Skip to content ↓

Latest News

All the latest News from Ely College

Page 1

  • Exclusive preview with special message from children's author Julian Sedgewick to celebrate World Book Day!

    Published 03/03/21

    Ely College will celebrate World Book Day across two weeks this year so that all Year 7 & Year 8 students can take part in activities during their LIVE library lessons. Covid, remote learning and a busy week ahead of phrased returns into school isn't going to stop us from celebrating World Book Dy 2021 in style!

    During previous years, we have been very lucky to welcome local author, Julian Sedgwick, into school to talk to Year 7 students about his work as a successful author. Students have found his talks inspirational and there is always such a buzz amongst them after his talk. The juggling knife show tends to cause a stir!

    We are very proud and grateful for our continued links with Julian and the support he offers Ely College. This year, despite the difficult circumstances, he continues to inspire our students, although this is in a slightly different format. Julian has recorded a special message for our students and an introduction to his new book Tsunami Girl, which will be available in March.

    We are very lucky to have this exclusive preview!

    When we are back in school, all Year 7 students will have the opportunity for a live chat with Julian during their library lesson.

    Julian’s new book; Tsunami Girl will be available from Toppings along with other books shops. Toppings is running an order and collect service and can arrange for the book to be signed by Julian. To contact Toppings; phone 01353 645005 or email

    World Book Day vouchers

    World Book Day vouchers this year are being issued in paperless format. Please note that it is one voucher per child. Click on the link below to claim a voucher for your child:

    There is also a link to a list of participating bookshops.

    There is a huge range of activities on the website for families to enjoy together:



    Read More
  • Bishop Laney student is sending out care boxes to people with mental health issues

    Published 22/02/21

    Bishop Laney student is sending out care boxes to people with mental health issues.

    A Fenland teenager has launched an initiative aimed at giving a boost to people with mental health problems. Ruby Williams, 18, from Manea has set up an appeal on Facebook for support for the scheme which provides personal care/treat boxes to people who are suffering with their mental health.

    The A-level student, who attends Bishop Laney Sixth Form, decided to raise money to provide boxes after she received a box herself. She said: " I received a box and it really made my day. I thought about it long and hard and I thought it would be great to start a project up for myself, especially in lockdown. My aim in life is to always try to help others and I hope by doing this I will."

    The boxes contain toiletries, chocolate and sweet treats, as well as colouring bits and bobs and hot drinks such as teas and hot chocolate.


    Ruby launched an appeal to raise £100 to help cover the costs of postage, and was also asking for donations of small items to send out. The response she continues to receive is incredible! As well as suitable boxes to use for posting, she has been inundated with donations and a small pot of of funds to top up postage. 

    Please keep them coming and support this personal and meaningful project. She has set up a wish-list via Amazon for those who would rather donate rather than than offering cash donations.

    People can nominate themselves for one of the boxes and Ruby said: "I nominated myself through another scheme, and then forgot all about it until the box came through and it was such a lovely pick me up."

    "I have already sent out over 100 boxes and I have another many more people on the waiting list. I have mental health problems myself so I know what it is like and it is especially hard for people at the moment, which is why I think this scheme is such a great idea."

    In a such a short time, Ruby has independently created a safe space to talk about mental wellbeing and built a community that helps and inspire each other. To find out more you can visit: Rubys Mental Health Boxes on Facebook where you will find links to make donations or nominate to receive a box.

    Find out more here, where Mr Patman gave her a big shout out to the rest of the Bishop Laney student body: 

    Ruby is also the recently elected new Chair of the Bishop Laney Student Council. We look forward to seeing more exciting work from them when we all return to college.


    Read More
  • Ely College thanks Spotted in Ely for years of support as they honor Mark Cooney with new Community Spirit award

    Published 27/01/21

    Ely College is delighted to launch a very special award. The ‘Mark Cooney Community Spirit Award’ is a personal thank you from all of us at the College; year on year it will allow students to celebrate their peers’ important contributions to our local community.  


