We hope you enjoyed our Virtual Introduction Day. We’ve had some great feedback and also wanted to share with you some of the questions from our Q&A session.
Please note, some of the dates and timings may be affected by government guidance on Covid-19 at the start of term and we will keep you informed.
Q: Do we get lockers?
Yes. We have lockers available to students to rent for £15 a year (includes a £5 refundable deposit). Further details will be in your enrolment letter.
Q: What are the rules about lanyards?
All students must have their ID card on their person at all times while engaged in College activity and be able to produce their ID card if required to do so by a member of staff. All students will be provided with an ID Lanyard and can make use of it, if they so choose.
Q: Is there a cafe?
We have a newly refurbished and extended café and outdoor ‘snack shack’, run by independent caterers Caterlink, as well as two Costa Coffee concessions. Caterlink provide freshly hot cooked meals every lunchtime, salad bar and a wide selection of sandwiches, drinks and snacks.
Q: Does the café offer vegan and vegetarian food?
Our caterers Caterlink provide a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, available daily.
Q: If I don’t have any lessons, do I have to stay at College?
Students are expected to attend all timetabled sessions and activities. However allocated periods of private study can either be taken at home or in College. We have two Learning Resource Centres at College where you can work both individually or in groups.
Q: How many free periods will I have?
We like to call ‘free’ periods private study, as this is the time where you will be expected to complete the independent work that has been set by your teachers. The College day consists of six periods from 8:55am until 4:15pm. On average most students will typically have 14-15 timetabled activities a week, with the rest allocated to private study.
Q: What are Freshers’ and the Summer Festival?
At Esher we have a very active Student Union who, in previous years, have organised a Freshers’ party in the Autumn term for new students. With present public health restrictions in place, this event is unlikely to be held this year, but our Student Union are actively looking at alternative ways to help our students to get to know each other at the start of the year. They also organise the Summer Festival for the whole College, normally held in July. It is held on the College grounds with free funfair rides, food fairs and music.
Q: Do I need my own laptop?
The College has more than 1100+ desktops and laptops on campus which you can access with your Esher student login. The Learning Resource Centres have 150 PCs (in LRC1) and 37 PCs (in LRC2), as well as computers available in the Café and Study Centre for private study. All students will have access to high-speed WiFi throughout the College and your student login will give you access to Windows 10, Microsoft Office 365 and the full Adobe Creative cloud suite.
Q: Can I bring a laptop/iPad into class to make notes on it?
Yes, you are welcome to bring laptops into College to work and make notes. In fact, we encourage it if it helps progress your learning.
Q: What is the College’s policy on mobile phones?
Mobile phones must be placed on silent or turned off when you are in class. They must always be kept stored away (in pockets or bags) in lessons or in any working areas, unless otherwise instructed.
Q: Does the College have a dress code?
At Esher, there is no uniform and no strict rules on what you are allowed to wear. However, you will be joining an adult learning community, based on mutual respect and tolerance, and we expect students to dress appropriately for a learning environment.
Q: Do I need to buy my own books to write in?
We do not provide students with exercise books to write in. Most students will bring in their own supply of lined paper that they can file in their folders. The College has a well-stocked Stationery shop, situated in LRC1.
Q: Do classes have seating plans?
This will be at the discretion of your teacher/tutor.
Q: Can I ride my moped to College?
Yes, you can. We have a student car park on campus, but you must obtain a valid permit from the Security Officer.
Q: Can I drive to College?
Yes, you can. We have a student car park on campus, but you must obtain a valid permit from the Security Officer.
My courses and timetable
Q: When do I get my timetable?
After enrolment you will be invited, by email, to come and meet your tutor and tutor group as part of our induction programme starting on Wednesday 2 September.
Your timetable will be available on our database to download on the afternoon of Friday 4 September. We will email to let you know when it is ready to view.
Your first lesson, on Monday 7 September, will be with your tutor where you will be given a hard copy of your timetable and your Esher Planner.
Q: How long is each lesson?
Each lesson is 65 minutes long. You will receive four hours and 20 minutes of timetabled lessons for each curriculum subject per week and a further 65 minutes for PDP and your Complementary Study.
Q: I want to change one of my subjects, how do I do this?
The best time to make any changes to your Study Programme will be at Enrolment, 24-26 August, when subject teachers and tutors will be available to advise on any changes. However, if you are sure about your course change and don’t need to speak to one of our advisors, you can make changes by logging onto your online application account.
Q: I want to drop one of my subjects, how do I do this?
The best time to make any changes to your Study Programme will be at Enrolment, 24-26 August, when subject teachers and tutors will be available to advise on any changes. Once you have chosen your subjects, you will take them for both years.
Q: Is there a deadline for changing my course subjects?
Once lessons begin, we have a temporary suspension of all course changes in the first week (7-11 September) to let the timetable settle. After that, there is a five-week period from Monday 14 September, where students can make subject changes to their Study Programme on discussion with their tutor/teacher.
Q: How many students are there per class?
Class sizes vary between subjects, on average between 15 and 22 students per class.
Q: Can I change my mind about taking four courses?
