Tag Archive: sixth form

The Ultimate Boarder’s Guide – Part Two: Boarding Room Makeover

By Hope, Year 12, Weaponness

With the new year just beginning, and spring cleaning right around the corner, everyone wants a fresh canvas to start off their year. Why not start with the one place you spend most of the time? The bedroom. In the boarding houses, you are free to decorate your room the way you want, to give it your own personal touch and to give you the sense that you are still at home. You can adapt it so that you have a colour theme that you and your roommate want and go decor shopping together which is also a nice way to break the ice.


First up! Let’s look at textiles

In my opinion the best place to start is your bed. You can get a range of bedding from lots of affordable stores like Dunelm, Argos and a variety of online stores like Aayfair or DuskThen you can either leave it at that or take it a step further and add throw pillows and blankets which you can also get at these stores linked above. You can also add a rug, either to make the room less echoey or just to make it feel more homely. It could be fluffy, full of patterns, plain or whatever takes your fancy.

Dressing up the walls

Pictures of your family, friends and pets back home; memories that you want to look at everyday are the best place to start. To get these, you can use anything to capture a memory, for example with your phone camera or, if you really like photography, you can use a proper camera. A simple option is something like a disposable camera. Anything goes because at the end of the day this is your room to style. You can get pictures blown up or printed online for really cheap from places like Free prints or you can go in-store to most Boots shops (which is like a health and beauty shop) and get pictures printed. Pictures can go anywhere, any spare place on the wall or you can frame them. You can even make a gallery wall. Whatever you do, you don’t want to destroy the paint and you may not have the tools to hang pictures. My advice: Use command strips.

Command strips are easy and quick to use. When you get these, you need to use four of the strips given to you. Firstly, you peel one of the back off the strip and place it on one side of the picture frame so that you can feel the rough side and then do the same to the other side. So there you have used two of the strips then stick the other two strips on them, so that the rough parts are together and the sticker part is still there to use. Then peel the paper off the sticker and place on the wall, making sure it is how you want it. To make sure it is secure you need to press against the command strips on the wall and then check it is how you like it et voila!

When you want to remove it, carefully remove the picture and you will see the command strips separate and you will see a tab on the command strip on the wall. Just pull it down and keep pulling until it comes off the wall. You can get command strips from places like amazon or any supermarket like Sainsbury’s. They range from about £2.50-£10.00, they can vary in size and how many are in a pack, depending on what you are needing to hang. This is the command strip I use myself and would recommend: Command PH203-18NA Hanging Strips, White, Small and Medium. You can get it from Amazon for £9.99.

If pictures are not what you want, then maybe posters of your favorite places or movies. Or even complete an empty piece of wall with a tapestry if you want more of a boho theme, for which you can also use command strips to hang.

Knick-knacks and organisation

These are the extra things that you want. So things to fill blank spaces, decorative pieces or things to make your room smell fabulous. You may also want to be super organised, in which case you can get a little bits-and-bobs drawer or bins to put clothes or bags in. With all these things, I would recommend you wait to buy until you arrive because not only will these take up valuable space in your luggage, you don’t really know what room you will be working with, so you won’t know how much space you will have to decorate.

You Teach What?!

Introducing Mrs Helen Lay, teacher of Ethics, Philosophy and Religious Education

Not all teachers are the same. But guess what? Not all subjects are the same either. In this blog, we want to highlight some of the lesser-known or lesser-understood subjects on our curriculum. Starting this series, Helen Lay is teacher of ethics, philosophy, religious education and Theory of Knowledge. Known to staff and students as ToK, theory of knowledge is one of the core requirements of the IB Diploma.

Although Mrs Lay came from a long generation of teachers in her family, it was never her intention to become a teacher herself. Far from it, she remembers her religious education lessons are incredibly dull and uninspiring and Mrs Lay was determined not to be the third generation of teachers.

Back at secondary school, a cover teacher changed Mrs Lay’s attitude towards religious education. All of a sudden, she recalls, the lessons sprung to life when pupils were asked to explore their beliefs. When the cover teacher started inspiring pupils to discuss topics that ranged from totem poles to reincarnation, Mrs Lay remembers thinking, ‘Does she realise which lesson she’s meant to be teaching?’

Fast forward twenty years and Helen Lay made a career change into education, so that she could be more creative and start making a difference to young people’s lives. Remembering the inspiration of her religious education lessons, it was clear that she wanted to teach philosophy and religion. ‘It was clear,’ Mrs Lay added. ‘That I wanted to share my love for these subjects and challenge students to think about life in a meaningful way.’ Ever since this career change, she has been committed to creating and developing lessons that make learning relevant and enjoyable. So much so that Mrs Lay will challenge anyone calling her lessons boring!


Mixing up religion, business studies and art

It is easy and tempting to separate curriculum subjects by the different teachers, classrooms and textbooks; a school bell does the trick. Students pack of their bags and their Chromebooks, clear their minds of whatever that has been done in this period and either look forward to – or dread – the next one. Where Helen Lay is concerned, crossing over subjects is really where the fun starts.

Mrs Lay’s philosophy is as straightforward as it is convincing: If you want to help students succeed, you have to provide a variety of different lesson styles. She talks about a lesson she taught recently in a Year 8 classroom. Students were challenged to promote a piece of religious art to prospective buyers. The buyers had a generous amount of fake money and could take part in either a silent auction or an actual roleplay auction. ‘Of course it was fun,’ Lay admits. ‘But it gave the students an opportunity to show their skills in delivering a powerful sales pitch.’ The following lesson saw the students writing a letter to the church. ‘This is where they had to explain why they had bought this particular piece of religious art, identify truth and interpretation.’


