Pensioner is still pumping iron at Hills Road Sports and Tennis Centre gym - aged 90, read
At 16:15 on 18th November 2013, Matthew Barzun, the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, entered the Science Lecture Room at Hills Road Sixth Form College to lead an engaging Question and Answer discussion.
Instead of giving a lecture, he encouraged students to have a discussion with him by asking questions, which was welcomed by the many A level Government and Politics students present. The questions to the Ambassador included queries about the recent US government shutdown, his ideas on gun control, health care and the situation in Syria and whether he spoke Swedish - he replied to the last one in Swedish!
Students asked the Ambassador several questions about the relationship between the US and the UK: if there were any differences between the ways in which the two governments operated and why the relationship is so strong between the two countries. His answers gave the audience of sixth form students and staff a good working understanding of his role and how much he valued US–UK links, which he referred to as a ‘special relationship’.
His comments on the recent government shutdown were that it was “not our [meaning Congress’s] finest hour”. As a Democrat himself he went on to explain that it disappointed him that the government shutdown had occurred because of the differing opinions on the Affordable HealthCare Act.
One student asked the Ambassador about his background, to which he replied that he had worked for an internet company before pursuing a career in diplomacy.
Max Bouttell, 18, Politics student said, “As someone who is intending to go onto study Politics at university, Ambassador Barzun's visit was both greatly enjoyable and enlightening.”
Head of Political and Social Sciences at the College, Blair Murray Cusati said, “Hills Road Politics students were privileged to hear an excellent insider's account of Washington DC and US foreign policy. Ambassador Barzun engaged the student audience with his responses to student questions and his sense of humour.”
Based on a report by student Lizzy Knowles
"…….where academic excellence goes hand in hand with dynamic leadership, inspirational teaching and engaged, enthusiastic pupils”. (Sunday Times, 17 November 2013).
The Sunday Times has used the number of students obtaining AAB grades in two or more A-levels in 'facilitating' subjects in 2012 to rank sixth form colleges.
“37% of students achieved AAB in two or more facilitating subjects at Hills Road, six percentage points higher than any other sixth form college in the country. The college has continued to do well this summer with 34% of students at Hills Road gaining AAB in two or more of these subjects and 51% of all A-levels gaining A* or A grades.” (Fay Schopen, Sunday Times).
The report also recognises: the huge choice of subjects and extra curricular activities available at the College; its strong community ethos, characterised by extensive one-to-one support and guidance for individual students; the College’s success in supporting students’ applications to Oxbridge; the importance placed on developing students as independent learners (including through the Extended Project); and the passion for learning that is shared by staff and students.
College Principal, Linda Sinclair, said: “This is a remarkable achievement and I am delighted that the considerable talents of students, staff and governors have been recognized in this way.” She paid tribute to the “Special partnership that exists between staff and students: “There is no doubt that it is thanks to their enormous dedication, hard work and enthusiasm that Hills Road continues to enjoy its national reputation for excellence….. it is a pleasure and a privilege to work every day with such a talented and devoted group of people.”
The students at Hills Road Sixth Form College have had a most successful ‘Speak a Foreign Language Day’, raising money for the internationally-renowned charity, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders - UK. At the time of raising money for the charity, the staff and students were aware that the work of Médecins Sans Frontières was crucial in responding to the Syrian refugee crisis. However, they did not know that the organisation would soon to be targeting their resources to the recent Philippines typhoon appeal.
Over the past six years, more than £9,000 has been collected by Hills Road students through their language days for a wide range of charities. This year’s organiser, Head of French, Mandy Bolster, was delighted with the outcome and thanked the many students who spoke only in their chosen foreign language throughout the day, including their lessons! Some students spoke the language they are studying at the College, whilst others spoke their native languages ranging from Thai to Portuguese. One enthusiast even spoke Esperanto!
Mandy was proud to confirm that the target of £1,000 was exceeded and contributions are still being collected. She said, “The students did much to celebrate linguistic diversity in Cambridge - many students speak a second language at home - and to promote language learning in general. Britain desperately needs more linguists! Most importantly, a truly brilliant amount of money was raised for an organisation that really does make a difference.”
