30 January 2018

Oxbridge Offers for Symonds Students

Peter Symonds College students have once again shown they are top of the class. A total of 53 students, from 27 different secondary schools, have received offers from Oxford and Cambridge.

Says Principal, Stephen Carville, "I am absolutely delighted that so many of our students have been offered places to study at Oxford and Cambridge universities. With places at these two prestigious institutions becoming ever more coveted, and with an extremely rigorous selection process, these students have done exceedingly well and proven that hard work pays off. This figure puts us among the very top schools and colleges for Oxbridge intake in the country.”

Peter Symonds’ specialist Oxbridge tutor, Heather Wagstaff, adds, "Congratulations to those students who have worked incredibly hard to meet a demanding set of entry requirements & we wish them every success with their future studies.”

Peter Symonds, with a pass rate of 99%, is the top sixth form college in Hampshire for students achieving the ‘golden AAB grades’. 363 students were awarded these last year. Overall 1,496 students progressed to university, with 590 students accepting places at the top ‘Russell Group’ universities.

11 May 2018

College Students Shortlisted for Peter Watson International Scholarship

The Peter Watson International Scholarship is a great opportunity for anyone considering science, technology, medicine or engineering as a career to experience the cutting edge of research and technology and gain an international perspective. Students were invited to Queens' College Cambridge to present their work before a judging panel and attend a dinner. With only 10 students invited to present their work just to be shortlisted is an incredible achievement.

Samantha’s project investigated whether the use of adrenaline should be continued in cases of cardiac arrest while Felicity’s project focused on research into the controversial drug Avastin, initially quickly approved to treat breast cancer but later found to have possible serious side effects.

Commenting on the experience, Felicity said “It was an incredible experience to present to such an esteemed panel and to have the opportunity for an academic discussion at such a high level. It certainly helped create momentum for my project.” Samantha said “The panel didn’t know that adrenaline was introduced before clinical trials were common so it was great to teach them something new. It was inspiring to see different generations getting together to discuss scientific research.”

Julian Foster, biology tutor at Peter Symonds, said “It is an incredible achievement for both Samantha and Felicity to be shortlisted for the PWIS. Both students worked extremely hard and produced projects of exceptional quality exploring significant issues, reflected by the comments of the judging panel.”

The Extended Project (EPQ) is an additional qualification equivalent to half an A level. It is a flexible award allowing students to work to their strengths, by giving them the opportunity to choose to either produce a dissertation, an investigation report, a performance, an event, a design, or an object.

Undertaking an Extended Project improves students' skills in time management, academic writing, referencing and critical analysis. In previous years, over 80% of Peter Symonds students have achieved A*, A or B grades in their Extended Project. Students often choose a project topic related to their future studies at university or their career aspirations and the qualification is valued by universities and employers.

1 May 2018

Students De-Stress and Recharge at Health and Wellbeing Fair

A wide range of organisations exhibited inside the Mercers’ Sports Hall, offering information and advice on a variety of topics. Students had access to healthy food freebies, condoms and chlamydia testing, meningitis awareness, stop smoking advice, stress and anxiety advice, and defibrillator and CPR awareness. Additionally they could sign up to be a bone marrow donor, indulge in some beauty treatments, take photos in the Photobooth, ride a smoothie bike, stroke a therapy dog, play ping pong and do a bit of rowing.

Outside a visiting farm allowed students to de-stress through petting pygmy goats and alpacas, grooming ponies and handling tortoises, guinea pigs and rabbits. A basketball bungee run and bouncy castle provided more active options for burning off any nervous energy.

Ruth Kirkby, representing Tesco’s Race for Life scheme, said, “This event has been a real pleasure. Students have been so upbeat and engaging and it’s been great to see that people getting together to do something positive has rung a bell.”


Exhibitors throughout the venue commented on an impressive level of attendance and a high level of student engagement with the issues being discussed.Winchester Marrow, the Winchester University group signing up students to the Anthony Nolan bone marrow donation register had their best ever recruitment, signing up a massive 92 students to the bone marrow register (compared with 50 the last time they visited college).

Students commented, “The event is absolutely a good thing. It’s great to relax a bit before exams start.” “It starts a conversation about issues.” “It’s been really useful. It’s a great mix and an opportunity to learn about a lot of important topics.”

