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Students celebrate A-Level and vocational exam results

Students celebrate A-Level and vocational exam results

There were celebrations at West Nottinghamshire College today (Thursday 17 August 2023) as students collected their A-Level and vocational exam results – with the ‘class of 2023’ achieving the grades to progress to university, an apprenticeship or employment.

There were 415 A-Level exam entries at the college this year (2022/23) by 176 students, while a further 437 students received the results of external exams and assessments on Level 3 City & Guilds Technical and Level 3 BTEC National courses.

Principal and chief executive Andrew Cropley said: “Many congratulations to our students who have received their A-Level and level 3 technical and vocational course results today after two years of dedicated study and hard work.

“The vast majority of these students had their secondary school education significantly disrupted by the pandemic and most were taking formal exams for the very first time. On top of this, many have been forced by the cost-of-living crisis to undertake substantial paid work alongside their studies in order to support their families.

“This makes their results all the more commendable and I wish them all every success for the future, whether that takes them on to higher education, an apprenticeship or into employment.

“Of course, these students won’t just be leaving with their qualifications; they have developed a wide range of technical and transferable skills, which I hope will make them excellent employees, ready to move into productive careers.

“I’m sure all of our students join me in celebrating the contribution made by our teachers and support teams, whose skill, dedication and creativity has been unwavering. Staff have shown great judgement in understanding the challenges our students face, whilst giving them the encouragement and motivation to do their very best.”

Students celebrated their results and outlined their future plans after studying at the college.

Gurikbal Chandra (known as Singh) was modestly proud upon gaining two A* grades, in sociology and criminology, and a B grade in media in his A-Levels.

Sing, 18, from Newstead, said: “I’m fortunate that I am able to go on to work in my dad’s motor mechanical business after college, so getting these grades probably won’t change my life goals, but it’s a good day and I am most definitely proud.”

Before pursuing his future career, Singh plans to enrol on the college’s mechanical engineering course to give him the industry skills and knowledge he will need when entering the family business.

He said: “I could go to university but the mechanical engineering qualification is the route in to working with my dad. I may choose university after that.”

Sing’s father is planning to buy garages in Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Birmingham, providing MOTs and car repairs – and this will see Singh move to the West Midlands to work alongside him.

He added: “For me, it’s about what will bring me financial success. I am quite ambitious in that way. So I’ll be moving to Birmingham in the near future and get the experience in the family business and I could top that up with a university qualification in the future.”

Singh insisted he had enjoyed his time at college and the subjects he had studied.

“College life has been pretty good for me,” he said. “The Chesterfield Road campus is really traditional and calm and the teachers are the best.”

The mood of A-Level student Zoe Palermo changed from nervousness to jubilation upon opening her exam results envelope – which revealed an A* in sociology, B in English and B in criminology.

Zoe, from Ollerton said: “It was such a shock as I really didn’t think I would do this well. I’ve been so worried and came to open my results on my own in case I’d not done very well, but I’m so happy now.”

The 18-year-old is Lincoln-bound as she will be off to Bishop Grosseteste University to study English language with hopes of travelling the world.

“I really want to travel and teach abroad – that’s my end goal. I’ve never really travelled yet so I’m looking forward to doing this,” she said.

Zoe explained how she’s balanced her time at college with a part-time job to help support her life and studies.

She said: “I got a job just after starting my A-Levels, working as a housekeeper in a hotel near Tuxford. I would work early mornings, around eight hours a week, and that gave me the rest of the day to study and catch-up with revision too.

“I’ve managed my time well. I wasn’t sure whether to do my A-Levels at first or just get a job, but coming to college was definitely the right move for me.”

Zoe was impressed with the sixth-form centre where the college’s A-Levels are delivered, adding: “It’s quieter and less busy than the main campus, which has helped me to concentrate, and everyone has been so helpful. The teachers have always given me such great advice.”

Friends and classmates Oliver Wigglesworth and Mille Smith celebrated the exam results from their studies on the Level 3 Advanced Extended Diploma in Animal Care course.

Oliver, 20, achieved two distinctions and one merit, while Millie, 18, gained one distinction and two merits.

They are both heading to Nottingham Trent University, their first-choice institution, with Oliver set to study a degree in zoo biology while Millie will study a foundation degree in veterinary nursing.

Oliver, from Warsop, said: “I feel really good because the grades are higher than I needed to get into university. I always aim for distinctions so I’m very happy with my results.

“It was really stressful waiting for them but once I opened the envelope, it was a euphoric feeling – like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

“I’m really looking forward to going to university. Studying zoo biology will open up so many doors.

“I could work in pharmaceuticals or laboratory work, and wouldn’t necessarily have to work with animals – I could have a career in cancer research or anything else I wanted. I’ll decide on my career choice during my three years at university and see what modules I enjoy the most.”

Millie, from Clipstone, said: “I am really happy because it’s enough to get me into my first-choice university. I needed a merit and two passes to get onto the course but I’ve actually exceeded those grades.

“It is exciting because I know it’s all confirmed now. I definitely want to be a veterinary nurse and university is the next step.”

Oliver and Millie’s friendship is set to continue, with both due to study at NTU’s Brackenhurst Campus – a working farm offering a dedicated veterinary nursing centre, animal unit and food laboratory. They are also looking forward to living in student accommodation.

Mille said: “It is exciting because it’s a new start, although nerve-wracking at the same time, but it’ll be really good. I’ll be celebrating with my family and friends, probably with a couple of drinks and a takeaway.”

Oliver added: “I’m really excited and am looking forward to living away from home for the first time.

