UPDATE AUGUST 23 2017 – Frequently asked questions following GCSE results. You can find a video update from Brendon and read more HERE
UPDATE AUGUST 18 2017 – We’ve had lots of queries recently about late application to the college. You can find out lots of answers regarding this HERE
Click on each question to be taken to the answer. If there are any other questions you would like answers to, please email email@example.com.
- How does New College differ to other options already available to me?
- How do I apply?
- What will the interview be like?
- What if I change my mind about the subjects I want to study?
- Can I apply to other schools and colleges as well as New College?
- Why do I need to accept my conditional offer by 31 March?
- Another school or college has made me an offer of a place and is asking me to accept it. What should I do?
- How will I get there? What are plans for buses?
- I can’t see a bus route from where I live
- How can I be confident about the quality of education at the college?
- How will the college ensure it has high quality teachers?
- Is planning permission approved?
- When will building work be completed?
- What facilities will the college have?
- Will I have to be in college all day for the full 5 days?
- Do I have to wear a uniform?
- How will the college day and timetable be organised?
How does New College differ to other options already available to me?
Sixth form colleges are special. They’re a unique stepping stone to university or employment, very different to school sixth forms, and very different to general FE colleges like Doncaster College. To start with, there’s only year 12 and year 13. This means it’s a much more adult environment, without young students around, and without the distractions of students that don’t want to learn. It means it’s a more inclusive environment – everyone joining the college is keen to make new friends. It’s a chance for people to start afresh and a chance to meet new, like-minded people, and also to meet people different from themselves. There’s no uniform, no bells, your study time is your own.
Because all of our provision is level 3 A level and BTEC, it’s also an academic environment, where teachers and students enjoy studying. The standards are really high because teaching is delivered by teachers only focused on level 3 A level and BTEC teaching. Teachers are more specialised and have lots of experience of post-16 teaching. We’ll be using lots of teachers from our outstanding sister college – New College Pontefract – so you’re in safe hands.
The choice of subjects is far greater than you’ll find in nearly all school sixth forms. Our larger numbers at post-16, and our relationship with New College Pontefract, enable us to offer a really wide choice, and it means you can enrol on subjects you want to study, that you’re good at, that you’ll do well in. When your choices are limited it’s too easy to end up studying courses that aren’t really right for you. Because of our huge experience in post-16 provision, we’re really good at guiding students towards courses they’re likely to achieve great results in and which they’ll enjoy.
We’ll also have a brand new, purpose built £20m campus with specialist facilities and loads of independent study space.
How do I apply?
This is easy. Simply complete our online application at www.ncdoncaster.ac.uk/apply
The deadline for applications is Friday 24 February. The earlier you apply the better because it means we can then invite you along to one of our interview evenings. It’s also helpful to us because it allows to be sure of what staffing and class levels we need to ensure you have a great experience at the college.
You can still apply after 24 February and we’d strongly encourage you to do so. The deadline is simply in case of significant over-subscription – students that do meet the deadline would obviously have priority. We welcome applications right up to September 2017, and we’d obviously talk to applicants at enrolment if courses were full for any applicants that applied late.
For further details, you may wish to read our admissions policy. http://www.ncdoncaster.uk/policies/
What will the interview be like?
It will be really informal and nothing you need to worry about! It will just be a chat about the subjects you’re interested in studying, how you’re getting on at school, what it is about New College that interests you. It’s a chance for you to find out more and to ask us any questions you have.
What if I change my mind about the subjects I want to study?
Please just let us know. The sooner you drop us an email the more likely it is that we’ll be able to accommodate any requests students have. The earlier you tell us the less likely it is that a course will be full up. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Can I apply to other schools and colleges as well as New College?
Yes, that’s no problem. We understand that students will be keen to explore a range of options and will make the decision that is right for them. We’re excited that New College Doncaster will offer something very special, but we fully support your right to make your own decision about where you study and about your future. For that reason, we will never demand that you accept our conditional offer by a particular date, and we will never put you under any pressure to come to us. We want you to enrol with us because you’re excited about what we can provide and the experience you will have.
Why do I need to accept my conditional offer by 31 March?