Mindfulness and Yorkshire Grit

In many ways, the Yorkshire Grit programme has transformed co-curricular life at Scarborough College. Nationally recognised for its innovative character, Yorkshire Grit does what it says on the tin. Children are taken out of their comfort zones and introduced to new challenges, new obstacles and new triumphs; providing Yorkshire Grit. However, it is important to point out that Yorkshire Grit is more than surfing in the freezing North Sea or learning bushcraft skills that would make Bear Grylls’s mouth water. Again, Mrs Lay’s ideas come from outside the box.

To Helen Lay, Yorkshire Grit provided an opportunity to confront students with a challenge of a different kind. This was mindfulness. Mrs Lay dedicated the past few years developing a mindfulness programme that could fit inside the Yorkshire Grit programme, aimed at students in Years 7 to 9. ‘Mindfulness is looking after the mind and the body,’ Lay explains. ‘Tailored to these age groups, mindfulness is there to provide students with the tools to manage their own mental health.’

Sessions typically include relaxation techniques and positive thinking activities that encourage student reflection and self esteem. Mrs Lay is convinced that in today’s extremely busy world – including that of secondary school students – it is absolutely crucial to teach the value of non-religious meditation. Taught in small groups, students have an opportunity to explore different approaches to possible issues such as sleeping problems, stress of worries. The aim is that these sessions develop resilience, confidence and – it goes without saying – Yorkshire Grit. The programme has been so successful that it is not uncommon for enthusiastic parents to ask Mrs Lay if they, too, can sign up.


Theory of Knowledge

The ToK is unique to the International Baccaulareate. Full name Theory of Knowledge, this subject teaches students essential  critical thinking skills that are so important in higher education. ToK is a core requirement of the IB Diploma but it also provides an opportunity for students to develop an open-minded approach to life. And if that’s not enough, it may provide an addition three core points.

‘I remember being 18 and being convinced I knew everything,’ Lay says. ‘It’s only later that you realise how much you didn’t know.’ to counter that conviction, ToK is a fantastic way to broaden students’ knowledge and understanding of the world. ‘We explore questions about science, religion, the arts, history and indigenous knowledge.’ In some sense, one could argue that ToK challenges the very nature of fake news. It allows students to question the reliability of what they know, to encourage to question what they know and to check the knowledge that they gain and have gained. ‘Students are challenged to question their own trust in their sense perception and intuition, and to consider the value of different perspectives,’ Mrs Lay continues. ‘I enjoy making these lessons enjoyable while at the same time helping students to start seeing the world as it is, as opposed to how they may see it right now.’

If you would like to know more about the IB Diploma Programme, click here to explore the IB Diploma Programme description or here to discover the Scarborough College Sixth Form. For more information about Mindfulness, please check the Websites below. To find out more about the Yorkshire Grit programme, visit the dedicated Yorkshire Grit page.

Guided confidence meditation for kids (and adults)

Young Minds

Compass Buzz

World Sleep Day – Importance of sleep

The Benefits of the IB Diploma

Scarborough College provides the IB Diploma Programme for its Sixth Form students. As a relatively new diploma in the United Kingdom, we often get asked not only what the IB is but also what the benefits of this qualification are. Indeed, if there are any benefits at all. We have gone some way to explaining the IB Diploma Programme here and this blog post aims to explain some of what, we believe, are the benefits of the IB Diploma.

The IB Diploma is a rigorous course and students thinking about going to an IB Sixth Form should consider this. Although the IB diploma might be considered the option for ‘cleverer’ or more academic students, it is actually a student’s motivation and commitment that counts. How determined are you? How organised are you? Are you prepared and committed to studying both inside and outside the classroom?

Our aim is to match this commitment and, where possible, go above and beyond it in terms of our support and guidance. This goes for both support while working towards the Diploma but also support in university placements and support with the Extended Essay, the CAS, time management and much more. This support is given by dedicated tutors, the IB Co-ordinator, Head of Sixth Form and of course the Careers Counsellor.

Opting for the IB Diploma means a more rigorous course and quite possibly a much bigger challenge but it also means being able to prepare for academic rigour and demands within an environment of support. Take the Core Requirement of the Extended Essay for instance. Although essay-writing is commonplace at university, only few will have had much experience and guidance when it comes to meeting strict deadlines and crediting sources prior to starting further education. While it is harder work, having to incorporate the Extended Essay into a body of work that already comprises of six subjects and other Core Requirements, the know-how provided will prove invaluable once the first uni papers are due in.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency report carried out in 2016 seems to echo the sentiment that the IB Diploma is sound preparation for further education. Its findings included a 57% greater likelihood of IB Diploma Programme students attending the UK’s Top 20 universities. It also showed that IB are twice as likely to continue their studies at postgraduate level. The situation in the United States of America is similar in that the Ivy League universities are between 3% and 13% more likely to accept IB Diploma students than other applicants.

For many, choosing the IB Diploma course is about making a choice to prepare for the demands of academic rigour. It is about becoming a more independent and critical thinker and it is about taking intellectual risks. There is, however, more to the IB Diploma than academics. Joining an IB World School also means that you are ready to embrace cultural diversity. The IB Diploma forces you to study a foreign language for example and it requires you to engage with people in a changing world. It is, in short, about more than yourself.

If you are currently considering your future Sixth Form application and you are unsure, try to get in touch with people who have completed their IB Diploma or visit the IBO Website for more information. You can always get in touch with the Admissions Team at Scarborough College to arrange a visit or a taster stay and we offer special information events for Senior School and GCSE students and their parents. Come and see if the IB Diploma is for you.



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