College is making me a better person

Student Liam Hayden has shared his experience of being a student at The Henley College. Liam is currently studying A Levels in Maths, Physics and French.

"I started Year 12 at my former school's sixth form, however they could not support me with my French A Level due to lack of students choosing the subject. As a result, I had to miss a third of my Physics lessons each fortnight and rush between two schools 15 minutes apart. I became very stressed with the pressure.

As soon as I found out that The Henley College could give me a full timetable with no interruptions, I decided to transfer and started at Henley in October 2019. On that day, everything changed completely.

The teachers are incredible! Although I was a late-comer, all the teachers gave me catch-up work and, thanks to their efforts, after a week I felt like I had been there for the same length of time as all the other students. The lessons are never boring, or too fast or slow-paced. They cover everything perfectly and I feel that if I need anything, I can always approach them. We talk to teachers on a first-name basis and this makes the atmosphere much more comfortable.

Life as a student at Henley, for me, is as near perfect it could be. Due to my timetable, I go into College for about four hours a day, as opposed to the six hours expected at a normal school sixth form. Therefore I have plenty of time to study and complete any outstanding work/assignments.

I feel very safe at College and safety is something I feel the College focuses on the most. Students must wear a lanyard while on the premises and there are security guards who check on this. I’ve never encountered disruptive behaviour, so I imagine it is dealt with very well. Students can also wear what they like, allowing our personalities to evolve, unlike in a school environment where everyone must look the same and act the same.

For me, the College is virtually a stress-free environment. My teachers understand that to absorb the maximum amount of knowledge in the least time possible, you need to be more relaxed than stressed. Revision work and PowerPoints from lessons are easily accessible online. Teachers set work and attach their notes from the lesson, therefore if you need to go over something again you can very easily do it.

In Maths, I have been learning much quicker than before and my teacher sets exactly the right amount of work that I need to understand the topic. She is an amazing teacher, explains things clearly making the subject much easier to understand.

In Physics, my teacher provides us with a lot of resources to practice at home and he has definitely opened my eyes even more to the diversity of physics.

In French, my teacher provides the perfect balance of practicing our speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. She always makes the lessons fun and we learn a lot about the French language, customs, and culture.

Tutorial is a mandatory one-hour weekly session to discuss student progress, guidance on careers and higher education, mental health and also topics such as relationships and discrimination. The tutors are very experienced and I feel as though I can tell my tutor anything without being judged and I know she will give me the guidance I need to make the right decisions.

There are many clubs and workshops on offer, also educational visits. With my French class, I visited the Languages Show in London where there were many workshops and talks on foreign languages and about the importance of language conservation. It really opened my mind and not only enhanced my academic skills, but gave me the opportunity to interact with classmates outside of the usual environment, developing my personal relationships.

Classrooms are generally quite modern with spacious layouts and smaller class sizes in general compared to secondary school. The canteens serve a variety of popular foods and drinks, including Starbucks. The College also has its own shop with affordable prices for stationery. There are also two Student Learning Centres equipped with study spaces and computers, and a student library with additional desks and computers. 

It is truly a beautiful college combining elements of both the past and the modern day as seen in the contrast between the Rotherfield and the Deanfield campuses. Henley is a lovely town whose centre is only a 5-10 minute walk away from the campus. The College encourages students to get fresh air on breaks when our timetables allow, and walking into town not only makes you feel a part of the local community, but it also really enhances the sense of freedom and independence at the College.

Progress is never a straight line, but I always have more than enough resources to learn and improve. I have grown to accept my true self, I have met like –minded people and I feel as though some of my old insecurities are fading - the College is making me a better person.

After I leave Henley, I hope to go to university to study Air Transport with ATPL so that I can become a pilot. I believe that my time with The Henley College has set me up to achieve this successfully."


If you would like to apply for a place at The Henley College, applications are still open for September 2020 entry. Click here for our Apply page >