News from Kings Brighton
Outside the classroom: the importance of extracurricular activities
28th May 2019
At Kings, students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities, or 'enrichment' activities as they are also often known, alongside their main academic studies.
These activities range from participating in student councils and committees and nationally-accredited award schemes, to joining clubs and societies. Kings Brighton offers a host of different options including sports clubs such as Basketball, Football, Yoga and Zumba; creative clubs such as Art Club, Life Drawing, Photography and Music clubs; and clubs with a more academic focus such as Business and Current Affairs, Model United Nations and Surviving Uni.
The Enrichment Programme at Kings also enables students to take part in both local and international volunteering and fundraising schemes, and to complete work experience placements if they wish.
There are many benefits that come from involvement in these activities and schemes, some of which are highlighted below.
Developing new skills
Whilst many enrichment options give students the chance to further skills within a specific subject or hobby, such as Maths or Photography, for example, extracurricular activities are also great for developing softer, more transferable skills. These can include skills such as public speaking, working in a team and time management skills.
Developing new interests
One of the great things about the Kings enrichment programme is that it can allow students to explore completely new interests that they wouldn't otherwise have been exposed to. They can also provide a great chance for students to broaden their horizons and their understanding of the world, particularly within the context of school which welcomes international students from a wide range of countries.
Helping students stand out within university and job applications
Extracurricular activities can help ensure students have plenty of evidence to include in both university and job applications that demonstrates they are well-rounded and have plenty of transferrable skills. For example, participation in Student Councils or on the Kings Business Enterprise scheme can show an ability to work as part of a team — or as a successful leader if a leadership position was held — and the determination to achieve goals.
Negin is currently completing a Medical Sciences degree at the University of Leeds. Speaking to us about her experience at Kings, she referenced how useful the enrichment programme had been when it came to applying to university.
"I did Biology club and UKCAT. UKCAT classes really helped me prepare for my UKCAT exam for entering the university. Biology club was more of a fun class that we could do exciting experiments that were not usually part of our study. I was also part of the Student Council.
In my first year, I was the head of Charity Committee and the second year I was the secretary. Writing about my responsibilities during this time in my personal statement helped me to show the universities that I have some experience in leadership, which was an essential skill for my course."
Complementing academic studies with a way to relax
Enrichment activities can often provide a very welcome alternative to the rigours and intensity of academic study. Undertaking activities that complement class-based learning with a more relaxed pace, or which help keep the body fit as well as the mind, can be of huge benefit to our students.
Providing opportunities for socialising
Being a member of a club or committee is a great way to spend more time with peers and make new friends. Given that extracurricular activities may be undertaken with people that students don't usually interact with, it also offers the potential to meet new people with similar interests and to build friendships outside of the usual circles. This ensures that social networks are widened, and that communication and interpersonal skills are honed.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development
"The college offers a range of extra-curricular and enrichment activities, including art, chess, yoga, economics and music, as well as workshops on debating, cinema, study skills and salsa dancing. Trips to the local football ground, museums, food markets and fringe theatre contribute to students' self-confidence, social skills and community awareness."
— Kings Brighton Ofsted Report, 2018.
Why study Economics A-level?
15th May 2019
Economics is not simply all about numbers. It is the study of the world around us from a social, financial and cultural perspective, gaining an understanding of economic theories and interrelationships between macro and micro economic issues.
Whilst Economics is not listed by the Russell Group as a 'facilitating subject', it is a highly regarded academic field of study which can provide the underpinning knowledge, awareness and skills to progress to a wide range of further studies and professions.
What will you study within A-level Economics?
Specific content covered within A-level Economics may vary from school to school, and depending on the exam board followed. Within the AQA specification, topics covered may include 'Economics as a social science', the difference between production and productivity, the difference between economies and diseconomies of scale, market structure and differing objectives among firms, the price mechanism, AD/AS analysis, aggregate demand, fluctuations in economic activity and economic growth, inflation, monetary and fiscal policy, how and why governments intervene in markets and why, the Quantity Theory of Money, and the role of the WTO.
What skills will you get from studying Economics?
You will develop your analytical, numeric, communication and problem solving skills and cultural awareness.
What careers can the study of Economics lead to?
Economics can lead to a wide range of careers in Economics and Finance-related professions including: Accountant, Actuarial Analyst, Chartered Accountant, Data Analyst, Economist, Finance and Banking, Financial Risk Analyst, Financial Planner, Forensic Accountant, Investment Analyst, Statistician, Stockbroker.
In addition, the knowledge and skills learned would also be useful for careers including: Actuary, Business Analysis and Development, the Civil Service, Data Science, Diplomacy, Economic and/or Political Journalism, Government and Politics, Management Consultancy, Policy Development and Management, Quantity Surveying.
University Offers update
16th April 2019
2019 is shaping up to be yet another exciting year of success for students at Kings Brighton.
University Offers continue to be confirmed and it is interesting to see the wide range of subjects, prestigious universities and leaders in their fields for which our student have already received offers. Some of their chosen degree subjects and offer universities are listed below.
All students benefit from a structured and personally tailored University Application Programme. They are supported throughout the whole process by our team of experienced expert academics and counsellors.
Students' choice of university may be influenced by a range of factors and are encouraged to explore their opportunities in detail. They are assisted to identify the most appropriate degrees and specialist institutions to meet their individual ambitions in their chosen subject and professional areas.
Accounting and Finance; Architecture; Automotive Engineering; Business and Management; Computer Science; Drama, Applied Theatre and Education; Drama and English; Economics; Education; English Literature and Drama; Fashion Accessory and Textiles Futures; Fashion Design; Fashion Textiles; Fashion Marketing and Management; Illustration Animation; Illustration and Visual Communication; International Business and Management; International Tourism and Hospitality Management; Marketing and Management; Mechanical Engineering; Motorsport Engineering; Neuroscience; Neuroscience with Cognitive Science; Pharmacy (Masters/ 4 Years); Photography; Politics and International Relations; Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation Science; Zoology (with a year abroad) and many more!
