The transition from school to Sixth Form and beyond is an exciting time and one which brings many challenges. We aim to support and guide students every step of the way to bridge the divide between school, university and employment.
The Head and Deputy Heads of Sixth Form and our Post-16 Manager will be on hand to ensure the level of support a student needs is available whenever it is need.
When students join us they will be allocated an academic tutor who will have dedicated time both to get to know and to support students during their time at Comberton and also to prepare students for the next step. Students will have regular and formalised one-to-one meetings with their tutor to discuss progress, help solve any problems that arise and agree targets. Tutors will work closely with students, subject teachers and, if appropriate, the Student Support Team. This ensures that they have a thorough understanding of a student's need and can offer you the best advice to help every student to achieve the highest possible levels of success in all areas of Sixth Form life.
The Sixth Form’s student support team consists of experienced counsellors and youth workers who will liaise closely with the Sixth Form Leadership Team and academic tutors, as well as accessing help from a range of outside agencies. This ensures that students can receive all the specialist support that may need during the important Sixth Form years.
There are a number of places students can access support externally:
Kooth - free online counselling and support for students www.kooth.com
Chat Health -students can get support via text messaging. The number to text is: 07480 635 443
MeeTwo - a free app for people ages 11-25 who are worried or anxious.
Further guidance will be readily available from a variety of other professionals including the Careers and Higher Education Adviser, the Librarian, Learning Resource Manager, Connexions and the College Nurse.
Our aim is that students will leave us as a mature adult, ready to make the most of all the opportunities that come their way. The large majority of our students will continue on to higher education. We will help students at every stage of the UCAS process from arranging visits to universities, selecting courses and writing personal statements. We will also support, with interview practice, all university entry processes, including Oxbridge and medical courses.
If students choose to enter the world of work after their time at Comberton Sixth Form we can provide information, support and guidance as needed. One-to-one careers guidance interviews and informal drop-in sessions are available as well as opportunities for work experience. Our links with local employers and businesses ensure we are in the best position to support students.
Keep Your Head is a useful website for students in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who may be concerned about their own or others' mental health.
Kooth offers free confidential online counselling for students
Chat Health is a secure and confidential text messaging service for young people aged 11-19 across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are struggling to cope with issues such as bullying, emotional health, relationship problems, alcohol and drugs. The number to text is 07480 635 443
CASUS is the Cambridgeshire Child and Adolescent Substance Use Service, provided by the NHS Foundation Trust. CASUS provides information, support and specialist treatment in Cambridgeshire, around drug and alcohol use, to young people under 18 and their families. The website contains information on their services, including how to refer yourself, or somebody else, and lots of information and advice around drugs, alcohol, and mental wellbeing.
Think U Know has useful guidance for parents/carers and young people on online safety. The school also runs e-safety events throughout the year to support young people.
Youthoria has a range of resources for managing exam stress and support available for young people in Cambridgeshire.
The Equality and Diversity group at Comberton Village College has also suggested that these resources are useful for young people and their families:
The Kite Trust: local information on support for LGBTQ+ young people and their families
Mermaids: National information on support for trans-gendered students and their families
Racism & Mental Health, Youngminds: Young minds has a range of resources to support Ethnicity students as well as other sections focused on mental health and wellbeing.
Autism & mental health, Youngminds: there is also information and support focused on neurodiversity at on the Young Minds site.
We work closely with Local Authorities and external partners to support young people, their families and carers. For further information on what support is available locally please see:
This webpage is reviewed termly. We will also update this page to include relevant information related to support and COVID-19.
Research has shown that this is an incredibly challenging time for families. We are keen to work in partnership with you to ensure that your child is able to manage at this time. Alongside the resources detailed on the page here are a few suggestions of what might help to support positive mental health and wellbeing:
A minimum of 8 to 10 hours' good sleep on school nights is recommended for adolescents. This isn’t always easy to achieve with all the digital distractions and school pressures your child might have. If possible If possible, do not have a mobile, tablet, TV or computer in the bedroom at night, as the light from the screen interferes with sleep. Having screens in the bedroom also means your teen is more likely to stay up late interacting with friends on social media. Encourage your teenager to have at least an hour of screen-free time before going to sleep. For more tips look at the NHS page found here.