    Earlier this week, members of the college leadership team met with Spotted in Ely’s creator and chief editor, Mark Cooney, to pass on their best wishes for his forthcoming wedding and treatment. The college team surprised Mr Cooney over the video call, informing him of the intention to establish this new award in his honour. It will be awarded each year to students who go the extra mile and do something special for their community, as Mark has done for years. 


    Restrictions permitting, we hope to be able to return to Ely Cathedral in the summer to host our annual Presentation Evening. A highlight of our summer term, this fantastic event gives us the opportunity to bring together staff, students and families to celebrate the many wonderful achievements of our students.  


    We have seen that the Ely community spirit is stronger than ever this year, and it is this strength that we hope to pass on to Mark as he moves forward with his treatment. 


    Executive Principal, Richard Spencer, commented after their online meeting: “Mark Cooney has had such positive effect on our community through his work and management of Spotted in Ely. He has led by example, and this new award will embody the community spirit that he represents. His kindness, talent and enterprising commitment to the city sets a fine example to our young people as they become citizens of Ely.” 


    “This is a small way to show our appreciation for the continued supported from the Spotted in Ely team and their commitment to showcasing the positive stories from our college, and those of our wonderful city.” 

    Read More
  • WIN a Smart Watch! Physical Activity Log Competition

    Published 11/01/21

    Get active! Get involved! There are a number of physical and mental benefits of Exercise which have been outlined below.

    During lock down we would like you to log your physical activity using the link to a form below. This will help us to record physical activity levels over lock down and will also give you a chance to be entered for a Prize Draw for a SMART Watch!

    After each session, activity or exercise you do, please complete this form as a record (All Students / Staff who complete 10 hours of exercise will be entered for the draw). In addition to the prize draw, a weekly leader board will be published of activity minutes (Top 5).


    *Please enter each session individually rather than a mass of sessions together.

    The prize draw for the Smart Watch will take place on Friday the 19th February at 5pm. All entries to the below form must be dated between the 08/01/2021 and 19/02/21 to be included. To qualify for the draw you must have made separate entries totalling 10 hours of physical activity.

    Physical Benefits

    -Increases bone density and strength

    -Increase cardiovascular health

    -Help with body maintenance

    -Improve muscle tone and strength

    -Increase energy levels

    Mental Benefits

    -Improve your mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

    -Regular exercise can help you relax and sleep better

    -Exercise can improve brain function and protect memory and thinking skills.

    Below we have attached a supporting NETFLEX document that provides links to a range of exercise activities from Yoga and Stretching to Circuit work outs; great if you are struggling for ideas or motivation. You are welcome to complete other types of activity and log these such as walking, running and cycling etc.

    Have fun and take part! Stay safe!

    Mr Coe

    Read More
  • Festival of Arts Celebration!

    Published 15/12/20

    Did you see our Festival of Arts Celebration?!? Don't miss it, follow the link here: Go to this sway!

    We are so excited to finally share this with you all. As well as our Winter Wonderland winners, we're showcasing all of our festive arts! With our Year 'Bubble' choirs & fabulous performances... students said 'the show must go on'! While we can't come together for our usual Winter Showcase, it is so beautiful to share such warmth & positivity with you all at this festive time of the year.

    REMEMBER: Friday (18th) is the end of term and it is Non School Uniform Day.

    Regardless of donations we want ALL students to join in (festive jumpers optional), but IF YOU CAN take 5 mins to donate VIA WisePay our House Charities will see the benefits.

    No cash donations will be taken in on the day.

    Our Winter Wonderland inter-house competition has been going for a number of years now, but we've never had so many AND such high quality entries before! Over 500 students took part, earning their #PLEDGES & showcasing their talent. Here are the winners with their stunning pieces!

    From this competition there was an overall winner chosen and a winner from each of the Houses. 6 designs were also chosen to be produced as the official Ely College Christmas cards. Over 50 other entries were awarded “Highly commendable” certificates as the standards were so high making choosing winners very difficult.




