Students at West Nottinghamshire College have been congratulated on achieving the grades to progress to university, an apprenticeship or employment after collecting their A-Level and vocational results today (Thursday 18 August 2022).

This year saw the return of formal exams and assessments following two years of cancellations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which, for many students, meant this was their first experience of sitting an exam. Students also adjusted to the return to on-campus study after periods of learning remotely during the various lockdowns.

The college has announced an overall pass rate of 96.2% for A-Levels. There were 370 A-Level exam entries at the college this year (2021/22) by 150 students. Highlights included:

·         100% pass rates in 11 out of 16 subjects, with English language recording a perfect pass rate for the 17th consecutive year;

·         ‘High grades’ at A*-B saw a 2% increase from 2019 – the last time students sat formal exams – rising to 28.5%;

·         59% of grades were at A*-C;

·         Almost two-thirds (63.6%) of students who took the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) achieved A*-B, representing an increase of 4.8% on last year’s figure.

Results for more than 700 vocational and technical qualifications were also released today, including BTEC Nationals, OCR Technicals and City & Guilds Technicals.

Principal and chief executive Andrew Cropley paid tribute to the ‘class of 2022’ for their resilience and determination to come through two difficult years of study and achieve the grades they had worked so hard for.

He said: “I’m so proud of all our students who have received their results today. Most of our A-Level students had never sat a formal exam before so I’m especially delighted for those who have achieved the grades they needed to take up places at their chosen university.  

“They overcame a turbulent beginning to their A-Level studies due to the pandemic and have worked really hard to catch-up on the lost learning from their time at school.

“The same can be said of our many students who have succeeded today on their apprenticeships and vocational or technical courses. Their early time at college was disrupted hugely by the pandemic and in particular their ability to access practical facilities, which restricted their learning in their first year of study.

“For all of our students, the resilience they have shown and their determination to do their best will stand them in good stead for the futures that they will now move on to, whether that’s higher education, apprenticeships or full-time employment. I wish every one of them success, wherever that future takes them.

“Of course, none of these students would have achieved their results today without the fantastic contribution of our teachers and support teams. They have been endlessly resourceful, flexible and dedicated to ensuring our students not only achieved the best-possible grades but are also well prepared for the next stage of their career.”

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

Massa Horsepool, 18, from Shirebrook, shed tears of joy and received a big hug from her boyfriend, Blade, upon gaining an A grade in the advanced diploma in criminology, a C in law and a C in psychology.

She said: “I’ve always been interested in law and legislation and I feel like I want to do something good and worthwhile, so I’m off to the University of Nottingham to study law.”

Massa grew up in care from the age of nine and left when she was 14. Since turning 18 she has lived on her own and supported herself in full-time employment, working at Taco Bell whilst studying.

Massa Horsepool and boyfriend Blade were thrilled with her A grade in the advanced diploma in criminology, a C in law and a C in psychology.

She added: “I had a little trouble with family in the past but it’s all good now. I’m in touch with some family members and will share this great news with them.

“It’s been very stressful at college at times because you know you really need to get those grades to get on in life. Working full-time and running my own home can also be stressful – but I did it!”

Boyfriend Blade joined her in the tears of joy, saying: “I am so proud of Massa. She’s amazing.”

Taking a break from college for mental health reasons gave Nate Dawson the space he needed for success, as he opened his A-Level results today. These revealed an A in history, an A in English language and a B in English literature.

Nate Dawson will be studying history at the University of York following his A grade in history, A grade in English language and B in English literature.

The 20-year-old, from Forest Town, Mansfield, said: “I’m so happy with these results. This means I can now study history at the University of York. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for such a long time.

“Coming back to college after the break I needed was wonderful as it meant I got to have another go and it’s been such a supportive environment. I got back on track and I made it! All of my tutors have been really fantastic.

“I’ve told my mum my results and texted my brother and dad and they’re delighted.”

Nate hopes to eventually work in the heritage sector saying “it’s such an exciting, interesting and varied industry.”

A very surprised but equally happy Rebecca Heath discovered that her A* in film studies, A in media and B in English literature were the grades that will take her to the University of Lincoln.

Rebecca Heath is off to the University of Lincoln to study English literature and creative writing after achieving an A* in film studies, an A in media and a B in English literature.

The 18-year-old, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, said: “I’m actually quite surprised with my grades as I expected to get lower than these, so I’ve totally surprised myself.

“It felt quite different to sit an exam as I didn’t sit them at GCSE due to the pandemic, so this was a first.

“I’m so happy though, as now I’ll be off to university to study English literature and creative writing, which is really exciting.

“I’ve loved my time at West Notts College, as I’ve grown in confidence and it really helped me to focus, both academically and socially. Now I’ll be going to the same university as my girlfriend, on the very same course, so it’s great news.”

A quietly confident and modest Mackenzie Andrews achieved a clean sweep of triple A grades in business, history and politics.

Mackenzie Andrews was modestly thrilled to achieve triple A grades in business, politics and history as he embarks on a degree in history at the University of Manchester.

The 18-year-old, from Mansfield, said: “I’ve done so much better than I thought I would. It was a bit weird doing the exams as I’d never sat one before, but all went well. I’ve enjoyed college on the whole and I’ll be off to the University of Manchester to study history.

“I’m not sure where it will lead, but I’m open to new ideas as I progress.”

