Students Staff

25 June 2015

Schools to transform sixth form opportunities thanks to partnership with University of Essex

Sixth formers in Colchester and Tendring will have the chance to study for their A Levels at the University of Essex’s Colchester Campus thanks to a new schools partnership – thought to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Six schools are joining forces with the University to create the VI6 Partnership with the Colchester Campus hosting A Level courses run by the schools.

This week more than 150 students visited the University to take part in introductory talks and taster sessions designed to showcase the exciting opportunities on offer from this September.

The VI6 Partnership includes Clacton County High School, Clacton Coastal Academy, Colne Community School and College, Harwich and Dovercourt High School, Philip Morant School and College and Thurstable School.

The launch event was attended by former Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell who praised the schools and University for having the “courage to collaborate” and setting an example for other schools in the UK to follow.

Colne Executive Principal Nardeep Sharma said: “We are really excited about this project which allows our students to learn in new ways, experience higher education from a different perspective and develop a love of life-long learning.

“This is a unique project and no other area of the country has developed a project like this. I can only see it going from strength to strength.”

Mr Sharma said the Partnership would be carefully monitoring and researching the impact of the project on participation, attitudes to higher education and academic performance.

In year one, the VI6 Partnership will offer A levels in Law, Geography, Philosophy and Ethics, History of Art, Further Maths, Economics and French at the Colchester Campus whilst maintaining the provision of A Level and BTEC qualifications in their own schools. Courses will be taught jointly by experienced staff from the schools and the courses will extend the sixth form offer available to local students.

The courses will be enriched by contributions from leading academics who are actively involved in world-leading research on the subjects the students are studying. The students will also have the chance to meet with current University of Essex students to share their experiences and find out more about university life.

Professor Jules Pretty, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “Today is the start of a ground breaking initiative. We are giving the young people of North Essex the chance to be part of something really special - a new and exciting way of learning informed by our commitment to excellence in education. Immersing sixth form students in this living and learning environment at our Colchester Campus will be inspirational for everyone involved.

“Students will become part of our university community, they will have the chance to learn and work like a university student and benefit from our facilities. We hope they will also be inspired by our ethos of challenging convention.”

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