Leading and specialist universities
Bath; Birmingham; Brighton; Bristol; Brunel; Coventry; Durham; East Anglia (UEA); Exeter; Istituto Marangoni; Kent; Kings College London (KCL); Kingston; Lancaster; Leeds; Loughborough; Manchester; Newcastle; Queen's Belfast; Queen Mary; Ravensbourne; Richmond, The American University in London; Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (University of London); Royal Holloway; Sheffield; Southampton; Surrey; Sussex; University for the Creative Arts (UCA); University College London (UCL) and more!
Why we chose Kings Brighton for our A-levels
29th January 2019
Joe Nash Price-Evans and William Tampion-Lacey are studying for A-levels at Kings Brighton. Here they tell us what appealed to them about Kings.
Welcome to Kings! The two of us started in September of 2018, taking A-levels in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths.
We were impressed by the convenient location and the modern facilities that Kings had to offer. But the greatest attraction to Kings was the confidence that the teachers had in our ability to succeed.
The dedicated teachers and small class sizes mean that every student gets an education to suit them and, with students from around the world, everybody was open and friendly towards us.
Kings is located in central Brighton, an incredibly diverse place where something is always going on. Be it a festival, musical performance, theatre performance or sporting event, there is something for everyone. With so much going on in Brighton there is a large variety of people from different countries and cultures which means everyone can find a place to feel comfortable.
All the staff at Kings Brighton are incredibly dedicated, even on the rainiest of days (which happen to be quite frequent...) they still manage to remain cheerful. Every teacher is truly passionate about their subject and can really relate to their students. They understand that every student is unique and has a slightly different way of learning; they really cater to this well.
Kingston University talk: Art and Design degrees and how to choose your specialism
21st November 2018
On Wednesday 31st October, Kings Brighton welcomed Dr Jake Abrams, Admissions Tutor in the Department of Illustration Animation at Kingston School of Art, Kingston University.
In a talk titled 'Creative Futures', Jake spoke to our students about the different ways of going forward with their creativity, and the various Art and Design degrees open to them at university and beyond.
An alumnus of Kingston himself, Jake studied Illustration and is a well-established practising editorial illustrator, designer and artist as well as university tutor.
Studying Art and Design in the UK
Jake started his talk by describing how specialised Art and Design degree courses are in the UK, particularly in comparison to the USA. He commented:
"In the UK, a lot of courses are very specialised, so they are really aimed at specific industries. If you wanted to study Interior Design, you have a course that is all about Interior Design, every day of the week. If you were studying in the US, quite often you could study Interior Design, Geography, a language… it's a very different sort of structure here."
Deciding your specialism
His advice to the students in the audience was to start researching the different courses as soon as possible — also to research the artists/ designers that they admire:
"You've got to do your research, think about those artists and designers that you love, and really interrogate their practise. What do they do every day, how did they get there, what sort of education did they go through? You've got to do that research and then you can say, I can do that too."
The next part of the session focussed on the specific degree courses available at Kingston, which mirror many of those at other top arts universities. Below is a summary of the courses covered, and Jake's insights into the various specialisms and which types of students they best suit.
On a BA in Graphic Design there's lots of experimenting with process, and it's about ideas and strategy. A lot of graphic designers work in teams, they like working and coming up with concepts together. They work with design groups and real clients.
Often, graphic designers go into areas such as design journalism, design writing, advertising, type design, art direction, corporate identity, service design, photography, interactive design, exhibition design, and motion graphics.
A course in Fine Art is well suited to students who like 'doing their own thing'. In this programme, project briefs are not set for you — students set their own briefs and there are subject workshops that they follow with the help of a personal tutor.
As Jake commented:
"On a Fine Art course — and there are lots of really good ones across the UK — there is real freedom. If you are that sort of creative who thinks, 'I want to do my own stuff, have my own time and my own space' then a Fine Art course might be the right course for you."
This particular specialism definitely requires students to be self-motivated. In particular it can suit people who are entrepreneurial, and who can be pushy about their work so that they can instigate exhibitions and gain artist-in-residence positions.
At Kingston it is a very wide course, not just about painting and sculpture. It amalgamates printmaking, installation, video and sound art, performance and photographic art.
Fine Art students can also go into areas such as curation, gallery management, art administration, teaching and lecturing, and theatre design.
Students who select this route will enjoy making clothes and will be constantly looking at materials — knowing how to draw and cut clothes is very important. The course is about being experimental, but really understanding the fashion market as well.
This is a particularly intense course and therefore students who are interested in it must be very driven.
Kingston University is very well-known for its BA (Hons) Fashion course, ranked second in the world as the place to study fashion. Most graduates go on to become designers but the course can also lead to careers in fashion marketing, fashion photography, fashion buying and art direction.
Product & Furniture Design students must be clever with ideas and making prototypes, and be thoughtful about design, materials and processes.
This practical, workshop-based course can lead to work designing for retailers such as John Lewis, Heals, Habitat; furniture and product designers; big names such as Lego, Dyson, Sony and many more.
At Kingston, there are a lot of live projects working with some really good clients, working out real strategies for development.
Students on this course will cover components such as:
- Character design
- Drawing (a lot of)
- Experimental design ideas
- Responding to (a lot of) briefs, providing the opportunity to create an independent visual language
Jake's advice was that students should keep a sketchbook with them and be drawing all the time. Drawing doesn't have to be done in a very formal way. On the course they draw in different ways, such as in a life class and on location, which is encouraged — thinking about materials and how people and places interact.
One particular thing to bear in mind is that there are a lot of illustrators out there, so you have got to produce something different to stand out.
Award-winning animation by Kingston student Jennifer Zheng
BA Architecture courses can be vary greatly. It worth bearing in mind that some universities offer their BA Architecture in the Engineering faculty, but places like Kingston do BA Architecture in the Art, Design and Architecture faculty.