We don’t usually ask students to formally accept their offers earlier in the year but this is something that the Department for Education requires of us in our very first year. This is to help our planning and so that we have a good idea of how many students we can expect in September.
We are writing to all students and we would kindly ask students to reply online by the deadline of Friday 31 March. All students who met our application deadline of 24 February and who meet our acceptance deadline of 31 March will have greater priority if we are oversubscribed in September.
To accept the conditional offer students need to visit www.ncdoncaster.ac.uk/accept
We don’t want you to feel pressured and so we have given you three different options:
- Accept – Firm – this is for students who are very confident that they’re likely to be enrolling at New College Doncaster in September.
- Accept – Undecided – this is for students who want to accept their place but who are still considering other options. Choosing this option rather than the first doesn’t in any way risk your place in September.
- Decline – this is for students who have definitely decided that they no longer wish to enrol at New College. Choosing this option withdraws a student’s offer of a place.
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Another school or college has made me an offer of a place and is asking me to accept it. What should I do?
Some schools and colleges ask applicants to formally accept the offer of a place many months before the start of term. This isn’t something we normally do at New College but we are required to by the Department for Education in our first year.
It’s important to remember that you are in a position of power and you can make your own decisions – a school or college can’t force you to enrol there just because you might have accepted a conditional offer at an earlier stage. Our advice would be to accept any conditional offers you’re made and decide for yourself after your GCSE results which one you think you will enjoy the most and get the best results at.
How will I get there? What are plans for buses?
UPDATE: July 2017 – Please see https://ncdoncaster.ac.uk/travel/ for bus pass information and bus timetables
UPDATE: Feb 2017
NCD is in the process of finalising transport arrangements for September. We are aware that some of our original provisional plans listed above included Bright Bus services which will now no longer be running.
Please come back and check the website and our social media feeds regularly as we will post our updated transport arrangements for September there shortly. We are in the process of finalising times and routes for NCD, and expect to have our updated arrangements in place in the next few weeks.
A significant number of existing BrightBus services already operating in Doncaster will be expanded or extended to provide a wide range of bus services to New College Doncaster.
The College will be based in Auckley, very close to Hayfield School, just a few miles from Doncaster town centre. Because of this, we have planned the start and end of the college day so that they are very similar to the start and end of the school day for Hayfield School. This means that New College Doncaster students will be able to get any of the existing buses that already drop off and collect students at Hayfield. Where existing buses are already full, BrightBus has committed to providing extra buses to accommodate demand.
BrightBus services cost £0.80 for each single journey, irrespective of where students get on the bus, and irrespective of their destination.
Many BrightBus buses already come very close to New College Doncaster – many terminating at The McAuley Catholic High School. BrightBus have agreed to extend these services so that rather than terminating at McAuley they will continue on to New College Doncaster, just a few minutes away. At the end of the day, those same buses will start at New College Doncaster, before collecting students at McAuley and completing their usual routes. If needed, BrightBus will put on extra buses for these existing routes.
There is a bus service (99) that runs from Retford to Parrots Corner, just a short distance from New College Doncaster. We’re exploring whether we can provide a shuttle service from Parrots Corner to New College for those students – more to follow later in the year. We have a lot of applications from Retford so we’re optimistic that we can find a way of helping those students get to New College.
I can’t see a bus route from where I live
Please apply anyway. The more applications we receive from a particular area, the more likely it is that we’ll be able to make arrangements for extra buses if they’re needed. We can’t promise to be able to put on buses from everywhere, but we’ll do everything we possibly can. If we have a lot of students coming from an area close to an existing BrightBus service it may be possible for us to slightly divert the bus to pick up extra students, or to start the route a little earlier. The sooner students apply, the sooner we can map out the postcodes of all our applicants and make further changes to our travel plans if needed.
How can I be confident about the quality of education at the college?
Everything we do at New College Doncaster will be modelled on the outstanding practice at our sister college, New College Pontefract, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
This means that all of the teaching resources used in lessons will be the same in both colleges. All of the assessments you complete in each subject each month will be the same. All of the support available if you’re struggling with a topic will be the same. We’ll even be using lots of teachers in both colleges, with 15-20 teachers likely to be working in both colleges. The way we support and develop teachers will be the same, the standards we expect of them will be the same and the way we track student and teacher performance will be the same. Teachers in the two colleges will work together, train together, develop teaching resources together. The senior leadership team and curriculum leaders will all transfer across from New College Pontefract, ensuring that students in Doncaster make great progress and enjoy their studies. You and your parents will be able to login to Cedar at any point – our online portal which allows you to track your attendance, your monthly assessment results, any comments from your teachers, any support put in place to help you.
