Here at English Martyrs we are extremely proud of the provision we offer – in both an academic and extra-curricular capacity – within the ‘Arts’. Whether you study one of these subjects here or not, we welcome the involvement of our Sixth Form in the range of activities that are available.


As one of a limited number of colleges to offer all of the 5 major art disciplines, we feel that we offer a significant opportunity for our students. As well as the specialist, highly skilled staff who teach these subjects, we have purpose built art areas which include a suite of Mac computers, a photography studio and an art gallery where students and professional artists exhibit their work. Work is regularly submitted – and is successful in competing in – national and local competitions.


Our Music department offers a multitude of opportunities for those studying Music or Music Technology at A Level but for all of the students in our college – regardless of your standard, grade or area of interest. Whether you see music as a career in the future or just a hobby you would like to pursue, we have something for you.

Students can make use of the purpose built recording studio which was opened by the Iron Maiden guitarist and former English Martyrs student, Yanick Gers. The studio contains state of the art equipment which enables students to write, produce, record and perform their own pieces in a professional fashion.

We have orchestra, a ‘Big Band’, a training band and several choirs. We host opportunities for student to perform such as our musical soirees, the annual school show and our annual ‘Rock Night’.

Dance and Drama

Students interested in pursuing a career as a performer can enhance existing skills and acquire new skills during their time at English Martyrs. We are constantly improving our provision and opportunities for aspiring young performers. You may have seen our success stories in the local press which include students going on to secure places with top London Performing Arts Schools, Young Americans, the National Youth Theatre, Got to Dance, Britain’s Got Talent and National Youth Musical Theatre. Recently students have secured unconditional offers at the prestigious Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. Our programme of study and extracurricular provision aims to ensure that students are prepared for auditions, interviews and performances.

There are many opportunities to perform throughout the year both inside and outside of college, which in the past have included: the Annual School Show, Sixth Form Pantomime, NT Connections, Shakespeare Youth Festival, Dockfest.

Our purpose built performance studios ensure that students can develop in professional surroundings that are equipped for lessons and small scale productions. The space is also available after college for rehearsals. Resources include: a lighting rig, sprung dance floor, dance mirrors, studio black curtains, sound system and iPads with projector.

Not interested in studying Performing Arts at A Level but have an avid interest? You are still invited to participate in exciting performance opportunities at EMS6!

English Martyrs is a place with a strong Christian ethos and community. We are proud that it is this ethos which makes us a place that really aims to look after you – academically, pastorally, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

If English Martyrs is a Catholic college, do I have to be Catholic to enrol?

Absolutely not! We welcome people of all faiths – as well as those who do not profess a faith – and we pride ourselves upon the diverse set of beliefs we have within our college community.

What does being a Catholic college actually mean?

It means we provide opportunities for our students to embrace their faith if they so wish. For those who are not Catholic however, it still offers lots of benefits!! We strongly believe in the personal dignity of everyone and we really see ourselves as a family, a community who all work together to create an environment of mutual respect and support.

Will I have to say a lot of prayers every day?

We do have a chapel where students are free and welcome to drop in and pray in private but this is not a forced option. Morning prayers are held at 8.40am every day and Mass is celebrated on a Friday morning for those who wish to attend. Tutor groups do present morning prayers on one day throughout the year but often groups choose societal and moral issues as a focus. As a college, we have a number of services throughout the year such as a Christmas Service and a Leavers’ Mass. These opportunities to come together are very much focused on reflecting or celebrating!

MET Sessions and the Met Conference

MET stands for Moral, Ethical and Theological study. On your timetable you will find one lesson a week indicated as being reserved for a compulsory lesson of MET. Here you will develop your independent thinking and debating abilities on issues on a range of contemporary topics linked to morals and ethics such as war and human rights. Our MET Conference is a fantastic event which focuses on one topical issue and really grapples with the issues behind it. In the past, some of the issues of focus have been genetic engineering and abortion. Students are given a chance to share their own thoughts about the topics as well as developing an understanding the issue from the point of views of other individuals and organisations.

