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course brochure

The Renaissance group is a collaboration between North Hertfordshire College, The Thomas Alleyne School, The Da Vinci Studio School of Science and Engineering, and The Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise. By combining the expertise of these four established institutions, we are able to provide an opportunity for young people to develop the skills, attributes and experience necessary for success in their future careers. Uniting our resources means that we will offer a more varied curriculum which gives our students access to a wide range of specialist facilities and learning environments. We want to encourage our students to set goals, challenge views, debate and innovate. We will make sure that our students are as prepared as possible for the future, whether it be to attend university, secure an Apprenticeship position, or start their own business.



The institutions and leadership
North Hertfordshire College
01462 424242 At North Hertfordshire College, we are changing the way that students are taught and education is delivered in order to prepare young people fully for today’s employment market. As a founder member of the Gazelle Colleges Group, our students ‘learn by doing’ and gain not only technical and industry specific skills, but general business and enterprise knowledge as well. We believe that this extensive set of skills and experience will make our students sought after by potential employers and also prepare them to create their own employment. This year we have built on our existing commercial services and launched a number of learning companies where students will work on live projects and gain industry experience relevant to their course of study. The college annually celebrates exceptionally high A Level results; having achieved an overall pass rate of 99% in 2012.

Signe Sutherland
Principal Signe Sutherland has worked in both the private and public sector, starting her first retail business in Spain at the age of 20. Signe was promoted to the position of Principal in September 2012 following her highly successful period as Deputy Principal. In this role, Signe began to develop a new curriculum paradigm with entrepreneurship at its strategic core and under her leadership the college has achieved national recognition for technology and innovation.

North Hertfordshire College offers a wide range of Level 1, 2 and 3 courses outside of the Renaissance group offer. Subjects include: Animal Care • Art, Design and Media • Beauty and Holistic Therapy • Business and Enterprise • Catering and Hospitality • Childhood Studies • Computing and IT • Construction • Criminology • Dance • Fashion and Merchandising • Hairdressing • Health and Social Care • Motor Vehicle • Music • Performing Arts • Production Arts • Public Services • Sport For more information about these course options please visit



The Thomas Alleyne School
01438 344344 The Thomas Alleyne School is an increasingly popular mixed comprehensive secondary school which was established in 1558. Throughout their proud history, The Thomas Alleyne School has been committed to achieving excellence in all that the school does and prides itself on knowing students and their families extremely well. The school provides excellent standards of care, guidance and support for all members of the community.

Mark Lewis
Head Teacher Mark Lewis has been Head Teacher of The Thomas Alleyne School since April 2012. Before his appointment, Mark was the Deputy Head Teacher of a school in Norfolk and successfully transformed the leadership of teaching and learning across the school. Mark grew up and was educated in North Hertfordshire, and is passionately committed to the young people in our community. Mark achieved an honours degree in Modern History at Oxford University on his way to becoming a teacher. He went on to train as a teacher at Cambridge University and is now one of the youngest secondary head teachers in the country.



The Da Vinci Studio Schools
01462 424242 Studio Schools allow students to learn through an enquiry-based curriculum with a greater emphasis on workplace learning and a cross curricular approach to ensure transferability of content and skills. The Da Vinci Studio Schools are able to utilise the human and capital resources of some major local employers, and students have access to some of the most progressive equipment and are able to see first-hand genuine application of the subjects they study within real workplace contexts. A key component of the Studio School provision is to allow all students the opportunity to undertake genuine work within the specialist sector, which in most cases is remunerated. This takes place alongside the academic programme and an extensive enrichment provision which affords Studio School students a competitive advantage which lasts beyond course completion.

The Da Vinci School of Science and Engineering

The Da Vinci Studio School of Science and Engineering is an exciting offer for students who are passionate about ultimately pursuing careers in the science and engineering sectors. The provision within the Studio School is destination driven and has been closely developed with the needs of employers and Higher Educational institutions at the forefront.

The Da Vinci School of Creative Enterprise

The Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise is due to open its doors to the first cohort of students in September 2013. The school will provide students with the skills and expertise to access a range of pathways linked to the creative and production arts industry, and is already forging great relationships with employers within the local area.

Donna Lodge
Principal Donna took up her role as Principal of The Da Vinci Studio School of Science and Engineering in April 2012 and became Executive Principal, with additional responsibility for The Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise, in December 2012. Donna studied Economics at Warwick University and has a Masters in Philosophy from Sheffield University. Donna established her own children’s nursery and adventure play-centre in Sheffield during the 1990’s after undertaking accountancy training at KPMG. She subsequently joined the teaching profession, and with over 20 years of experience in a variety of schools and colleges, Donna brings a wealth of educational experience, as well as entrepreneurial ideas and business acumen to the post.



