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All the latest News from Ely College

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  • CMAT staff complete 10 Peaks challenge in aid of charity

    Published 15/10/21


    Staff from the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT) pushed themselves to the limit as they took on the Lake District 10 Peaks challenge in 10 hours on the 10th October to mark the Trust’s 10th anniversary.

    The Lake District 10 Peaks Challenge was a one-day event which drew in 11 summits over a walking distance of 17 miles and saw CMAT staff encounter difficult terrain, lengthy ascents and steep descents along the way.

    The challenge required a great deal of endurance and strength from the brave group of staff who completed the Linear Route, which started in Buttermere and ended in Great Langdale.

    Ely College Principal Mr Simon Warburton, joined them. Each member of staff walked to raise money and awareness for a particular charity based in the local area of a CMAT academy. The charities involved include Northamptonshire Mind, Sawtry Foodbank, Wooden Spoon Charity, Ely Foodbank and Opportunity Playgroup. Any money raised will be split equally between these charities.

    The estimated completion time of the challenge is around 12 hours, but the colleagues completed the journey in just 10 hours and 10 minutes, honouring the Trust’s 10th anniversary. They also bravely returned to work the following morning.

    Mark Woods, Trustee and Chief Executive Officer of CMAT, said: “We are proud to be celebrating 10 years of CMAT and providing high quality education for all in our communities.

    “This challenge is just part of many activities which will be taking place throughout the year to celebrate our 10-year anniversary and mark this important milestone for the Trust.

    “CMAT is at the heart of its local communities, and we want to give back to our communities for the support they have given us by raising money for vital causes which have become more important than ever during these challenging times.

    “We hope everyone will get behind us and donate to these brilliant causes. Any form of support would be greatly appreciated.”

    To sponsor or donate to the fundraising initiative, please visit:

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  • Climate Change Debate with Lucy Frazer MP

    Published 15/10/21

    “This house believes no issue is more important than climate change”.... A fantastic and quite emotive debate took place today as students came together with Lucy Frazer MP to discuss climate change and other world issues.

    The students on each side were outstanding! Their arguments were cohesive and persuasive. Huge thank you to Mr Burke and Mrs Clark-Hope, for coaching and adjudicating this fantastic #PLEDGES opportunity. It was a pleasure to welcome Lucy Frazer back to oversee the debate. We hope this event might lead to further opportunities to represent Ely College in London at the House of Commons.

    Principal of Ely College, Simon Warburton, said: "We are delighted to be able to take part in Lucy Frazer’s debating competition and our students enjoyed the chance to present to Lucy in college on Friday. 

    "Our students presented to a very high standard on a emotive topic.  They showed real skill to be able to adapt their presentations to the arguments presented in the early deliveries and offer rebuttals with no preparation.

     "I was really proud of the skills our students showed and am confident that we will be able make a very strong presentation in the Palace of Westminster after half term."

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  • #Year 11 Matters

    Published 05/10/21

    The new #Year11Matters timetable has been issued, shared in Year 11 assembly and with Tutors. These take place both at break times and after school aka. #Session6. Most of them are open to all, but some are targeted and teacher will encourage students to attend. If you are unsure, please email your child’s subject teacher directly.

    Many are revision sessions for the Mocks that begin on 15th November, but some are also catch-up sessions, ideal for coursework. We hope that you will encourage your child to attend.


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  • Ely College awarded Gemini Boat Race Bursary

    Published 28/09/21

    Gemini Boat Race Bursary supports 5 youth projects.

    We are delighted to announce that Ely College is one of five projects selected as recipients of The Gemini Boat Race Bursary Fund. Believing in the transformative potentials of sport, Ely College looks forward to building further on its local partnerships and using the profile of the world-famous Boat Race to inspire our young people.

    Applications for the fund, which opened in June, were received from all over the UK from a wide range of clubs and organisations focused on making a difference to the lives of young people. Ely College joins Brixton Wings, Behind Every Kick, Firhill Youth Project and Warrington Youth Rowing; recipients hope to use the funds to support and engage with young people after lockdown or enable existing programmes to expand.  The judging panel were both impressed by the dedication and commitment of the volunteers, coaches and youth workers involved in all the projects.