Left: Amy Marsh's photograph
Hills Road Photography student Freya Hatter is runner-up in the Under-18s section of the Cambridge News Photographer of the Year and Amy Marsh is the winner of the Under-18s ‘Personal Choices’ category. You can see their photographs in the slideshow on the
Cambridge News website.
Meanwhile, another Photography student, Charlotte Burton, has two of her photographs published in the Landscape Photographer of the Year 2013 where she was the winner in both the 'Youth Living the view' and 'Youth Urban view' categories – her photographs can be found on the
‘Take a View’ website.
Below: Youth Living the View winning photograph by Charlotte Burton
An East Anglian team became the first-ever ladies crew to row from Hayling Island to The Needles, when they completed the 26-mile route on Saturday 21st September, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. The crew - Natalie Moss, Charlotte Brown, Emma de Vries, Anne Jones, Lisa Kippen, Victoria Scally, Chloe Betson and Melissa Murray - set off from Portsmouth harbour at noon, completing the mammoth task, known as the Solent Marathon, in just 4 hours and 34 minutes.
The ladies had originally planned to row the Channel, but after their first effort was aborted 24 hours beforehand due to unfavourable weather conditions, they then received the disappointing news that the French authorities were in future going to ban all man-powered vessels from crossing the Channel. Undeterred, the team decided to tackle the Solent crossing instead, a longer row which presented its own set of challenges.
Their coach Alan Middlebrook said, “When comparing the Channel row to the Solent row, there are much more difficult water conditions. Because of the geology in the Solent they were always going to encounter turbulent water. As they passed through the numerous patches of rough water en route to the Needles it hardly seemed to affect the efficiency of their rowing at all.”
Natalie Moss, who manages Hills Road Sports & Tennis Centre in Cambridge (where some of the fitness training took place) said, “It was an amazing day from start to finish. Considering we were all novice rowers and only had three training sessions on the water, I feel proud of what we achieved as a crew. It was a personal challenge for each of us and we are thrilled to have raised so much money for Macmillan.”
For more information about the ladies’ endeavours, read the blog www.channelcrew2013.blogspot.co.uk and to donate to Macmillan, for whom they have so far raised £5,500, go to www.justgiving.com/channelcrew2013
The Hills Road community was shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden and untimely death of Mr Richard Wardell on 23rd September. Richard was a key member of the Hills Road Physics Department for 15 years and throughout that time he also contributed to College Music as organist and member of the Chamber Choir.
Richard is remembered with great affection as a devoted father - to his daughters, Anna and Helen; as a gentle, charming and very popular colleague; as a tremendously knowledgeable physicist and a vastly talented musician. He will be very sadly missed.
Richard’s funeral will take place at 2.30pm on Saturday 5th October at St Andrews Church in Stapleford. Since parking is very limited outside the church, those attending are asked to park at Stapleford Community Primary School in Bar Lane.
Hills Road Sixth Form College held a special event on Wednesday 25th September to celebrate the opening of the new pavilion on its playing field at Luard Road. Replacement of the original pavilion, which opened in 1930, was long overdue; it has been replaced by an outstanding facility for College students and staff and local sports teams.
The event started with a number of friendly matches, watched by staff, students and friends of the College. The arrival of Councillor Paul Saunders, Mayor of the City of Cambridge, marked the beginning of the official opening ceremony.
Following a rousing musical performance by a student trombone quartet, Hills Road Principal, Linda Sinclair, welcomed the many invited guests and thanked all those responsible for the project’s successful completion. She paid special tribute to Nigel Standbridge, Estates Bursar, and Jill Aberdour, Assistant Principal, for their excellent leadership of the building programme and went on to explain the hugely important role played by sport and physical activity within the College’s curriculum. She also thanked the College’s Association of Parents and Friends for the generous donation of a new Cricket scoreboard.
Guests were also welcomed by two student representatives: George Kohler, 18, who was a member of the Sports National Youth Council during the organisation of the 2013 British Colleges National Championships, and Katie Goodman, last year’s Chair of the Hills Road Sport Committee. George was clearly delighted with the new pavilion and said, “Sport plays a central part in the lives of many students at Hills Road. The Pavilion will provide a central venue for all, from recreational users to our elite athletes. We are already hugely successful as a College and we now have a pavilion to match the quality of sport that we play!”
