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York College


A Level Students
Vocational Students
New for 2015-16
Interested in Apprenticeships?
Higher Education Evenings
Oxbridge Event
Open Events for prospective students
New Build
Construction Apprentice on new York College Construction Skills Centre
City centre exhibitions by Art & Design students
In the News

A Level Students

This year has gone by so quickly and our A2 students are now on the last leg of their journey with us. Here in the A Level Faculty our tutors have completed their mid-year reports and these will give you a summary of your son/daughter's progress. As students will realise, the next few months will have life-altering consequences, and full attendance, supported by steady hard work at home is essential for students to do their best in the summer's exams. Revision is a long-term process, and needs to start for all subjects well before the exams – by Easter at the latest. Students will be able to reflect on what they have learnt from mock exams about A2 assessment, and how to prepare for it, and tutors will be supporting them in developing the skills they need. Please do all you can to help them find a regular space in each day to keep on top of their homework and revision.

In April you should look out for your son/daughter receiving their exam timetable in the post. We ask that these timetables are checked carefully and if there are any problems students must speak to their Progress Tutor. Morning exams start at 9.15am and afternoon exams at 1.30pm. It is important that students arrive fifteen minutes before their exam starts.

Please note that A2 lessons will finish on 22nd May, although revision lessons will continue after this date. All AS students will continue to attend College up to their subject exams and they will return for the beginning of their A2 work on Monday 8th June.

We are all looking forward to the AS and A2 results coming out on Thursday 13th August. Results will be available from 7.30am (for A2 students, AS students please come in from 9am) until 12.00 noon, any results not collected by 12 noon will be posted out that afternoon. If your son/daughter does not achieve their grades necessary for conditional offers, they need to go to LRC1 where we will have a team of experienced staff who will be available to help students with UCAS advice and help with Clearing.

Another date for the diary is 25th June when we will have our A Level Progression Day. The College will host approximately 20 universities who will give advice to AS students on how to research courses and universities and give an insight into student life. In the morning, there will be sessions on a variety of topics such as getting into medicine, how to write an effective personal statement, life at Newcastle University etc. There will also be advice about employment, CV writing and improving interview performance, etc. This event provides a marvellous opportunity for our students and the feedback we received from last year's event was excellent. This day is compulsory for our AS students and normal lessons will be suspended for the day.

There are two criteria for AS students to continue to A2: one is that they must get a least a grade D in 3 AS subjects and the other is that they attend fully during the transition period (8th June – 3rd July), when they will begin A2 work.

We look forward to welcoming our AS year when they return formally as A2 students on Wednesday 2nd September. These students should note that A2 enrolment will be on 21st August.

Next academic year we will be introducing a 4-day week for A Level students. Students will still have the same number of hours per week for each subject (4.5), but fitting all of this into four days and leaving Wednesday free for second year A Level students will:

  • Reduce travel costs to College for students
  • Make it easier for more of our students to gain work experience during the week (our Job Shop team helps students gain placements)
  • Make it easier for students to attend University Open Days, which are most commonly on a Wednesday
  • Provide a day in which occasional trips or other enrichment activities can happen without disrupting studies

I would like to wish all of our students the best of luck as they approach their final exams and remind parents that they can telephone or email their son/daughter's Progress Tutor at any time.

Hayley McQueen
Head of Studies A Levels
Tel: 01904 770868



Vocational Students

For all Vocational Students whether on a one year programme, or in the first or second year of a Level 3 programme, this is their final report before they embark onto the most significant part of this academic year.

The report enclosed clearly identifies what progress your son/daughter has already made and what they still need to complete to successfully achieve their qualification. Over the final coming months Progress Tutors and Subject Tutors will be giving them their full support and guidance, but ultimately the student must ensure they attend all lessons, complete their work to deadlines and to the highest standard they are capable of. You can be assured we will be monitoring their progress very closely and will keep you fully informed if your son/daughter is not meeting our expectations. We may ask the student to attend College on one of their non-timetabled study days to complete supervised study if we feel this is necessary. This will ensure they catch up with any work that is incomplete or not to the expected standard.


