EXMOUTH COMMUNITY COLLEGE Update January 2016
You may have noticed the work taking place on phase one of building 16 new classrooms on the Gipsy Lane site. Phase one is for 8 classrooms. We are working with Devon County Council to try to bring forward the second phase to commence as soon as the first has finished, because this will save the cost of contractors leaving and clearing the site and then having to come back again at a later date. Our Finance Team have had great success at winning grants to improve the College environment as well as repairing some of our buildings. CCTV has also been extended to cover the College entrance, the gates and the entrance to Phear Park.
We opened a Memorial Garden within the College grounds on Remembrance Day 11 November 2015. It was designed by Mrs Smith, one of our technology teachers, and funded by various grants from Exmouth Town Council, Royal British Legion, Royal Marines Association and the National Lottery. It’s a lovely area with seating which students are free to use during the school day. We have had a number of fantastic musical events this term. The Annual Rotary Concert took place in November and was, as always, a wonderful evening which provides a real showcase for the talented musicians within the College. This year it was compèred by two of our sixth form students. The College choir recently won a competition to sing in Exeter Cathedral and a carol service was held in Withycombe Church supported by the College orchestra and with students reading the lessons. On the sporting front, we now have the addition of a long jump pit (funded by grants) which was opened this term by Vernon Samuels an ex- Olympic competitor.
During the summer we had students travelling to America, France and Indonesia where students worked as volunteers in the Rain Forest and dived on a coral reef. During the Autumn term students took part in visits to: Exeter Cathedral, Birmingham for four days, Dartmoor, Haldon Hills and three trips to London. The ski-ing trip to Italy was a also great success. As ever our thanks are due to all the staff who volunteer to take our students on these trips.
We have an excellent team of Pastoral Staff who work closely with our students. Additionally, we have the ICE Team from Churches Together linked to the ‘Open Door Centre’ who are such an asset to the College in terms of providing additional support. A new service has started across Devon, called EH4MH – Early Help for Mental Health. This is specifically to help young people in schools and train staff across Devon to help young people, who may have an emotional or mental health need. This is seen as a preventative service to help young people at a very early stage. As a Governor of the College, I have been invited to be part of the Devon County Council monitoring group to ensure it is providing this service as specified. I have attended my first meeting and those who visited the College thought we were providing an excellent service. If a student feels they have a mental health need and wish to access help they can do so online at www.kooth.com or www.youngdevon.org or phone 08082 810 155. This is a free service funded by Devon County Council and schools across Devon. They have visited the College and talked to members of our staff about how they can signpost students on how to access help.
In December, we held the Premier Awards evening for our past post 16 students who had achieved excellent results during their time with us. It was a very enjoyable evening and I am sure all the parents and carers were very proud of the students who won prizes. Commander Nikki Thomas, a former student, gave a very inspirational speech.
East Devon District Council are currently working with Exmouth Community College and Withycombe Rugby Football Club to provide more sporting facilities for the College, the Club and the wider community. The Council has recognised the shortage of playing pitches in Exmouth in ‘The Playing Pitch Strategy’ and artificial pitches can be an answer to this problem in part. The current lease at Withycombe RFC has been extended to 99 years in order to attract funding. Cllr David Chapman as the newly created Sports Champion, with both representatives of the College and Club, has been assisting in these negotiations. Those in the community who wish to help in this endeavour are urged to contact either; the College, Council or Rugby Club.
Our team of 19 Governors bring knowledge and experience to the College. They are volunteers and do not receive any payment. We have had 5 new Governors join the team this term: Ann Grange(parent), Clair McColl(parent), Marianne Skinner(Teacher), Lyn Edmondson (Teacher)and Ian McQueen(Community). We are very aware that Parents, Grandparents and Carers support is essential to enable our young people to get the most from their education. The College receives a large sum of money from the Government to provide the basics, but all the ‘extras’ have to be funded by fundraising, sponsorship, donations and grants. We thank everyone for the support the College receives. We recognise young people need the ‘taxi’ service, provided by relatives and the extra funds that are provided for various activities, to help them reach their potential.
Finally, can I remind everyone that Governors welcome the opportunity to talk to parents and carers about any matters to do with the College. We have a “Governors’ table” in the Main Hall on Parents’ Evenings. If anyone wants to talk to us, do come and see us, we welcome any opportunity to hear your views.
Jill Elson Chair of Governors