    The Five Projects

    Ely College

    Located near to Cambridge University Ely Boathouse, Ely College, a state school, has in recent years partnered with Isle of Ely Rowing Club to offer rowing taster sessions to over 200 students.  The Gemini Boat Race Bursary award will give more students the opportunity to take part in an activity previously perceived as financially, physically or even mentally inaccessible. Students will have the opportunity to showcase their evolving teamwork and physical skills in local and national competitions, both on the water or as part of indoor Ergo teams.  The well-established college partnership with Isle of Ely Rowing Club, has meant rowing has never been more popular at the school and the support from Gemini will allow for the continuation of summer and Easter taster sessions to ensure the maximum number of students will have any barrier removed, allowing them to taking part in regular rowing sessions.

    Jason Coe, PE and Sports Curriculum Leader at Ely College commented: “We are delighted to have received our recently awarded grant from Gemini in partnership with The Boat Race. This grant will allow us to build a strong and sustainable programme of rowing within the college. Rowing provision in the last 2 years has grown tremendously with over 200 students having taster sessions, and many going on to join the local club. We envisage with the support of this grant that Ely College students will be able to develop their experiences and go on to represent the college in both local and national competition in years to come. Look out for us on our beautiful local rivers.”


    Behind Every Kick

    This organisation empowers young people through a shared love of sport; the charity’s programmes help develop skills learned through playing sports which can be harnessed to create opportunities in students’ wider lives. Gemini and The Boat Race are delighted to be supporting the BEK Development Programme which delivers a series of modules unlocking a lifetime of potential in young people.  These sessions will be delivered by two BEK Trainers from September to December 2021 to 6th Form students at School 21, Stratford London. The students will then plan and execute a range of projects from January 2022 onwards, which build on the BEK Development modules and their rowing experiences.

    Brixton Wings

    The Gemini Boat Race are delighted to support this ‘can do’ grassroots organisation formed in 2010 whose mission is to advance the life chances and ‘lived experiences’ of young people, who might fail to engage with, or have access to niche sports. Brixton Wings helps participants realise essential life skills through sport. Gemini Boat Race funding will support 50 underrepresented 11–18-year-olds from Brixton and Lambeth to join ‘Learn to Row’ development rowing courses over the half-term holiday in Autumn 2021 and will support life coaching and intergenerational conversations. Gemini and The Boat Race recognised the impact of Brixton Wings work, in improving coordination and concentration, gaining confidence in communicating and supporting positive behaviours and wider life outcomes.   

    Firhill Youth Project

    This Community Sports Hub has worked very closely with the community in North-West Glasgow, to provide sports opportunities that best suits the needs of the area. Based in the Firhill Basin, beside the Partick Thistle Football Club Stadium - the centre provides free weekly rowing sessions along with other water sports activities.  With support from volunteers and college students, there is always a warm welcome to young people from North Glasgow. Since 2019 eighty-five 11–18-year-olds have taken part in the Learn to Row programme.  The Gemini Boat Race Bursary is delighted to support the expansion of this project to double the number of free rowing sessions offered and enable more young people to experience the benefits of taking part in sport.

    Warrington Youth Rowing (WYR)

    Opening empty rowing clubs across the UK for daytime access so that hundreds of school children can learn to row is the ambition of this initiative.  Founded to offer rowing to young people who might otherwise might not have the opportunity to join a rowing club, Warrington YR now has two additional hubs in Liverpool and Northwich.  In the space of five years, 28 secondary schools and 2 special schools now have over 300 students involved in rowing at local rowing clubs. The GBR award will support the WYR ambition to grow the number of schools involved through the appointment of a school liaison officer. 


    The Boat Race Chairman, Tim Senior says, “We are thrilled to work with our partner Gemini in supporting these five projects, making a difference to young people in the UK. Each project brings a unique opportunity to experience and take part in rowing in a local community, and has been carefully selected from a raft of applications, because of the impact it can have on youngsters’ lives. We hope that the combination of rowing and the life skills offered by each project, will mean that participants can step forwards in their lives. We look forward to meeting the young people who join the projects and hearing more about their rowing journey.”