    Read More
  • Latest Ely College Podcast

    Published 15/12/20

    Read More
  • Message from CMAT cEO: Ban the Beard VS save Santa

    Published 08/12/20

    Mark Woods, CMAT’s CEO, has been growing his own feral Lockdown beard since 20th March 2020; no shaving, no trimming, no fancy manscaping – just the real deal as it comes.

    Initially Mark swore he would not touch his beard until all students were back in school full-time, however, seeing what a natural beauty the said beard has blossomed into, he thought he would give you the choice as to what he does next.

    Two campaigns were set-up:

    1) Shave (also known as ‘Ban the Beard’): Mark will give his beard a good trim or remove it completely (to the relief of his family!) and at least return to looking as near respectable as he has ever managed.

    2) Leave (also known as ‘Santa’): Mark pledges to turn into CMAT’s (or other associated organisations) very own Santa Claus: no shaving until the school breaks up for Christmas, a full white dye-job and some Covid-safe ‘hohohoing’.

    The deadline for making your decision was the 30th September. Some terrified staff, parents and friends voiced their concerns about Mark’s lack of grooming and pushed the ‘Ban the Beard’ campaign. Alas, and unfortunately for some, the idea of Santa Claus seemed to be the frontrunner, raising over £1,000 for Sue Ryder, Thorpe Hall Hospice.

    Although the initial conditions were that, unless the £5,000 target was hit, Mark would decide on the outcome of his increasingly feral beard, however, Mark and his co-organisers have since decided that he will keep his beard anyway (and much to the annoyance of his family!).

    Mark and the team would like to thank everyone for their generous donations in support of such a superb cause as Sue Ryder, a charity with a special place in the hearts of all those at CMAT and their associates’ hearts.

    Please continue with your generous donations! All monies raised will support the outstanding work of Sue Ryder, Thorpe Hall Hospice in memory of our dear friend Martin Bacon, who benefited from their care and who always enjoyed a silly plan.

    Mark had this this say as the term ended: "As a parent and a trust CEO, I have often been, I imagine, part of a relatively small group of people who have seen this pandemic from both sides. I have been party to the careful, lengthy deliberations of leadership staff about running track and trace within schools and in attempting to find the fine balance between keeping the school open and the children in school, whilst also trying to ensure that transmission is prevented. Staff are regularly having to make difficult decisions about symptoms, tests and self-isolation, whilst also recognising the stresses and strains placed on colleagues. In addition to contacting parents to explain difficult decisions and exploring contacts beyond seating plans, parents are receiving test information outside of school hours with schools responding, putting plans into action and then sharing it with families. School leaders have to go through this routine time and again. And then, from the parents’ perspective, receiving a phone call or letter from the school which impacts upon their own family life and responsibilities. We are also very acutely aware of the strain that has been placed on so many families for a whole variety of reasons.

    And all this before we even start to consider the impact on teaching and learning and the expectation to manage students in school and at home within a constantly changing set of circumstances.  

    This has been an extraordinary drain on staff in schools and all students within schools. All I will say, is ‘Thank you’ to the staff for all of their commitment, resilience and hard work. And ‘Thank you’ for your ongoing support and patience through this period. I sincerely hope that by the time we reach our next newsletter in the Spring, we will all be feeling that we are starting to make real strides forward in our recovery.

    The normal work of trust does carry on, and we want to celebrate the fact that Northstowe Secondary School finally became a full part of the CMAT family in Sept and the Bluecoat School Stamford, should join the trust on 1st January. Our work with The Harbour School and the Greater Peterborough University Technical College is ongoing."

    Read More
  • Jake's pink hair kicks off a month of giving PLEDGES - Get your foodbank donations in now!

    Published 01/12/20

    Well done to Jake who has raised an amazing £553 for Maggie's Cambridge!

    Now then... YES it is true that Jake is a loyal member of Scott House... and YES Maggie's is the Turing House charity so you might have heard about how important they are to us as a cancer support charity.... BUT this was an independent fundraising effort from Jake. He did it for his Nan and like us, his Nan would be so proud!