Zaha Hadid is a great example of a creative architect, and one important point that Jake made here was that women can make it really well to the top of creative industries and in architecture.
Creative and Cultural Industries courses
At Kingston, as at other universities, there are creative business courses worth thinking about too. Students interested in working in creative and cultural industries might be more interested in the fashion business, or in Art Direction and the business of commissioning people.
Specialist degrees include:
These are all exciting areas, and are as much about leadership as being a designer. Graduates will go into areas such as marketing, design, advertising, social design, events organising, art direction, production and concept art.
This course is ideal for students who are interested in architecture but also interested in interiors of spaces, and how they can be challenged and reinvented.
Interior designers will start with mood boards, and consider existing spaces and materials within them, reimagining those spaces.
Film & Photography
Jake's advice to students considering these specialisms was to think about whether they want to go in a commercial direction (such as fashion or graphic design photography) or more artistic direction before applying to a course, as they do differ according to the university. Kingston, for example, is more artistic therefore would suit students who prefer this approach.
What careers can a degree in Art and Design lead to?
12th November 2018
In short, when it comes to the world of work, there are endless opportunities for art and design graduates — both in terms of job roles and industries. Currently, it is estimated the UK creative industries workforce totals over 2 million. The global innovation foundation NESTA states the UK is on track to create a million new creative industry jobs between 2013 and 2030, this could total 1,000 new jobs a week.
If we think globally, the opportunities are endless. Everything we wear, use or watch, and the environments we live and work in all have to be designed by someone — that could be you!
A variety of specialisms
Within the field of art and design, there are numerous specialisms, many of which are offered as specific degree courses within specialist universities and arts institutions. These include Animation, Film Production, Architecture, Interior, Product and Fashion Design to name just a few.
Mariana progressed from Kings' Foundation programme to study BA (Hons) Film Production at UCA. Now working at award-winning company Gullane, one of the biggest film production companies in Brazil, she commented:
"I work in the development department, which is the part of the film process I have always wanted to work in. So, I am in the path I was hoping to take on when I decided to work in Film.
Art school is great and will give you the best environment to create and get to know likeminded people. In the case of film, more specifically, the British film industry is a reference worldwide and, in my opinion, does really well in both commercial and more auteurist films, and that is reflected in the way they will teach you. Plus, the industry is really well established and you have the best resources to create and understand the different fields within it."
A range of industries and sectors
Whilst often a specialist degree can enable students to forge a path to a career within that specialist field, there are other courses within the realm of art and design which can arguably lead to a wider range of options post-degree.
For example, a degree course in Graphic Design can open up a wealth of opportunities across a huge variety of industries. Working in the Central Marketing Unit at Kings, our graphic designer Emma Charleston’s work includes the design of websites, prospectuses, and college signage, yet her skills would be equally as relevant and sought-after by tech or travel companies, banks, or healthcare providers. Alongside her work at Kings, Emma is also an illustrator who creates and sells her own screenprints, lino cuts and letterpress pieces, as well as producing commissioned illustrations for a wide range of clients.
Working in other artistic capacities
Whilst many graduates choose jobs which allow them to use their art and design skills in a practical sense every day, there are others whose career enables them to work in the world of art and design, but without actively working as an artist or designer. Teaching art, working as a gallery curator, or even as an art therapist would all fall into this category.
Valuable transferrable skills
Completing an Art and Design degree is widely credited with nurturing all-round problem solving skills, visual analysis, the ability to find creative solutions and make critical judgements, and the capacity to work outside your comfort zone — all of which equip art and design graduates with transferrable skills which are welcomed in a whole range of sectors.
In debates over the value of studying the arts, Steve Jobs is often cited as explaining that the secret to Apple’s success was that he hired artists/creatives with a passion for technology, rather than simply experts in technology:
"It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough — it's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing, and nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices."
It is worth noting that Apple's Chief Design Officer, Jonathan Ive, was born and studied in the UK.
Flexible working and freelancing
Certainly, one huge benefit of working in the field of art and design is that very often jobs within it lend themselves to freelance work as well as contracted employment. This can offer much more freedom and flexibility than other disciplines, and also enables people to take their skills all over the world if they wish.
The illustration above shows some of the many interesting, skilled and sought after jobs which Art and Design students can consider in the world of today — and who knows what opportunities lie ahead in the future!
Open Day at Kings Brighton on 3rd November, 10.00 – 12.00
15th October 2018
Calling on all interested in discussing GCSE, A-level and Art & Design Foundation programmes we offer at Kings Brighton, whilst taking a tour of our college.
We are holding an Open Day on Saturday 3rd November from 10.00am till 12.00pm. It will be the perfect opportunity to meet our academic team, visit the school and ask any question you might have about the programmes and how we can help students with their future study plans.
Please note we have start dates in January and we still have spaces available on some of our courses if you want to start with us early in the new year.
27-33 Ditchling Road
Brighton BN1 4SB
Reaching higher through A-levels at Kings
21st August 2018
Joe, from Brighton, joined Kings Brighton in September 2017 to complete his second year of sixth form, and is now progressing to university in Liverpool. We spoke to him and his mother Colette, on the day he received his A-level results.
Hi Joe, how has your summer been?
Joe: My summer has been good! I have been dreading this day, but I am very happy.
Are you pleased with your progress and results?
Joe: From where I started and the level I came in at when I came to Kings last September, honestly, university didn't feel like it could ever be a real option for me.
It was a far-off dream. It is hard to put into words, it is amazing to think how far I have come, as a journey. The help I have been given, the guidance and support from my family and from the team at Kings as well. Just getting me to this point is unbelievable, I am over the moon.
