Thursday, 3 December 2015

STUDENT BLOG: Basketball Team Undefeated

Student Blog by Daniel Mengstab

Wednesday afternoons means sport for the performance teams at The Sixth Form College, Solihull and the basketball team were in action again this week.

Having beaten BCU, Solihull were full of confidence going into a league game against Warwickshire College. Following a week off from games, Solihull had the opportunity to work on their fitness, strength and conditioning. Despite having  many set plays at their disposal the team started the game very slowly, only scoring 9 points in the first 5 minutes of play.

Having made some changes to the team and bringing on experienced Matthew and Nash, the tempo increased and Solihull racked up 3 quick baskets through Nash. However, Warwickshire were very resilient and pulled some points back. Going into the half Solihull had a lead of 2 points.

Disappointed with the score line, the Solihull coach decided to play a more pressing and aggressive style of play, which saw off BCU 2 weeks ago. The pressing on defence meant Solihull was pressuring the Warwickshire team into turnovers and easy baskets. However, Warwickshire did not give up and they came back to within 4 points by end of third quarter.

Having 12 players in their arsenal, Solihull kept rotating players to keep the intensity high and eventually Warwickshire had no reply to the sheer athleticism and speed of Rakim and Nash in the final quarter. As a result Solihull won the game 49-41 and is so far undefeated in the league and sits firmly in first place having won 3 out of 3 league games.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

STUDENT BLOG: Religious Studies Trip Review

Student Blog by Toby Lowther

Religious Studies students went on a trip to the BCC (Birmingham Christian Centre) to attend a philosophical conference - one of a series entitled “Being and Nothingness”, produced by a company called “Candle Conferences”. The event was hosted by Dr Peter Vardy, with the guest speaker Dr Stephen Law.

The day consisted of a series of invigorating lectures. These included Dr Peter Vardy (pictured below) speaking on the cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of God, and on the nature of the omnipotence of the God of Classical Theism. These also included a lecture by Dr Stephen Law on atheism, covering the different kinds of atheism, atheistic arguments against the existence of God (focussing on the Evil God Challenge), atheistic morality, and the atheistic view on the question of the meaning of life.

The entire day was concluded with an open debate and discussion section, wherein aspiring philosophers in the audience were given the chance to propose their own arguments relevant to the question of the existence of God and finishing with a vote in favour or against the existence of God, based upon the arguments given. Finally, Dr Vardy gave a short talk on why the question of whether or not God exists is important, and how this answer reflects on morality and ethics.

The day was very refreshing and intriguing, raising interesting questions on the fundamental question of the existence of God. It was very well organised, and was given in such a way as to complement and support the topics we had already covered in the classroom, whilst simultaneously extending beyond Advanced Level and tackling propositions and arguments raised at higher levels of philosophy. The event was exciting, educational and all-round excellent – a brilliant opportunity for students of Religious Studies to expand upon their learning and discover more about philosophy.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

STUDENT BLOG: Basketball Team Win in the Cup

Student Blog by Daniel Mengstab

On a wet and cold Wednesday afternoon the Sixth Form College, Solihull basketball team was up against University College Birmingham (UCB) in the AOC Sport Cup.

The Solihull team, undefeated so far in the league, were brimming with confidence. The game got off to a slow start, however  the 12 points contribution of Annas Adan give the Solihull team a 23 - 12 lead going into the second quarter. UCB, who were only playing with 5 players, were unable to match the speed of the Solihull players, and with vicious defence the team was able to extent their lead to 49 - 22. Annas was again at the full front of the attack and defence.
Having built an unassailable lead, Solihull decided to switch tactics and put new concepts to play. Playing man-to-man defence and Flex on offence, they broke down the UCB defence to extend their lead by 40 points at the end of the third quarter.  Again in the fourth quarter, Solihull continued to experiment with different set plays. The set plays were very successful, with Rakiem Willis leading the charge and contributing 12 points in the last quarter.

Praise has to be given to Matthew Gaskell, who masterminded the set plays, held the team together and unselfishly assisted his team mates.  The UCB team, weak in number, were very resilient and never gave up to the last second. Solihull won the game comfortably 90 - 38 and as a result they advance in the AOC Sport Cup.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

STUDENT BLOG: Caroline Spelman MP visits

Blog from Alice Bettis March, Year 12 student at The Sixth Form College, Solihull and former student of Swanshurst School:

Caroline Spelman, previous Conservative Party Chairman visited The Sixth Form College, Solihull on 6th February to discuss her time as Secretary of State for the Department of Environment and on being, “the 6th woman in the history of British Politics to sit in the Cabinet”.

After delivering a brief overview on her time in Parliament; what it was like being a new Conservative MP in 1997 and working in a “cohesive coalition”, the MP for Meriden began to take questions from the floor. One such question was from Year 12 Politics student Ewan, who asked: “What made the Conservatives stand out as a party to you, over Labour or the Liberal Democrats, for example?” In response, Spelman stated that when deciding on a party for you, “You’ve got to think, where do I broadly align,” before continuing onto describe how poignant moments from her youth, such as the ‘three day week’ distanced her from the Labour Party particularly.