    Blair Halliday, Head of UK, Gemini says:We are proud to announce the sponsorship of these five selected projects through the Gemini Boat Race Bursary Fund, which support young people across a range of communities in the UK. The projects we have chosen to sponsor provide life-changing opportunities to make sport and rowing both inclusive and accessible to young people who would otherwise be excluded. The popularity of the sport has grown tremendously over the years, and we are excited to help grow the sport further by bringing it to a more diverse and inclusive audience.”

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  • Open Evening 2021

    Published 19/09/21

    Open Evening 7th October 2021

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  • Covid-19 Vaccinations - 1st October

    Published 17/09/21

    17th September 2021

    Dear Parent/Carer

    Covid-19 Vaccinations

    You may be aware that the government has, this week, decided to offer the Covid-19 vaccine to all children aged 12-15 in England this autumn. The vaccination programme will be administered and run by healthcare staff from the School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS), who will be legally responsible for the delivery of the vaccine. You can read the government’s full guidance on the vaccination programme here.

    I received confirmation this morning that the Hertfordshire and East Anglia School Age Vaccination Service will carry out vaccinations at Ely College on 1st October 2021.

    We will play a very limited role in supporting the programme. We have been asked to perform the following tasks:
    • Share the information letter and consent form supplied by the SAIS team with parents and children;
    • Inform parents, via our website and school communications, of the session date at college;
    • Provide the space within the college, and the time away from the timetable, to enable vaccinations to take place.

    I am aware that vaccination and issues of consent are a matter that some people hold strong views about. I wish to make it clear to all parents and carers that no school staff or members of the Academy Council will be drawn into discussion or correspondence around this matter.

    I have instructed staff to offer no advice or comment on this matter to either students or families. The only information we will share will be official information provided by SAIS or the government, or details regarding the process such as the consent forms, reminders and invitation letters.

    Please find attached the Parental Information letter. The online link for consent is contained within that attached letter and the window for consent will close at midday on 30th September 2021.

    Yours faithfully

    Simon Warburton

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  • Student Mentoring: Could you inspire a lifetime of ambition?

    Published 02/08/21

    Student Mentoring: Could you inspire a lifetime of ambition?

    student-mentoringBishop Laney Sixth Form, near Ely, is focused on preparing students for a professional life. Every course offers professional relevance and each student will have the opportunity to be supported by a business mentor from the local community which we manage.

    Could that mentor be you?

    Bishop Laney Sixth Form have partnered with Ely Cathedral Business Group to recruit professional and inspiring men and women to provide 1:1 or group support for these motivated, yet impressionable young people.

    Imagine how you would feel building a strong, trusting relationship with a young person that you know will make a very real difference to their life.

    A business mentor is in a privileged position. You act as an advocate for your mentee, working alongside the teaching staff: understanding your mentee’s motivations and interests; firing ambitions; setting targets and providing advice on how to achieve them; guiding and advising about possible career options and the different routes that might be taken to secure them. After training, you will also help nurture the skills they need to land that all-important first job: interview skills, support with CV writing and advice on how to secure work experience.

    You will give a great deal, but you will also gain a great deal in terms of personal development and especially the tremendous feeling of ‘giving something back’ to the community in which you live. The outcomes we look for, and usually achieve, are an increased awareness of progression routes, greater confidence to pursue goals, and higher levels of engagement with learning- as evidenced by improved progress. You do not give academic advice (that’s the teacher’s job), just supportive.

    The programme is managed through the Bishop Laney Sixth Form by Belinda Lennon,, in partnership with Ely Cathedral Business Group. It will be in place for our Year 12 students, although there may be some Year 13 who have missed the opportunity because of the COVID pandemic.