Colette: And in such a short space of time, because it is not even a full 12 months. When we discovered the Kings opportunity and met with Nigel Addison, the Principal, who was amazing and really flexible, it totally felt right. And he said to us, "We will work with Joe to find the right pathway for him, and we will customise his education for him," and I thought, this is just gold. What Joe has had from the tutors, as he has said, as well as the academic support and emotional support has been great.
Joe: I don't think I could have gone anywhere else. If I had stayed in my other school, I wouldn't be in the position I am today. It is because of Kings that I am going to university.
Colette: When [Academic Administrator] Agnes just said, "Good luck at university," I thought, YES, he is going to university!
Joe: It is unreal.
Was it a turnaround from where you were?
Joe: The level I was at, it wasn't bad, but I wasn't in the right head space, I wasn't in the right environment.
Colette: The environment here has been amazing, and the relationships he has made. I think has been a great bridge for university because he has come out of the school environment into a college and made a great bunch of international friends.
Joe: Friends for life.
Has it changed your idea of school? Did you enjoy school before you came to Kings?
Joe: Oh yes I enjoyed it (probably too much!) but the balance wasn't right in terms of, I was enjoying myself a lot more than I was actually learning!
But in Kings I had the balance. Yes you can enjoy yourself and you make new friends and there are so many activities you can join in etc. But then the focus for me, supported by my tutors, was learning. Honestly, the levels of teaching, the dedicated support you get is just on another level to something you would get anywhere else. I felt that everyone genuinely wanted me to succeed!
How are you feeling now?
Colette: I am thrilled. Thrilled and proud and grateful and thankful, everything. Sure, Joe has to do his part because no one can do it other than him, but the infrastructure, the teaching support that he has had has been inspirational. They should all feel really proud.
Joe: I completely agree, mum.
Are you looking forward to university?
Joe: I am, it can't come soon enough. I am a bit scared, a bit sad leaving home, but Kings has been a little step, a building block towards that. Learning to be independent, which is good.
So, you have a lot more confidence in your ability to do well now?
Joe: Exactly. Maths was one of those things that I was OK at but never really interested in, and when I was doing it with Mr Benier I found that I was more capable than I thought, and I was understanding things a lot more.
There are so many different ways of learning and finding another way that you learn best — whether it is verbal, written, seeing or hearing — and I learned this when I took a test to find out how I study best. The results of that test were incorporated into my lessons.
Colette: That kind of custom learning, he wouldn't have got that if he had stayed where he was. Everyone does learn differently and aside from that you have to be able to engage with your teachers and tutors, enjoy their company, and you don't want to let them down, which is a big thing for Joe.
I think that Kings were able to do that and custom design how they were going to get the best out of this Joe; we know that capability is in there, we just need to find it and pull it out!
Joe: 100 per cent. That is exactly what it is, they get the best out of you. When you are loving learning, when you are having fun, when you are doing this because you like it rather than because you have to, they do get that belief out of you.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Joe: A big shout out to [fellow Kings students] Mark and Diego. Just a massive thank you to everyone. It sounds like an Oscar award, but just to everyone behind the scenes helping me, my family, teachers Mr Benier and Miss King.
Colette: They really helped Joe. Aside from the academic side and the learning, I think they really helped Joe to have more belief in himself.
I would like to say good luck to anyone else who comes here and is afforded the same experience and opportunity. It is the best thing that could have ever happened to us.
Joe: I came in with the mindset that I would not know anyone, this was just going to be the place for studying, a second chance and to hopefully get me to where I need to be.
But I have met so many amazing people. I wasn't surprised at how well I liked it because I knew from the moment we went to visit, just by the look of the school and meeting the staff, it was going to be good, and also that the quality was high. I was just surprised at how much I loved it.
Update on A-level results at Kings
17th August 2018
We are delighted to announce the following pass-rate statistics for Kings students’ A-level results 2018:
A*- A 42%
A* - B 65%
A* - C 80%
Congratulations to all of our students for the amazing progress made and excellent final examination results they have achieved, and the very best of luck for the next stage of your educational journey!
26 of the Times and Sunday Times Top 30 universities will be welcoming Kings students this year, including Oxford University, Imperial College London, Durham, Lancaster, UCL, Loughborough, Warwick, Leeds, LSE, Bath, East Anglia, Exeter and Birmingham.
How to deal with Results Day
15th August 2018
A-level results are out tomorrow, students up and down the country are nervously anticipating their results. It can be an anxious time but there are lots of ways to ease the stress and take it all in your stride.
What happens once you have your results
When you get your A-level results, there are three possibilities:
- 1. You've achieved the grades you need for your firm choice university. This means they will accept you and change your offer to Unconditional. Time to celebrate!
- 2. You've achieved the grades you need for your insurance choice university but not your firm choice. You'll be accepted by your insurance university. Congratulations — you're off to uni!
- 3. You don't achieve the grades you need for any of your university choices. Don't worry, there's no need to panic. You'll now go into Clearing.
So what's Clearing?
Clearing is the process by which any unfilled university places are published so you can find another university and degree course. Remember though that you might need to be flexible in your choice of course or university. Your school will help you weigh up your options so you make the best decision for you. They will do everything they can to make sure you get that university place. So it’s important that you contact them as soon as possible after you get your results.
What if I think I’ve got the wrong grades?
If you think you performed better than the grade you were given, it's possible to apply to have it remarked. Bear in mind that your grade could go down as well as up so think carefully before you request this. That's why it's important to discuss this first with your subject teachers.
If you haven't achieved the grades you need and can't get a university place through Clearing all is not lost. There are still plenty of other options.
You could retake your subjects or combine them with new ones, perhaps looking at different course options or colleges which are better suited to your skills, interests and ambitions. Whatever happens, remember this is not the end, just the next step on your journey.
Top 7 tips for sailing through Results Day
- 1. Get a good night's sleep. Lying awake the night before won't change your results!
- 2. Keep the day free and don't make plans until you know your results.
