing on the following Monday. This was the moment staff had been planning for and there was a real sense of expectation as students enjoyed their first real taste of A-Level study. The journey had begun! However that afternoon, Mr. Ismail spelt out for students just how special the NCS is going to be when he introduced the Super Curriculum that all will study. Following the advice received from universities, our teachers have prepared degree level sessions to be taught in university style tutorials that will extend learning well beyond the A-Level curriculum. Students can opt for Maths Masterclasses, Science and Ethics, the History of Philosophy, International Relations, Biological research and lab work (supported by lecturers from Oxford University), Globalisation and Politics, The History of Economic Thought and Classical Studies. When it comes to degree learning, our students will be ready.
This is just the start, but at the end of three fantastic days perhaps the best way to sum up the NCS experience came from one of our many ex-Plashet students who was asked how it had been so far. She said… “I love this place!”