In short, whether you’re a student at New College Doncaster or New College Pontefract, your experience will be the same. The only difference is that in Doncaster you’ll have a brand new £20m campus to enjoy.
How will the college ensure it has high quality teachers?
In year 1 we will be using many teachers currently employed at New College Pontefract to teach at New College Doncaster, and will make additional appointments to fill staffing gaps at Pontefract. This means we have a core team of teachers with an outstanding track record and who understand the values, culture and systems that help make New College so special.
We will need to appoint some additional teachers for New College Doncaster, both to start in September 2017 and the year after for September 2018. We only recruit the best and we’d never compromise by appointing someone we didn’t believe in simply to put a teacher in a classroom. We’d rather not make an appointment and not offer a course than deliver a course badly.
We’re running a recruitment fair for prospective applicants in December, and we’ll be making formal appointments for teacher vacancies in the spring team.
The way we recruit teachers is based on our well-established methods. We ask teachers to provide 3 years of their results (where available), signed by the head teacher, so that we can check that a teacher has a track record of delivering strong results. We ask teachers to complete an activity or part of an exam paper, to check that a teacher has the excellent subject knowledge needed to teach challenging material in Year 13. We ask teachers to do a short interview with a group of students, so that students have a say and so that we can check how well teachers will relate to young people and how they will support and challenge students to achieve great results. We ask teachers to do a formal interview, so that we have a chance to get to know them and to explore their views, experience and attitudes towards education and young people. We’re friendly and encouraging, but we want to make sure we appoint only the very best – teachers who are passionate about their subject, teachers who have excellent subject knowledge, teachers that support and stretch all of their students, teachers whose experience and high quality teaching delivers excellent results for young people.
Is planning permission approved?
Yes! Planning permission was approved on 12 September:
http://planning.doncaster.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=O6RH5MFX05N00 Planning permission did take longer than we hoped and we waited 4 months for a decision, but permission is approved, building work is now underway and the building work is on schedule.
When will building work be completed?
The building work will be completed in two phases. The campus is being built to accommodate 1200 students, but in year 1 (with just year 12 students), the college will enrol approximately 400 students.
Phase 1 of the campus will be handed over to the college officially on 11 September 2017. Teaching will start on Monday 18 September. We’ll be enrolling students shortly after GCSE results and we’ll write to applicants with details of how to enrol in July 2017 – enrolment will take place at The Hayfield School, adjacent to New College Doncaster.
Phase 1 completion will see roughly half of the campus available to us for the period September to December 2017. For the first term, learning space sufficient to accommodate approximately 500 students will be available for the 400 students that enrol.
We have already carefully planned how we will use the available space in the first term, which will comfortably accommodate 400 students. We will have full access to all three floors, which will include the learning resource centre, dining facilities, specialist science laboratories, specialist visual arts rooms, specialist Apple mac suites for key subjects, a large number of classrooms and sports fields. We will make temporary arrangements for sports changing facilities, and for performing arts – dance and peripatetic music teaching. Because of the ‘n’ shape of the building (or which we will have half), we are confident that there will be minimal disruption to college life while phase 2 is completed.
Phase 1 is the region within the yellow lines (all three floors).
Phase 2 will be completed by the end of December and the full campus will be available to us in January. After the first term, 400 students will enjoy the full campus built for 1200 students.
The completion of this work by Christmas will give us access to additional classrooms, the college gym and changing rooms, and specialist performing arts facilities.
Building work is on track and BAM Construct UK have made legal commitments to handover of phase 1 by 11 September 2017. It’s worth noting that sixth form colleges do usually start back slightly later than schools at the start of the year. This is because of the complexity of finalising all of the timetables following GCSE results. Teaching staff will begin at the start of September and will be training and preparing for the start of teaching with colleagues at New College Pontefract.
For detailed plans of all three floors click the following links:
What facilities will the college have?