    With permission from the Principal and his Air Cadets CO, he got people to sponsor him to dye his hair PINK. It will wash out before he starts back at cadets in the new year but for now a HUGE WELL DONE to Jake for smashing his £100 target and kicking off our month of #giving! #PLEDGES #charities


    Here's a reminder of what we have planned for December:

    Taken from the weekly Bulletin newsletter: College charity work between now and the end of term

    Normally we would be gearing up for one of the highlights of the school year, the Christmas Charity Fair. However, due to the nature of the restrictions we now find ourselves under we are unable to run it in a similar way as we have previously. We do still want to continue our charitable work as far as possible and so are planning two activities before the end of term.

    Collection of food for local Foodbanks. Many people have struggled during the pandemic and the importance of foodbanks to our communities has never been more important. To this end we ask that if you are able to please donate items to the collection we are making. If students can simply bring in any items and leave in their year office we will do the rest. Although any items are appreciated there is a particular need for hamper based items, Fray Bentos pies, cereals, chunky soups and tinned rice pudding. Please don’t send in any items that are perishable as we can’t use them. The deadline for this is Friday 11th December and the collection opens on Monday 30th November.

    Non uniform day, Friday 18th December. On the last day of term we will be having a non-uniform day in college. Any monies raised from this will be split equally between the 4 House charities. These charities are:

    Etheldreda - Spectrum Cambridge

    Franklin - C9 Teenage Cancer Trust Ward at Addenbrookes

    Scott - Arthur Rank Hospice

    Turing - Maggie's Cambridge

    More information about these charities will be found in next week’s bulletin. Obviously at the moment we cannot accept cash so donations need to be made on Wisepay. If you log into your account as normal, look for "Shop" and you will find an option called ‘Non uniform day charity donation Friday 18th December’. This will go live on Monday 30th November. We ask that if you are able make a donation of £1 or more to support our local charities then that would be amazing. The day is a normal non uniform day and not a ‘Christmas Jumper’ day however it would be lovely to see as many students as possible in festive colours and attire (including festive jumpers if available). As we also want this to be a school community event all students can come dressed in non-uniform regardless if a donation has been made or not. Standard school advice on appropriate attire for non-uniform days is still in effect.

    Read More
  • Thank you all for making Gratitude Week such a success!

    Published 01/12/20

    Last week was Gratitude Week at Ely College and Bishop Laney!

    It has been a difficult year for everyone and in an effort to lift spirits and promote positivity in college, we thought it would be a lovely idea for us all to say THANK YOU more often and recognise the support we each receive day to day.

    Little thank you cards were filled in by all staff and students and as you can see, we now have a huge box of gratitude to share (all covid safe and quarantined)! Thank you for taking part and making Gratitude Week such a success.


    Read More
  • Christmas Menu Announced - 9th Dec

    Published 01/12/20

    Our catering partners have shared their Christmas menu with us. No need to book in advance, but we do recommend checking you have your WisePay catering account topped up for those extra little festive treats!

    Our festive feast is always a lovely day in college, as everyone enjoys good food and good company in the run up to the end of term. See you all on the 9th December! 


    Read More
  • Bishop Laney Sixth Form students are in the driver’s seat… destination? A safer future for all.

    Published 16/11/20

    Going from strength to strength and following a successful start to the academic year, Bishop Laney was pleased to introduce their new Year 12 students to ‘the crash car’. Working in partnership with Cambs Drive iQ, the bashed up Mini is a regular sight at the local Sixth Form centre, passing on an important message to their young road users and future drivers.

    Lessons delivered at Bishop Laney Sixth Form by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership were literally a car crash last week… but no one was hurt, and these potential new drivers got an important lesson in road safety. The ‘Cambs Drive iQ’ programme provides young people with a virtual experience of different driving situations, preparing them to become better and safer drivers once they have passed their test. It improves the skills often neglected by young drivers, such as anticipating danger and risk management.


