• Student Voice

    rainbow coloured hands raised

    Welcome to the pages for Student Voice at NPTC Group. Click on the boxes to read more about each topic. 

    If you have any questions, are looking for advice or support, or if you think we've missed something important that should be included in this Moodle course, please email catherine.elms@nptcgroup.ac.uk

    • Student Voice at NPTC

    • You Said, We Did

      A huge thank you to all students who attended meetings, filled in surveys, and spoke to staff to share their feedback this year!  Below is a summary of the feedback received, and what we have done with your feedback.

      COVID-19 and college closure, April - June 2020

      An online survey was sent to all college students to hear their experiences of college closure and lockdown this year; we asked questions around learning and teaching, communication, wellbeing, and student support. We had an amazing 901 responses from students across the college. Following the survey, we also ran virtual focus groups with student reps in June to follow up and hear more. A report was put together and shared with the College Senior Management Team, who have been working their way through the feedback. 

      infographic of the covid-19 survey responses, page 1

      infographic of the covid-19 survey responses, page 2

      Strategic Equality Plan 2020-2024

      Student reps were asked for their feedback on the college's new Strategic Equality Plan, which is our document that sets goals around equality, diversity, and fairness. Students were asked what they believe makes a college fair and equal, and were asked for their ideas for things the college should focus on over the next four years. We had a wide range of responses and suggestions; the primary areas that students focused on in their feedback were: mental health support, LGBTQ, and financial support that was made equally available to everyone who needed it, regardless of their background. Cath has written a report of all student responses, and will be using it to write the Strategic Equality Plan this year.

      Buzz the Boss, January 2020

      Student reps were asked to write down their most pressing concerns about the college, and the things that needed to be resolved asap. Responses included: 

      • Course-specific feedback, e.g. not enough technicians in the Creative and Performing Arts Department
      • Not enough notice when lessons get cancelled
      • Removal of recycling bins across college has led to littering
      • Problems with the heating on campus

      ALL responses were shared with the college Senior Management Team and relevant Heads of Schools to resolve, and the students who reported these problems have been contacted individually to let them know the progress. 

      Dwr Y Felin Road, Neath College, February 2020

      After student feedback that Dwr Y felin Road is unsafe and congested, students were invited to take part in a focus group to discuss what changes need to be made to improve the road. The student feedback has been shared with NPT Council, who have put in a funding bid to improve the road. 

      College events (Senedd meetings, autumn 2019)

      We received mixed feedback on the idea of college events - many of you said that you wouldn't really be interested in attending college events, but others felt that there was "nothing to do" between lessons. Ideas we received included:

      • Wellbeing events such as yoga
      • Sports events such as running, dodgeball, and spin
      • LGBT+ activities
      • Friendship / social clubs

      Cath has shared this feedback with the Student Union, who will be planning events for the year. Course-specific ideas such as hairdressing demos have been shared with the relevant Heads of School. 

      The Student Union have set up an LGBT+ Society on Afan, Neath and Brecon. If anyone wants to get involved, contact them on their Facebook page. 

      A wide range of sports activities are offered to all students, find out more here. These are run during student timetables in tutorial sessions, so you can participate during college time and not miss lessons. 

      We asked if students would be interested in a college prom; most students said no to this. Neath College had the most students interested in a prom, with all other campuses saying no. 

      Smoking on Campus (Senedd meetings, autumn 2019)

      Students on all campuses reported that smoking at college entrances was a problem, and many of you suggested that the college installs a designated smoking shelter with a roof on each campus, placed in an area with low footfall, e.g. at the back of a building. This was supported by smokers and non-smokers. The current college policy is that no one is allowed to smoke anywhere on campus, however students felt that the problems caused by the current policy include:

      • littering of cigarette butts,
      • students gathering in entrances to smoke, with non-smokers having to walk through a group of students smoking to get into college, and the health implications for non-smokers of breathing in second-hand smoke
      • creating an intimidating and unfavourable image of the college at entrances and near residential areas,
      • students being late to class because they have to walk off-site to smoke on their break,
      • role modelling bad behaviour to nearby schools.

      Following this, Cath has written a report of all student feedback and raised it with members of the college Senior Management Team, with a recommendation to consider changing the college smoking policy. Cath will let students know the progress of this. 

      Campus Catering (Senedd meetings, autumn 2019)

      Afan, Brecon, Neath and Newtown raised issues with canteen food, including lack of variety, not enough appealing healthy options, longer opening hours, and wanting more vegetarian and vegan options. Cath invited student reps to come along to a meeting with the Senior Catering Officer to discuss the feedback and agree some changes. Following this, one of the student reps who attended ran a student feedback survey which was sent to all student reps, to gather feedback on what specific food items they would like to see in the canteens. A follow-up meeting has been booked to go through the feedback. The Senior Catering Officer has agreed to use all feedback to design future menus. 