The £20m campus is specifically designed for level 3 academic study. In addition to specialist facilities and wide-ranging study space in the learning resource centre, independent study space is scattered throughout the campus. £800,000 of IT and network infrastructure is also being invested in the college, ensuring very high availability of PCs and Macs for students, both in and out of lessons. The whole site will be wi-fi enabled.
• Science: Specialist super-labs
• Performing Arts: Dance studio, drama studio, music recording studio, music practice rooms
• Visual Arts and Media: Dark room for photography, textiles and graphics facilities, Mac rooms for art, photography and media
• Modern Foreign Languages: Specialist language lab kitted out with IT
• Sport: Gym, sports hall, changing rooms, sports fields
• Outdoor Student Courtyard: So that you don’t have to be stuck inside all day!
• Student Social Space, Student Study Space: Because as young adults we expect you to manage your study time and social time effectively
• Buses: Drop off points and turning arcs, to ensure student safety
Will I have to be in college all day for the full 5 days?
Provided that you are attending all your lessons, working hard and making good progress, we trust you to use your time outside of lessons effectively. This means that when you don’t have a timetabled lesson you are able to study in the learning resource centre, work in one of the study spaces around the campus, or you can spend a little time in the canteen or other more social areas of campus. College life is about making new friends and having new experiences, as well as achieving outstanding results. Students are also able to go off-site during free periods. If you don’t have a lesson last period, for example, you’re welcome to go home whenever you’re ready to. If you don’t have a lesson you don’t have to be in college.
The way we’ve designed our timetable means that some students may end up with all of their lessons spread over 4 days. Again, if you’re lucky enough to be in that position then you don’t have to come into college on the 5th day. We trust you to use your time wisely and to study at home, but you’re still welcome to come into college and use the facilities and resources if you want to.
Do I have to wear a uniform?
No – you can wear whatever you like, as long as it’s not likely to upset anyone else. As a young adult, we want you to be able to be yourself at New College. What matters to us is that you work hard, that you’re passionate about your subjects, that you want to do well. How you choose to dress and how you choose to look is entirely up to you. We celebrate our diversity and, away from school, New College is a chance to flourish, and to be the person you want to be.
We all call each other by our first names at New College. It’s strange at first, but you soon get used to it. There are also no bells, so you have to manage your time really effectively. You’ll find that at New College your teachers will treat you like an adult, but their expectations of your work and commitment will still be really high – they’ll be pushing you to get the very best grades you can.
How will the college day and timetable be organised?
Each day is made up of three 90-minute lessons, with 15 lessons spread across the week. Each A level or single BTEC subject has three lessons per week. This means that most full time students will have 9 lessons per week (if they are studying 3 subjects), or 12 lessons per week (if they are studying 4 subjects). In addition, at points of the year students will have an additional tutorial period with their progress tutor.
As a rule of thumb, students should spend roughly as much time completing homework or independent study outside of lessons as they spend time in lessons.
Gaps in a student’s timetable, when a student is not required to be in a timetabled lesson, are called study periods. As a general rule, we trust students to use this time sensibly, and students are free to study in college or at home during these times. In some circumstances, a student may not have any timetabled lessons on a particular day and so they may choose to work in college or to work from home.
Only if a student is falling behind or not working well will the college review a student’s use of study periods, and may direct them accordingly.
The college day is as follows:
The support and intervention slot before lunch is a 30 minute slot in which teachers will keep a number of students back to provide additional support with topics that are being studied, or to address weaknesses identified in assessments or homework. It is also an opportunity for students to ask further questions, or to ask about additional work they can complete.
In 2017-18 we have developed a timetable structure which maximises the potential to use outstanding teachers in both New College Doncaster and New College Pontefract. Our priority is to ensure that our students have access to a very wide range of subjects and that they have access to high quality, experienced teachers than understand the ‘New College’ way.
Example 1: A student studying A level Psychology, A level Sociology, A level Biology
Example 2: A student studying a programme of 4 A levels – A level Maths, A level Further Maths, A level Chemistry, A level Physics
Example 3: A student studying a triple BTEC in Sport, plus GCSE Maths resit
These examples are purely illustrative – choosing the same subjects will not necessarily result in the same timetables as above.