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All the latest News from Ely College

July 2021

  • 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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