Students at Cowes Enterprise College will benefit from the academy’s unique location at the centre of the world’s premier yachting destination, when the academy launches its new A-level pathway offering for 16 to 19-year-olds next September.
The new pathway will allow students with university potential to study a portfolio of marine related qualifications in addition to three A-level subjects. Students will also spend a proportion of their school week continuing to improve and widen their sailing experience and ability.
At its core the programme will see students taking the normal academic A-levels, of which they can choose from a list of over 20 subjects currently offered in the Cowes Sixth Form. The pathway then has 4 additional parts:
- Personal Sailing – linked to Gurnard Sailing Club, the young sailors will be able to practice, race and coach each other once or twice a week after studies during the summer. They will also be able to broaden their experience into keelboats by participating in Cowes events.
- Professional studies – qualifications that will help the students gain paid employment on the water such as the RYA Powerboat Level 2 certificate or the VHF Operators licence.
- Introductions to work across the whole marine industry sector, with work experience, visits and talks from leading local and national employers.
- Enrichment opportunities through weekly lectures from local yachting experts, background theory work to support personal sailing and professional studies, such as meteorology, navigation and tides.
Some students may also choose to include an Extended Project qualification in their academic study. This is worth half an A-level and allows students to investigate almost any area of interest and produce a report, artefact or event. So keen sailors might, for example, investigate into the strategies and tactics of the BAR America’s Cup team or design and build a more efficient hydrofoil for a catamaran.
This piece of work could not only earn them extra points for university entrance, but also provide them with material to talk about with passion and interest at an interview.
Although Cowes Enterprise College has its fair share of top young sailors, it is expected that this programme will attract talented young mariners from across the Island and further afield. Applicants will need to meet the entrance requirements for studying A-level or BTEC and also already be sailing at least to a good club racing level.
Cowes Principal John Peckham said:
“We are in such a wonderfully unique position here, with a raft of sailing clubs and marine based businesses within walking distance, that this seems a highly logical way of developing our rapidly growing sixth form. We are also blessed with some of the most experienced and interesting yachtsmen and women who live in and around Cowes who we are very much hoping will be happy to give a little of their time to come and talk with our students during the course of the year.
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“Our successful foray into the Island Sailing Club Tuesday evening series over the last two years has proved the Academy’s sailing credentials. As this course grows and develops we anticipate being able to use the expertise of the sixth form sailors to begin to encourage wider numbers of younger students to enjoy being on the water. It’s one of the tragedies of Cowes, that so many young people who live within walking distance of the best sailing in the country, have no contact with a medium that could provide many of them with opportunities to work, travel and achieve. We hope, over time, to change that forever.”