For all vocational students completing their course this year, we are working very closely with our Careers Advisors at College to ensure they are all fully aware of their progression opportunities. This may be continuing onto a further course at York College, seeking full-time employment or an apprenticeship, or going onto another F.E course or to university. Individual progression interviews will be set up for those students who are still undecided through their Progress Tutor. This individual discussion will also ensure all students who are planning to continue at College next year are working towards completing Maths and English qualifications, if they have not yet achieved a grade C or above at GCSE.

For Level 3 students coming to the end of the first year of a two year programme, we are arranging a number of Divisional Options and Opportunities events during June 2015. All students will be expected to attend and participate in a number of workshops looking at applying to university, taking a gap year, apprenticeships, employability skills, seeking employment, self-employment and internal progression opportunities onto York College Higher Education Courses. Further details will be given to students by their Progress Tutors closer to the events.

We wish all our vocational students every success in the coming months and will do everything we can to ensure they are successful. Please do not hesitate to contact your son/daughter's Progress Tutor in the first instance if you have any concerns about their progress over the coming weeks.

Andy Leach
Head of Studies Vocational Programmes
Tel: 01904 770233


New for 2015-16

AS/A Level - 4 day week planned for 2015-16

From September 2015 the College's A Level timetable will change to provide AS and A Level students with a 4-day week. Students will have exactly the same teaching time per A Level however it has been condensed to help with:

  • Work placements - we know these are a crucial part of many students' study programmes and students need time to fit them in.
  • Reduction to the weekly cost of travelling to College - if students live outside of York this could mean a 20% reduction in travel costs.
  • Trips and social activities - more time available to access a range of exciting opportunities and experiences.

Follow this link for further information and to find out how A Levels are changing in 2015/16

New courses

By popular demand York College is running some exiting new courses including Level 2 and Level 3 Media Make-up courses. These courses are a fantastic opportunity for those who are interested in how to apply make-up, the art of photographic make-up, dressing and colouring hair, to name just a few areas covered.

Other new courses include CACHE Level 1 in Caring for Children and NCFE Level 2 and Level 3 Diploma in Skills for Business.

Don't miss the bus!

Spread the word - the College is adding two new bus routes from outside of the city. From September 2015 students from Driffield will be able to hop on a College Coach and there will be a new Coastliner coach from Crossgates, via Garforth and Micklefield. For more information on all College coaches and general travel planning visit the College website.

Interested in Apprenticeships?

Students who are thinking about taking on an apprenticeship when they complete their studies in the summer will be interested to meet with employers at the next York College Further Education Open Evening on Wednesday 4th March (6.00pm – 8.00pm). To find out more about the different apprenticeship programmes offered by York College simply come along on the night or call into the College Job Shop and talk to either Wendy or Claire (tel: 01904 770445).

Further detail about our open evenings


Higher Education Evenings

This year nearly 1,000 UCAS applications have been submitted from York College for students progressing to top universities. If your son/ daughter is in the first year of A Level or vocational Level 3 study they will shortly be considering university and other options. Students are encouraged to attend open days and a range of College talks later this year.

All first year Level 3 students will be invited to attend introductory talks on March 16th/17th, the talks will outline the process of deciding on university applications. Parents/carers and their son or daughter are also invited to attend. Places are limited and you are required to book in advance for a specific presentation – either 6pm or 7.30pm on one of the two evenings. Progress tutors will support students in their decisions. If you have questions about the process that are not answered by the presentations please contact Andy D'Agorne, Careers Coordinator / Job Shop Manager on 01904 770433 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Oxbridge Event

If you have children in year 10 or 11 who hope to go on to study at the one of the top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, York College is holding a special event on Tuesday, 24th March (6.30pm for 7.00pm) aimed at high flying students, and their parents.

It is an opportunity for you to find out how to apply to Oxbridge and understand what the admissions tutors are looking for. You can meet with ex-York College students who have attended Oxford and Cambridge universities, all of these things will help you to make a decision about whether or not you feel Oxbridge is right for your son or daughter.



Open Events for prospective students

York College offers a range of open events for prospective students. You may have previously attended one of these with your son/daughter. Here is a list of open events this coming year that may be of interest to you or your friends and family.

