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College records 96.8% GCSE pass rate

Posted: 25 August 2016

West Nottinghamshire College has today (Thursday 25 August, 2016) announced a GCSE overall pass rate of 96.8%.

A total of 714 people studied GCSEs at the college this year – up from 598 the previous year, due to the government’s requirement for students without grades C or above in English and maths to continue studying these subjects post-16.

The college also has many adult learners who return to education to gain GCSEs they missed out on at school – either to progress to further study or re-train for a new career.

There were 790 exam entries this year – an increase of 113 from 12 months earlier – across the three GCSE subjects offered, producing a 100% pass rate in science, 99% in maths and 96% in English.

Adult learners on Access to Higher Education (HE) courses– aimed at those who want to study a university-level course but don’t have the necessary qualifications – achieved 100% pass rates in English and maths; against a national average of 95% and 91% respectively for students aged 19 and above. A*-C high grades were achieved by 100% of Access to HE students studying English, and 60% studying maths, against an average of 50% in both subjects by students aged 19 and above.

Deputy principal Chris Thomas said: “GCSEs are the springboard to so many academic or vocational options – that’s why they are one of the most important qualifications you can have.

“Most of our GCSE students have taken one or more subjects alongside their main college course, which is no mean feat.

“Many others are adults who’ve studied at evening class to get the qualification that unlocks higher-level study or the possibility of a career change. For some, it’s the first time they’ve studied in several years – often combining it with having a day job – which requires real commitment.

“Regardless of their individual circumstances, our students can feel justifiably proud of their achievements.”

Friends Rebecca Ward and Abby Squires opened their results together, after studying the maths GCSE. They both achieved a C grade and were absolutely thrilled on opening their results.

Rebecca Ward, 22, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield

“I’m so pleased with the C grade. It’s been a tough year but I did it!

“Just two weeks before my exam I got a call from the hospital for a liver transplant. I’ve had liver disease all my life but have been quite ill over the last two years. That phonecall was the first phonecall for a transplant but sadly it didn’t progress.

“I was well enough to sit the exam, but all year I’ve felt very tired and studying while feeling poorly is hard. I hated maths at school – it gave me headaches!

“I moved to this area from Hertfordshire to be with family and I started looking for a job, but put that on hold when I was ill. I used to be a healthcare assistant in Hertfordshire and I’d like to eventually go into healthcare and nursing. I knew I needed a C grade for the future in terms of study or employment.

“So now I have that grade I feel relieved. I just hope that I get that phonecall soon from the hospital so I can get better and move on with my future.”

Abby Squires, 25, from Warsop

“I decided to study maths again because I needed a C grade to become a midwife and start training – this is my dream. I got a D at school so getting the C is perfect. I also did the Access to Nursing course alongside the GCSE and it was really tough!

“Before studying I was a private nanny. I’ve wanted to do this for such a long time and now the children I cared for are older and moving on, I realised that the time was right.

“I’m delighted with this result and I start my nursing degree at Staffordshire University in September. I’ve moved up to Stafford to live there and the degree will take three years. It will be 50% placement in the community and a hospital and 50% study – it really is a total life change.”

Darren Straw, 51, from Mansfield

For 51-year-old funeral director Darren Straw, giving up his job to study his GCSEs was a big decision – but one which has been worth it.

Today he has discovered he has B grades in English, maths and science (covering physics, chemistry and biology). This means he’s now on the path to his ideal job – to be a theatre nurse.

Darren said: “I’ve always been interested in nursing and first aid, and once I hit 50 I just started to think that it was a job I’d really like to do and if I didn’t look into it now, I never would.

“I’ve been a funeral director for the last ten years so it really is a big career change. I wasn’t very academic at school and it wasn’t until later in life I realised how much harder I should have worked.

“I gave up my job to concentrate on the exams full-time and although it’s been hard work and I wasn’t sure at first whether I’d enjoy it, it’s really paid off. I was probably older than some of the teachers and became quite a father figure in class but I’ve really enjoyed my time at college.

“I’m enrolling on the Access to Nursing course next and then I can go to university to do the operating practitioner course. I’m so glad I took the leap!”

Danny Marriott, 25, from Sutton-in-Ashfield

Danny’s relief at opening his results was obvious as he jumped on the spot! He secured B grades in English and maths.

The 25-year-old teaching assistant has always loved working with children and these grades mean he can now pursue his wish to be a teacher.

Danny, who works at Forest Town’s Newlands School, said: “I can’t tell you how happy I am. I left school not really knowing what to do. I have loved working with children and can clearly see I want to teach now. I am on a mission!

“I got C grades at school, but as that was more than five years ago, I needed to re-study. It was hard work fitting both coursework, revision and work in my schedule but I proved I can do it. I’m looking forward to enrolling on the Foundation Degree in Children’s and Young People’s Services at college this year.”

When five classmates all opened their results envelopes together and broke into screams, everyone looked their way and shared their joy! Three of the students, Martin, Victoria, and Shaun spoke of their pride.

Martin Sebesta, 34, from Market Warsop

English is not Martin’s first language. Originally from Slovakia, Martin moved to the UK seven years ago.

He has studied some ESOL classes at the college in the past to get to grips with his language skills.

Martin said: “Last year I decided I’d like to study the GCSE in English. Even though I’ve got a good grasp of the language, I wanted to improve and show people who believe in me that I could do even better. I’m really pleased with my C grade.

“I’m in the process of setting up my own business in home décor and artificial flowers so I’m really looking forward to success with this.”

Victoria Robinson, 34, from Mansfield

Victoria said: “I didn’t continue with my education from the age of 13 so I knew I needed English and maths.

“I came back to education last year and got D grades in English and maths and I’m so happy that I’ve now got C grades.  I’ve got a job as a community care worker and I’ve always enjoyed the care environment so hope that I can continue my studies and go into nursing.

“It’s been good to open my results with friends – we all thought we’d get D grades so we were elated when we did better than expected.”

Shaun Tindall, 34, from Mansfield

After opening his English results, Shaun was shaking so much!

He said: “Eighteen years after getting a U grade at school I’ve finally got a B! I’m so, so happy.

“I want to go on to study a higher education programme so next year I’ll do GCSE maths and then I want to go to university.

“I work as a support worker with adults with learning difficulties and want to be a social worker. I have a five-year plan in my head and year one has been a success.

“I’m Mansfield born and bred and I’ve been all over the world and always come back here. I am just so absolutely pleased and can’t stop shaking!”

Anybody interested in taking GCSEs at the college should call 0808 100 3626.

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Best college for A Levels value added* in the East Midlands

£50m investment in our facilities since 2008

In the top 10% of all providers nationally for apprenticeships

Second for vocational value added* in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire

90% of students move into a positive destination

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