We encourage our Sixth Formers to get involved in many extra-curricular activities. This gives them the chance to try something new and have fun, gain knowledge, skills and training in areas of employability or acquire information and experiences about University.
Our aim is to give them all opportunities and experiences that will prepare them for the wider world as an adult.
Cardinal Hume delivers a course designed to give students, who may be considering a career in education, an understanding of the teaching and learning environment in a school setting. It covers areas such as how to support the well-being of a child or young person and child, communication and behaviour strategies and school policies. There will also be the opportunity for learners to do some voluntary work in a school environment. The course will provide a great insight into the education system for anyone considering applying for a post-graduate teaching qualification. The course usually takes 3 months to complete and requires a range of written documents to be submitted.
I’ve really enjoyed doing this course and it has given me a real head-start when making my application to Primary Teaching at University. I knew exactly what I needed to prepare for my interview for this Degree.
Jess ~ Year 13
The John Paul II Award has exceeded all expectations I had of it. When I began this journey, I thought of it as very practical, completing an hour of volunteering just to get a signature. I completely underestimated the effect it has had on me and how much I would be able to connect with not just the award but the people I have met along the way as well.
Another thing I never considered when signing up to this award was the people I have made an impact on and how their appreciation would in turn have an impact on me. For example, when I was delivering newsletters and making my prayer cards, I never thought about how that small gesture would make the recipient feel. It wasn’t until I received a thankyou card saying how much my prayer card had meant to an older lady in my community that I started thinking about the people at the other end of the line. This completely changed my view towards the volunteering I was doing, it was no longer for myself or my award but was for the people in my parish and community. I felt what I was doing had a purpose and that I was benefitting the lives of other people.
The global pandemic played a massive part in the way I completed my award. On one of my last days in school before the lockdown I remember having a conversation with Mrs Proctor where she challenged me to look at my award from a different angle to see how I could still play a part in my parish and how my award was possibly even more important now than ever when many people in our community were struggling. At first I didn’t give this much thought. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks into lockdown when I was sat at home feeling rather helpless that I realised that this was exactly what Mrs Proctor had meant. I couldn’t do the volunteering I had planned to do but I could do other things like writing prayers for the weekly newsletter and taking food to the foodbank. I was able to make small contributions which would have a big effect on individuals. I was able to put a smile on the faces of people who were maybe in a difficult situation or hadn’t seen anyone in weeks. This had a massive impact on me as I started to feel, very much, an active member of my parish and community.
Ellie ∼Year 13
Attending Cardinal Hume Sixth Form has opened up many amazing opportunities for me as an individual. I have recently visited Downing Street in order to hand over our school’s petition to campaign for all children to attend school, particularly those individuals with disabilities.
The Catholic ethos of the school also opens many doors, as this year I attended the Sixth Form Festival at the Youth Village where I got given insight into the serious topic of human trafficking which is not highlighted enough to the general public but is affecting our world every day.
It is the information gained from such experiences that we can then bring back to our school community and give further information to others and see what we can do as a school to raise awareness and get involved. Thus, we are not only giving the chance to gain knowledge and understand about others in need, but we then take that information and spread the word in order to help the individuals affected.
There are lots of ways to get involved with the school’s ethos, especially in sixth form, which definitely helps your development as a person as you obtain skills which are applicable to future life.
Amy ∼Year 12
The EPQ was offered to the entirety of sixth form and it has proved a sturdy backup for me personally. I think the main reason this qualification stood out for me was the idea that you could choose the area to study. My chosen subject is education over history in terms of whether austerity or technology was its greatest progression. By allowing me to make these decisions, it means that I can revolve my work around something I enjoy and find of interest. It is not a specified given project as you would find in a classroom, but an opportunity to express your own independent findings and create a piece of work that you are enthusiastic about and proud of. The EPQ is not only intriguing, but it offers that boost of UCAS points that just might be the difference between the gateway to university and the rejection- as well as the EPQ name itself looking great on the application. The opportunities we’ve been given- entrance to the libraries, presentations by professionals, teacher guidance, etc.-it has all proven helpful and I now look forward to getting started with the project.
Helen ∼Year 12
Towards the end of Year 12, a group of us went on a 3 day trip to Oxford and Cambridge. This was a chance for us to see the cities and the universities. While we were there we stayed in colleges that are linked with schools in our area, Wadham College in Oxford and Jesus College in Cambridge. These colleges have a higher percentage intake of students from the north-east then any of the other colleges in the university so it allowed us to meet students that grew up near us who are now studying at one of these universities. We attended various mini lectures and workshops related to the courses that we want to study at university which gave us an insight into the way that the courses will be taught as well as having tours of the cities which taught us a little about the two historic places. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience; it was a fantastic opportunity and showed us all that studying at one of these prestigious universities is not as far-fetched as we previously thought.
Josh ∼Year 13
In April, three of my classmates and I were able to spend four days in Cambridge University to gain a greater insight into university life and our subjects of choice. We attended events focused on careers after university and the application process. I was able to speak to some medical students who offered some valuable advice about studying medicine at university, and, in particular, Cambridge. I also met a woman who offered me a two week placement in UCL researching autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, which I was extremely enthusiastic about. I completed this placement in August of this year, and since then I have written an extended project of 5000 words on my medical condition of choice. The trip was very influential and it allowed me to become even more determined to go to university next year. The final event was a meal with admissions tutors and professors to gain a greater insight into the university as a whole and how to make a successful application to Russell Group universities.