Open Evenings for A Level, Vocational and Apprenticeship Programmes:

Wednesday 4th March 2015 (6.00pm - 8.00pm)
Thursday 18th June 2015 (6.00pm - 8.00pm)

Open Evenings for Adult and Higher Education courses:

Tuesday 19th May 2015 (6.00pm – 8.00pm)
Wednesday 1st July 2015 (6.00pm – 8.00pm)

Oxbridge Event:

Tuesday 24th March 2015 (6.30pm for 7.00pm start)


New Build

For the last six years York College has been planning a development to enable the relocation of the Construction Skills Centre at Osbaldwick to the main College campus. The College successfully applied for grant funding from the Skills Funding Agency to assist in financing the build project and the City of York Council approved the planning application. And now, the College is delighted that a brand new Construction Skills Centre new build project is underway.

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The new York College Construction Skills Centre will be a purpose built facility accommodating brickwork, joinery and plastering. The Centre will contain two large workshop spaces, changing facilities, classroom and IT suites. It will meet student needs and those of the construction industry at a time when there is a skills shortage in this area.

The College's construction students and staff will move from Osbaldwick to the new York College Construction Skills Centre on Sim Balk Lane at the start of the academic year 2015/16.


Construction Apprentice on new York College Construction Skills Centre

On graduating from High School Brent Coombs came to York College from Belize, a small country on the eastern coast of Central America. A few weeks into studying the Extended Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment course he successfully interviewed for a technical apprenticeship in Site Management with Futureworks (Yorkshire).

Futureworks (Yorkshire) run the award winning YORfuture shared apprenticeship scheme, in partnership with CITB. Wildgoose Construction is the host contractor for Brent on the College's new Construction Centre building project. Brent works on site four days a week and spends one day in College. His employment on the shared apprenticeship programme ensures continuous employment after this project has been completed, meaning he can complete his subsidiary diploma units and an NVQ in the workplace.

 Brent Coombs1WEB

Brent says: "When researching careers online I realised that there is a shortage of skills in the construction industry in the UK. It was a spontaneous decision to go for the technical apprenticeship role within Wildgoose and I am pleased that I did as I am really enjoying the work. There are lots of different job roles within the industry and my apprenticeship allows me the time to see how each of those roles fit into the construction process. From what I have learnt so far I would really like to go into Project Management. I am gaining experience on the job and learning at the same time – and getting paid for it! I have the best of both worlds."

Paul Haythorne, Project Manager at Wildgoose Construction says: "Brent has the necessary skills and qualities required to work effectively on a construction site. He is articulate, helpful and eager to learn. He has a keen interest in the work on site and during the first year of his apprenticeship he will gain an insight into the many different roles that exist on building projects. There are many openings in Construction and Brent is a fast learner. I think he will do very well in the construction industry."

Mark Scott, Director of Futureworks (Yorkshire) says: "When the York College Construction Centre building project has been completed, Futureworks (Yorkshire) will find Brent another workplace for the final year of this apprenticeship. We are pleased to be working with York College and Wildgoose and have Brent with us. He, along with our other apprentices, make a considerable contribution to fulfilling skills shortages in the construction industry."

Brent added: "There are good career prospects in this industry and on completing my apprenticeship I hope to further my studies in construction, either at York College or at university."


City centre exhibitions by Art & Design students

If you are in York over the February half-term pay a visit to the Blossom Street Gallery and Café 68 in Gillygate to view exhibitions by some of our A2 Level Fine Art, Textiles and Photography students.


Jennifer Eden, Art and Design tutor helped coordinate the event, she said: "After a very successful A Level show in the summer it was clear that our students are creating really exceptional work. In some cases the work is already evident of degree level work. Student's ideas and the presentation of their conceptual investigations are worth a higher level of exposure than we've had before."

Work will feature a wide range of the platforms available to the students such as screen printing, latex, 2D and 3D work, photography, sculptures in plaster and ceramics and textiles.