- 3. Make sure you phone and laptop are fully charged. You might need them.
- 4. If you need to contact your school, find a quiet place away from distractions.
- 5. Remember to have your UCAS ID number and login details with you on the day.
- 6. Seek advice if needed and consider all your options carefully.
- 7. Don't panic! Whatever happens there are always paths open to you.
Choosing your A-Level Subjects
27th July 2018
One of the most difficult decisions students have to make to achieve their place at a top university is which subjects they should study at A-level.
Every student is an individual. Whilst there is no single recipe for success it’s sensible to choose subjects that demonstrate your ability, develop both your subject knowledge and transferable skills and that keep your options open.
Kings personal tutors and UCAS advisors are highly experienced in developing tailored study plans that ensure a genuinely satisfying academic journey and successful outcomes. Whether you are taking A-levels for the first time, resitting subjects or revising your study plan, come and talk to us to see how we could help you achieve your ambitions.
Here are ten top tips for success:
1. Do your research: Research which course best matches your interests and the subjects the universities require. If, like many students, you are not certain of your plans for degree, think about which subjects you don’t wish to pursue and check which doors that would close.
2. Don't limit your options: The prestigious Russell Group of universities published a guide called Informed Choices which explains in detail what they are looking for. We suggest that students typically choose at least two "facilitating subjects", with the third choice being more flexible.
3. Breadth of subjects is good: Avoid significant overlap, for example Economics and Business Studies.
4. Follow your interests: Students tend to be better at the subjects they enjoy and this should lead to a more fulfilling future career, but remember that two years is a long time and you might change your mind.
5. Play to your strengths: If you enjoy essay writing and research, then essay-based subjects demonstrate your communication and analytical skills and critical thinking. Science subjects demonstrate logical thinking and reasoning as well as building familiarity with scientific principles.
6. Consider studying a new subject: A-levels open up new subject possibilities, you may find a new area of study you find intellectually stimulating and enjoyable.
7. Know what the A-level course entails: Find out what exactly you will be studying over the next two years and how the course is structured. Kings London will provide advice and guidance but we are also flexible, it’s possible to change your mind if you start a subject and find it really isn’t the right fit for you.
8. Maths can be a winning choice: Universities value Maths and it is a pre-requisite subject for many degrees. Mathematical and statistical problem solving, data analysis and interpretation skills are used in a broad range of subject areas. If you have the potential to achieve good grades it is well-worth considering.
9. A-levels are more difficult than GCSEs: This may seem obvious but be prepared for a big jump in the focus, level of difficulty and possibly the effort required for each subject.
10. Get advice from the experts: Every potential A-level student should receive tailored advice from their current school, but we are always happy to discuss your subject choices. Our team are experts at helping students achieve their full potential and win their place at a leading university. Our students’ results and destinations illustrate their success.
Kings Brighton rated Good by Ofsted
2nd August 2018
Kings Brighton was inspected by Ofsted, the UK Government Office for Standards in Education, on 27–29 June 2018, and received Good ratings across the board.
The inspection report highlighted strengths in areas including teaching, careers advice and student welfare and growth.
"Teaching and learning are effective in enabling students to make good progress in their academic and personal development. Teachers demonstrate very good subject knowledge and enthusiasm for their teaching.
The provision for students' careers advice is a particular strength, and the vast majority of students move to meaningful destinations in further and higher education. Regular tutorials and personalised interviews actively support their aspirations and career choices.
The college's curriculum is broad and balanced. It provides students with opportunities to develop their skills through both academic study as well as a rich diet of other experiences that develop their confidence and self-discipline well. The college emphasises fundamental British values, including the rule of law, respect for others and tolerance."
The following ratings were given:
Overall effectiveness: Good - 2
Effectiveness of leadership and management: Good - 2
Quality of teaching, learning and assessment: Good - 2
Personal development, behaviour and welfare: Good - 2
Outcomes for pupils: Good - 2
Boarding school welfare report
Kings Brighton's boarding provision for students aged under 18, in homestay and on-site residential accommodation, was also inspected by Ofsted on 14–16 March 2018, receiving the following ratings:
Overall experiences and progress of children and young people: Good - 2
Taking into account:
How well children and young people are helped and protected: Good - 2
The effectiveness of leaders and managers: Good - 2
The boarding school provides effective services that meet the requirements for good.
Successful university applications: more than just grades
27th July 2018
Securing a university place is a landmark moment in any student’s life and one which therefore requires plenty of thought and preparation.
University provides an opportunity to explore a specific field in greater depth, often providing the platform from which students launch their professional careers and marks a new stage of personal development and independence.
Given the importance of this decision it is essential for students to ensure that they gain the right advice and guidance, not only about the most appropriate degree and university for them, but also about the application, offer and acceptance process.
The extreme competition for places at the top universities means that applicants need to do everything in their power to set themselves apart. Proven academic ability is one obvious criteria. Published minimum entry requirements (expressed in terms of grades for A-level or equivalent level qualifications) are just that: the minimum criteria. Getting these grades does not mean an automatic degree offer from that university.
For example, Imperial College London publish a minimum entry requirement for their BSc in Chemistry as AAA at A-level, however, based on 2017 data, 85% of offers were made to students with A*AA-A*A*A.
To have the best chance of success, the applicant needs to showcase more than just good grades.
Imperial College London also explain that applicants are selected based on academic achievement and performance in admissions tests and interview (where applicable). Departments look for students’ motivation and interest in the chosen subject, with evidence of full background research. They advise that admissions tutors “are also looking at applicants’ potential to benefit from – and contribute to – College life”. This is not unique to Imperial, UCL and other leading selective universities express similar criteria.
The Russell Group university, the University of Leeds, refers to using a ‘basket of measures in decision making’ when it comes to making offers. So, what does this mean? What additional factors could help students win their ideal place?