A degree in psychology at the University of Sheffield beckons for 19-year-old Lydia Cullerne-Bown, who gained an A* in her extended project qualification (EPQ), an A in psychology, an A in sociology and a B in the advanced diploma in criminology.

Lydia Cullerne-Bown scooped an impressive A* in her extended project qualification, an A in psychology, an A in sociology and a B in the advanced diploma in criminology.

She said: “I’m really happy. College has been so interesting for me as I’ve had more opportunities to become independent and get that passion for learning. I’ve discovered how to take on my own learning schedule responsibly.

“My A* in the EPQ is great. I based these studies on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and its impact on criminality. This study incorporated all of my subject interests. My dream would be to study a masters in neuroscience.”

Unlike some students, exams weren’t a completely new experience for Lydia. She added: “I sat some of my GCSEs the year before Covid-19, but I missed out on some others, so exams weren’t totally new to me and I wasn’t as nervous as some people were.”

Connor Baugh, 19, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, was delighted to achieve an A* in history, an A in politics and a B in geography.

Connor Baugh has got into his “dream university” – the University of Manchester – to study law after scooping an A* in history, an A in politics and a B in geography.

He said: “I’m over the moon. These grades are significantly better than I was expecting. I genuinely thought I was going to fail so to find out I’ve got into my dream university is amazing.

“I’ll be going to the University of Manchester to study law. I’d never pictured myself being able to get into such a prestigious university – it’s unbelievable.

“I’ve been absent from the college on occasions due to mental health reasons so I’ve had to continuously persevere. Thankfully, the student welfare team and teachers pushed me to do my best and to put in that consistent effort. If it wasn’t for the college, I wouldn’t have been able to do that.”

Connor began his studies during the pandemic, when students spent their first year studying both online at home and face-to-face in college, before returning to full-time on-campus study in their second year.

He said: “I thought this was going to have a major impact on my grades but actually having that face-to-face learning was a massive help. If it wasn’t for that, I genuinely believe I may not have got these grades. It was still a roller coaster though!”

The teenager outlined his ambitious career plans. 

“I want to go into something like constitutional law, something political. The end goal is to work for a humanitarian organisation like the United Nations or the British Red Cross, maybe as a legal adviser. But in order to do that, I need to be considered a master within my field” said Connor. 

“Now I’ve seen my results, I feel a lot more confident about the future.”

Gaining an A in history, an A in psychology and a B in English language means Evie Skidmore is off to the University of York to study history.

Evie Skidmore achieved A grades in psychology and history and a B in English language and is off to the University of York to study history.

The 18-year-old, from South Normanton, said: “These were the first exams I’ve ever done, which was a bit nerve-wracking because I didn’t know what to expect. But once you’ve done a few, you get used to them. Sitting mock exams also helped.

“I’m so happy I’ve got into my first-choice university. While it would have been nice to get three A grades, it doesn’t really matter because I’ve still secured my place.

“I’m excited to be going to university, although it also feels a little scary. But I’m looking forward to having more freedom and studying a subject I’m really interested in. I’ll be expected to study abroad in my third year – I quite fancy Canada – so there’s a lot to look forward to.”

Millie Jenvey, 19, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, declared herself “relieved” after her results envelope revealed an A in film studies, a B in media studies and a distinction* in the advanced subsidiary diploma in creative music industry.  

Millie Jenvey achieved a distinction* in the advanced diploma in creative music industry along with an A grade in film studies and a B in media studies.

She said: “I feel relieved, especially with the disruption from Covid over the last few years. It’s a big sense of relief to finally get the grades and know that I’m off to Nottingham Trent University to study a degree in animation.

“My career goal is to work in animation, maybe storyboarding or anything film-related – basically something creative.”

Millie previously studied a performing arts course at West Notts before doing her A-Levels, gaining a foundation diploma in musical theatre following a year of study that was interrupted by Covid lockdowns.

“It was unusual transferring to A-Levels because I was technically starting again and my friends on my old course had all moved into their second year, but I still made friends on my new subjects,” she said. 

“I’m so excited for the future. I’ll be studying something that I’ve been interested in for such a long time.”

Lucy Ward, from Mansfield, achieved a trio of distinction * grades in her advanced extended diploma in sport and exercise science course, doing much better than she expected. 

Lucy Ward achieved a clean sweep of distinction* grades in her extended diploma in sport and exercise science and is off to the University of Reading to study psychology.

The 18-year-old is going to the University of Reading to study psychology. After university Lucy wants to study a masters and then work in forensic psychology. 

Oliver Hawke, 18, from Mansfield Woodhouse, and Katie Smith, also 18, from Rainworth, celebrated results for their level 3 electrical qualification, with Oliver gaining a pass and Katie a merit. Both are moving on to an apprenticeship with local employers. 

Computer science students Sam Gray, 18, from Mansfield, and Alex Coupe, 19, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, celebrated passing the first year of their course. Both will return to the college next month to complete their level 3 qualification – the advanced extended certificate in IT.

Sam is looking to enter employment once he finishes college, while Alex is currently considering university. 

Anna Shevlin, 18, from Shirebrook, Mansfield, achieved a triple distinction in her advanced extended diploma in sport and exercise science, exceeding her own expectations. Anna is moving on to Leeds Beckett University to study sports therapy. She eventually wants to join the NHS, working with amputees as a sports therapist. 

Anna Shevlin achieved a triple distinction in the advanced extended diploma in sport and exercise science and is off to Leeds Beckett University to study sports therapy.

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 new 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.

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

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