Dear Parents and Carers,
I do hope this finds you and your family safe and well. Congratulations to you and your son/daughter/ward for successfully securing a place at St Brendan’s College. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone to this new academic year and we look forward to working with you.
Our communication with you as parents is key, and this weekly letter will provide you with useful information and updates about the college and the term ahead.
We wanted to reassure you that we are continuing to prioritise the safety of staff and students at St Brendan’s. There are a number of safety measures which we do have in place as per guidance for colleges and schools. We will continue to review these in the light of both our local and national context through the year. These measures may change on advice from Public Health England or the Department for Education and we appreciate your flexibility in this matter. We will keep you updated on any changes that we make.
Last academic year, we managed to successfully keep our College open and this was mainly due to the fantastic response of our students. To build on this success, we are asking all of our students and staff to wear face coverings in communal areas for the first two weeks of term. We also ask that our students, just like our staff, take lateral flow tests twice a week and report the result via the NHS web/app. For our new students, you may have reporting accounts linked to your previous schools. The College’s postcode is BS4 5RQ.
We are in the process of updating our parent handbook, and will be including a link to this in our next bulletin. This contains vital information on our College systems, how you can check on your son/daughter/ward’s progress and attendance, main points of contact, and a calendar of key events for the year ahead.
We take the safety and well-being of our students very seriously and are committed to ensuring that learning continues in the event that COVID prevents either a student or staff member from attending College.
Find below information that has been sent to the students about what to do in each scenario as well as guidance for how to join a MS Teams meeting.
You will find below a copy of the email that has been sent to all Year 12 and Access to Level 3 students advising them of the process they must follow if, in the rare instance that it happens, they wish to change courses. We've also included some guides on how students can set up an appointment for the Careers Zone and with their academic mentor.
In response to parent/carer feedback and with the interests of ensuring we communicate with parents/carers regularly we are this year running our first ever 'Settling In Review' day. Our Settling In Review for all students will be held on Friday 15th October from 9am – 4pm.
The purpose of this event is to allow you to talk with subject teachers and academic mentors to discuss how your young person is settling in at St Brendan’s College, whether they are ATL3, year 12 or year 13 students.
How will appointments run? This year all appointments with subject teachers and academic mentors will take place via Teams video calls, which will be arranged through your young person’s student email account (teacher/academic mentor will contact you at the time of your appointment(s)).
How do I book an appointment? How to book your appointments with your young person's teachers and academic mentor will be advised to you shortly, with the booking system going live at 9am on the 20th September.
Parent/Carers are advised that on this day all students will be completing their lessons at home. Students will be set work, so that teachers and academic mentors are available to meet with you. If you have IT/WiFi issues and your young person cannot access learning from home they will be advised of who to contact and we will arrange provision for them.
Maths anxiety is defined as "a negative emotional reaction to maths leading to feelings of helplessness and panic". We all experience it in certain situations, but some find that they experience it on a regular basis, and it can be detrimental to performance and self-esteem. Find out more about Maths Anxiety and how to recognise the signs below.
Futures is our progression and next steps programme at St Brendan's. It is a bespoke online course designed to help students in their research and applications for various progression routes; be it university, apprenticeships, or jobs after leaving college. Students are expected to work through this programme on our virtual event platform as part of their college studies.
Activities and tasks are clearly labelled week by week, and we ask students to work through at their own pace and when convenient for them. Students must keep up to date with activities so that they don't miss any important dates or deadlines. Engagement with the course will be monitored through the use of the Unifrog website, which students will use to conduct research into their next steps.
We do ask that you are aware of what is going on as part of the Futures programme using the link below, so that you can support with completion of the course if needed.
Students can access 1-1 and group support in person at college through careers drop-in sessions, UCAS (University application) support sessions, or by asking for support on their Futures Teams page/emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click the link to have a look at this week's news from our Careers Team! This week, read about UCAS drop in support sessions, Where to look for apprenticeships, University Widening participation schemes, The Career Ready Programme at St Brendan’s, Work Experience with the British Army, and much more!
See below for some key dates for UCAS (university applications)
Early applicants (applying to Oxbridge, Veterinary, Medicine or Dentistry)
Closed - Submission of 1st draft of Personal Statement
10th September - Submission of 2nd draft of personal statement
17th September - Submission of Final Draft of personal Statement
24th September - Internal deadline to pay and send UCAS application – (to guarantee application is checked and sent by UCAS deadline.)
All other applicants
17th September - Submission of 1st draft of personal statement
22nd October - Submission of 2nd draft of personal statement
19th November - Submission of Final Draft of personal Statement
3rd December - Internal deadline to pay and send UCAS application – (to guarantee application is checked and sent by UCAS deadline.)
We are delighted to be able to offer students the opportunity to complete the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold award at St Brendan’s. The award is open to any student at the college regardless of whether they have completed other DofE awards.
The DofE awards allow students to show the ability to lead, persevere and work as part of a team, attributes that universities and employers highly value. Registration is now open online.
We are looking for Year 12 students who would like to make a difference to take part in our mentor scheme from mid-October to January.
As a mentor, students will work with younger students from Bridge Learning Campus to boost their confidence and love of reading, as well as improving their soft skills like learning habits and communication skills.
Sessions will take place at Bridge Learning Campus, only a 15 minute drive from St Brendan’s, on a Friday lunchtime 1.05pm - 2.05pm. We are working on a plan for transportation should this help. Students must be able to commit to the full 10 weeks of our programme.
The OLLIE project is running a free event for those aged 15-17, to provide space to explore the power of stories and the range of ways that creative writing can be used to express them. The workshop may be of particular interest to those who have been adopted, fostered, in care or are unaccompanied asylum seekers (with minimum Level 2 English).
The workshop will take place on 25th September, with a follow-up workshop in October for all to share their work within the group.
The Keynsham Eco Festival is offering free entry to under-18s in full time education. Tickets will still need to be booked.
Hear from four experts about what we can do as individuals to help avert catastrophic global heating, and what businesses and our government can do to avoid the terrible consequences of climate change.
To ensure a smooth and safe transition from the College campus at the end of the day we require all motorists to turn right as you exit St Brendan’s main gate between 3.50 pm & 4.20 pm Monday – Friday. Read more about drop off/collection and alternative routes here.
There are lots of different ways for students to travel to college. First Bus operate a number of services that serve St Brendan's college. You can find out more about these here.
Students can buy a St Brendan's student mTicket via the First Bus app. St Brendan's students cannot travel using a child ticket.
St Brendan’s also has a network of College coaches to provide transport from some of the areas where public bus services are less convenient. The college coach is £80 per month (September to May inclusive) and gives you a guaranteed seat.
Do you want to get involved in supporting the aims and objectives of St Brendan’s College? The board of Governors is looking for a new Parent Governor to promote the interest of the College and its Students in the wider community.
The candidate must be a parent or carer of a student at the college, and the term for this vacancy will run from October 2021 until 31 August 2023. Nomination forms must be completed and returned before 9:00am on Friday, 17 September 2021. Read more about the role and how to nominate here.
Marian Curran Principal
Svetlana Bajic-Raymond Vice Principal
Vicki Haigh Head of Pedagogy, Professional Development and Innovation
Kerry Mullinder Head of Learning Development & Safeguarding
Sue Rees Head of Data and Exams
Laura Howe-Haysom Head of Support Services
Sarah Hinder Finance Manager
Alison Rayner Exams Officer
Claire Woodhouse Attendance Officer