    • July - September: Complete the registration form, get in touch and let us know you want to be involved.
    • September - December: You will provide a profile that will allow us to match you with the most appropriate student (matching criteria such as shared interests and passions). You will also be DBS checked to ensure we met our Safeguarding requirements. We will match you with a mentee. In November/December you will receive professional training to equip you with the skills you need to engage with young people; safeguarding issues and how to deal with any challenges that are likely to arise.
    • January - December 2022: Depending on the COVID situation prevailing you will spend either 1 hour a month in College or on-line with your mentee if you are involved in 1:1 mentoring or take part in a group mentoring session. Bishop Laney will facilitate all meetings and be available to deal with any questions or issues you may have. You will not have any contact with your mentee outside of college hours.

    Next steps

    To register your interest, please complete our short form via the button link below.


    If you would like to find out more, please email Belinda Lennon at or call us to discuss the opportunity on 01353 652818.

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  • College celebrates outstanding students and awards the first Community Spirit Award in honour of Spotted in Ely's Mark Cooney.

    Published 16/07/21
    Earlier this month, four exceptional students were nominated for the inaugural Mark Cooney Community Spirit Award at Ely College. As the end of the summer term fast approaches, Ely College has taken this time to reflect;  it has been a challenging year for us all, but in dark times we continue to see bright sparks of hope in our young people. These sparks can ignite and bring us together as a community and this new award acknowledges their actions and commitment. On Thursday we were so pleased to welcome Mrs Alison Cooney into school to meet with the Principal and our four nominees, asking her to present on Mark's behalf the award to its first winner, Poppy Lawrence from Turing House.
    Our thoughts and support continue to go out to Mark's wife and family. Our annual Presentation Evening, sadly cancelled this year, was something he supported year after year, and we are so very sorry to hear of his passing before he could present this award himself. Image previewThe award was created in recognition of his positive effect on our community and the support he offered the College. He led by example with kindness, talent and an enterprising commitment to where we live. In his life he set a fine example to our young people as they become citizens of our wonderful city. 
    Poppy Lawrence was announced the winner as she and her peers met with Mr Warburton and Mrs Cooney, but it was a tough decision to make. Nominations were put forward by each of the four House Senior Tutors. It was down to Mr Simon Warburton and Mrs Lis Every, on behalf of the Academy Council, to choose a winner:
    Scott House - Martina Vitacolonna

    Following a personal challenge of illness, Martina spent time raising money for the hospital that saved her life by making scrunchies and selling them.  Alongside this, she worked extremely hard to achieve her Bronze and Silver Pledges Awards which includes activities to support the community.  She embodies the House characteristics of resilience and endeavour.

    Franklin House - James Homent

    James is passionate about the environment and has harnessed the support of other students in an endeavour to make sure it is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. He has worked hard within the Eco Warriors Session 6 Club at College and is a lead in the Eco Schools project. The group has come up with bright ideas to take care of the environment.  He goes the extra mile for everyone and enjoys doing something special for the community - so successful is he that he was recently awarded the Child of Achievement in the recent Ely Heroes Awards.

    Etheldreda House - Charlotte Beck

    Charlotte is a great all-rounder, succeeding academically whilst loving sport and playing cricket to a high level.  She uses her skills to coach others.  She has worked on recycling projects and raised money for wild life.  Charlotte has actively helped others whether it is delivering scones to self-isolating military personnel, raising awareness of the deaf community, or writing a piece for the local Quilt magazine on the experiences of students during the pandemic and how it has impacted on their lives.

    Turin House - Poppy Lawrence

    Poppy exemplifies the values that the House and school aims to instil in all young people.  She has quietly and consistently shown support for the young people in the school, working tirelessly as a Mental Health Ambassador and helping to run the drop-in clinic. She has led by example and has had a really positive effect on this area of work. This is in addition to raising significant funds for charity during the lockdown period. As part of her work for the DfE, she has been writing letters to sick children in hospitals to show them that they have not been forgotten during this difficult time of restrictions on hospital visiting.