      Wifi signal (Senedd meetings, autumn 2019)

      Many of you reported that wifi signal is poor in campus. The college is aware of this, and is currently making improvements to the wifi on all campuses, including updating the hardware installed in the buildings. This is an ongoing work in progress.

      College-specific / course-specific feedback (Senedd meetings, autumn 2019)

      We received a high volume of college-specific feedback, including:

      • Insufficient parking in Afan
      • Heating in the Newtown bungalow not working
      • Unhygienic toilets in Brecon
      • Issues with individual tutors or classes

      All feedback has been reported to either the relevant Campus Manager, or the Head of School, to be sorted out. 

      • Student Union

      • Student Reps

      • Ambassadors, Bursaries, and Scholarships

      • Individual Students

        Here are some of the ways that individual students are involved throughout their time at college:

        When

        Activity

        Who

         

        Before enrolling

         

        Taster weeks, Day in the Life, social media

        Individual

         

         

         

         

        Application and Interview

         

        Application events, interviews,  interview questionnaire, social online interaction, ‘keeping warm’ activities and communications

        Individual

         

         

         

         

        Initial assessment

         

        Students complete an assessment and essential skills development plan with targets

        Individual

         

         

         

         

        Enrolment

         

        Meeting with tutor, guidance with student services, study skills support, Careers Wales guidance

        Individual

         

         

         

        Induction

        Induction assessment, focus groups, induction survey, fresher’s fayre, election of student representatives, application for ambassador and scholarship programme

        Individual

        Collective

        Scholarship and Ambassador

        Student Union

         

         

         

        Developing

        the individual learning plan (ILP)

        The ILP is completed with the personal tutor and contains details of:

        • Career goals, any additional learning needs, barriers to success
        • Student profile
        • Targets and actions
        • Progress reviews

        Individual

         

         

         

        During the learning process

        Course team meetings, course reviews, involvement in specific quality activities, student conference, learner voice survey, focus groups, award of ambassadorships and scholarships, representation on college working groups and committees.

        Individual

        Collective

        Scholarship and Ambassador

        Student Union

         

         

         

         

        Finishing your course

         

        Leavers’ survey

        Individual

        Surveys

        The college runs the following surveys every year:

        • Induction – to find out what the student thought of the admissions process including enrolment and their experiences during the first few weeks of the new year -
        • Learner Experience Survey – to find out what students thinks about their overall experience at the NPTC Group of Colleges
        • Point of exit survey – to find out why students may have left early and the reasons why they left
        • National Students Survey (HE students only) -  to find out what HE Students think about their overall experience at the College and to compare that with other HE providers in the UK.

        Outside the college

        Students will be made aware of and encouraged to participate in external and community based activities, including:

        • Community based projects
        • Town and community councillors
        • Board members of external organisations

         

        Events and Activities

        We organise activities to help students settle into College, to help them look after themselves better and prepare for the next stages in their career.  The events that take place on the four main campuses are:

        • Fresher’s Fayre
        • Healthy College event
        • Preparing for Higher Education
        • Democracy Day
        • Annual student rep celebration event

         

        TOTUM: the UK’s #1 student discount card 

        All students over 16 and studying more than 10 hours per week can buy a TOTUM card. Download the TOTUM app today for free and then to unlock a full year’s worth of discounts, it’s just £12. TOTUM gives you all year round deals like 10% off ASOS, 12% off 16-25 railcards, loads of Apple discounts, food and drink discounts, 20% off with National Express, and 2 for 1 on your first two driving lessons with RED Driving School. Download the app today and see what you think! www.totum.com

        • More Than Just An Education

          a group of students at a climate strike

          We believe all students should have the opportunity to include enrichment activities within their programme of study to learn new skills, broaden experience and meet new people. You may wish to start up a club that is not listed here. Get in touch and we will help you get it off the ground! Contact: student-union@nptcgroup.ac.uk

          Here are some of the activities that are currently on offer.

          Student Union

          The Student Union is run by the students, for the students. Their role is to make sure that student voices are heard at senior management level, listening to students from across the colleges, holding events and campaigns all year round, help you meet new people, and creating an inclusive and friendly student community. 

          Get Active

          Whether you wish to compete in a specific sport or try out something new, we have something on offer for everyone. You can join one of our sports teams, use the College fitness suite to keep you fit, happy and healthy – you don’t have to be studying sport to take part or use the facilities.

