The NCS Magnificent Seven

This is our seventh full year of being open having welcomed the first cohort in 2014. Throughout history the number seven has been seen as a magical and mystical number. You have seven days of the week, seven wonders of the world, seven deadly sins, seven colours of the rainbow and seven Harry Potter books! The temporary pause caused by the pandemic has seen us reflecting on those seven years and through the achievements of our ‘magnificent seven’ alumni, we’d love to tell you about how our reputation for being one of the best 16-19 Free Schools in the country in London for student outcomes has grown.

Each year below contains a summary of just some of the building blocks that form our celebrated ‘holistic education’ for all NCS students.

We completed our first full year of delivering what would become our signature blend of a holistic education. Our first cohort started with us the previous September in our newly refurbished Grade II listed building and immediately benefitted from the knowledge and passion of our expert teaching staff. We launched our Super Curriculum, designed to allow our students to become deep thinkers, critical enquirers and intellectual risk takers. The NCS Emerging Talent Programme gave all students the chance to learn soft-skills and prepare for life at university and beyond. Whilst those with interest in areas such as banking, medicine, law and finance experienced work placements, shadowing and workshops at NHS hospitals and at leading international firms in the heart of the City of London.

Our Humanities department and our dedicated Oxbridge team supported Zereena to become our first student to get an offer to study English at the University of Oxford.

“Even now with only a week left of term, we’ve still got trips and work placements coming up. From day one until now the way I’ve been nurtured by The NCS has really helped me grow and experience the outside world that much better.”

Samiya (Trainee Solicitor with White & Case LLP)

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Zereena

“My teachers have definitely helped the most in pushing me to achieve my dreams. I didn’t think that I’d get an offer from Oxford University, I didn’t think I’d achieve the grades I did. I didn’t think I had it in me. The motivation, encouragement and support from the teachers really pushed me to be what I thought I couldn’t be. I feel like I’ve really become the person I want to be in the future.”
– Zereena

In 2015…

  • We opened to our first cohort, who completed their first year of A Level studies.
  • Zereena gained the very first offer for an NCS student to study at Oxbridge.
  • The NCS Lecture Programme attracted high profile guest speakers from the start. We welcomed a steady stream of leading scientists who presented on topics as diverse as quantum physics, Alzheimers and Genetics. We also welcomed political journalist Owen Jones and the then leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett. 
  • Harvard University visited students at The NCS to discuss studying in America. This relationship with one of the premiere Ivy League Universities would become an integral part of our highly successful Ivy League Preparation Programme in the following years.
  • A strategic partnership with UCL was launched. UCL staff would benefit from the expertise of our own teaching staff’s knowledge to better understand how assessment and feedback at sixth form level might inform curriculum design at university. In return, NCS students benefited from a programme of support around applying to higher education and UCL supplemented the Sixth Form’s A Level provision by offering a series of bespoke masterclasses, taster lectures and summer school opportunities throughout the academic year. These opportunities continue through to today.

As our second cohort began their studies, our first completed theirs and sat their final A2 exams. Our provision of support and opportunities grew for all. There were trips for politics students to the European Parliament in Belgium and our geographers had an explorative field trip in Dorset. Politics students explored Washington and New York, visiting the White House, Pentagon and United Nations to learn about American Government & Diplomacy. Our annual science research visit to Japan which sees an exchange of scientific and cultural ideals with eminent Japanests scientists & students at Kyoto University was launched. Our work with Oxbridge expands, with a shadowing scheme, lectures and places at their summer schools. Academics from both universities deliver academic lectures and facilitate information, advice and guidance workshops on applying to the best universities to students at The NCS.

Undergraduate and post graduate mentors from LSE began working with students to support their UCAS applications and deliver extension material that exposed students to ideas and concepts beyond the A level curriculum. Our work experience opportunities increased and now went beyond the borders of the UK, with an all-expenses paid law placement in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. One of the students on this placement used this connection with law firm White & Case LLP to earn a prized training contract with them after university. Many of our students used similar networking opportunities to support their choices and prospects to this day.