Becky Hodgkinson, previously of Tadcaster Grammar School is creating a piece to represent 'Negative Space.' She said: "This unit is very interesting as I have not created a sculpture before. The tutors have been great and it doesn't matter that I haven't worked in this field as I can easily find a tutor who specialises in the area. They are very willing to help me overcome any difficulties."

Olivia Clarke, previously of St Peters School is contrasting fine art with textiles, said Olivia: "It is not the traditional way but the great facilities and knowledge the tutors have has allowed me to bridge gaps between the art platforms.


Victoria Colquhoun-Postill previously attended Easingwold School. She came to York College because of the facilities and the opportunities available. She said: "This whole project has been about pushing myself and stretching my limits. It's a great opportunity to get the public's views and opinions. If someone likes my work they may like to display it in their home, I feel proud. I wouldn't have had these opportunities at sixth form."


Lenny Zachariou previously of Woldgate College works with latex, animal sculls and foliage.

A Level Photography work is on display at Café 68, Gillygate from 13th - 28th February
A Level Fine Art and Textiles work is on display at the Blossom Street Gallery from 13th - 24th February


In the News

Former Performing Arts student lands Hollyoaks role

Former York College Performing Arts (Acting) student Nadine Mulkerrin has landed a role in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks. Nadine plays the role of Cleo McQueen, the teenage sister of Porsche and Celine McQueen. As a new recruit for the sixth form at Hollyoaks High, Cleo's character is billed as a 'brainbox' and features in storylines with the show's teenage group. Nadine's portrayal of Cleo will bring a new dimension to the infamous McQueen family.


Since leaving York College in 2011, Nadine (formerly of St Mary's Comprehensive School, Ilkley) has worked in the television and film industry. Previously she played the role of Chloe in the BBC One sitcom In with the Flynns and she has had parts in Waterloo Road, Doctors and Still Open All Hours, working alongside actor David Jason. She has also worked on the dark horror movie 'Inbred' and her biggest opportunity came when she played Amber in the film 'Urban and the Shed Crew,' starring Richard Armitage, Anna Friel and Neil Morrissey.

Says Nadine: "York College was good for me. Much of what I was taught on the Performing Arts course is relevant to working in industry. The College facilitated auditions for ALRA and the Guildford School of Acting – and I got a place at ALRA, however in the end I chose not to go down the Drama School route. Even so, the work I did on my audition pieces gave me the confidence and skills to go along to auditions for television work. I had a two hour journey to College and for the last five years I have worked as a waitress to afford my expenses. Getting this role in Hollyoaks means I can give up my waitressing job and I have started a new life in Liverpool where Hollyoaks is filmed."


A Level Awards Evening 2014

Just before Christmas the College hosted its A Level Awards Evening at the National Centre for Early Music in York, recognising students who excelled in their A Level studies last summer. The event included three new awards from the University of York.

Glyn Jones Assistant Principal for A Levels welcomed students and their families and Principal Alison Birkinshaw gave an introductory speech. There was an address by guest speakers Professor John Robinson, Pro-Vice -Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at The University of York and former York College A Level student Victoria Finan, who is now a trainee journalist, working on national newspapers. A Vote of Thanks was given by Shirley Collier, Chair of Governors.

Glyn Jones said: "It is one of the highlights of our year being able to celebrate the achievements of such talented and hard-working former students, and a delight to see so many of them back with us after their first term at university. They have all made an easy transition from College to university and it is great to see. They are an inspiration to our current students."

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Hair and Beauty Competition

The annual York College Hair and Beauty competition at York Racecourse had 250 full and part-time Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy students participating. The event attracted local employers, with some acting as judges.

The competition included the following categories: 1st Year Blow Dry, 1950s Make-up, Ladies Avant Garde, the Level 3 Skills Challenge, Team Bridal, Evening Style and Body Painting.
Jayne Laverick, Head of Division for Hair, Beauty and Holistic Therapies at York College commented: "The competition provided a superb showcase for the work that goes on in the training salons at York College and in local salons, where many students work as apprentices. Our students thrive in this environment, using their skills to produce really excellent work. The competition is a great learning experience for them."

The students winning first and second places in the York College competition (with the exception of the Level 3 Skills Challenge and Body Painting) will progress to a regional heat in Gateshead. The winners from the regional heat will then go forward to compete in the national finals, to be held in Blackpool in March.