          Students at Neath College have transport provided from Banana Island at 12.30pm to Llandarcy every Wednesday afternoon for the following team training/classes:

          • Netball (2 teams)
          • Rugby Men’s (2 teams)
          • Rugby Ladies
          • Football Men’s (2 teams)
          • Football female
          • Crossfit/fitness
          • Basketball Men’s & Mixed
          • Cricket
          • Golf
          • Cross Country
          • Athletics

          Get Active also delivers a wide range of tailored activities for students during tutorial sessions. 4-6 week programmes are offered (but not limited to) the following activities:

          • Yoga, Pilates
          • Badminton, volleyball
          • Indoor cricket
          • Indoor football
          • Indoor tennis
          • Indoor tag rugby
          • Dodgeball
          • Bench-ball
          • Boxing, boxercise
          • Circuit training
          • Multi-skills sports
          • Table tennis
          • Spin class
          • Cycling, indoor mountain climbing
          • Boogie bounce
          • Multi-sport Festival
          • Golf
          • Cross Country

          For the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Combined Cadet Force, cricket, cross country, athletics and golf, training takes place at certain periods within the year (on a Wednesday) but not every week.

          For any of the Get Active activities in Neath, Afan, Pontardawe, Llandarcy, or Swansea contact: lindsay.piper@nptcgroup.ac.uk  or helen.owen@nptcgroup.ac.uk  for Brecon and Newtown and they can signpost you to the Wednesday afternoon activities.

          Creative

          You don’t need to be taking Art, Drama, Dance or Music in order to enjoy these activities either!

          Orchestra

          Concert Band

          Funk Band

          Chamber Ensembles

          Jazz and Cajun Band

          Brass Ensemble

          Camera Club

          Dance

            

          Mondays from 4pm until 6.45pm is Music Centre-this is orchestra, concert band, funk band and chamber ensembles. This is open to comprehensive school students too!
          Tuesdays from 4pm -Jazz and Cajun band (open to comprehensive students-must be at least Grade 4 standard-saxes, trumpets, trombones)
          Wednesday from 12noon - choir
          Thursday from 12:30pm - brass ensemble

          For more information on Music activities contact: carolyn.davies@nptcgroup.ac.uk

          DANCE

          LIFT Dance Company

          Founded in 2005, this exclusive youth dance company provides students from Neath College an annual opportunity to work intensively with the lecturing choreographers towards creating new and innovative dance works ready to be performed at the Taliesin Arts Centre in Swansea.  Students are invited to audition and those lucky enough to be offered a place will commit to an extra 2-4 hours of studio rehearsal time per week.  Choreographers have included Craig Coombs (Company Director), Saydi Jones, Elise Addiscott, Vicky Burroughs, Nia Collier, Stacy Panico, Terry Michael, Natalie Partridge, Matthew Howells and Amelia Cunliffe.  The company have also collaborated with One Vision Dance Company and performed with Ballet Cymru, Powys Dance, Jermin Productions and at the National Dance Company Wales’ Youth Dance Platform. 

           

          LIFT Associates Dance Academy

          Founded in 2006, this invites young dancers aged 14-16 into the college from local secondary schools to experience dance training and to advance their skills in dance before committing to a full-time dance course at College.  Craig Coombs (Subject Leader and Course Coordinator for Level 3 Dance) holds weekly dance classes focusing on a range of technical dance approaches, whilst developing choreographic and performance skills.  The academy dancers also get the opportunity to perform alongside LIFT Dance Company in the Taliesin Arts Centre in Swansea every year.  Tutors on this course have included Craig Coombs (Academy Director), Caryn Pritchard, Abbie Bassie, Matthew Howells and Vicky Burroughs.

           

          Fairy Tale Productions

          Founded in 2015, this is an inclusive dance opportunity for any student who wishes to take part in a Christmas dance production.  Once auditioned, students are invited to a weekly 3 hour extra-curricular rehearsal (more if in a leading role), to work towards creating an original dance production which is performed at the Nidum Arts Centre.  This project invites students to develop their skills in all dance styles and foster their theatrical story telling skills through dance too.  In previous years the productions have included ‘Nutcracker’, ‘Neverland’, ‘Wonderland’ and ‘Emerald City’.  This opportunity is also offered to LIFT Associate Dance Academy students and has links with dancers from local secondary schools and private dance schools.  Choreographers have included Craig Coombs (Artistic Director), Elise Addiscott and Saydi Jones. 

           

          Summer Dance Festival

          Founded in 2014, this is a one week long festival for dance which takes place annually (in June) and is open to all students across Neath College.  The festival invites dance industry professionals to teach dance workshops and masterclasses to all that take part.  The festival also sets up university links for the Level 3 dance students and allows time for advanced skills development.  Professional classes led by Matthew Gough, Gwyn Emberton, Ballet Cymru, National Dance Company Wales, Harriot Eton, Gregory Sage, Michael Williams, Robyn Stack, Daniella Powell, Jalisa Andrews, Guzel Atymtayeva, Shakara and Deavion Brown. 

