Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some common questions and answers that we receive from parents. If you would like to talk to a member of staff about a specific query you can always contact our Information & Guidance team who will be happy to help.

  1. Will my child be able to try any of the courses before they apply?
  2. Is there a chance for us, as parents and carers, to visit the College and talk to the staff and see the facilities?
  3. When is the application deadline to apply for College courses?
  4. Who can I contact if we need help completing the application form?
  5. What does my child need to do for their interview?
  6. What happens if my child gets better/worse GCSE results than expected?
  7. My child needs additional learning support, what services does the College provide?
  8. What financial help is available to my child?
  9. What transport options are available to get to College?
  10. What accommodation facilities are available?
  11. What other opportunities are there for my child to get involved in at College?
  12. How can I check my child is attending College?
  13. How can I make sure my child is doing well at College?
  14. Can my child work at the same time as studying?

1. Will my child be able to try any of the courses before they apply?

We have taster dates throughout the year for your child to attend. Our taster days begin at 9.30am and finish at 2.00pm. Your child will spend the day getting familiar with the subject of their choice, meeting staff and students, viewing our facilities, asking questions and experiencing the atmosphere here at Bridgwater & Taunton College as if they were one of our students!

Lots of pupils come along with their school; however we also invite students to attend as an individual or as part of a small group. If your child does, all that we ask is for you to ensure that their school gives your child permission to attend.

To attend a taster day you or your child must register and tell us what subjects you would like to try.

2. Is there a chance for us, as parents and carers, to visit the College and talk to the staff and see the facilities?

We have a number of Open Evenings throughout the year where you can come to the College, meet the staff and students, view our facilities and ask questions!

We would encourage you to pre-register for an Open Evening and gain fast track entry you can do so by completing our Open Event Registration Form.

3. When is the application deadline to apply for College courses?

When your child has completed their application form, we ask you to sign it and send it to Information and Guidance, Bridgwater & Taunton College, Bath Road, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 4PZ by the end of January. We will send your child a postcard to let you know the form has arrived safely.

4. Who can I contact if we need help completing the application form?

You can speak to your child’s Careers Teacher if you need any assistance or contact the Information and Guidance Team on 01278 441234 or email info@bridgwater.ac.uk.

5. What does my child need to do for their interview?

The interview will give your child an opportunity to talk in more detail and depth about themselves, their interests and ambitions. They will also be able to find out more about the College and the course/s in which they are interested.

They will then be given an individual interview for approximately 15 – 20 minutes, you are welcome to attend the group presentation and individual interview but we may want to spend some of the interview time with your child on their own. If your child has applied for more than one course, they will have an opportunity to be interviewed for the alternative or additional course.

Your child will be asked about their reasons for applying to the College, what intrests them about the course/s they have applied for, what they enjoyed about school, extra-curricular activities and how they did in their mock exams.

Your child will need to bring their letter inviting them to interview, record of achievement or progress file, personal careers action plan and presentation folder/portfolio.

Getting to know your child better during the interview means that we are able to make sure that they are offered a place on the right course for them.

6. What happens if my child gets better/worse GCSE results than expected?

To discuss your options, or find out about courses with places still available, call our GCSE Results Helpline on 01278 441220, for impartial advice and guidance.

7. My child needs additional learning support, what services does the College provide?

At Bridgwater & Taunton College we believe Student Support is essential to a successful learning experience. It is important that your son or daughter discusses any support needs at their interview to ensure that they get the support they require during their time at the College. For more information about the specific support we provide, please visit our Additional Learning Support page.

8. What financial help is available to my child?

All school leaver courses are available free of charge up to the age of 19 as long as they study for more than 12.5 hours a week and are a European National. There are a number of ways in which the College can help you and your child if you are in need of financial assistance for other aspects of College life, such as transport, resources, etc. Our Student Support Team will be able to help you identify if you and your child are eligible for any financial help, by calling 01278 441233 or email studentsupport@bridgwater.ac.uk.

We also offer four Scholarships, Academic, Performing Arts, and Sports. These are a fantastic way for your child to get additional financial and specialist support to help them in their chosen field.

9. What transport options are available to get to College?

Please see our transport pages for more information on what’s on offer.

10. What accommodation facilities are available?

We offer accommodation to further education (FE) students, aged 17 and under, FE students aged 18 and over and higher education (HE) students. The different accommodation options have different conditions, so please make sure you and your child understand when they are and aren’t allowed to stay.

11. What other opportunities are there for my child to get involved in at College?

The College has a wealth of extra activities available for your child to get involved in to suit any interest or skill. To find out more information about these activities please see below:

Performing Arts Student Ashley Quinn

Ashley Quinn

There have been so many opportunities to enhance my skills whilst at College. Getting involved in the Show Choir is a great way of getting extra training and performance experience, which looks great on my CV. It has definitely contributed to my number one achievement to date; being accepted to Italia Conti, one of the top Performing Arts colleges in the country!”

Ashley Quinn, former pupil of Bridgwater College Academy, is going to study the Performing Arts Diploma at Italia Conti.

12. How can I check my child is attending College?

Unlike school, where attendance is recorded twice a day, we record attendance for every timetabled session, up to a maximum of five times a day! In our experience poor attendance leads to poor achievement which is why we take unreported attendance very seriously. If your son or daughter is absent without prior notification you will be informed immediately. We expect students to study a minimum of 30 hours per week.

13. How can I make sure my child is doing well at College?

Progress is monitored against achievement in a two-way review held each term. It allows your son or daughter’s tutor to assess their progress and address any concerns that either they (or other) tutors may have. Strengths and weaknesses are identified and an action plan is drawn up to help them achieve the highest standards.

You will be sent a copy of the two-way review to ensure that you are kept in the loop of your son or daughter’s progress. Be assured that if we have any concerns you will be contacted outside of the two-way review process. If at any stage you have any concerns please feel free to contact us. You can also discuss any concerns or talk about your child’s progress at parents evening.

14. Can my child work at the same time as studying?

It is helpful if parents make sure that an appropriate balance is kept between College work and part-time jobs. In the majority of cases we do not see any conflict between College study and outside work, but recommend no more than 12 hours a week is undertaken.

The experience your son or daughter receives from having a part-time job is extremely beneficial as it assists in developing their confidence and independence, giving them experience of working with people outside education and generally broadening their horizons. It is vital that part-time work does not interfere with study and we ask for your support in making sure that part-time commitments do not become too great.