The majority of the questions asked focused specifically on legislation Spelman had worked on during her time in Parliament, such as the ‘Modern Slavery Act’. Her responses to these questions engaged the students into the importance of creating and amending legislature, as well as an insight into the lifestyle of a member of Cabinet.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Last chance to visit the College

Have you applied for your college place yet? It's getting close to the time that colleges and sixth forms stop accepting applications. Our deadline is 31 March 2015.

Ideally, we would like all students to visit the College before they make an application. By doing that, reading our prospectus and researching course content on our website, students can make applications armed with all the facts and ensure they make the right choices for them. Open days are a vital way for prospective students and parents to find out if a place is right for them. We had an Open Day in October and an Open Evening in November. We're sorry if you missed them, but there is just one more chance to visit us...

Information Evening
Thursday 5 March 2015
4.00pm - 6.30pm

Information Evening event is similar to an open evening, but on a smaller scale. We will not be opening up the whole campus for this event, but will instead be set up in our Sports Hall, with staff from all curriculum areas available to answer questions from prospective students/parents.

Principal Paul Ashdown will also be giving talks in our Dance Studio at 4.30pm and 5.30pm. He will have lots of useful information about what we can offer to students, but probably most helpful of all, he will explain the changes happening to A levels over the next three years. You can start your research on this by reading what is on our website.

Pre-registration for this event is now open. Pre-registering helps us to prepare for student/parent needs, but booking an appointment (as it says in the prospectus) is no longer necessary, and visitors are welcome to attend without having pre-registered. Pre-registration will remain open until 12.00 noon on Thursday 5 March.

If you have questions ahead of this event, ask us when you pre-register or get in touch via Facebook, Twitter, email or call us on 0121 704 2581.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Team Gambia 2014

The Sixth Form College, Solihull participates in a Team Gambia project. The 2014 project has just concluded and staff and students are celebrating a highly successful venture and cherishing many wonderful memories.

First and most importantly is the great work this project has achieved. This is a project set up and run by Pete Evans at Hamstead Hall School. He built the Jemus Jungkung Jammeh Memorial Nursery School in Abuko and is responsible for paying the teachers and developing the school. We are just grateful to be able to be a part of it and to do anything we can to support the amazing work he has already done.

This Team Gambia 2014 project (which follows our first involvement in 2013) was 9 months in the making and students had to work hard before the trip to raise money for the school. The final fundraising total exceeds £8,500, which is a tremendous total and really good use will be put to that money. The school needs help paying teachers wages and buying resources and work is already under way to build new classrooms, which is much needed. There are still lots of kids not going to school at all in The Gambia because there is not room for them, so building these additional classrooms will ensure these kids get an education.

The trip itself has really enhanced the lives of the students who went. All have spoken of having their eyes opened by the sights they saw. It has made them all realise how lucky they are to have what they have. They have all built up their confidence, team working skills and gained valuable teaching experience too.

The students also got to experience a different culture. As well as working at the school, there was time for the students to experience more of the local culture, as a demonstration of traditional Gambian dancing was put on. They also went to a local crocodile park, a monkey sanctuary, the Albert Market in Banjul and the Parliament building. They visited a medical centre and another school, as well as enjoying some rest and relaxation at the hotel and on the beach.

All in all, the trip was a great success and the project as a whole continues to go from strength to strength. We look forward to doing this all over again next year!

To see some photos from this amazing trip, visit our Flickr page or view the Album on Facebook.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Roughing it for St Basil's

When staff and students get behind a good cause, there is a lot that can be achieved and that is exactly what happened this November, as the College staged a Big Sleep Out in aid of homeless charity St Basil's.

This challenge was many months in the planning and when staff were first approached about it back in July it seemed like a good idea. As the date drew closer and the weather turned, many staff were beginning to wonder what they had let themselves in for. By then, however, sponsorship had been sought and there was no backing out!

As with any challenge for charity, it is not supposed to be easy! If it were easy, why would anybody bother to sponsor you? This challenge - to sleep out in the cold with just cardboard and plastic to protect us - was not only difficult, but it also brought home to everyone who took part the difficulties that homeless people face everyday.

St Basils are the beneficiaries of this activity. They work with young people aged 16-25, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. They help over 5,000 young people every year across Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull, Worcestershire and Coventry. Their services include accommodation schemes, homelessness prevention and support services to help young people regain the stability they need to rebuild their lives. This includes developing the skills they need to stand on their own two feet, get training and find employment.

27 staff and 45 students took part and we can all now appreciate what real homeless people go through. The only thing we tried to do was keep warm and keep dry and in that sense we got a taste of what being homeless is really like. Building a shelter is not as easy at it looks. It has to stand up to wind and rain and not all the shelters did that - here is a case in point!

Sponsorship is still being collected, but the fundraising from the staff alone exceeds £2,000 and that gives every member of staff who took part a great sense of achievement. We know that this will help St Basil's to do more of their wonderfully worthwhile work for young people in the West Midlands.

All staff and students who took part deserve a big "well done" for their achievement.