Principal, Linda Sinclair said, “This superb pavilion offers fit for purpose facilities and the level of quality that our students have the right to expect; a standard which much better matches the calibre of sporting endeavour that has earned Hills road its national reputation for sporting excellence.”
Head of the Sport Department at the College, Ann Hemming, said “We have had a great day. The range of sporting opportunities available at Hills Road is impressive, with opportunities to participate in over 25 different sports. Our new pavilion is superb.”
“Furthermore, I am certain the Pavilion’s distinctive design will become an equally iconic landmark for all train passengers entering and leaving Cambridge in the same way as the previous building was.”
The opening ceremony was followed by an exciting game of tag rugby, involving players from the Cantabrigian Rugby Club. At the same time, an informal cricket practice took place, with a number of guests taking part!
Following recent news reports about the ‘severe decline’ in young people learning foreign languages, Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge is happy to report that they have a thriving languages department for both Sixth Form and Adult Education students.
Sixth form students can choose to study French, German and Spanish at AS and A level and they also have the opportunity of taking up Italian, Chinese or Japanese as an enrichment subject. The languages department will be inviting all students to speak a foreign language for a day on 17th October and once again, all the proceeds raised from this activity will go to the charity Médecins Sans Frontières.
Cordula Körner, Head of Languages, said, “Our aim is to showcase and celebrate the foreign languages that are spoken in the community too, as well as those we offer at A level. Some years we have had a very diverse offering, from Arabic to Estonian and Turkish.”
The Adult Education programme at the College offers over fifty part-time evening courses in thirteen world languages, including Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Russian, Japanese, Arabic and Latin!
Jenny Fleck, co-ordinator for the Adult Education languages programme and a French and Spanish tutor said, “The most popular Adult Education language course is Spanish, however German and Italian have become more popular in recent months.”
“We offer a progression route for adult students in the community who want to move from beginners’ levels to more advanced levels. For example there are six levels of Chinese courses on offer ranging from absolute beginners to advanced level.”
“Most of our tutors are native speakers with considerable teaching experience and there is an emphasis on listening and speaking so that students can use the language they learn in practical situations. In addition to learning the language, students also learn about the culture of the country.”
Information about AS and A levels at Hills Road can be found on the College’s website:
http://www.hillsroad.ac.uk and information about Adult Education courses at the College can be found at www.hillsroadadulteducation.co.uk or by telephoning 01223 278002.
Photograph shows course tutors, John McCann (back left) and Ian Harvey (back right) with some of the new students.
A group of aspiring bioscientists joined a new course at Hills Road Sixth Form College last week. This is the first time that the College has been directly involved in constructing a new Access to HE Diploma course with the purpose of enabling local adults to either enter the world of Bioscience, or to enhance their skills if they are already employed in the Bioscience industry and to benefit from the opportunity to progress onto a degree course in the field of Bioscience in the future.
The students are from a diverse background and experience. One student, Kylie Doe, is currently a laboratory assistant with a bioscience organisation based in the local region. She plans to extend her knowledge and understanding of bioscience principles and was keen to start the new course. Kylie said,"To find a course tailored so specifically to Bioscience is brilliant! I feel attending the Access to Bioscience course will enhance my knowledge of the foundations of the Biotechnology/Bioscience industry and the Biology/Chemistry associated with it. This will enable me to gain a better understanding of Bioscience itself, with possibilities of further progression."
One of the tutors on the course, Dr John McCann, was directly involved in creating the course content, working alongside Head of Biology, Ian Harvey, at the College. Ian said, "I am delighted that we have been able to recruit adult students from the local region. Our first group are very excited about the opportunities presented by future careers in the field of bioscience. The potential university courses following from the Access experience range from biochemistry and physiotherapy to radiography. We have been exploring possible progression routes with some of our regional universities."
John said, "It was a surprise for some applicants to find out that they may be able to apply for one of the new 24+ Advanced Learning Loans. These loans cover the tuition fees and the unusual feature is that the loan does not need to be repaid if the person then progresses onto a degree course and successfully completes the course at the end of the period of undergraduate study."
It is still possible for adult students to apply to join this course. If you wish to find out more about this new Access to Bioscience course you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 01223 278002 or visit the Adult Education office between 9.00am – 4.00pm, Monday - Friday.