    As part of the PLEDGES+ enrichment provision, Bishop Laney students were asked to complete modules on topics such as distractions, alcohol and drugs, seatbelts and thrill seeking, each taking about fifteen minutes. They were then taken on a tour of the crashed mini where reality hit home for many of them. This unique opportunity is evidence based and real world orientated, and the focus on peer pressure and keeping your friends safe struck a chord:

    “I now know how to deal with passengers when I am the designated driver, getting them safely from A to B. The harsh reality is that one in five new drivers has a crash within 12 months of passing their test. I don’t want my friends to be involved in a crash and I know now, how to avoid one myself.” Caleb, 16 and studying Sport Science and Geography at Bishop Laney, commented “We need to look out for each other.”  Even if students were not thinking about learning to drive soon, Cambs Drive iQ gave give them tips which could keep them safe as passengers.


    The programme is now being operated in eighteen schools across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, with over 1,500 students signing up to take part.  Bishop Laney is proud to have worked in partnership with Cambs Drive iQ from the beginning, providing its students year after year with an opportunity to be in the driver’s seat of this award-winning programme. Students have access to more than 120 video scenarios filmed on local roads in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

    Adam Steels, Head of Bishop Laney Sixth Form commented “This platform engages with young people from the start, preparing them for the potential challenges they may face whilst driving. It’s a good way to influence attitudes towards driving in a classroom environment and should arm our young drivers with everything they need to know to stay safe on the roads. This is just one of the life skills we ensure our students leave us with, through our PLEDGES+ programmes.”

    If you are a local Year 10 or Year 11 student thinking about your Post-16 destination, you can learn more about the opportunities Bishop Laney Sixth Form has on offer here:

    Read More
  • Ely College Principal praises students and staff as he reflects on first half term

    Published 21/10/20

    Simon Warburton was appointed Principal at Ely College in September. It has been an interesting first term for the new Principal, who has not only had to find his feet in a new school but has also navigated the challenges of Covid-19 guidelines for schools.

    Reflecting on his first half term, Simon said: “It seems odd to say given the circumstances but it has been a great first half term at Ely College and I have been blown away by the support of the Ely community, staff, students, Richard Spencer and Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust. Starting a new role is never easy, let alone in the midst of a pandemic, but I am lucky to work in an incredibly positive and caring environment where everyone works together.”

    When schools reopened in September, Boris Johnson made it clear that all students were expected to return to school as usual. The college currently have an attendance figure of over 96% so far this year which is over 10 percentage points higher than the average for schools across East Cambridgeshire. The college have had just one positive Covid-19 case since coming back in September and following guidance from Public Health England, only 32 of 200 students in the year group were asked to isolate.

    Simon continued: “Our attendance figures are really positive and show that staff and students trust the measures we have put in place. We know the impact of the virus has varied from school to school and we are thankful to have a strong parental community who are trusting our judgement. We took the guidance very seriously from the start and broke the college up in to zones with different year groups in each area. This meant we had to spend a lot of time and money over the Summer refurbishing an additional block to ensure it was a high-quality learning environment for our students and staff to work in.

    “We are very lucky to have a fantastic relationship with our parents and they have been so encouraging and supportive, even when we had our positive case. All decisions are made with input from staff and our Student Council and we take their feedback very seriously.

    “We have paid a great deal of attention to the message we put across to students, prioritising their wellbeing and mental health. We are not sanctioning students who do not wear a face covering and prefer instead to emphasise compassion and thank students for wearing a face covering. We have introduced a Mask of the Week competition to raise awareness of wearing face coverings in school and to make it a more fun experience for our students. We have a really compassionate environment, and everyone wants to do the best for each other.

    “One of our biggest challenges has been cost. We have received very little additional money from the government and have spent a lot on refurbishing classrooms for zoning and cleaning. It is tricky balancing finding the money for vital cleaning products, while continuing to provide high quality education.”

    Looking ahead, Simon is mindful that changes could be coming in the near future. He said: “I am aware we are in the East of England and the infection rate is not as high here as in other parts of the country. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next half term and what changes this might bring. The challenge for me is always to ensure my staff and students feel supported. Like many workplaces, some of our staff have not had a week off since March and so my priority for half term is making sure we all get some downtime ready for another half term - whatever that may bring.”

    Read More