“Since Year 10 I’ve always known that I wanted to work for KPMG, that was my one and only goal. Having attained it, it still feels kind of unreal. Out of tens of thousands of applicants [for the school leaver programme] only around 90 people get a place. This is the place where my dreams really started and this is the place that helped me to achieve those dreams.”

Daniella (Senior Audit Associate, KPMG)

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Samiya

“It’s really rare to find teachers and individuals who are so invested in you. They make sure that they follow up with you [to see] how you’re doing.  I am truly, truly grateful for my experiences at The NCS.”
– Samiya (Trainee Solicitor, White & Case LLP)

In 2016…

  • ALPS ranks The NCS in the Top 1% of all state schools (including grammar schools) in the UK for student progress.  Simply put, this means NCS students achieve better A level results that 99% of all other schools when you compare students who have the same GCSE grades on entry.
  • Our first international student work placement took place in Abu Dhabi & Dubai at White & Case LLP. 
  • Daniella (Y13) uses the wealth of experiences and support we provide to earn herself a place on the KPMG School Leavers Programme – her dream is the first of many fulfilled!
  • A treat for students interested in Economics & Politics as we welcomed Lord Mervyn King for a lecture and Q&A session shortly after leaving his post as Governor of The Bank of England.
  • UCL and The NCS launch the MedTech Competition to develop an innovative medical product or idea that benefits the medical profession.
  • A further 37 world class academic lectures were delivered by guests including high profile visitors Ed Miliband MP, Sir Vince Cable, Andy Green of Bloodhound SSE and Lord Professor Robert Winston.
  • Over 45 work placements at leading NHS hospitals and companies.
  • Over 80 workshops allowing students to develop their soft skills with companies including Barclays, KPMG and Citibank.
  • #LoveLondon launches and enables students to experience the rich cultural heritage London has to offer, with trips to art galleries to nights out at the theatre.
  • The NCS debating club welcomes students from Westminster School to our debating chambers.

A landmark year for many reasons! Tafsia Shikdar becomes the first student from a Newham Sixth Form to earn a place on a full scholarship worth £250,0000 to MIT, the world’s leading university for science and technology. Inspired by Tafsia’s story it was an achievement that opened the gates for other students to apply.  Her success turned the eyes of the world on our “red-bricked building on Barking Road” as Buzzfeed said in their coverage of our results day. 

Other news outlets from London to New York widely reported on the announcement that 95% of our students earned an offer to study at a Russell Group University – the first NCS cohort to do so. Alongside both of these accomplishments came a string of Oxbridge offers. At The NCS all of these accomplishments are not unusual. A holistic educational experience for students turns ideas that were once unattainable into ones that are rightfully deserved. 

“We had Oxbridge sessions from September. I remember coming out of every session thinking ‘My brain has been blown!’ I felt so intellectually exhausted! But it was all good, it meant that I had been pushed to a point where I had to challenge my own views and defend them more importantly. There was constant prep towards getting you to think more critically.”

Monalisa (University of Oxford)

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Tafsia

“The NCS gave me everything I wanted in a college experience. It helped me through my A Levels so much. The teachers are amazing. I miss it! But yes, I would absolutely 100% recommend it.”
– Tafsia (MIT Graduate)

In 2017…

Three years in and Newham Collegiate is now being recognised as one of the best choices for students who are seeking to continue studies and have careers in medicine related fields, engineering, finance and law. Our guaranteed work experiences in both NHS hospitals shadowing consultants and dental practices began the recognition that NCS is the leading the Sixth Form in the country for students who aspire to study medicine/dentistry.  Our specialism in Science and Mathematics also plays a huge part in supporting students achieve their goals. With our passionate and expert teachers providing a rigorous and challenging curriculum and access to world class academic lectures and workshops in everything from soft skills to career specific knowledge, our students were provided with an inimitable array of opportunities.

Our debating school saw Year 12 student Selina Begum becomes headline news. She uses her experience from The NCS debating society and our socratic style learning that forms part of our Oxbridge Preparation, to be awarded “Best Individual Speaker” at an Eton debating competition – the first student from a state school to receive this honour.

“I’m really glad that at The NCS lectures are pushed, because it really gave me a chance to explore the medical field and also because I have a passion for science. It helped me decide whether medicine is the route that I want to take. Meeting so many leaders in the field I’m interested in and having spent hours reading about, it’s incredible; an experience that I never thought I’d have.”