    Clearly they are all winners, and we are lucky to have such exceptional young people taking the lead within college and going above and beyond in our wider community. Since we had to pick one winner, Poppy Lawrence took the win with the scope of her experiences and the consistency of community spirit she embodies daily.
    Mrs Lis Every commented: "I am extremely honoured to have been asked to make this very difficult decision.  Four outstanding young people have been nominated. All have shown many examples of the criteria we set both within the school, their House, and outside in the wider community.  I am astonished at the level of support they have consistently shown to others, particularly during such a difficult period for themselves because of the COVID epidemic.  Their resilience and care for others or passion for a cause is amazing.  They are a real credit to themselves, their families and the school for the positive contribution they have made to their communities."
    Mr Simon Warburton commented on their individual achievements: “I am very proud of the four students who have been nominated for the inaugural Mark Cooney Award.  All four students clearly demonstrate the values of servant leadership, compassion and dedication to their passions.  I am sure that Mark would have been thrilled to see the potential of our young adults within the Ely community.  It was a very tough decision to choose one student from the nominations but both Lis Every and I felt that Poppy Lawrence in particular had stood out as embodying the values that the Mark Cooney Award will seek to support and encourage in future years.”
    Mrs Alison Cooney commented on the experience: "I was incredibly proud to present the very first Mark Cooney Community Spirit Award at Ely College. The four nominations were all deserving winners, such amazing young people. Congratulations to Poppy. I'm just sad that Mark couldn't present the first Award himself.  He was moved to tears when Ely College staff told him they'd created it in his name, and completely speechless which didn't happen very often. I hope to build on this partnership with Ely College in the future with Spotted in Ely." 
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  • Championship Trophy visits Bishop Laney before heading home to Norwich!

    Published 16/07/21

    The Official Championship Trophy has been on tour today with Norwich FC Regional Development Programme. Bishop Laney Sixth Form and Ely College were their last stop before the trophy returns home to Norwich City FC. Football and Education at Bishop Laney inspiring the next generation of players! Amazing opportunity!


    We recently wrote home to Year 10 students... Make Bishop Laney your choice! #IchooseBishopLaney

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  • Gaming glory for Ely College students at FXP Festival ​​​​​​​

    Published 15/07/21

    As part of our CMAT Activities Week, we invited CMAT students to compete in a regional computing competition. Our very own William Grant, Riley Hornby, Lewis Horner and Henry Scott teamed up as ‘Vengeful Puppy Studio’ to design their game 'CHROMA' which won the FXP 2021 ‘Best Game Concept & Design’.

    Within CMAT schools, two other Ely College teams came second place. All year 9 students studying Computer Science and BTEC in Digital Information Technology took part in the game design competition, although their progress was hampered by software issues, students worked in good spirit within their teams and produced notably creative designs. Some more are shown below.


    Check out the full story below:

    Over the past nine weeks, more than 300 school and college students from across Cambridgeshire have been working to create their own video games as part of FXP Festival 2021, a county-wide game design and development competition for young people aged 12-19. Student teams were asked to work on three core elements of video game creation: game narrative, game concept and design, and the coding of a playable game. 


    Seventy teams submitted games for judging, many from CMAT, and teams from Ely College, Sawston Village College, St Peter’s School, Swavesey Village College and Sawtry Village College all collected prizes for their outstanding entries. This year, teams had the opportunity to succeed across four categories, with prizes available for secondary and FE level teams. Awards included:

    • Best Game Concept and Design: Winners ‘Vengeful Puppy Studio’ from Ely College received game keys for ‘MLB The Show 21’, courtesy of Sony’s Creative Service Group (CSG) as well as a swag bag of goodies from Frontier.
    • Best Game Narrative: ‘The Legend of Melon’ from Sawtry Village College won game keys for ‘MLB The Show 21’ and Frontier swag.
    • Best Game Production: ‘SPS CS Club’ from St Peter’s School secured the win for the best playable game in the FE category, with the secondary level prize awarded to ‘Team 12 Jack, Paul and James’ from Swavesey Village College. These exceptional teams were awarded vouchers for gaming clothing brand, Insert Coin, as well as a game key for Table Flip Games’ Surefooting.
    • Best in Class:  ‘The Mengerists’ won the FXP trophy for best effort across all areas in the FE category and ‘The Timekeepers’ from Sawston Village College took home the prize for the  secondary school level. As well as receiving a personalised 3D trophy, both teams won a selection of exciting Jagex merchandise including LEGO Dragons, bluetooth speakers and RuneScape notebooks. 

