Newsletter from Oxford

October 2023

Mark Fletcher-Single

Head of School, EF Academy Oxford

Dear Families,

I know I've written before, how much I love writing 'my bit' for our monthly newsletters, but my 30 minutes sitting down to reflect on the last four weeks, in preparation for writing, feels as if only a week has passed, not four. It's a sharp reminder days in school may be long, but the weeks are short.

 I hope the families who were able to spend the mid-term break at home, enjoyed your time together, and you all, whether your daughter / son stayed on campus or not, had the opportunity to talk and discuss 'how is school going? '. Year 2 parents, especially, please keep asking your daughters / sons how they are getting on with their university applications (eg have they completed their Personal Statements?). Of course, if any questions or concerns were raised in your discussions, please contact your daughter's / son's Pathway Manager: I hope you all already know, but communication between us is one of the key elements to students' success.

Thank you too, genuinely, to the parents who have already contacted me following conversations with your children: I love hearing from you and very much appreciate and enjoy this connection.

October has been another great month in school: our students are now settled in to their after school activities (knitting and running being among the most popular), we have had four fantastic weekend activities, a superb range of academic enrichment trips (including attending a lecture from the head lawyer on the UN Human Rights & Torture Committee: what an experience!), Halloween fun and so much more. So, what have been my highlights over the last four weeks? I think, the T-Rex's (some of our Year 2s dressed up for Halloween) walking down Pullens Lane at 8:00am was a sight to behold, and certainly one I won't forget in a while, is towards the top of my list. But, at the very top, has to be our students' successes within the UK Senior Mathematics Challenge: 5 Gold certificates, 4 Silver certificates and 8 Bronze certificates. This is an enormous achievement, specifically, for a small school. I couldn't be more proud of this amazing group, with one achieving 107 out of 125. Very well done to you all. Interestingly, my two 'highlights' represent a skilled balance of few young people (and adults, too) struggling to get right : good clean fun with the T-Rex costumes, whilst achieving academic excellence in the UK Senior Mathematics Challenge.


Updates & Reminders

Mid-term break

18th-22nd March

Deadline to reserve seats for Year 2 graduation

18th-22nd March

Year 2 Graduation 

18th-22nd March

Department Updates

Dona Jones

IB

Kevin Cousineau

A-Level

A-Level & IB Academics

Assessment grades information

Assessments are key times for students to practice examination style questions based on recent course work and this will trigger important interventions if the course target grade is not met. We have a number of ways to support students not meeting target grades all designed to help them improve. Academic support sessions and booster lessons offer extra times with teachers to go through areas of the course that need improvement in understanding. Applied pathway support offers additional time after school for supervised study.

The next assessment grade (AG3) is timetabled as follows:


Dr. Mark Zumbuhl

UK Director of University Guidance

University Guidance

Assessment grades information

The final UK university application deadline on UCAS passed on 25 January and all students applying to the UK had their applications submitted in good time. The remaining applications to be made in the year group are for some European and Asian countries over the next few months, but the majority of the Year 2 students are now just waiting to hear the outcomes. We are very pleased to report that Ivy (Heyi) Wang has been offered a place at Cambridge University to study Education. There are several other excellent university offers through the year group, and some of the students who applied for Medicine have already had interviews or been invited to interview. Later this term there will be special sessions to explain to students the next steps in the process, including how to accept university offers. An important factor in deciding which conditional offers to keep are students’ mock examination results, as these will provide good insight into how students will perform in the final examinations this summer. Therefore, students should make sure to revise thoroughly in order that they can demonstrate their full potential in the mock exams.

The primary focus of university guidance shifts now to Year 1 students. Before the winter break we introduced students to the Bridge-U platform and they have been exploring different courses and options in various countries. This term there will be several more activities explaining in more detail how to research courses, getting students familiar with the written aspects of applications, and showing how to write strong application essays and personal statements. There will also be strategy meetings for students interested in particular kinds of applications (e.g. for medicine, engineering, or applying to the USA) and some test preparation sessions for the small number of students who may need to take specific aptitude tests. There will also be opportunities for students to attend university fairs as part of our trips, following on from the mini university fair hosted here in Oxford last term.

EF Academy Student Profile

This month, we would like to recognise and celebrate the Student Profile attributes by congratulating Anna Ladusch, who was selected by staff for her recent kind and helpful assistance to the boarding team, particularly in the evenings whilst serving snacks and drinks to the rest of her boarding house. Well done, Anna!


Activities and Adventures

Saturday Trips

Students visited 'Bear Grylls Adventure' in Birmingham, where they completed obstacle courses, archery, climbing and escape room challenges! The students also travelled to Cadbury World, birth place of the wonderful Cadbury's chocolate! They toured the museum and sampled many chocolate treats.  Also this month, students have had weekend swim sessions, been bowling and had a special brunch cooked by the boarding team. Coming up in February the students will have the opportunity to go go-karting, to have a guided tour of Cambridge, to see Hamilton the musical in London and to visit the historic Warwick castle!

After school club of the month - Running club!

During the Winter months, it can be hard to find the motivation to look after our bodies, but it is so important! One club who have met weekly, even in bad weather, are the running club! Every Monday, maths teacher James Messer takes a group of students running. Running is so beneficial for mental and physical health and the students who are in the club attend and enjoy it every Monday -  what a great way to start a new week! The club will hopefully be taking part in their first race in May. Well done James and running club! 

Boarding Life

It has been lovely to welcome back the students after Winter break, and to welcome new students to campus, too! We have had a great start to the new year with many activities taking place. The students have enjoyed celebrating the Lunar new year with several students cooking dumplings and spring rolls! Students continue to enjoy the hot chocolate nights and even took part in some Karaoke whilst waiting in the queue! We had brunch and a pool competition last weekend with tea and cake the weekend before that. We look forward to many more enjoyable events in boarding!

Other news

On Friday 21st April, Year 2 students will have their graduation Ceremony at the historic and beautiful Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford.
The ceremony starts at 2:30pm and friends and relatives of graduating students should aim to be at the venue for 2pm. It will be a fantastic day, celebrating your child's hard work over the last 2 years. Please email your child's pathway manager with how many guest tickets you require, by March 17th. 

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