My name is Sarah Treble and I am a member of the extended leadership team at Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy (OSCA). My school is an 11-16 secondary school on the outskirts of Birmingham, serving the community of Tividale.
When we first heard of the possibility of there being a new sixth form opening that would be in a good location for our students post-16 study, we were very excited, but then when we realised that if it was successful in opening it would be under the partnership of Eton College, well, we just couldn’t believe our luck!
When I first met with Sean Costello, Eton College’s Head of Educational Opportunity, and discussed the bid for the Eton sixth form, I couldn’t believe how much more there was on offer to our students at OSCA with or without the success of the bid. The resources for both staff and students through the EtonX platform, the Orwell Award, and the opportunities that Eton were offering to provide without any fee to both our students or our school were mind blowing.
Our trip to Eton College
The planning for the trip came together very quickly. Myself and the Head of Year 10 launched the trip to the whole year group through an assembly with the message being that if students were interested in finding out what it would be like to attend a prestigious university, and/or if they wanted to see what Eton College was all about (as they might be running a local sixth form in the near future) then they have the opportunity to express interest to attend a trip to Eton College. Within less than a week we had a full trip of 40 students.
Sean and Eleanor, Eton College’s Eton Connect Coordinator, were fantastic! They put together the itinerary for the day which consisted of such an amazing variety of activities including critical thinking, making a telescope and understanding how they work, a high-level art session, social action, and tours of some of the astonishing sights and buildings around the Eton College campus.
By far the highlight of the trip for both us as staff and for the students was the opportunity for OSCA students and Eton students to meet, mix, talk, and have lunch together.
It was such a special experience for our students and to see them in awe of what they were seeing and being taken aback by the experience was lovely, but by far the highlight of the trip for both us as staff and for the students was the opportunity for OSCA students and Eton students to meet, mix, talk, and have lunch together. Some of our students have never had the opportunity to mix with other people of their own age, but from very different backgrounds and this experience was invaluable to them.
Students left the day feeling like they were ‘better’ than they thought they were because they weren’t much different to the Eton boys and were excited at the possibility of becoming part of the Eton community should the bid be successful. Some students left feeling more inspired to put themselves forward for the Orwell Award, which they’d learnt about before the Eton trip thanks to a presentation organised by Sean, describing it as an unmissable opportunity for them.
As a school we are only just getting started with the EtonX platform. We have all our students enrolled on the platform, for free, thanks to the staff at Eton College. Our next steps are to look at our character development curriculum and see where time could be utilised better by allowing students to engage with these fantastic resources.
Thank you so much to all the staff and students at Eton College for all of your support so far, and I look forward to all the work we will be doing together in the future.