I have met a lot of very inspirational and influential people on this trip, some of which I remain in contact with, and it allowed me to develop my friendships with the members of my year who came with me. I will remember this experience for the rest of my life.
Sarah ∼Year 13
In Year 12, I was successful in my application to Durham University’s Supported Progression scheme. The scheme was a chance to trial my chosen course at university for two days during Easter and a week during the summer. During the stay, I stayed in university colleges and during the summer I completed an assessed piece of work. This has meant that I have received a guaranteed conditional offer from Durham, where the entry grades have been lowered in accordance with the quality of my assessment. Despite it being challenging, I loved every second of the scheme and it allowed me to try out university life and work, giving me a taste of what is to come.
Lois ∼Year 13
During the Summer Term of Year 12, I was able to take part in the Newcastle University ‘Bitesize Uni’ summer school. It was a week’s worth of fantastic experiences. The scheme offered me essential skills and information such as teamwork, public speaking, creativity and advice on university applications. All of the sessions that were available to choose from were detailed and packed with information to make you stand out from other candidates when applying for a course at University. The Bitesize Uni summer school is an event I recommend for all students in Sixth Form.
Lauren ∼Year 13
In preparation for choosing a university to attend, I applied for the NU Entry Scheme which was an amazing experience. The scheme was aimed at those who wished to find out more about Northumbria University in order to carefully choose future study options. Many benefits came with completing the scheme including reduced entry requirements and a free library pass. The scheme enabled me to find out more about Northumbria University and gave me an insight into university style lectures. For the assessment, we were asked to create a presentation within our groups which resulted in me making new friends whom I am still in contact with. The student representatives from Northumbria University were extremely helpful and friendly which created a stress free environment to complete our presentation. The experience gave me some very beneficial skills which will be useful for future careers and university life. My confidence and team work skills have greatly improved due to the scheme which has helped greatly with opportunities such as Work Experience. The scheme was very beneficial and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to find out more about Northumbria University and university life.
Alex ∼Year 12
We had a presentation by some of the university’s Ambassadors and I realised that Sunderland had several courses I might be interested in so I registered to take part in this Progression Scheme so I could get a reduced entry if I applied for a Health and Clinical Sciences degree in Year 13. The best bit was the Summer School as I got to see the new purpose-built science facilities, learnt to find my way around the campus and met other students interested in the same course.
Ryan ∼Year 13
Deloitte is an Accountancy Programme which helped me to grow and gain techniques which are vital for my A-levels and future career.
To be a part of the Deloitte Programme has been a great experience, giving me an insight on what I need to do to ensure I achieve my goal to become a Primary School Teacher. Throughout the programme there were many great opportunities which I was very lucky to be a part of from being at a Budget Conference at St. James to a trip to Cambridge University. These allowed me to gain more independence and to meet many important people who shared their experiences with me and offered their help, emphasising that the future is never predictable and you may surprise yourself with the choices you make.
Jennifer ∼Year 12
During my first year in the Sixth Form, I and 6 other students took part in a Sports Nutrition experiment at Northumbria University. The experiment involved us using lots of high tech physiology equipment such as Douglas bags which we had to use up to 9 times a day. The experiment was to investigate which type of foods are the first to stimulate your hunger hormones; we ate various different foods during the day whilst getting blood samples taken to help judge which one would affect our hunger hormones first. At the end of the day we all had to eat 2 kilos of pasta until we were full, again our blood samples were analysed.
Kieran ∼Year 12
Every year, 20 successful Year 12 applicants are selected to train as Peer Mentors. This equips them with the skills needed to mentor younger pupils in the school, supporting them to make a successful transition into secondary school life, lend an ear and provide practical help with homework, organisation and confidence. It is invaluable training towards a nationally recognised qualification and supports any application you wish to make for Teaching, Nursing, Social Work or Medicine.
The value of this programme in school was reported in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle S48 Inspection : ‘A culture of mutual respect pervades all aspects of school life and pupils appreciate the support offered to them by sixth form mentors’
In July, all Year 12 students take part in this whole day of carousel activities designed to give them a range of taster sessions to help them make informed decisions about their career path.
Here’s what they said about this year’s day :
‘The speed dating with ex-students currently at University and young staff was very effective – a great idea ! Getting first person information made it easier to relate to ’
‘I really learnt what University was like, got to ask questions, find out about the financial side of it all and opinions on whether to study at home or away’
‘The session on Employability Skills really made me think about myself and what I can offer’
‘Good to meet people that had been to Uni or were actually there at the moment, to share their experiences’
‘The Finance-opoly game explained budgeting and finance to me, then the presentation on Student Finance helped me understand that I can afford to go to Uni’
‘All of the activities were full of useful information and helped me resolve any uncertainties’
Year 12 Futures Day and Activities Week are part of our full Higher Education Programme that takes place in the summer of Year 12.