Namitha (Medicine, Imperial College London)

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Lukenny

“The NCS definitely nurtured me into something that I’m still growing into today, which is someone that likes to work hard, study hard. Someone that knows that to get to where you want to get to in life, it’s not easy work.”
– Lukenny (Medicine, Imperial College London)

In 2018…

  • Year 12 student Selina Begum awarded “Best Individual Speaker” at an Eton debating competition – the first student from a state school to receive this honour.
  • The Royal Society of Chemistry award our Chemistry Department with their President’s Award for their work in inspiring continued studies to continue their studies with chemistry/science related degrees.
  • Adil Ray OBE visits The NCS and delivers an inspiring talk about following your dreams and being resilient in the face of adversity.
  • We welcome Simon Singh MBE for his second lecture at The NCS and George McGavin for his third!
  • The Financial Conduct Authority deliver the first of many sessions for NCS economists.
  • Students earn places on the immensely competitive Fulbright/Sutton Trust US Summer School Programme.
  • NCS Student, Iram Farooqui wins first prize at the Benjamin Franklin Debating Competition and  earns a place on a summer programme to the USA.
  • Year 13 student Joe Lucas secures a scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Music.
  • NCS begins regular opportunities for students to attend workshops and performances at The Old Vic theatre to help build presentation and social skills, alongside confidence.
  • The Good School Guide write a review of Newham Collegiate praising its work on raising student ambition via a holistic education and on social mobility in our community.

The NCS Elite University Programme continues to prepare our students to take up places at Oxbridge and Russell Group universities, as has become the norm for our students. With all we’ve learned from supporting our alumna Tafsia Shikdar and her experiences of studying at MIT, we now add a formal programme to support Ivy League applications. Consisting in part of a week long masterclass on the American university entrance exams (SATs) for which we fly in an expert tutor from New York and a trip to explore Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Yale and Columbia in person, the programme has now yielded spectacular results.

Our collaboration with UCL continues to develop with the launch of Project X, a year long opportunity for students to experience undergraduate learning in engineering whilst developing wearable technology.  This becomes the forerunner to our future launch of our specialist NCS Engineering School.

“The NCS is definitely an institution that helps students understand their potential and encourages them to reach out.”

Selina (winner of Eton Debating competition)

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Nancy

“The NCS expect hard work and dedication from you, but you really get back what you put into it and more.”
– Nancy (Mathematics, University of Oxford)

In 2019…

  • Alongside our already established Oxbridge and Russell Group Preparation, our Ivy League Preparation Programme launches and earns Isuf two offers, one from Harvard and another from MIT.  Isuf who aspires to be an aerospace scientist opts to accept MIT on a scholarship worth £250,000
  • We introduce our week long masterclass on acing the SAT entrance exams for American universities. This includes live support and advice from our alumni Tafsia, who Skypes in from Boston.
  • An all expenses trip for students interested in applying to the US to fly to Boston and New York to explore and learn more about Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Yale, Columbia and American culture.
  • High profile guest lecturers include the scientist Adam Rutherford, the principal of Oxford’s Lady Margaret Hall / former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and Empire Magazine’s editor at large Helen O’Hara.
  • Introduction of our Code Breakers course that teaches students the hidden and corporate codes which exist in the elite professions. This includes lessons on elocution and etiquette.
  • The NCS launches the brand new Project X with UCL. Over the course of the year students are exposed to undergraduate material delivered by UCL academics and work to design wearable technology.
  • NCS is shortlisted once again for the TES ‘Best Sixth Form of the Year’ award.

A year that will mainly be remembered for the turbulence caused by the global pandemic. For our current Year 13 students nearing the end of their studies when the first lockdown began the biggest upset was caused by the national cancellation of examinations. A Level courses were still completed as potential lockdowns were planned for with staff and students given training on Microsoft Teams. On day one of our site closure the timetable of live lessons simply switched to an online only scenario. A feat only achievable due to The NCS’ 1-2-1 deployment of Apple iPads..

