This spring finds our Sixth Form College recruiting students for our third and fourth year!
Before the lockdown began, we were visited by lots of Year 10 parents and students wanting to put their names down already for September 2021.
One of the first things visitors comment on is the atmosphere – welcoming, friendly, yet focused on the prime directive of the College, which is to help each student achieve their individual best – “Be that A* or E Grades,” adds our Director, Miss Kirsty Ridyard.
Each prospective new student and their parents have a personalised orientation meeting, currently via online methods, to discuss their goals enabling a flexible study strategy to be planned. The challenges of the current climate are causing concern for parents and students alike, but we are here to calm their nerves and discuss the options available… whether that will still be via online methods in September or, hopefully, back in College where we all love to be.
Let’s take you on a walk around the College on a typical day:
Beginning in the Humanities room, the domain of Director James Riley, a handful of students (the maximum class size is twelve, though the College average is closer to six or seven) are animatedly discussing Brexit as part of their Politics A-Level. Some consult the research they have open on their laptops to underpin their arguments, others have brought prepared essays while some quote details from the morning’s TV news. It’s a dynamic, living subject, brought even more to life by a variety of study methods and Mr Riley’s passion for debate
Next door in the Maths room, Head of Maths Dean Clifford supports his Year 12 class as they wrestle with algebra problems, helping each student individually. On the 50-inch screen at the front are various online resources to supplement the students’ text books, which the college supplies. At the back of class are a couple of Year 13 students, working away quietly with their headphones on, seeking support from Mr Cliffford if they need it.
In the staff room we see evidence of another Phoenix priority; teacher support at all times. Head of English, Ms Critchley, guides a student as she wrestles with her coursework. At another desk, a Year 13 student is working through some Physics problems, waiting for Alex Mitchell, Director and Head of Physics, who is about to finish a class.
In a nearby free classroom, two Year 13 girls are revising Maths together, covering the whiteboard in impressively complex formulae, arguing in what seems like a foreign language. “We have a test tomorrow,” they confide. Next door in the Student Room, students work away in silence, one with a cup of coffee and a couple of biscuits. Lured by the sound of singing, we wander into another free classroom and come across two students practising Keane’s “Somewhere Only we Know” accompanied by a Year 13 boy on guitar. The College tutors, as part of the PSC (Personal, Social and Cultural) programme, encourage students to set themselves targets and take on extra activities outside their academic studies, promoting well-rounded development. In the last year, students also enjoyed a range of trips, including a University Fair in Madrid, Manchester in the UK, CERN in Geneva and Paintballing. At Christmas, they went carol-singing at the local AFA centre.
In the laboratory, Miss Ridyard appears to be doing something weird and wonderful with her Year 12 Chemistry group, though on closer inspection, the students are the ones doing all the work. “We’re learning how to do titrations,” they explain excitedly. Phoenix’s laboratory is fully equipped so that students can carry out all the essential practical experiments in all three sciences.
On the College patio, two Year 13 girls are explaining to a visiting Year 11 student what life is like at Phoenix College Málaga. “As it’s small, I thought I wasn’t going to like it,” we overhear. “But I still see all my old friends outside of school and the teaching here is just fantastic. We’d rather be here than anywhere else!”
If you want to discuss how to join the Phoenix family in 2020 or beyond get in touch today. Contact us
This article was published in the education special of the SUR Newspaper. In the same edition Mr Mitchell took part in a round table discussion about ‘Innovation in education and the challenges faced in 2020’.