THE head of Bohunt’s new sixth-form college, which is due to open its doors in early September, has given an inside into what future A-level students can expect.
Able to accommodate a total of 500 students at 250 across two year groups, Clare Hodgson stressed applications are still being accepted for the forthcoming and following academic year, starting from June 26, which marks the building’s official hand-over day.
Mrs Hodgson also stressed there is a travel plan in place with Bohunt working alongside Hampshire County Council to provide transport to the college.
She told The Herald: “We anticipate students from Liphook, Liss, Petersfield and Haslemere to come by train or on foot and are in talks with our current bus provider, Richardsons, to cover the rural routes.
“Due to the fact there is only a small amount of 20 parking spaces on the sixth form site, which includes disabled, we are looking at a ‘park and stride’ system.
“This involves satellite drop-off locations outside the centre of the village from where pupils would then walk to the college.
“We will also be encouraging students to car share, and initiate an informal borrow-a-drive system among them. Those few students who are allocated a parking space on site will be issued with swipe ID cards.
“In addition, students will not all be starting at the same time of the day as their courses will vary. We have delivered Bohunt’s input to the council travel review and are committed to offering solutions that are sustainable for future generations.”
Mrs Hodgson – a mother of two daughters aged four and eight – has been teaching biology for 20 years.
She was previously assistant head teacher and head of a new sixth form at Hollyfield School, in Surbiton, where she helped oversee the building of the college.
Her previous experience made her an obvious choice to lead the Bohunt project as assistant head teacher and the college’s new head.
She is committed to running as many courses as possible and offer a wide range and choice of 23 different subjects.
Mrs Hodgson said: “Applications for 2017/18 and 2018/19 are still being accepted. We are not yet full up. Bohunt has responded to the demands made by our own students to provide an English language course – and we are able to adapt to suggestions at this point in the proceedings.
“Maths and further maths are by far the most popular courses, followed by biology and other sciences, as well as history, government and politics.
“On the creative front drama, art, photography and music are popular and students are highly aspirational, looking at Oxbridge universities and wanting to study medicine and veterinary science. Applicants have all gone for a mix of subjects such as maths, physics and nusic for instance, not just purely creative courses, which will provide a good academic profile.”
She added: “Over the last few years, Bohunt has been recruiting teachers with previous A-level experience, which includes a former CERN scientist, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. The sixth- form will also have teachers from the school’s own teaching staff who have the ability to teach A-level subjects.
“TPS in Petersfield, which is now part of the Bohunt Trust, has an outstanding visual arts department with leading art at A-level standard and the partnership with TPS is important for the new Bohunt college.”
The college vision is to give aspirational students the “joy of learning” as well as “mastering knowledge and revelling in the intellectual challenge”, the head said.
She pointed out students will have to adjust to a different way of learning and teaching staff will be there to help them with the process.
They will be able to assist with time management, how to conduct research, how to prioritise, how to do critical and meaningful reading and how to achieve these skills.
Mrs Hodgson explained: “The approach is bespoke and hands-off and not all students will be able to cope straight away. But teachers will be looking out for, and recognising, those students who struggle and offer them advice, urging them to attend regularly and create an academic profile.
“It is a two-year journey and a transition into adult learning, a mind-set change and lots of training will be given by the teaching team at Bohunt Sixth Form.
“All subjects require a different delivery, and offer a transformational experience of learning habits by students so that they are ready and best prepared to go to university, into management, into apprenticeships and become successful in their future lives and careers.”
As the building is nearing completion, the official handover is due to take place on Monday, June 26, between 6.30pm and 8.30pm
A second open day is scheduled for the end of July with a barbecue and games as well as an induction day and workshops for future sixth form students.
There will also be ‘taster days’ for GCSE students from Bohunt and TPS during July, and plans are in place to present the August GCSE results in the new sixth-form building.
The college building will display Bohunt’s signature colours of magenta blue, green and gold and feature high spec facilities on all floors. It can only be accessed by sixth-form students and teaching staff, who have to carry photo ID with them at all times.
Charging points will be located on every floor, wireless access and streaming facilities are provided and doors will remain open for students and staff from 8am until 4.30pm.
Entry is across a bridge into a spacious and light reception area where the cafe is located, which will offer a money-off incentive for students to use their own drinks containers to avoid waste.
TV screens on the walls will help study, and there will be relaxation, social and dining areas plus a pool table. The cafe will also be staffed throughout the day with high quality high street food and soft as well as hot drinks available at all times.
Founded in 1978, Bohunt has 1,500 pupils enrolled before the sixth-formers arrive.
• The official opening will take place on Monday, September 4.