    Helping students to explore the world of game design and development, FXP Festival, which is a registered charity, encourages students to connect STEM skills learnt in the classroom with their dream future career aspirations. To support teams through the three core modules of the project, experts from the industry stepped forward to offer their expertise:

    • Game narrative – led by Raymond Vermeulen, Narrative Designer at Genjoy, a Scopely Studio
    • Game concept and design – led by Mark Ogilvie, Creative Director at Jagex
    • Game production – led by Matthew Holland, freelance writer, game designer and developer

    Alison Taylor, FXP Festival Co-founder, Trustee and Managing Director of Conscious Communications, comments: “I am completely blown away with the quality of submissions we received this year for FXP Festival 2021. The enthusiasm of participating teams was infectious and they should all be extremely proud of their efforts. I would like to say a huge thank you to all of our sponsors, judges and, of course, all of the teams themselves for their hard work. We can’t wait to get started on planning for next year!”

    Discussing the submissions, Jagex Creative Director, FXP Festival Trustee, and Judge, Mark Ogilvie says: “There were some strong, stand out games presented to us that are truly worthy of becoming real professional games – a high level of design, passion and programming ability was clear to see within the submissions and many of them made me laugh out loud as I was judging. The bar was set incredibly high with the winning games and it was a pleasure to play them.

    “I’ve loved every minute of this year’s competition; despite being run in a virtual format I feel like the spirit of what makes FXP Festival so great has been ever-present this year, and the teams have all championed and displayed exactly what it’s all about; teamwork, creativity and having fun!”

    Due to sponsorship from Jagex, Qualcomm, Arm and Anglia Ruskin University, FXP Festival remains completely free for all teams in Cambridgeshire wishing to participate.

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  • Michelin Star Chef, Alyn Williams, cooks up a storm with local students

    Published 09/07/21

    Michelin Star Chef, Alyn Williams, joined pupils from across the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust for their first Trust-wide Design and Technology Event.

    Each academy within the Trust was invited to access a unique event in which Alyn worked virtually alongside the students to cook together and explore the secrets of the food industry. Alyn has worked in some of the greatest kitchens in Britain, training for many years under Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsey.

    This event was aimed at engaging students who have a genuine passion for the food industry. In their academies, each group of students used the same ingredients and recipes provided by the Trust and followed the instructions of Alyn to create the dishes together.   


    Due to ongoing Coronavirus restrictions, the exciting experience was delivered through a remote live connection, with students being challenged with a series of tasks and activities, giving them a whole day to expand their abilities and increase their confidence, nurturing life skills alongside a professional. Students were also given the opportunity to ask Alyn questions in a Q&A session.

    Lee Mawby, Vice Principal at Ely College was responsible for organising the day. He said: “After a tough start to the year for all students and their families, we are thrilled at the opportunity to host such an exciting event, which will inspire our talented students to explore a field they feel passionately about.

    “Remote learning and Covid-19 has made the world feel like a smaller place over night and this is something we can really take full advantage of in education. With this in mind, we had been thinking about how we can maximise our student experiences as a Trust, particularly as they have been so limited for the last 18 months.

    “Our students are very lucky to have this opportunity and its testament to Alyn’s investment in the industry and his passion to bring young talent forward. This is a first for us and we welcome the challenges that it brings and are excited to try a different approach.”

    The Design and Technology event is a key part of CMAT’S first trust wide Activities Week ,which also featured a CMAT’s Got Talent competition launched by Comedian, Bill Bailey. The Activities Week is set to bring the CMAT community together and emphasise the importance of art and culture in education.

    For more information about Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust, please visit:


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  • Ely College Eco Warrior becomes Ely Hero!

    Published 30/06/21

    Huge CONGRATULATIONS to our Student Ambassador James! Not only is he an active member of our student council, but he heads up the Eco Warriors #Session6 after-school club.

    We are so proud that he has gained HERO status as a winner this week at the Ely Hero Awards and well-earned this recognition in our amazing community 🦸‍♂️🥇💚♻️🤩

    Shout out to Ms Martin was also a finalist in the Best Teacher category. Ely College is so proud of you both! We have so many amazing staff here and the students to match!


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