I'm currently in my A2 year at Richard Huish, and I can say that attending this college has been one of the best experiences of my life!
I came from a community secondary school outside of Taunton, and so although I had a group of friends make the transition to Sixth Form with me, due to different course choices I found myself alone in nearly all of my classes. However, I found that this was not a problem - others were in the same situation and the staff mixed the classes up to get the students to know each other and I quickly made friends on all my courses. Also, although the student body is quite large, it seems as if everyone knows everyone else, and if not they know someone who knows someone etc, so there is a sense of community.
I found that all my teachers were fantastic, and the one-to-one workshops mean that if you want some extra help, or feel like you need some time with the teacher then it is easy to get hold of them. I didn't have any problems with any of my teachers, but some of my friends who had problems with theirs found that the it was targeted early on and sorted out as quickly as it could be dealt with.
The only concern I have is the lack of social space. During the Summer it is fine when we can lounge around on the playing field and grass areas, but in Winter when it is raining and cold the halls do get cramped with groups of people. However, there is an onging student campaign for a common room, and it is one of the biggest issues in the College and will have to be addressed soon - even the Deane has expressed the wish to build a common room so its going to happen some time in the future!
Overall I have loved my time at Huish. I know some people dislike it, but the majority of students who come here find it so much fun. The transition from secondary school did seem like a big leap, and it is. The workload is heavier, as it gets with all further education, and as a student you are more independent and have to learn to structure your time properly. But I have found that a balance works itself out and I feel it has prepared me well for University.
I would defiantly recommend Huish to anyone leaving Year 11. It has an amazing academic record and so many students travel across counties to attend, which shows that the College has a great appeal to Sixth Form students. As the fourth top Sixth Form College in the country, if you are planning to go onto higher education at University and have the chance to attend Huish then I would try it, because the College is a great stepping stone to wherever you want to go.
I have been going to Richard Huish College in Taunton for a while now and it has been brilliant. The fourth best college in the country and one of the best for sports facilities.
Like the other review I was from a school where few of my friends went to Richard Huish College and this has not been a problem. This is all due to the friendly atmosphere.
If you can go to this college you must. I travel through different counties daily to get there!
I attended Richard Huish college in Somerset for 2 years, completing my courses in August 2005. Overall I would say that my experience there was ok, but only ok. It was by no means great.
For me personally, going to Huish was a big step, I went to a private secondary school with a sixth form college which meant that I was one of very few pupils to leave the school and make this transition. I was certainly the only one of my friends, so it was a big decision to say the least. This lack of friends on arrival was probably the biggest issue I encountered during my 2 years there. Huish is one of only 2 colleges in Taunton, and therefore it is the receipient of most pupils from the local schools, for them this is a natural progression. This was an issue for me because it meant that everyone had moved onto college from their old schools together, therefore they had little need to make new friends in the way that I did as they had brought their old ones with them!! Most people I encountered, especially during my first few weeks whilst everyone is still a bit nervous, already belonged to a close knit group of friends, and whilst they were friendly I didn't find it easy ti fit in with these old friends.
I am naturally a shy person anyway which made my personal transition all the more difficult where making friends was concerned, however I managed to find 1/2 people in each class in a similar position to me and gradually we became good friends. The other difficulty of Huish is the lack of a social area, this is less important during summer as we could socialise on the playing field, however during the first term it meant standing around outside in the freezing cold if you wanted to be sociable. There is of course a cantine, however due to the high number of students attending the college this is rarely a comfortable place to be!
Maybe due to this shyness, and initial difficulty in penetrating ready made groups of old friends I never made huge amounts of friends at Huish, although I knew lots of people who I would class as friends, there were only a select few of these that I felt comfortable enough with on a one to one basis. Because of this, and the fact that I had a long term boyfriend who was willing to pick me up and drop me off as I needed, I found that I left the college during my free time as much as possible. By my second year when I had my own car I would arrive barely 5 mins before my lesson started and I would leave as fast as I possibly could. In fact it is fairly safe to say that by my 2nd term of my 2nd year I really really disliked Richard Huish College!