Yes, you can. Students who opt to take four courses must have at least 7 GCSEs at grade 7 or above and averaging at least grade 7 across all GCSEs. Your tutor and subject teachers will constantly be reviewing your progress and can discuss any changes with you. However, once you have enrolled, we expect you to follow four courses over your two-year study programme. There is no requirement for any student to follow four courses.
Q: How can I contact a teacher about a specific course?
The best time to talk to a subject teacher about a specific course will be at Enrolment on 24-26 August.
Q: Can I resit my GCSEs at Esher?
You will need to retake most GCSE qualifications at your original centre, i.e. your secondary school, in the autumn term. However, English Language, Maths and Biology are available to be retaken at Esher as part of your College study programme.
Q: How do I join the Esher Extend programme for high achievers?
At the start of the year students who have achieved a high GCSE score will be invited to join the Esher Extend programme. As the year goes on, teachers can recommend students who are showing themselves to be outstanding, but who came in with GCSEs below the threshold.
Q: Do I get a new Esher account – as my online application account is under my parents’ email?
Yes, you will. Once you are enrolled to the College you will be given a new account to log in to the College systems. This account will include a College email address, access to free WiFi on campus, and access to Microsoft Office 365 on your home computer.
Q: What extension studies do you offer?
First Year (6.1 students) can choose from more than 40 complementary studies, including Scuba Diving, DofE and College Production. You will be able to choose six options by researching the Complementary Studies booklet that will be on the website shortly and then enter your shortlist online before enrolment.
Second Year (6.2 students) choose specific Progression Pathway to develop your skills further. These include the EPQ, Creative Arts Portfolio and Sports Leadership Award. You choose these at the end of your first year.
Q: If I don’t pick sport as an extension study – can I still play recreationally?
There are several recreational complementary studies, such as five-a-side football, circuits, racket sports, CrossFit, futsal, workout. If students don't wish to select one of these they can use the gym during opening hours (period 3 & 4 Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri). The facilities such as the Sports Hall are not typically available for unsupervised student use during the day, but the field space can be used if students have their own equipment.
Q: How does the EPQ work?
Extended Project Qualifications (EPQ) can be taken as part of your Progression Pathway extension studies in your second year. This gives you the opportunity to complete a research project on a topic of your choosing. Excellent preparation for Higher Education!
Q: How many Extension Studies can I do?
You will pick one Extension Study subject, the equivalent of one lesson per week. Some subjects do require more time per week such as scuba diving, sports teams and college production.
Q: What sport teams are there?
There are numerous opportunities for students to get involved through team sport in Football (women and men), Netball (women), Mixed Hockey, Basketball (men and women) and Rugby (women and men). Additionally, we enter some teams on an ad hoc basis into competitions as they arise throughout the year in sports such as swimming, golf, badminton, cricket and cross country.
Q: Do I need to be doing PE A Level/BTEC to be on the ROSE programme?
No. The Roll Of Sporting Excellence (ROSE) programme is open to all students who meet the elite performance criteria.
Q: Can I still play music at Esher, even if I’m not doing Music A Level/BTEC?
Yes. We offer several music options as part of your Extension Studies including College Band, Jazz Band, Choir or Music Theory. The Music Department also organise Open Mic sessions where students are encouraged to perform to their peers.
Q: How is the DofE GOLD programme run?
If you are interested in undertaking your Duke of Edinburgh Gold award, you will be invited to an information evening during 6.1 Enrolment. This information evening will provide you with all the relevant information on the expedition location we are able to offer and associated costs. Participants will meet with others for one timetabled session per week, where you will use this time to get to know your fellow DofE participants and work on what you want to do for each of the five sections (Physical, Skill, Volunteering, Residential and the Expedition). Your practice expedition and final expedition will be in your second year.
You do not need to have completed DofE Bronze or Silver to take part.
Q: Can I do 4 Courses and DofE?
Only students with a high level of GCSE passes (at least 7 GCSEs, grade 7 or higher) are offered a four-course programme. Adding Duke of Edinburgh GOLD to that would be challenging but doable if the student is highly organised.
Q: What sports teams can girls join?
We currently have two netball teams, a womens’ football team and a mixed hockey team. We are also in the process of establishing a womens’ rugby team after students expressed their interest and basketball provision for female students. Other complementary studies such as racket sports are available to all.
Q: Can I play table tennis at Esher?
There is a racket sports club, which first year students can take as their complementary study option incorporating table tennis, along with badminton and tennis.
Q: Is there a running club?
No, although we do enter some students for cross country competitions as they arise throughout the year. If there is an interest in different activities, we would endeavour to develop some provision.
Q: What study support is there to help students cope with the transition to A Levels?
Many students find it a big step up from GCSEs to A Level and BTEC study. To help you make the transition, we have a wide range of specialist help and support programmes to develop the study skills and mindset you need to succeed during your time here. In PDP you will be introduced to our Learning to Learn Programme and each course will follow this up with a subject-specific induction to help you adjust to a new level of study. We also have half-termly study skills courses delivered by our Learning Mentors, specific subject clinics and a team of specialists in our Study Centre to help you with everything from note-taking and essay writing to exam and revision techniques.