Charlotte McIver, Student Welfare Officer, said, “this is an opportunity to give students a chance to relax and have fun before their exams, and educate them on the things likely to affect them during this busy period, such as stress, smoking, alcohol abuse and diet. It promotes awareness of these issues and of how to overcome them effectively now and in the future as they move on from college and become more independent.”

Liz Crouch, Head of Student Services, said, “The event went really well and the spectrum of services and information on offer ensured there was something of interest or use for everyone. This can be a stressful period for students coming up and we wanted to equip them with the tools and information to take care of themselves properly. At Peter Symonds we believe that supporting students in their personal lives is crucial to enabling them to achieve academically, and events like this are a great way to provide that support.”

27 April 2018

Peter Symonds Help the South East Retain Top Spot at AoC Championships

The South East retained the Wilkinson Sword trophy, beating local rivals the South West into second place at the AoC Sport National Championships in Nottingham.

Peter Symonds Men’s Hockey Team and Women’s Cross Country Team took gold in their respective events, with silver medals awarded in Badminton, Golf and to the Table Tennis Team. The Men’s Volleyball Team and Tennis Team won bronze medals with individual bronze medals for Maisie Grice in Cross Country and Josh Leahy in Squash. The Men’s Rugby Team and Women’s Hockey Team were both awarded fourth place in their respective events.

The South East won with a total of 182 points, beating runners up the South West by nine points and the third-placed North West by 21 points.

Lynne Gardner, Head of Activities at Peter Symonds, said: “We are very proud of the outstanding achievements of all our competitors in the AoC National Championships. These fantastic results reflect the dedication and focus of our sportsmen and women and the commitment and expertise of the coaching staff here at Peter Symonds.”

22 March 2018

What Next for College Students?

Peter Symonds College held its annual Progression Fair, sponsored by The Symondians Association, aimed at current students showcasing a diverse array of different career and education options after college and beyond.

Over 90 employers, higher education institutions and organisations exhibited at the largest event of its kind to be held at the College. Students were offered information and advice on the wide variety of training, educational and career opportunities available to them, ranging from degrees, higher and degree apprenticeships, training courses, employment, studying abroad and other useful practical information. Peter Symonds also welcomed pupils from local schools to come and benefit from the fair, in the hope of encouraging Year 11 students to consider what careers they may wish to pursue in the future before choosing which A level subjects to study.

Many top universities from as near as the University of Winchester and as far afield as Barcelona exhibited, as well as well-known brands including Nationwide Building Society, Aldi, Fujitsu, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Goldman Sachs.

Fiona Filder and Ioanna Sheard from Hopper, Williams and Bell (HWB) Chartered Accountants said, “This is a very well organised, excellent event. It gives us the opportunity to speak to lots of students and tell them about our apprenticeships and graduate training scheme. It also gives us the opportunity to meet other local employers.”

Julia White from financial firm BDO said, “It is really busy and we have had lots of good conversations with students who are interested in joining us in the future. We would definitely come back again to this event.”

Other exhibitors commented that the event was very busy and it was well worth attending. Over 1,500 students visited the event during the first two hours.

Debbie Mahoney, Head of Careers at Peter Symonds says, “I think that the event went extremely well and we had over 2,500 students attend, which is the biggest ever and many exhibitors ran out of literature! We worked hard to increase the variety of exhibitors attending this year, with new representatives from Goldman Sachs; Home Office Border Force; Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Merchant Navy Training Board.”

Students commented, “The event is useful in obtaining an idea about courses at different universities.” “Really useful as I didn’t have a clue as to what I might like to do next, but I have a much better idea now.” “Really valuable to be able to speak to representatives face to face.” “Everyone is really informative, helpful and friendly.”

The timing of the College's Progression Fair falls just before National Apprenticeship Week, which highlights to students all over the UK an alternative route to many brilliant careers and also National Careers Week. Peter Symonds also held its own Careers Week recently, involving a varied daily programme for current students including speakers from a huge range of courses and careers from Medicine, Anthropology, TV Journalism and Oceanography, to Civil Engineering, the Royal Navy, Teaching, Midwifery and Pharmacy.

Christine Alsford, Social Affairs Correspondent at ITV, one of the speakers at the event said, “This is a fantastic opportunity to inspire the next generation, give them a realistic insight into the word of work and tell them how brilliant working in TV journalism is. It is tough out there, but if students are committed and work hard, they will succeed.”

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