Additional assessments, tests and exams
For certain subjects, such as Medicine and Law, students may be required to do additional tests, which are designed to assess their aptitude for the skills required to study these subjects. The UKCAT (UK Clinical Aptitude Test) is open to students considering studying medical and dental degree programmes, the BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test) is another test for potential students of medicine, dentistry and also veterinary sciences. The LNAT is for students considering a degree in Law.
For those students considering applying to Oxbridge, there is also the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA), a generic admissions test which is designed to test problem solving and critical thinking skills.
For all of the above, an interview is often required in the latter stages of an application.
An engaging personal statement
A personal statement is a short essay in which students explain why they’re the perfect candidate for the undergraduate degree course they are applying to. Students only write one personal statement, which is seen by all the universities they apply to.
The statement offers them a chance to distinguish themselves from other candidates, showcase their strengths (beyond the academic), as well as their interest in and knowledge of the area of study for which they are applying: students should think about the stories and practical examples they can use to evidence this.
A stand-out interview
If a student is invited to an interview by their prospective university, this is the final chance for them to demonstrate why they would make an excellent candidate for their chosen course — and, what they could bring to the university.
Interviews can range from an oral 'exam', a panel interview or multiple mini interview (MMI), to an informal chat, designed to encourage the applicant to choose that course. The format is also likely to vary according to the course – for example, whilst a Maths candidate may be asked to solve an equation, a student applying for an English Literature course may be asked to comment on a recent book they have read.
Interviews can also vary in length - lasting anything from ten minutes to an hour. Some universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge may require more than one interview and for students to be at the university for at least a day.
Above all, tutors want to see that students genuinely enthusiastic about their subject. They may also ask them to expand on any claims they made in their personal statement which demonstrate their particular interest in the subject so it’s wise for students to re-familiarise themselves with their statement before attending the interview.
Mock interviews are a great way to prepare, and are a regular part of the programme at Kings. Remember: asking good questions will impress interviewers just as much as good answers!
Relevant work or professional experience
Particularly for vocational degree programmes such as Medicine, gaining some relevant work experience during their pre-university studies can help students win a place at their preferred university. Work experience will demonstrate to admissions tutors not only a genuine interest in the subject, but also that the applicant is informed about, and committed to, the rigors of their intended course.
As former student Jeremy, who is now studying Medicine at Queen's University Belfast commented:
"After doing my AS level at Kings, I spent 2 months in a hospital doing some volunteering. During those 2 months I was able to shadow doctors, nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists and I knew from that experience that Medicine was the right choice for me."
Other extra-curricular activities
It is important for students to demonstrate that they understand and possess the skills and attributes relevant to their chosen field of study and how they will contribute to their chosen universities' academic community.
There are many extracurricular activities which further specialist knowledge and interest in an intended field of study, but equally there are others, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, which are designed to enhance students’ wider abilities — both academically and on a personal and social level.
Those students who actively pursue extracurricular activities and projects are often viewed as very motivated and keen to take on new challenges and experiences — both of which are attributes which tend to be looked upon favourably.
References are as important as any other documents in a university application, particularly as universities are generally not able to interview every applicant, although they may be compulsory for some courses. References help them to gain an impression of who a student really is, which can be crucial when making a decision about whether to issue an offer. References are normally written by someone who knows the student at school or college, such as an A level tutor, who will – providing they have worked hard and maintained good attendance – be able to vouch for their suitability for their chosen course.
The ideal degree is within reach!
Students shouldn’t be daunted by the university application process to leading universities, but it is important to make sure that, not only do they have outstanding academic tuition, but also that they have advice, support and guidance from experts who understand the requirements are about more than just grades.
Developing the skillsets that will lead to future success
17th July 2018
In five years' time, it is said that more than one-third of the skills (35%) that are considered important in today's workforce will have changed.
According to the World Economic Forum, by 2020 the so-called 'Fourth Industrial Revolution' will have introduced, amongst other things, AI, autonomous transport, biotechnology and genomics.
These developments will have a huge impact on the way we live, and the way we work. Entirely new jobs will be created, whilst others which are commonplace now will disappear. As a result, workers' skillsets will also need to evolve.
A study conducted by the WEF found that these ten skills are likely to be most desired by employers in 2020:
1. Complex problem-solving
2. Critical thinking
4. People management
5. Coordinating with others
6. Emotional intelligence
7. Judgment and decision-making
8. Service orientation
9. Negotiation skills
10. Cognitive flexibility
Interestingly, although negotiation and flexibility are high on the list of skills for 2015, in 2020 they will begin to drop from the top 10 as machines begin to make our decisions for us. A survey done by the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software and Society shows people expect artificial intelligence machines to be part of a company's board of directors by 2026!
Universities in the UK work hard to prepare students for successful future careers, and at application stage generally look for students who show the most potential, and who possess skills like those referenced above — in other words, those who will be best prepared for university and life beyond.
At Kings, we aim to prepare our students as fully as possible, ensuring that they have the skills which will both make them attractive to their preferred universities, and in the future to potential employers. We do this not only through class-based learning, but also through an array of enrichment opportunities that help students broaden their knowledge and skillsets even further. A selection of these, and some of the skills that they nurture, are highlighted below.
There is a Student Council in place at each of our schools, which gives students the opportunity to relay student views to staff on a variety of topics. It also gives members the chance to organise in-college events, such as fundraising activities and end-of-year balls. This enrichment option gives students the opportunity to hone a number of the top ten skills listed above, for example coordinating with others, judgement and decision-making, service orientation and people management. As student Judy commented,
"I am part of the Student Council, actually I am the President of the Student Council. I really enjoy it because I want to improve my leadership skills."
Student Irina also pointed out the advantages of involvement with the Student Council:
"I've been in the Student Council since the beginning of the year — I'm Social Representative. We have a few members of it, a board, but we don't just do separate things — when we're organising events, like the Romeo and Juliet play or the May Ball, we do it with the EFL Student Council. It's very good for university applications, but it's not simply for merit or reward. You receive so much experience from it, when you're organising events, this teamwork really helps — it prepares you for university life."