“I’ll be going into town with a friend later to celebrate and will have a meal with my family tonight or tomorrow.”

For 24-year-old James Thompson, achieving double distinction in the Advanced Diploma in IT has given him and all his family something to be proud of.

He said: “I was hoping to get a distinction and a merit but ended up with a double distinction, which is amazing based on my expectations! I’m hoping to go on to Nottingham Trent University, which I’m looking forward to.”

James, from Underwood, previously attended schools for people with special educational needs and disabilities including Portland College – and it was there he heard about West Nottinghamshire College. He initially joined a foundation course before enrolling on a computer science programme.

He said: “Coming from SEN provision into mainstream education has been a great experience. I’ve had great help throughout my studies and I’ve enjoyed the classwork as well as the industry visits, such as going to the arcade museum in Leeds.”

James is one of six siblings and his equally proud mum Glenis insisted his exam results were great news for him and the whole family.

Glenis said: “Once James found his love of computers and joined the course, that’s when he really took off – he found his niche. He will be the only one to attend university so we’re incredibly proud of how far he’s come.

“The support at West Notts College has been excellent – everyone has given James the confidence to go far in his studies. We’ll be coming back next week to collect his GCSE English results and I’m sure he’ll do equally well.”

A-Level student Billie-Jo Baxter said she “felt amazing” after achieving a grade C in business, C in psychology and E in maths.

The 18-year-old, from South Normanton, said: “It’s such a relief. I’ve been waiting all summer for this moment and it’s everything I could’ve hoped for. I’m so happy.”

Billie-Jo insisted the leap between GCSEs and A-Levels was “much harder than I expected”, adding: “On the surface, going from studying 10 subjects at GCSE to three at A-Level sounds so much easier but it wasn’t at all. So I’m extremely proud of how it has all worked out.”

On top of this, the teenager sat formal exams for the first-ever time this summer, due to her school exams being affected by the pandemic.

“At school, instead of doing GCSE exam papers in full, we sat 30-minute tests in the classroom with our teacher present. The experience was quite stunted and I wasn’t used to the formal setting of an exam hall.

“But I actually thrived in the exam setting this year – I work well under the stress of the silence and performed as well as I could have,” she said.

Since leaving college Billie-Jo has secured a full-time administration role in the transport department at Van Elle, a long-established civil engineering company in Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

“I absolutely love my job – it’s amazing,” said Billie-Jo. “It is exactly the type of role I wanted after I’d studied my A-Levels, so I’ve come out of this really smiling.

“I’m going to try and further my career and may study some additional courses. I may progress from administration to finance further down the line but it’s early days so I’ll work hard and see how it goes.

“I’ll probably go out for a meal with my family at the weekend to celebrate my exam results and maybe have a few drinks with friends.”

The thought of going to university for the next chapter in her life brought a smile to the face of Chloe Shepherd.

The 18-year-old A-Level student, from Chesterfield, got a clean sweep of C grades in criminology, sociology and her extended project qualification.

Chloe said: “I’m really pleased with my results. I really didn’t know what to expect – I kept saying to my mum ‘as long as I get into university, I’m not that bothered what my grades are’, so these C grades are absolutely fine for me.”

She is now off to her first-choice university, the University of Derby, to study sociology, which could lead to a range of career opportunities.

Chloe added: “I’m considering either going into teaching or police work. There’s quite a bit to choose from in terms of careers when you study sociology.

“I’ve spoken to a few friends this morning and they’re happy too that they’ve got into their first-choice universities.”

Chloe’s task for the rest of the day was to celebrate with her mum. She said: “I’ve been convincing mum to go to the pub with me later. I’d said it will be shots or coffee, depending on how my results went!”

West Nottinghamshire College offers one of the largest choices of A-Levels under one roof in Mansfield and Ashfield. Students on A-Level programmes study at its Mansfield and Ashfield Sixth-Form College, based at the Chesterfield Road campus. The building, in Mansfield town centre, features fully-equipped classrooms, science labs, IT suites, and social and supports areas to provide a dedicated sixth-form where students can achieve their full potential using state-of-the-art facilities, underpinned by high-quality teaching.

Vocational courses are delivered at the Derby Road campus, in Mansfield, and construction and engineering centres in Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield respectively. Each provides state-of-the-art, industry-standard facilities where students gain the skills for careers in their chosen sectors, taught by teachers with industry experience.

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

A-Level and vocational programme students celebrated together at the college's Derby Road campus image
A-Level and vocational programme students celebrated together at the college's Derby Road campus
Another memorable results day at West Nottinghamshire College image
Another memorable results day at West Nottinghamshire College
Singh Chandra scooped two A star grades and a B grade in his A-Levels image
Singh Chandra scooped two A star grades and a B grade in his A-Levels
Zoe Palermo's A star and two B grades have earned her a place at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln image
Zoe Palermo's A star and two B grades have earned her a place at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln
Animal care classmates Oliver Wigglesworth and Millie Smith celebrated their excellent grades together image
Animal care classmates Oliver Wigglesworth and Millie Smith celebrated their excellent grades together
Glenis Thompson was justifiably proud of her son James after his IT course success image
Glenis Thompson was justifiably proud of her son James after his IT course success
Billie-Jo Baxter will use her qualifications to further her career at Van Elle in Kirkby-in-Ashfield image
Billie-Jo Baxter will use her qualifications to further her career at Van Elle in Kirkby-in-Ashfield
Chloe Shepherd is off to the University of Derby to study sociology image
Chloe Shepherd is off to the University of Derby to study sociology