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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.
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)
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)
“One of the great things about this school from my experience of [The NCS] is that it’s encouraging high ambition and for nobody to stand in your way and I think that’s really important.”
Ed Miliband MP (Former Labour Party leader)
“If you are serious about maths and looking for a sixth form college in Newham, then this place is a bit special”
Simon Singh MBE
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)
“The college’s vision is to inspire their students to do what inspires them and judging by these results, it’s a winning formula.”
Nick Thatcher, ITV News
“The students learning inside this red-brick building … are bucking every trend.”
Aisha Gani, Buzzfeed
“You sense this is more of a family than an educational institution.”
Rebecca Hardy, Daily Mail
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)
“There is a real sense that the school is replicating many of the outstanding features of a private school education, providing its students with opportunities that would not necessarily be available in a normal state school.”
Good Schools Guide
“The team from Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre really have done what I was advocating for. They’re getting large numbers of students going on to continue with the study of science, often at highly successful higher education institutions.”
Royal Society of Chemistry president Professor Sir John Holman
“The NCS now stands as a ‘jewel in the crown’ in one of London’s most disadvantaged boroughs.”
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)
“Newham Collegiate sixth form (NCS) is hoping elocution and etiquette lessons will give pupils a better chance of securing the best jobs.”
“A sixth form in one of Britain’s poorest areas is giving students elocution and etiquette lessons so they can compete with their privately educated peers.”
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.”
“If we want more social mobility, every city and town across the left-behind parts of England needs its own version of Newham Collegiate.”
“Dozens of students at [Newham Collegiate] have won places to study medicine at top universities after being inspired by the “heroics” of NHS staff during the pandemic.”
“All the support [at Newham Collegiate] is offered to students for free, in contrast to an agency in the UK who are charging richer families up to £20,000 per pupil to guide families through the American application process.”
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)
“[Newham Collegiate], based in East Ham, aims to give students a first-class education but also instil the broader knowledge, skills and polish.”
“As part of the school’s ‘holistic’ approach, students are prepared for interviews, taught how to dress smartly in a work setting and even shown how to navigate a formal dinner.”