Retreats and Youth Events

We organise and encourage our students to take part in retreats and youth events. Retreats are scheduled throughout the college year. Some involve a day of fun and reflection whilst others have a residential opportunity built into them. We work alongside the Youth Mission Team to deliver these retreats and students always have a great time! In the lead up to exams, we offer a chance to take some time out and relax at a retreat – students speak about how beneficial a part of examination preparation this is. One highlight of the youth event calendar is the annual Summer Festival which has in the past involved listening to inspiring individuals, meeting the Bishop and watching and discussing a drama performance linked to the world of ‘Human Trafficking’.

Here at EMS6 we offer students the chance to experience the world outside the college walls. We think that having these opportunities is an important element of college life and your development as a young person. Because of this, we provide many opportunities to travel either to enhance your studies or purely for fun!

Some highlights include:

  • A trip to New York where art and photography students have a chance to complement their A Level studies with amazing pictures of that world famous skyline, sites and park!
  • Trips to Barcelona, Florence and Rome
  • The annual ski trip to Italy
  • Trips to France and Germany
  • Field trips and study visits
  • Residential visits to Oxford and Cambridge
  • Visits to universities throughout the country for open and information days
  • Day trips to places more locally such as Durham and Whitby

Throughout your time at college, it is so important to develop the skills that will help you take your next steps after your two years studying with us. Once the exam season is finished, we run a series of ‘Activities Weeks’ which we have developed to help you develop and refine these skills.

During these weeks there will be a series of timetabled activities. In the past these have included:

  • Sixth Form Sports Day
  • Development workshops on areas such as personal branding and presentation skills led by local universities
  • Enterprise Activity
  • Workshops on preparing for university, apprenticeships and employment including help and guidance with making choices, studying abroad and applying through UCAS
  • Opportunities to volunteer locally and take part in career focused work experience
  • Reflection day in Durham exploring the city

All of our students are offered the chance to undertake the Extended Project Qualification. It is stand alone qualification that does carry up to 70 UCAS points. Universities and employers value a student’s ability to research and analyse material independently. It teaches new skills, such as independent research, project management, reflection, self-directed learning and critical thinking skills. The project encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning and development by studying a topic of their own choosing.

With the support of a Supervisor, students choose a topic which extends beyond the parameters of their A Level courses and which they are personally interested in. Students are assessed on their ability to manage, research, use resources, develop and realise the final outcome and how well they reflect and review the entire process and project.

The format of the project may include one or more of the following:

  • A written report (5000 words)
  • A written report (1000 words) plus
  • A Journal
  • Slides / power point presentation
  • CD / video /DVD of a performance or activity e.g. a stage performance or routine.
  • Audiotape / multimedia presentation
  • Photographs
  • An artefact

You will also complete a production log, which shows the development of your project, and a final presentation where you will share your experience and learning with an audience.

Our college is proud to have a working partnership with EDF Energy who offer a two year mentoring programme to our STEM students. This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to become involved with a local business and market leader in order to gain experience for their future careers.

The process involves a launch evening to interested students and their parents and then a competitive application and interview process.

The successful candidates participate in a two year mentoring programme which includes contact sessions with the EDF Energy Mentors and training days at the power plant in Hartlepool. This wonderful opportunity provides our students with high quality work experience, employment preparation and work based skills, alongside an insight into a market leader in industry to help prepare them for their future.

Established in 2010, The Sixth Form Debating Society has developed into a group where both Year 12 and 13 are able to research and debate relevant, current and interesting topics. Debate motions have included: ‘Minimum alcohol pricing would be good for Britain’ and ‘Harry Potter is more appropriate – for a teenage audience – than Twilight’.

As well as arranging a number of ‘in house’ debates, the society has enters a national debating competition called ‘Debating Matters’. Last year we made it to the Regional Finals and hope to go further still this year. Come and be part of it!

Some students enjoy being at the forefront of debates and delivering speeches, whilst others prefer to contribute to the extensive research and project work that happens in preparation.

Whichever camp you fall into, all are welcome!

This is an opportunity for students to experience the world of engineering.

In a team of 4, students have the chance to work alongside an experienced engineer on a real and challenging project with a local engineering company. The project takes place over the course of 6 months and includes a 3 day residential workshop at the University of Newcastle and a company visit to see the project in context.

Develop your problem solving, team working, presentation skills and project management abilities; skills that are invaluable to employers and universities.

This scheme has enabled students to make excellent business contacts, led to work experience and even inspired some to undertake a degree or career in engineering or a similar field.