A winning West Nottinghamshire College computing student joined the UK’s top learners at a special awards ceremony in Manchester last week.
IT student Jack Wood, 20, was put forward for the British Education Awards by computer science curriculum manager Trudi Dean for being a simply outstanding learner, despite having a range of issues to contend with.
Jack’s journey in education got off to a difficult start as he contended with diagnoses of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Tourette’s and OCD.  Jack has defied expectations to excel in computer science and flourished as IT technician within the college where he volunteered over 210 hours and was invited to undertake paid work.  Jack achieved triple distinction for his BTEC Extended Diploma in IT and won an award for ‘Dedication to Progression in Education’.  He is now studying HNC Computing.
He joined seventy-six finalists who travelled across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to attend the British Education Awards finals, on Thursday (31 January) and mingled with celebrities, educators and politicians at the iconic Beetham Tower, at Hilton Manchester Deansgate.
Twenty winners were presented with a trophy by an array of politicians, leading education professionals and celebrities from the world of television and sport.
Jack was one of just five nominees to receive a Special Achievement award. These awards pay special tribute to students who have overcome a range of particularly difficult circumstances and personal challenges during their education, making their accomplishments all the more remarkable.
West Notts hairdressing student turned member of staff, Karen Albrighton, narrowly missed winning an award but was delighted to have reached the finals.
Curriculum manager Trudi Dean said: “Since starting his Level 2 IT Technician course Jack has absolutely flourished and his skills as technician have developed well beyond expectation. He always works above and beyond what is expected of him and this is reflected in the distinction grades he has consistently achieved.
“Jack is now working as a technician in the computer science department while studying for a HNC in Computing. The whole team are thrilled to see his achievements recognised with the BEA Award.”
Jack said: “I would never imagine winning an award from a nation-wide event and I’m so happy to win. My journey through education has been a tough one, but this proves that I’ve overcome the barriers and made me what I am today.”
At BEA 2019 all finalists had demonstrated an extremely high level of discipline in order to achieve top grades, and this was further highlighted when taken in context with their extensive extracurricular responsibilities. These ranged from membership of the Girl Guides and RAF Cadets and volunteering within the community, to participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, entering national and international competitions, and numerous drama, music and sporting commitments.
Around 400 guests gathered for the red carpet gala event and enjoyed a three-course dinner and entertainment. The awards were co-hosted by BBC television and radio presenter Kevin Fitzpatrick, and Professor Basma Ellahi, who is an expert in public health and nutrition from the University of Chester.

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