Q: Do you offer support for families with low incomes?
We offer a bursary and free meals support if your circumstances meet the published criteria. For more information visit the Finance section on our website.
Q: What resources are there for LGBTQ+ students?
We are an inclusive sixth form college and actively encourage applications from students from diverse and varied backgrounds. We have societies that students can join, including our Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) lunchtime meetings, which organises speakers and events.
Q: What is the College doing about BLM?
We are proud of the way that so many of our students have engaged with the Black Lives Matter movement and we are working with the whole College community to support the campaign. To date, this includes meeting with the Equality and Diversity committee to set up an Anti-Racism Group, introducing BLM and the issues surrounding racism in tutor group discussions as well as meeting with our student representatives and Student Union to bring about change. There is much to consider, but listening to our students is an important start.
Q: Do you have counsellors available?
Yes, we do. We have trained counsellors on site, who are available to give individual help to students with work-related or personal concerns. We also have our own Mental Health Week, just before the summer exams, to help students support each other, re-connect and build resilience.
Your Start At Esher
Q: When is my first day of College?
Your first official day of timetabled lessons will be on Monday 7 September. Before that, you will be invited into the College to meet with your tutor and tutor group as part of the Your Start At Esher induction programme beginning on Wednesday 2 September.
Q: Are students organised into houses?
No. Instead you will be part of a tutor group, where you will meet once a week to take part in timetabled sessions. These sessions form part of your Personal Development Programme, and will focus on a variety of key issues relevant to young adults, including charity fund-raising, environmental matters and current affairs. Your tutor group is also part of a broader tutor team, led by a Tutor Team Leader.
Q: When do I meet my tutor group?
6.1 students meet with their tutor group every Tuesday during period 4 (12:40-1:45pm).
6.2 students meet every Thursday during period 4 (12:40-1:45pm).
Q: How are tutor groups selected?
Your personal tutor will most likely be a teacher in one of your chosen subjects, while your tutor group will be a selection of students with similar subject interests.
Q: I’m the only one coming from my school to Esher, how do I meet new people?
Our students come from more than 100 different schools, so there will be many students in the same position who are excited about making new friends too. During Your Start At Esher induction, you will meet both your tutor and fellow tutees in a small group session, which will be followed once term commences, with a programme of Your Start At Esher events to help you meet new people. Aside from your course choices, you will also meet students with similar interests through your complementary subject choice.
Q: What happens on Enrolment Day?
We will be writing to all students in July and again in August about plans for enrolment. This year will be a little bit different, due to the COVID pandemic. This means we will be asking you to complete much of the enrolment process online, including your photo for your student ID, your complementary study choices, your IT induction and entry of your GCSE grades. We will then be inviting you into the College to discuss and confirm your individual study programme, between Monday 24 – Wednesday 26 September.
Q: What happens if I am on holiday for Enrolment Day?
Ideally, we would hope to see all students to ensure you are on the right study programme, but we understand that sometimes circumstances mean you can’t make it. We will consider alternative arrangements on an individual basis. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org once you receive your enrolment appointment and the admissions team will advise you.
Q: What happens if I don’t get the required subject grades at GCSE?
At Enrolment you will be offered personal advice and guidance on your study programme based on your GCSE grades, but it would be worth checking you have met both the overall and any subject-specific entry requirements.
Q: What should I bring on Enrolment Day?
Confirmation of your GCSE grades and a clear idea of the courses you would like to study.
Q: Should I still enrol at Esher if I’m not sure where I want to go?
We very much hope that you will want to study with us, but this decision is really down to you. We will have specialist teachers on hand to advise you on your study options and choices. Visiting the College again will help you make an informed decision about your next steps. You can find lots of information on the website to help you decide and we will be running a helpline on GCSE results day.
Q: If we do not start back at school in September due to COVID-19, how we will be taught?
As a College, we are planning for a number of scenarios, including a full re-opening. The last few months have shown us that anything can happen. If social distancing restrictions continue, or a local lockdown enforced, we have an excellent IT infrastructure that allows us to continue teaching a full timetable via Microsoft Teams.
Q: What online learning resources do you have?
We are very lucky to have one of the best educational libraries in the area. Our Learning Resource Centres (LRCs) house an extensive library of more than 25,000 books, newspapers and periodicals. We have more than 30 online e-resources including Britannica, ActiveLearn, Bloomsbury Collections and History Study Centre as well as a vast range of e-books, journals and subscriptions.
You can access all LRC resources from home. For more information about the LRC visit www.esher.ac.uk
In addition, each course has a dedicated portal site, packed with subject-specific resources to help you progress your learning.
Q: Will course trips still happen?
We are constantly monitoring the situation. Safety of our students and staff is paramount and we will follow government guidelines for any proposed trips.
Q: How will COVID-19 affect College life?
As you would expect, we have been closely following government guidance to make the site as safe as possible. We have been preparing for students’ return with hand sanitisers, two-metre distancing mats, screens where appropriate, one-direction routes etc.
At the moment there is a lot of uncertainty about what COVID-19 restrictions will allow. The safety of our staff and students is paramount and we are working hard to ensure that learning can get back to normal as much as is possible for September.