Richard Huish College, Taunton
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Richard Huish College is named after Richard Huish who originally established the college as a grammar school for boys in the 18th century. Since 1979 it has been a sixth form college. It is located on a single site, about a mile from the centre of Taunton, the county town of Somerset, England.
The college attracts students from a wide geographical area around the town, as well as from the schools in Taunton. The college also attracts students from the strong independent sector in Taunton and also from other counties in the United Kingdom. In Somerset as a whole, around 80% of young people aged 16 to 18 are in full-time education and training. General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) results in Somerset in 2002 were slightly above the national average. The unemployment rate in the area served by the college is low. There is a general further education college in Taunton, and four tertiary colleges within a 25 miles (40 km) radius.
The college caters mainly to full-time students aged 16 to 18, but there is a growing range of professional courses for adult students, mainly in business and accounting. There were 1,281 students in 2002/03 and approximately 1,850 at the end of 2006. There are now over 2,000. Most students are taking advanced-level courses, including subsidiary and vocational courses. A small number of GCSEs are offered. The college places a strong emphasis on the breadth of its enrichment activities for full-time students.
College mission statement
"To be a centre of excellence in the south-west by providing 16 to 19-year-old students with high quality advanced-level education, to prepare them for higher education (HE) and professional careers, and by contributing to workforce development in the region."
The college occupies a site of 8 hectares (20 acres), of which 70% is sports fields, in the south of Taunton. The college buildings range in age from 1880 to 2009 and take their names from some of the trees that cover the campus.
Over the period 2000–2009, a variety of building projects have resulted in the Willow Building, the Hawthorn Building, Linden, and in 2009 Rowan House, each providing outstanding facilities for teaching and learning, with additional facilities for music and sport. In 2003, the Learning Resource Centre at the heart of the campus, which is named after the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, a former pupil of Huish's Grammar School, was extended and completely refurbished. Plans are currently in place for more new building, extension and refurbishment as the college grows both in size and reputation. In 2006 the sports dome was opened, a ground breaking project for an inflatable dome for sports. The development of the Redwood Centre has many functions including: performance space for music students, and exam hall, common room and many more.
During the Summer of 2008 Somerset Catering Services lost their catering contract. The new academic year saw Costa Coffee opening in the College Cafe.
During the summer of 2010, after rigorous campaigning by the student environmental group, mostly every rubbish bin has been removed from campus in favor of cleaner more Eco-friendly recycling receptacles.
There is a campus wide Wi-Fi network installed so that staff and students are able to use compatible laptops, mobile phones or PDAs to access the college network. Summer 2008 saw the removal of all the printers campus wide. These were replaced with more Multi Function Devices which promise to be more convenient, greener and cheaper by saving paper and energy. Staff and Students can log on to any device and print their work. Staff and Students can also easily work from home using the Colleges 'Remote Desktop' Service.
As well as traditional school subjects, the college offers many others such as archaeology, critical thinking, environmental science, film studies, health and social care, law, leisure studies, media studies, philosophy, popular music industries and travel & tourism.
There are over 40 subjects offered at level 3 in General Certificate of Education Advanced Subsidiary (GCE AS) and GCE Advanced level (GCE A2). Advanced Vocational Certificate of Education (AVCE) courses are offered in business, leisure and recreation, performing arts (popular music industries), and health and social care. At level 2, a small number of GCSEs is offered. The college places a strong emphasis on the breadth of its enrichment activities for full-time students.
There is a growing range of professional courses for adult students, mainly in business and accounting. Adult students make up less than 5% of the college's full-time equivalent students.
- 2003/2004 - 99.3% pass rate
- 2004/2005 - 99.7% pass rate: A-B: 71%
- 2005/2006 - 99.8%+ pass rate: A-B: 75%
- 2006/2007 - 99.2%+ pass rate: A-B: 74%
- 2007/2008 - 99%+ pass rate: A-B: 55%
- 2008/2009 - 99%+ pass rate: A-B: 69%
- Andrew Castle, former British number one tennis player and television presenter.
- Arthur C. Clarke, a British author and inventor.
- William Gibson, Professor of History
- Rebecca Huxtable, Co-presenter on Radio 1.
- Keith Parsons, cricketer.
- Andy Robinson, former head coach of the England national rugby union team.
Richard Huish College is a centre of sporting excellence and currently offers academies for Cricket, Tennis, Football, Golf and recently Rugby Union. Richard Huish provides a range of sports including Rugby Union (Men's and Women's), Basketball, Ultimate frisbee and others. There is also the 'Active Huish' scheme which encourages students to take part in sports they previously would not have considered and also provides a more relaxed atmosphere in which to exercise. Examples of the 'Active Huish' programme are dodgeball, freeplay in the dome and table tennis.
The Sports Dome, new for 2006, has led to an increase in participation in badminton and martial arts. Despite some doubts about its appearance, students and staff have welcomed it. Watch a video of the Sports Dome going up.