College Debating Team win North Yorkshire Title

Congratulations to the York College debating team who won the North Yorkshire round of 'Debating Matters', held at the Mount School. The national Year 12 & 13 competition is run by the Institute of Ideas.

The College was drawn against The Mount School and debated; 'We should embrace fracking'. After an arduous round of presentation, judges questions, audience questions, opposition questions and debate, York College won! The College team then went up against Harrogate Grammar School (who won last year) and debated 'We should all be willing to compromise our personal privacy in the interest of national security' - again the team was tenacious, bold, strategic and dynamic. And won again!

A Level tutor Clare Kirton says: "I was exceptionally proud of our Debating team, they were polite, confident and sociable and should be credited with this victory in its entirety. They were also complimented on not having pre-prepared closing one minute speeches. They are a credit to the College."

A Level student Ashley Teague, formerly of Wallingford School, who organised the York College team said: "Debating Matters is a fantastic organisation that everyone can get behind. It promotes teamwork, hard work and friendly competition."

The next full County round will be held at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds in March.



Faded Grandeur Ballgowns

Fashion and Textile Foundation Diploma and final year Extended Diploma Art & Design students designed and made a collection of stunning grandeur ballgowns made entirely out of scraps of paper. The students took their inspiration from Miss Haversham, derelict mansions and decaying furniture in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.

Art & Design student Katie Unsworth, formerly of Boroughbridge High School, said: "We were given the theme of 'Faded Grandeur' and had just three weeks to create a full scale ballgown. Working in small groups we developed our ideas from a mood board and experimented with bits of paper to see what worked. Everyone enjoyed the challenge and it was great fun dressing our model, including designing the hair and make-up. We are really pleased with the results, it is hard to believe the garments are made out of paper."



Top Conservatoire Offers for Mark

Following demanding auditions, A Level student Mark Leighton is overjoyed to have an unconditional offer to study classical guitar at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, as well as offers from The Royal Northern College of Music, The Royal Welsh Conservatoire of Music and Drama and a reserve offer from Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London.

Aged just 13, Mark took up classical guitar having been inspired by a concert at the York Guitar Festival. Prior to that concert he had tinkered on the keyboard and strummed on his brother's guitar at home. Four years on he is now studying A Levels in Music, Music Technology, Maths and Computing at York College and is an elite member of the College's Music Development Centre. Currently he plays alongside 23 of the finest young guitarists in the National Youth Guitar Ensemble and he has a guaranteed place at a top conservatoire! In his words: "Suddenly I'm living my dreams!"


Mark, formerly of Selby High School, says: "An audition gives me just a few minutes to prove my musicality. I am self-critical when I rehearse, I constantly look for ways to better my performance. It's about being harsh on myself and being totally absorbed in my guitar playing."

Looking to the future Mark wonders if he will ever become a classical guitar teacher at one of the top conservatoires – he has everything to play for!


Joe is named National Chemical Science Apprentice of the Year

Former York College apprentice Joe Turton was presented with a national award from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Joe was named Chemical Sciences Apprentice of the Year 2014 in recognition of his excellent work on the Laboratory and Science Advanced Apprenticeship pathway, working with the Food Environment Research Agency (FERA) at Sand Hutton.

Aged 16 Joe was one of the first group of apprentices employed by FERA and he has since secured a full-time position with the organisation. He says: "The best piece of advice I would give a young person starting their career, whatever that may be, would be to find something they are really passionate about - for me it was science. Then seriously consider it and do some research into whether an apprenticeship offers something for you. The most obvious path seemed to be to go to York College and study my apprenticeship - I haven't looked back since."


Joe is currently an assistant scientist in the Centre for Chemical Safety and Stewardship – the team responsible for investigating the effects of chemicals, particularly pesticides and veterinary medicines on the environment. Joe's role is to help determine the effects these chemicals may have on organisms that live in water, such as algae and freshwater shrimp.
Joe attended the Royal Society of Chemistry awards ceremony in Manchester. He received a cash prize, additional funding towards his professional development and a medal.

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