Trinity Arts Award
The Trinity Arts Award is another feature of our enrichment programme, and is designed to help students to explore their creativity. As Kings Bournemouth's Trinity Arts coordinator Nicola Cranshaw states:
"Students are not only enabled to be creative and, in some cases, discover a side to themselves that they didn't realise was there, but they are also helped to gain some of the other important skills to prepare them for university and beyond. Leadership and teamwork skills are vital at degree level, in the work place and in life generally. Whilst managing creative projects, students apply critical thinking and analysis to a joint goal and achieve some great work together. All very impressive when applying to university and importantly, their confidence and personal growth as young adults."
Clubs and Societies
There are also a range of clubs and societies that form part of the enrichment programme. Again, many offer students the chance to develop and practise skills that now feature in the top ten. For example, Art Club is ideal when it comes to developing creativity. As John who is studying at Kings Brighton commented,
"Art club helps me academically and my personal interests as well. It is about life drawing so I like to draw and why not do some drawings beyond class… This is the first time I have done life drawing."
Debating Society is another popular enrichment option, which offers students the chance to learn and develop skills such as cognitive flexibility (being able to adapt how you communicate based on who you're talking to), and negotiating.
Some of our clubs involve team sports, such as basketball club and football club. These offer students a great way not only to keep fit, but also to thrive as part of a team, something which in itself requires a good level of emotional intelligence, and the ability to coordinate with others.
Other clubs involve learning new hobbies, such as photography and even chess — a great example of an activity that uses both problem-solving and decision-making skills.
Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme
A further enrichment scheme which develops all of the skills that feature in the top ten is the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. Comprising, at Bronze level, four sections (volunteering, physical, skills and expedition) it is completed over several months, and offers participants the chance to meet new people, learn new skills and enjoy physical activity. In 2007, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (the DofE), funded by The Pears Foundation, initiated in-depth research into the impact of the DofE on young people. One of several statistics established was that 93% felt they'd improved their teamwork skills (coordinating with others), 84% improved their decision-making skills and 76% stated that they were now better at sticking to tasks and seeing them through (complex problem solving).
Whilst the majority of students of A-level age choose to undertake the Bronze level award, two further awards — the Silver and Gold — are also offered to students between 14-24.
Volunteering and work experience
There are many opportunities to get involved with volunteering whilst studying at Kings, an out-of-classroom activity which can teach students a huge range of skills, as well as being hugely rewarding. Equally, unpaid work experience can be a fantastic way not only to get an idea of what a certain type of career would be like, but also to learn new skills in areas such as complex problem-solving, people management, coordinating with others, judgment and decision-making and service orientation. Students who are interested in applying for a medical degree, for example, have the option to undertake work experience placements in local hospitals, or with the British Red Cross whilst completing their studies at Kings.
Extended Project Qualification
A final enrichment opportunity available to A-level students, including those at Kings, is an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification). The qualification is taken by some students in England and Wales, and is equivalent to half an A-level. It can be particularly good for nurturing skills like critical thinking. All students may take an extended project as a free-standing qualification, and although the choice of topic is free, they must show that it is academically useful, either related to their current course of study, or their future career.
University success 2018
3rd July 2018
2018, our first year, is set to be one of fantastic success for students at Kings Brighton.
- 100% of our students have confirmed offers for their chosen degrees
- 88% of our students have offers to Russell Group, Medical School and Top 20 ranked universities
- 100% of our Art Foundation students have degree offers for their chosen specialist fields
Our students have offers from a wide range of leading universities including: Loughborough, UCL, Warwick, Leeds, Bath, UEA, Bristol, Nottingham, Surrey, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sussex, Kings College London, Royal Holloway, Kent, Coventry, Aston, University of the Arts London and Leeds College of Art.
Kings Brighton students are progressing to a diverse range of academic and professional fields including: Art and Design (from Fine Art to Illustration); Business (including Economics, Management and Marketing); English Literature and Creative Writing; Philosophy; Medicine, Biomedical Science, Dietetics and Nutrition.
Teaching art and finding inspiration in Brighton
13th June 2018
We spoke to artist and Kings Brighton Art teacher Kate Montgomery about the current exhibition of her paintings in London, her inspiration, career, and Brighton's reputation as a destination for artists.
Hi Kate. How long have you been working at Kings?
I've been working here since September.
What were you doing prior to starting here?
I was teaching at Northbrook College, Sussex. I used to teach on several degree courses, Fine Art, Textiles, Fashion, Media and Promotion BA — mainly cultural studies and studio practice, but my background is fine art.
As lead tutor for Fine Art painting and drawing on Foundation Art & Design at Central Saint Martins, I reviewed and assisted selection of work for BA application portfolios. I also worked on BA selection panels for Fine Art degree places at CSM.
Perhaps you could tell me a bit about your education in the field of art?
I did my BA in Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford University in the 1980s, and then I did an MA at the Royal College of Art in Fine Art, in a sort of sub section called Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts. The course doesn't exist anymore, but I did it because I have a big interest in pattern and culture, and that seemed to be the course that would enable me to look and explore and make patterns the most.
So have you travelled with this particular interest?
Yes, when I was at Oxford University I got a travel scholarship and went to Morocco. I visited lots of beautiful schools and gardens and houses, and I realised very obviously that there were very strong connections moving across particularly in the Middle Ages to Europe. That's what interests me a lot — how pattern and cultures move and influence each other. Probably the best place to look at this is the south of Spain, so places like Granada and Seville is where you see that crossing of Europe and the Middle East and Africa.
Does this specialism still very much influence your work now?