A clear and consistent routine at home can help with managing feelings of uncertainty and stress. Where possible give warning about changes to this routine to help your child feel in control and allow them to talk through any concerns that they might have about changes. For further tips on parenting during the pandemic have a look at the UNICEF guidance found here.
It would be good to have an open conversation with your child about ‘why’ they need to continue to work hard at school. Avoid arbitrary ‘because I say so’ or bribing students. It is also important to acknowledge that such a drastic change in circumstances will raise anxieties and children may not be ‘ready to learn’ all the time. Address the anxieties and be patient.
As our current lockdown begins to end it opens up greater possibilities for your child to socialise and seek out support from their peers and other family members. It may help your child to build connections with their peers and where possible (and safe) start to build up face-to-face interactions. Some people will struggle with the change from screen-based interaction to face-to-face interaction. It might be helpful to take small steps towards interaction face-to-face. For instance, going for a short walk in your local area might be a good starting point to building up confidence again.
Students should try to remain as physically active as possible. There is a very strong link between physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing. With the easing of lockdown students have greater opportunities to re-engage with sports and physical activity. Fitness challenges like Couch to 5K can be a great opportunity for the whole family to get some physical activity into your life. Ideas on how to help your child with physical activity can be found on the NHS page here
We have all responded to the emotional challenges thrown up by the pandemic in different ways. Where possible think about opportunities to talk about how you and your child are feeling. The Anna Freud Centre has produced a really useful resource for parents and carers on ways to talk about mental health it can be found here .
There are strong links between parental mental health and children’s mental health. It is worth reminding yourself that anxiety is a natural feeling to have during this period. This is naturally a worrying time for many, children will pick up on your worries and anxieties so being honest, reassuring and connecting with your child is important. In order to do this you need to look after yourself. Try and make sure that you spend some time either connecting with your support network or doing some self-care or an activity that promotes your mental health. If it is difficult to contact friends or families use charities like the Samaritans (tel: 116 123) during these uncertain times to gain support. It might be worth planning a regular check-in using Zoom/Whatsapp or phone with your support networks.
If you feel that your child is unable to cope and is a risk to themselves or other people seek advice from 111 and dial 2 to get support from mental health teams. If you have an emergency dial 999 to get immediate support.
If you have concerns about your child’s well-being and need advice the school has an email address which is checked daily – this is: firstname.lastname@example.org
the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families has some good guidance and can be found here: https://www.annafreud.org/what-we-do/anna-freud-learning-network/coronavirus/
Local guidance on support and mental health can be found here: https://www.keep-your-head.com/
Online counselling for children and young people can be found here: https://www.kooth.com/
NSPCC – www.NSPCC.org.uk
Guidance on safeguarding children during school closure: http://www.safeguardingcambspeterborough.org.uk/children-board/parents-carers/
Guidance on online safety - https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/
Support for those experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence –
(national) www.womensaid.org.uk (local) https://www.cambsdasv.org.uk/website/support__help/84011
Papyrus – this charity aims to support those experiencing suicidal thoughts and friends and families affected by another person’s suicide.
WCCYM (West Cambridge Christian Youth Ministries) provides a Chaplaincy Team to the college, to offer additional pastoral and spiritual support and development, to students and staff.
The Chaplaincy team’s pastoral support for students includes one-to-one youth work support, targeted group work and detached youth work. They also offer additional opportunities for spiritual development and reflection, encouraging respect and tolerance for all within a safe space. This happens through formal settings such as lessons and assemblies, and through informal conversations and groups.
The team also support staff through organised activities such as a monthly wellbeing café, and pastoral support in a one-to-one setting.
Cherie Williamson heads up the WCCYM Chaplaincy Team at Comberton Village College, alongside WCCYM workers Susie Thomson and Nick Slater, as well as a small team of volunteers.