The curriculum
Students will usually choose a combination of four A Level subjects or one Extended Diploma subject. Students may study a combination of the following subjects:

Course entry requirements
The typical grades required to study A Levels or a Level 3 Extended Diploma course are five GCSEs, grades A* - C, including English and mathematics. Applicants will also be required to attend a guidance meeting prior to enrolment. Level 2 courses require reduced entry requirements. No matter what previous grades you have achieved we will have a course of study at a level to suit you.

A Levels

Further Mathematics • Media Studies • Physics • Product Design • Psychology • Sociology

• Anthropology • Biology • Business Studies • Chemistry • Citizenship Studies • Communication and Culture • Computer Science • Drama and Theatre • English Language and Literature • English Literature • Film Studies • French • Geography • History • Law • Mathematics and

Extended Diplomas

• Level 3 Art and Design
(Design Crafts) • Level 3 Engineering • Level 3 in Production and Performing Arts • Level 3 Science

Level 2 courses

• Level 2 Creative Apprenticeships • Level 2 Engineering • Level 2 Science




A Levels
Anthropology is the study of what it is to be human, our evolutionary history, how we behave and adapt to different environments, and how we socialise and communicate with one another. You will be introduced to approaches which anthropologists have taken to understanding the processes of globalisation and its local impact. Students will study and explore: • The migration patterns of ancestral humans • The dissemination of music and food, people and ideas from around the world • The impacts of economic integration

Biology (Salters)

This course studies biology in context, and allows the use of motivating, up-to-date, contemporary topics. These include: • Genes and Health - the heart, circulatory system and the importance of lifestyle choices to health, carbohydrates and lipids, transport of materials, DNA, protein synthesis, enzymes, gene therapy, monohybrid inheritance, and social and ethical issues. • Plants and the Environment - structure and ultrastructure, cell division, fertilisation, stem cells, gene expression, cell differentiation and tissue organisation, biodiversity and the natural resources used by humans, adaptation and natural selection, uses of plants, and the role of zoos in conservation.

Business Studies
• • • •

This course introduces the challenges and issues of starting a business as well as those faced by existing businesses, including: Financial planning Tactical decisions at a functional level External factors affecting business Planning and managing change

Chemistry (Salters)

This exciting course includes topics which unfold as a series of ‘chemical storylines’. We look at how we came to be made up of elements - from the start of the universe in the Big Bang, to how chemists use their knowledge to develop the chemicals we use and need whilst understanding our environment and making the most of our resources. The storylines include: • The elements of life • Developing fuels • Elements from the sea • The atmosphere • The polymer revolution In year two you will study: what’s in a medicine?, the materials revolution, the thread of life, the steel story, agriculture and industry, colour by design, the oceans and medicines by design.



Citizenship Studies

This course takes students through the whole spectrum of citizenship, from learning about your rights and responsibilities as a citizen and how the country is governed through to taking action to bring about change. Students will study: • Identity, rights and responsibilities • Democracy, active citizenship and participation • Power and justice • Global issues and making a difference

Communication and Culture

Communication and culture is a subject in which you take your experiences and match them to theories. You will work within teams to arrive at conclusions that are always informed through theory. Students will: • Explore popular culture versus high culture • Investigate practices, values and products of your own culture • Consider factors that influence identity

Computer Science

The course has an emphasis on computational thinking, involving abstract thinking, general problem-solving, algorithmic and mathematical reasoning and scientific and engineering-based thinking. Students will study: • Programming through a problem-solving scenario • Hardware and software aspects of computing • Social and economic consequences • Communication and networking

Drama and Theatre

This course involves a mixture of both practical and theoretical work. Students are assessed through written coursework, performance work and written exam. Students will undertake: • Practical warm up activities • Acting and rehearsal exercises, and performances • Research and note taking • Discussions and presentations • Directing and elements of theatre design

English Language and Literature

This course allows you to study language and literature as interconnecting subjects in order to deepen your understanding and enjoyment of these areas. Students will: • Develop as independent, confident and reflective readers • Practise skills in speaking and writing for different purposes and audiences • Study a wide range of literary and non-literary texts

'The mix of practical and theory work makes every Drama and Theatre lesson different, interesting, and fun.'




