Support and guidance are offered in many different ways, not least in the contacts and conversations which take place each day between staff and students both in and outside lessons. As well as these informal contacts, tutorial guidance is designed to enable you to make wise choices, discuss career plans, assess your own progress and seek help if problems arise.
At the heart of support and guidance in the College is the relationship between each student and their tutor. You will be a member of a tutor group of about twenty-four students in the same year group as you. You will be supported by a weekly tutorial programme of activities that will enable you to acquire information, develop skills and engage in discussion. Within the tutorial programme, the focus is on your mental and physical health and wellbeing and also on supporting your progress and developing your employability. Your tutor will also be available to meet you individually on a regular basis to discuss issues which either of you may wish to raise. Your tutor will help you to settle into College, encourage you to take responsibility for your own learning and to participate in the wide range of opportunities available outside your examination courses. Within the partnership between student and tutor, you will discuss your course and personal timetable, as well as evaluating your progress through the Progress Review process. Your tutor will also provide references for progression to higher education or employment.
Every student at Hills Road is regularly involved in reviewing their own progress. Progress Review enables you to assess how you’re doing, establish action plans and record activities you are involved in outside the classroom. All information related to your progress is accessed via your own ProPortal link, which is where you can set and review targets, see your assessment and progress grade profile and build your portfolio of skills ready to support you beyond Hills Road. Structured discussions about your progress are held with your subject teachers and tutor two or three times each year, but more informal discussions may occur at any time.
Student Services Team
At the heart of the College is the Student Services Team. This team is there to support you with answers to any questions that you might have about College life. Located in the centre of the College, this friendly and supportive team are there to help you if you’re feeling unwell, unsure, or if you just need someone to speak to. This is also the team that will be monitoring your attendance weekly and contacting home to alert them to any concerns we might have. Our Wellbeing Adviser is a key part of our Student Services Team and has the time available to talk through any worries or concerns you might have. She could refer you on to our in-house counselling service, or to external sources of support, if that should be appropriate.
Supported Independent Learning Service
Our Student Services Team is located next to our Supported Independent Learning Service which is another key part of the network of support you’ll find right across the College. One of the biggest challenges in moving from GCSE to Advanced level study is coping with the high levels of personal organisation and communication that are needed to make a success of sixth form life. We recognise that not all students can adjust to these demands as quickly as others; so, in addition to the support provided by personal tutors, we also have a dedicated Supported Independent Learning Officer. Her role is to provide timetabled supervision and support for students who are finding the expectations for completing independent study outside lesson time challenging, working with them to prioritise their learning more effectively.
Subject Support for Learning and Extension
All departments and subjects offer opportunities to support and extend your learning beyond the classroom. Often, these opportunities are offered as lunchtime ‘surgery’ slots, used to diagnose, challenge and support your understanding further. These are occasions when you can work one-to-one with subject specialists to flesh out your ideas, either going back over topics to understand them better or to push your knowledge and extend your learning beyond the specification, where appropriate. Many subjects take part in external competitions to enable students to challenge themselves further by competing against other students nationally – and even internationally - sometimes.
Study Skills Centre
The Study Skills Centre is available to all students throughout their course. Trained staff will help you analyse your individual learning needs and plan support. Individual and small-group support is available for a variety of needs. Assessment for specific learning difficulties can be arranged by the team. More information about the Study Skills Centre can be found on Meeting Individual Needs...
The College recognises that parents have a major part to play in supporting students throughout their time at the College. In September, parents of new students are invited to the College to meet tutors, the Head of Year and other key staff who will be supporting students through their time at College. Parents’ consultations with subject staff are combined with students’ Progress Review discussions in February of both Year 12 and Year 13. Parents are welcome to contact tutors at the College at any time if they have any cause for concern. Please see the following page for Parents.
They are also invited to join the Association of Parents and Friends.