           

          Professional Training Placements

          Level 3 Dance students (BTEC and A Level) are encouraged to organise professional placements at suitable times throughout the year.  This is designed to better prepare them for the industry, higher education and professional dance training courses.  Student placements have included time with Ballet Cymru, National Dance Company Youth Wales, Trinity Laban, Arts Educational Schools, Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, Jermin Productions, Neath Amateur Operatic Society, National Youth Dance Wales, Ovation Musical Theatre Company, Impact Musical Theatre Company, Motion X County Youth Dance Company, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, The Urdang Academy, London Studio Centre and London School of Contemporary Dance,

           

          Professional Dance Work Experience

          Dance students on the Level 3 BTEC and A Level Dance courses are often provided with the opportunity to work professionally whilst studying at college.  Opportunities can be varied year by year but have included dance performances with; The Black Eyed Peas, Bright Light Bright Light, Ballet Cymru, Wow Productions, Dynion Dance Company, TAN Dance, Mariinsky Ballet and Gwyn Emberton Dance. 

          Specialist Personal Tutor Programme

          Founded in 2006, Craig Coombs (Course Coordinator for Level 3 Dance) offers specialist tuition designed to prepare all Level 3 BTEC Dance for auditions in higher education and training courses in Dance related study; musical theatre; contemporary; ballet; choreography; commercial; jazz and tap.  This course is designed to practically prepare students for foundation, diploma, professional and degree level courses, offering support with interview and audition techniques, alongside guidance into writing applications and applying for student funding. 

          For more information on Dance activities please email craig.coombs@nptcgroup.ac.uk

           

          PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

          Personal development enrichment allows you to enhance your skills in an academic subject, or develop new skills in an area that interests you and includes the following:

          • Duke of Edinburgh Award
          • Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) Club
          • Combined Cadet Force (CCF)
          • LGBTQ Society
          • Enterprise and Employability
          • STEM ambassadors
          • Student ambassadors
          • Gifted and Talented Excellence Programme (GATE)
          • Student Union

           

          GATE

          As a member of the Sixth Form Academy, you may be eligible to apply for our Gifted and Talented Excellence (GATE) programme.  This is a structured specialist programme of support for those learners with exceptional GCSE results (mainly 3A*/4A* and mostly As gained at GCSE). Those applying to competitive universities, particularly those in the Russell Group, Oxford and Cambridge, will receive personalised support through our Gifted and Talented Excellence programme. Application to competitive universities is about more than excellent grades. You must make an informed choice regarding the subjects you want to pursue, understand the competitive selection process and systems, submit a polished application and excel at interview.

          While on the GATE programme, you will be placed into a specific tutorial group which will cater to your needs and aspirations. The aim is to broaden your horizons beyond your chosen subjects and to promote analytical reasoning and discussion. This is invaluable preparation for university interviews.

          The GATE programme will also give you the opportunity to further enhance your skills through additional qualifications and competitions

          These include:  Cambridge Pre-U:  This qualification will lead you to: write an independent research essay; sit a critical thinking exam; make a 15-minute presentation; produce an academic report on a topic related to  your studies. All these elements are externally marked. The academic skills will be invaluable in the transition to university. You will also have the opportunity to compete in national competitions such as the Biology and Chemistry Olympiads, Senior Maths Challenge and more. You will also have the opportunity to attend presentations delivered by guest speakers, e.g. Royal Society of Chemistry, Cardiff Medical.

           

          ENTERPRISE AND EMPLOYABILITY

          The Enterprise and Employability team can help you write that perfect CV and application and prepare you for interview.  They also want to give all those aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to realise their business dreams and have a dedicated centre that provides a professional, supportive environment for students who are setting up their own business

          The team is also offering a new initiative to help students get ready for the world of work.

          Career Ready delivers employability sessions to students to ensure they are fully equipped with the skills they need. College students, will also be supported with: Work experience placements; CV writing; Application forms; Interviews and even help in finding a part-time job to fit around your studies.

          For further details, contacts: 01639 648657

          • Resources for Students

            graphic of students chatting

            Here are some good ways to ask students for their views on a particular topic:

            1. Noticeboards - most schools in the College have noticeboards which are highly visible to students. You can use these noticeboards to post info about issues.

            2. Gatherings - no communication is more effective than when it's face-to-face. If you have a large group, try organising small focus groups to discuss important issues.

            3. Social media - almost everyone uses social media, so it's a great place to publicise what has been discussed in your meetings. If you don't already have a course group on Facebook, why not set one up! You could also use Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, or Twitter.

            4. Online surveys - Google Forms, Microsoft Forms, or Survey Monkey are a great way of quickly gathering opinions - and they're all free to use. This info collected can help support your arguments when presented at meetings.

            5. Emails are a good way to contact all of the students on your course, to find out key issues. 

            • Resources for Staff

              This section is currently under construction - please let us know if there's anything you'd like to see included here!