English Literature

This course is designed to allow students to think critically and independently about a range of iconic texts as well as the opportunity to create some original, transformational writing. Students will: • Analyse narrative in prose and poetry • Explore ideas of genre • Explore connections across texts • Read a variety of influential works of literature

Film Studies

This course studies cinema as a medium, an art form, and a social and economic institution. Students will engage with a wide variety of films from different decades, nationalities and genres including: • • • • • South American realism French surrealism Hollywood coming of age Spanish horror British drama

This course enables students to build on their GCSE studies and begin widening their language skills. Students will study: • French culture and popular topics • Language skills and critical thinking • Topics that feature in national and international debate


This course enables students to learn about the past and discover issues and events that have influenced the society we live in today. Students will study: • Russian history under the last three Tsars (1855 – 1917) • Post-war British society (1959 – 1975) • The USSR from the Cold War to the fall of Communism (1941 – 1991) • A 4000 word individual investigation project

This course provides students with an understanding of our planet and addresses key ideas and debates in our world today; a variety of field trips will also be undertaken. Students will study: • Natural global hazards, climate change and global warming • Population change and migration issues • Coastal environments, erosion and management • Tectonic activity and hazards

'The best part about Geography is that you're learning about current events, and looking at how they can impact the future of the world we live in.'


This course enables students to understand the role law plays in society by maintaining social order and social control. Students will study: • Ground breaking decisions of the Supreme Court • Injustices of the law in relation to judicial review applications • Miscarriages of justice cases • Serial killers and the judicial process leading to their convictions




Mathematics is the study of patterns abstracted from the world around us. It is clearly a very relevant subject with thousands of applications in almost all aspects of life. It is an intellectually challenging course where you will develop your deductive reasoning and logical problem-solving skills. Students must have performed well at GCSE level before studying at A Level. In year one, topics include: • Core mathematics including algebra, co-ordinate geometry, differentiation and integration, algebra and functions, sequences and series, trigonometry, exponentials, logarithms, further differentiation and integration. • Statistics including numerical measures, binomial and normal distribution, estimation, correlation and regression. In year two, further core principles are studied with another applied unit.

products that would be marketable worldwide. The Design Centre facilities located at the Stevenage Skills Centre site are fully equipped to support a wide range of design activities. In year one you will complete: • An advanced innovative challenge - design and model an innovative response to a design situation. • Product study - a coursework project begins with the analysis of an existing product and then you develop the design by creating a better solution.


Psychology is the study of knowing what makes us ‘tick’. Students will gain a valuable insight into what makes us human. Students will study: • Human memory • Stress, mental illness and social influence • Relationships, aggression and eating behaviour • The psychopathology of schizophrenia

Further Mathematics

This is only available to students with very high ability in mathematics. It develops a deeper understanding of mathematical principles. It includes: • Further pure mathematics including roots of polynomials, complex numbers, proof by induction, differential equations, matrix algebra. • Different options in the applied areas, which may include further statistics, further mechanics or decision mathematics. Examinations are equally weighted.


This course involves the study of society, people and their behaviour. Students will learn to discuss social issues in a more informed and systematic way. Topics studied include: • Gender • Marriage and divorce • Race and ethnicity • Social inequality

Media Studies

This course will enable students to gain a comprehensive understanding of media theory and practice. You will look at how new technologies are being used alongside existing ones to entertain, inform and educate the public. Students will study: • How magazines are put together • How a television programme is made • How film companies get audiences to come along to their latest releases • The creation of your own media text • The making of a short film, the front cover of a magazine, a piece of photojournalism, a website, or something else of your choice


The A Level Physics course will develop your understanding of the physical concepts which apply to everything from subatomic particles to the largest galaxies and will demonstrate their relevance in an increasingly technological society. Experimental and investigative activities are carried out in order to develop practical skills. These activities allow the use of knowledge and understanding in planning, carrying out, analysing and evaluation.

Product Design

Product Design gives you an opportunity to spend time creating interesting and original designs and making prototypes. The subject covers the skills needed in the real world of design, supporting the quest for innovative

'If you can speak French as well as English you can communicate in 78 different countries around the world!'




Extended Diplomas
Level 3 Extended Diploma courses are equivalent to studying three A Levels; achieving three distinctions on completion of a Level 3 Extended Diploma course is equivalent to achieving three A* grades at A Level.

Level 3 Art and Design (Design Crafts)

This pathway is designed to teach students all about working within the backstage art and crafts side of the creative industries. Students will develop practical skills such as drawing and painting and will learn how to design and make objects. Students will be introduced to the main aspects of 2D and 3D art which includes the use of design technology. Students will complete five core units: • Visual recording • Materials, techniques and processes • Ideas and concepts • Communication • Contextual influence

Level 3 Creative Media (Print Based Media)

This pathway will provide students with the opportunity to gain an understanding of employment opportunities, job requirements and working practices in the broadcast, digital and print-based creative media sectors. The course is practical and project-based, which will enable students to develop a broad range of technical skills and knowledge. Students will complete eight core units as follows: • Pre-production techniques • Communication skills • Research techniques • A creative media production management project • Working to a brief • Critical approaches to creative media products • Understanding the creative media sector • Producing print-based media

Level 3 Engineering

Engineers are fascinated by questions of how and why things work in the world around them and have a desire to design products and systems, to solve problems, and to benefit society. This course will prepare you for the exciting and diverse world of engineering. You will develop new knowledge and skills in areas such as: • • • • • • Engineering materials Manufacturing Electronics Computer Aided Design and drafting Design and project management Mechanical science

This course is delivered at the Stevenage Skills Centre where a fully equipped engineering facility containing a superb engineering workshop is available.



