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WSFC Leads the charge against AQA’s decision to axe A level archaeology

As news broke on Wednesday morning that AQA plan to scrap A level archaeology, several local students were experiencing the rich cultural heritage of Iceland, alongside the Geography, Geology and Travel and Tourism students. Their frustration and passion for the subject led their teacher to start an online petition. Within 24 hours 2500 people had signed and lecturers, students, former students and even TV celebrities were voicing their support to help convince AQA that is the wrong decision. Approximately 1,000 students are estimated to sit exams for AS and A-level Archaeology each year, and Sixth Form colleges are learning of the news that the qualification will cease as of the next academic year, 2017/18. Dr Daniel Boatright, Subject Leader for Archaeology at Worcester Sixth Form College comments: “Specialist A-levels like Archaeology are vital tools in sparking students’ interest in learning and in preparing essential skills for use when they go onto university courses. AQA is extremely naïve if it believes UK students will benefit from a curriculum of only the major subjects. What we will be most sorry to lose is a subject capable of bringing out talents and potential in students that might have been left undiscovered. We have a fantastic group of students here at Worcester Sixth Form College and their opportunities to experience the rich cultural heritage of the region, country and world are being diminished.” The announcement has sparked an outcry on social media, with former and current students expressing their frustration. Sir Tony Robinson, presenter of Time Team and long-term champion of British Archaeology has called on people to sign a petition to reverse AQA’s decision, saying “Great to see Worcester 6th Form College leading the way on this. I'm certainly with you”. Current student of A level Archaeology Jamie Williams makes the case for the subject clearly, saying “Archaeology is something I always had a hidden passion for, unable to express it through the subjects we had at both primary and secondary school. It wasn't until Worcester Sixth Form College, where I took up A-Level Archaeology that I discovered what I truly wanted to do. Halfway through the AS year, I found out that I could then complete an archaeology degree at University and have now applied to study it at Cambridge, UCL, and Birmingham. If it weren't for this A level, I would never have found a subject that I was this excited about learning more about. “As a current A2 archaeology student, I look forward to every lesson and now understand the importance of archaeologists in our society. If this course was to be removed, there would be no chance for people such as myself to pursue the things they enjoy or have the chance to experience a subject as unique as archaeology.” Former A-level student, Lisette Hickman, “You cannot restrict people’s education to 'core subjects' like Maths and English because they are the most popular (and therefore most profitable). Not everyone’s brain is wired for Maths or English, people have strengths in different areas and you cannot expect young people to learn, to be inspired, to be motivated and to gain skills and qualifications so they can forge their careers if you do not give them the opportunity to do so! “By forcing people to take 'traditional subjects', you will be telling these young people that they are not good enough or smart enough or the academic type, when they are; their strengths and passions just lie in different areas! I learned more in the two years I spent studying Archaeology than in any other subject at any other level. Not to mention it being the only subject I have ever enjoyed.” Sources: The Chartered Institute of Archaeology The Council for British Archaeology AQA Statement Petition
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College student wins Bronze in Dragon Boat European Championships!

Congratulations to second year student, Emily Forrest, who competed in the Dragon Boat European Championships in Rome and finished third with her team! Emily was selected to represent Great Britain at the event and was the youngest squad member aged only 17. She previously competed in the U18 World Championships in Canada and won two bronze medals after becoming the fastest U18 girl in the country at the trials for this event. The European Championships involved the GB team competing in numerous categories over four days. The Bronze medal was achieved on the second day in the mixed 20 man event. Emily works extremely hard to fit in her training alongside her studies of A Level Biology, Chemistry and Geology. She said: “My training consists of Dragon Boating twice a week with GB training and national race days at least once a month. Furthermore, I row two to three times a week. Out of boat fitness is also really important so I run and use the gym regularly. Fitting it all in is a struggle, but I use my free lessons to my advantage and tend to train on nights, early morning and weekends.” Emily and the GB team will now participate in a Championship event in China and we look forward to sharing details of her success!
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