Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bede 6th Form College

Tonight I had an opportunity to tour the new college, just over a month since it opened. It was fascinating to see what has been created - a stunning new building with a great deal of thought given to maintaining what was good about the old one (a feeling of being full of busy students, a sense of a small college where people know each other) while introducing state of the art facilities and exciting interesting teaching spaces. There are lots of features which will help to keep the energy used in the building down to a minimum - solar panels to pre-warm water before it's heated, natural ventilation in all the classrooms, motion sensor light switches in classrooms, automatic shut-down of computers when the building closes for the night, clever use of the thermal properties of the building materials to help maintain a pleasant working temperature and so on.
It was good to hear that they now have concerns that the A level chemistry course might be over-subscribed next year, that physics is still popular along with geography and biology. The newer courses in media related studies, film, photography, music technology and so on certainly have some wonderful equipment and all the staff we met are wonderfully enthusiastic.
Stockton Council's head of regeneration was certainly impressed with the possibilities there and had only one regret - that it isn't right in the town centre, helping to build up the footfall there!
I could only marvel at the contrast between the new building and the old Stephenson Hall which previously occupied the site and in which I started my teaching career all those years ago.

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