Not a single day’s learning was lost for NCS students. The hard work and perseverance by students and staff alike was rewarded in a superb set of A Level results and university progression in August; including five offers to continue studies at the Ivy League, continued successes in Oxbridge and Russell Group (95%) offers and over 100 medicine/dentistry offers for 55 students. A set of achievements that again turned the world’s eyes onto us and our students with media coverage across the globe. 

“As someone that want’s to go into medicine, The NCS is the perfect place to be because they provide a lot of extra support.”

Khadijah

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Dayna

“I didn’t feel I received as much academic support at my previous grammar school. At NCS there was so much support from the teachers for the students, I felt the support at NCS was unmatched.”
– Dayna (Behavioural Psychology, University of Cambridge)

In 2020…

  • Prominent political activist Gina Miller delivers the last in-person lecture to students before the first lockdown in announced and all schools closed. 
  • A national lockdown is announced in response to a rising number of Covid-19 cases. The NCS responds by implementing a pro-active plan made in the prior months that sees all learning immediately switch to live and fully timetabled lessons from home for all students. 
  • Not a single day of learning was lost for NCS students.
  • NCS works with its partners and contacts to ensure all opportunities are swiftly transitioned to an online environment. What is lost from being in-person allows gains in time. With no travelling required, more workshops, seminars, lectures, mentoring, etc can take place and be attended.
  • The NCS Med School achieves over 100 offers for students looking to enter into the field having been inspired by the work of those during the pandemic.
  • Student’s have regular contact with tutors and mentors to ensure they are keeping well and healthy – both physically and mentally – whilst working from home. 
  • 55 students receive over 100 offers to continue their higher education in medicine related degrees.
  • Alongside 95% of students earning offers to Russell Group universities and another year of record Oxbridge offers, we celebrate five further offers for America’s Ivy League Universities. 

Our campus reopens. Like all schools, regular testing for Covid-19 takes place and a new normal is established seeing teachers simultaneously leading lessons for both the students in their classrooms and those asked to self-isolate at home. This is only possible due to the implementation and deployment of our 1-to-1 student iPads. One way systems, socially distanced seating plans and hand sanitisation points may be amongst the changes to life, but our staff and students alike rise above the challenges that Covid19 presents. 

Not a single day of learning is lost for our graduating cohort. Opportunities continue; some in-person, some have (for this year) moved online. We keep our ambitions high, supporting the students in their studies any way possible. In response, the most resilient of year groups earn themselves the best ever set of A level results and offers to Oxbridge, Russell Group (with 95% of students again earning an offer) and Princeton (one of the Ivy League – our ninth offer). 

“When I compared my situation to friends [at other sixth forms] I saw a lot of them were being set independent work. The teacher would tell them, ‘By the end end of this week I want you to have done this work.’ They were falling behind. Compared to my situation, I was having live lessons every day from 8:30am to 1pm.”

Ashvin (Chemical Engineering, Cambridge University)

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Ayesha

“I definitely don’t think that I’ve lost out in coming to this school. Despite what’s been going on in the world, despite coronavirus, despite the difficulties of A Levels in general; being here has meant I’ve been able to cope with it quite well with the support of my teachers and my peers.”
– Ayesha (Princeton University)

In 2021…

  • Given the success of NCS Med School, we formally launch further specialist schools to support our students’ career ambitions.Our new NCS Engineering School, NCS Finance School and NCS Law School with their own Director of Admissions ensures we can tailor our support and provision to provide the best opportunities for our young people. As with our NCS Med School these new specialist school have been designed with sector experts to provide students with the knowledge, work experience, training, soft skills and opportunities to allow them to seamlessly make the transition from the NCS to higher education and the world of work.
  • The first summer NCS Med School Conference takes place, with a keynote lecture from Professor Devi Sridhar on Covid-19 and the pandemic that changed the world.
  • Head girl Ayesha Karim earns an offer to study at Princeton (our ninth Ivy League offer).
  • 55 students receive over 100 offers to continue their higher education in medicine related degrees.
  • 3 places on competitive school leaver programmes including Dyson and KMPG.
  • Despite the ups and downs of the pandemic, 95% of students again earn an offer to study at a Russell Group University.

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