Yes, these days I like Victorian and Edwardian pattern and design, I'm interested in social and political movements in art and design, and now I'm fascinated by the British Arts and Crafts movement and their links to social and political reform, for example, their links to the suffragette movement and the fact that they were using design and pattern and painting. It was intermeshed in their lives, and I think that's very positive. I'm not sure how effective it is, but it's very positive, I feel.
You have an exhibition happening currently, in London. Can you tell us about that?
Yes! It's called 'Dreamed House' and I make small paintings about interior spaces usually. My work has a lot to do with how I'm interested in the domestic, and artists who deal with domestic spaces. That probably goes back to the Arts and Crafts movement, again, but also to French painters like Vuillard and Bonnard and I'm interested in small paintings. I'm not making paintings for office spaces, or atriums, they are small domestic scaled paintings. That's quite an unfashionable thing to do! We have just come through about 20 years of it being very important to make big art for big spaces, big public spaces, but my work is intricate and intense.
Are you from Brighton originally?
I'm originally from Oxford. A lot of countryside around Oxford is in my work, because it's the landscape of my childhood and some of the houses that I lived in both as a student and a child are also in some of the paintings. I also lived in London for a long time, and have been in Brighton for about 20 years.
For those students thinking about studying the Art Foundation in Brighton, what would you say about the city of Brighton and its excellence/ suitability as a place to do that?
I think Brighton has a very open and tolerant and liberal culture, which means — in terms of the visual arts — that you can walk around the streets and see street art jostling with quite fascinating and interesting design work... particularly fashion. That comes from the University of Brighton and from Northbrook as well. There's a lot going on in Brighton, but it's very near London so if you want more you can 'get' more, if you need!
Brighton has a really strong local connection to a lot of artists, all round this area. It's always been an area for artists to come and live — over at Ditchling and the countryside towards Eastbourne... there have always been quite significant people round here, like Eric Gill and Ravilious, it's an interesting place and now we have people like David Shrigley living here. People escaping from London I think! They escape from London as it's a bit cheaper here, and a bit more relaxed.
It's very nice to be a student here as there's a lot going on, and you can walk down the street and there'll be someone wearing really interesting, inspiring fashion, sometimes that they've made themselves, and you're possibly not as likely to see that in London — at least not in such a concentrated area.
The architecture in Brighton is also fantastic. It's very beautiful domestic architecture and there are very good examples of almost every type of vernacular in Brighton.
Have you ever exhibited as part of the Brighton Artists Open Houses festival?
Yes, I used to exhibit with an old colleague of mine called Gary Goodman, and we used to exhibit in my house — for 5 years I did it, and it's extremely hard work! I don't do it anymore but I enjoy going round other people's houses... for the art and looking at the houses too! If you're interested in the domestic space, it’s great.
What is it that you enjoy most about it?
Well, art and design is global, and increasingly so with the growth of technology, and it's really interesting to talk with students about their perceptions on issues that I take for granted, and for us to exchange our understanding of art and design. I think particularly with disciplines like fashion and product design, there are no borders or boundaries anymore and it's really important that we all look, and talk, and think together.
GCSE and A-level exams: dealing with rising stress levels
14th May 2018
Exam time is approaching and this can be a nervous time for students. In 2016–17, children's charity Childline reported an 11% rise in exam stress counselling sessions in two years. Spring was the peak period and the biggest rise was reportedly from 16–18 year olds, increasing by 21% from the previous year.*
So how can students reduce their anxiety and maximise their results?
We asked this question to Kings Brighton Principal, Nigel Addison. He agreed that this can be a difficult period for students but advised, "The best solution is to be proactive, prepare and turn negative energy into positive activity".
Students may of course have the best of intentions, but it can be difficult to get started and to take a systematic approach to revision and exam preparation. Kings Brighton have developed carefully structured Easter Revision programmes to help address these issues.
Mr Addison explains. "Our courses are carefully designed to provide revision of the core syllabus to develop understanding of individual topics and give the overview required for reformed GCSEs and A-levels. We use past papers and sample questions to help students develop exam strategies to approach each paper."
An intensive revision course will help students with their subject knowledge — but what happens after the course? Mr Addison adds, "We also explore a range of revision techniques and strategies and provide students with advice to enable them to build their own revision plans. This gives structure, helps build confidence and reduces stress".
As any successful sports star will tell you, there is no substitute for training and preparation. Here are 10 winning revision tips from Kings:
- Draw up a revision timetable.
Plan short spells of study with regular breaks to help maintain concentration.
- Use different strategies.
Use a range of approaches to stimulate different areas of the brain, building connections and varied interactions with the content. Strategies could include: summary notes, flash cards, creating presentations, question writing, using colour to highlight or group ideas, recording oral notes.
- Don't just revisit your favourite topics.
The reformed GCSE and A-level formats require a comprehensive understanding of the whole syllabus. Consider starting with the area you find most difficult to build confidence and a sense of achievement.
- Use past papers and questions.
Develop subject knowledge and exam skills. Build your understanding of what the examiner is looking for, familiarise yourself with the question formats and develop your strategies to answer them.
- Use family and friends.
Practice sample questions with friends and compare notes on your answers. Give family or friends your revision notes and ask them to test you.
- Start in the morning.
Don't procrastinate, start early, work to your plan and then enjoy the rest of the day.
- Find a quiet place.
It will help maintain concentration and avoid distractions. If you work to music, keep the volume down, instrumental is better.
- Reward yourself.
Plan activities and treats to look forward to when you finish stages of your revision plan.
- Keep fit and healthy.
Physical activity increases heart rate, gets more oxygen to the brain, increases productivity and reduces fatigue and stress. Eat healthily and stay hydrated.
- Keep positive.
You can do this. Feeling prepared reduces stress. Put the work in and enter those exams, a little nervous of course, but confident that you are ready to give your best.
A structured Easter Revision programme maybe just the ideal catalyst you need to get you on the right path to a successful future. Following the tips above will certainly help. Get active, be positive and be prepared!
* Data sourced from www.nspcc.org.uk