Another reality of Huish is that it does support a huge network of students and teachers. This was a shock to me, having come from private school particularly, where classes were small and everyone knew everyone else. The teachers all knew who you were, even if they had never taught you personally, and this made for a close knit community. Huish does not have this. I felt more than insignificant as a student there, many of my tutors took the first term to learn the names of the students in their class, they weren't particularly bothered if you missed a lesson or two, so long as you could invent a vaguely plausable excuse, and to be honest I don't believe they would have cared less had I dropped at any point during my course. In some instances I'm not sure the tutor would even have noticed!!!! This I found did not make for a great work environment. As I was not close to my tutors I felt unable to turn to them if I had a problem with the work, and I resented the work they set me generally throughout the term because I had no relationship with them. I also felt reluctant to work hard to achieve good grades, whilst reports on effort were issued regularly, the underlying knowledge that no-one would really punish me if I was underperforming because no-one really cared all that much on a personal level did not act as an inecntive! and the reality that none of my tutors would actually know that I was underperforming because none of them had taken the time to get to know me personally I found to be highly inefficient.
I was lucky in the sense that my previous study habits had instilled discipline into me, as well as personal standards, which meant that I did not allow my work to slip and I achieved good grades overall. However, if someone were to come into this environment without these ethics and standards I believe that they would struggle to motivate themselves in this environment.
However this report was not intended to be entirely negative. Huish did also help me in a lot of ways that staying on at 6th form would not have done. I became hugely more independant from this experience, and I learnt to motivate myself to study, which was a huge learning curve. This I believe to be an invaluable lesson, especially for someone looking to go onto university next year.
I was also forced to overcome my shyness, I am no longer the person I was 2 1/2 years ago in any way, and I am glad for this. It was an extremely hard experience at the time, but I wouldn't change it for the world!
Huish also gave me the freedom and spare-time, that I had never before with school 6 days a week, to take on part-time jobs without exhausting myself, which was also a very important experince for me, and to explore new hobbies and interests in my spare time, which in the end I turned into a business in my 2nd year of college. I could never have done this had I stayed on at my old school. Not only would I not have had the time, but I also would not have felt free to do something so unusual with all those people constantly watching what I was doing and checking that my grades didnt slip!
Overall, in my experience Huish was college. That may seem like an odd statement, but what I mean is it got me my A-levels. It wasn't a great period in my life, and many parts were really, really hard! But, because of that I have grown and developed in ways I wouldn't have done had I not been challenged by this. And it gave me the time to pursue other interests, meaning that I have a lot more to show for the past 2 years than just 3 A-levels.
In my experience if you are moving onto Huish with a group of friends, you'll be fine! You'll have a great social life and the college isn't so strict that it'll prevent you from pursuing other interests, but you have to be prepared to motivate yourself to get the results you want. My advice to anyone moving to Huish with few or no friends is stick it out!! The first term will probably be rough, maybe even the first year but you will get there, and the friends you do make will be well worth the wait in my experience!! Huish is a good middle ground between School and uni, and bridges the gap quite well. My main point would be to make the most of your time there, don't study 24/7 and don't waste your time dossig about! get some work done but make the most of your free time too.
Huish isn't a great college, but it's ok, and it served the purpose I needed it to - it got me through my A-levels, which at the end of the day is what college is means=t to be about!
Anyway i hope this made interesting reading, and may be of help to anyone trying to decide on Huish as a future collefe.
I'm a Lower 6th student here, and I gotta admit its not too shabby. They offer almost every A Level under the sun, [yep - you can take IT and Computing seperately!] and it's private, but state-funded... so yep - you got it right - don't have to pay! Well, you do have to pay £40 entry fees, plus about £20 for the exams, and another £30 or so for other textbooks depending on which course you take. Note however that THEY DONT TELL YOU THIS - the original spiel is "£40 covers everything". It's close to the town centre, theres a footpath direct to town or theres the "G" bus that goes town>college and back every 20 minutes. The teachers aren't too bad, it's got to be admitted that one or two don't seem to give a s**t about coursework etc, but on the whole the quality of learning is good. Another plus is YOU DONT HAVE TO DO ANYTHING except lessons. No registration, no assemblies, no "weekly message from the principal". OK, this has the drawback that you only find out your car's been towed away when you get there, but it means if you don't have lessons till 12.25pm, you can stay in bed :) The IT facilities are good, loads of computers all connected up to a 2MBPS (drool) satellite connection, OK, the filter is sketchy, and the IT techs will pounce on you for typing a backslash, but it aint a problem. The college organises regular trips and parties, such as the recent christmas do at Sloanes, a local nightclub, and verious tripd around the world, such as Disneyland... how educational! One downfall of the college is that since there is no central, erm, anything, you have to make your own way round and find out stuff for yourself - they don't tell you. Such web forums as www.richardhuish.com, www.billben.net, and www.daio.co.uk do carry information about events and exams though, so if you're connected, you shouldn't have
a problem. Overall, Richard Huish is a very good college, recommended to everyone wanting to do A Levels.