Level 3 Production and Performing Arts


This pathway is suitable for students with a keen interest in the backstage processes that underpin modern theatre and concert production as well as performing arts events and exhibitions. Working with local and national employers, you will develop skills in event production, including technical and design skills in stage, lighting and sound, as well as organisational and practical skills in the production and stage management business. Students will complete five core units which provide a basic introduction to design and technical production. These will include: • • • • • Production arts workshop Performing arts business The historical context of performance Production arts planning Production for theatre performance

Level 3 Science

This two year course will give students the knowledge and specific skills needed to meet the needs of modern science industries. There is a strong emphasis on how similar procedures are carried out in industry, but also on how to communicate science to others, both in formal reports and projects, and in attractive poster and visual displays. The course includes: • Fundamentals of science, using science in the workplace, scientific practical techniques, using mathematical tools in science, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, electrical circuits and their applications and biomedical science • Perceptions of science, working in the science industry, genetics and genetic engineering, chemical analysis, medical physics techniques, chemical laboratory techniques, astronomy, diseases and infections and a scientific project.

Level 2 courses
Level 2 Creative Apprenticeships
As an apprentice, students will be employed by a business or organisation for a minimum of 30 hours per week. They will earn a wage and will work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills. Off the job, usually on a day-release basis, apprentices receive training to work towards nationally recognised qualifications which, in this instance, will be delivered by The Da Vinci Studio School. Apprentices will need to complete a framework of qualifications which relates to the occupation they have selected. Currently, there are apprenticeship frameworks relating to the creative and cultural industries in: • • • • • • • • Community Arts Costume and Wardrobe Cultural and Heritage Venue Operations Design Live Events and Promotions Music Business Technical Theatre Jewellery

'We went to the National Museum of Science and Industry and saw the Hubble 3D film at the IMAX, the screen is as tall as three double decker buses.'



Level 2 Engineering

'Engineering and technology has come so far from the old style melting of steel through to high end CAD and CAM machines, 3D printing machinery, laser cutting, and plastic recycling and remoulding.'

This one year course includes the development of practical skills necessary to create and manufacture products. Apart from the theoretical topics listed below, there is also time given to learning how to safely operate workshop machines e.g. lathes and milling machine, as well as brazing, welding and forging. The Level 2 Diploma units include: • Mathematics for engineering technicians • Interpreting and using engineering information • Working safely and effectively in engineering • Engineering marking out • Fabrication techniques and sheet metal work • Selecting and using secondary machining techniques to remove material • Applied electrical and mechanical science for engineering • Electronic circuit construction • Electronic devices and communication applications Please remember that you will be expected to study GCSE Mathematics and English if you have not already achieved a grade C.

Level 2 Science

This one year course provides opportunities for you to develop knowledge and understanding in the sciences as well as technical skills to prepare you to meet the challenge of working in engineering. You will complete the Level 2 Diploma along with other qualifications designed to enhance your employability (for example, sustainability and science/design enterprise). GCSE Mathematics and English resits are also expected to be studied alongside to prepare you for study at the next level. Mandatory units include: • Chemistry and our earth • Energy and our universe • Biology and our environment Students can also study optional units, such as: • Applications of chemical substances • Applications of physical science • Health applications of life • Sciences, practical scientific project • Science and the world of work • Monitoring the environment • Growing plants for food • Science in medicine • Using mathematical tools in science • Designing and making useful devices in science • Biotechnological procedures and applications



The Da Vinci Studio School, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, SG6 3NX

North Hertfordshire College, Stevenage Centre, Monkswood Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 1LA

How to apply
Students currently studying in Year 11 are welcome to apply for courses at the Renaissance group as early as possible. Please complete a Renaissance group application form, available from reception at all of the Renaissance group locations, you can download from Please post your completed application form back to: Renaissance Applications Central Enquiries North Hertfordshire College FREEPOST (SG145) Hitchin SG4 0YJ Or hand the completed aplication form into The Thomas Alleyne School, North Hertfordshire College or The Da Vinci Studio Schools. For information on careers advice and guidance or help with applications please call 01462 424242 or email [email protected] The Thomas Alleyne School, High Street, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 3BE The Da Vinci Studio School, Stevenage Centre, Monkswood Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG1 1LA








The Thomas Alleyne School

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