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Another great year of GCSE success at college

Posted: 21 August 2014

Students and staff at West Nottinghamshire College are toasting further exam success.

Damon Ince celebrates his GCSE results
Damon Ince celebrates his GCSE results

That’s because the college has today (21 August 2014) recorded an overall GCSE pass rate of 99% – just a week after announcing a 99.2% pass rate for A Levels.

A total of 351 students studied GCSEs at the college this year (2013/14) – an increase of 137 students on last year, following the Government’s requirement for students without A*-C grades in English or maths to continue to study these subjects post-16.

Results of its 405 exam entries include:

• An overall pass rate of 99%;
• 100% pass rates in two out of the three GCSE subjects offered by the college – in English and science – with science recording a perfect pass rate for the eighth consecutive year;
• 98% pass rate in maths.

Deputy principal Patricia Harman said: “We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of students aged 16-18 re-taking GCSEs this year due to the Government’s reforms, which require those that don’t achieve A*-C in English and maths to continue studying these subjects.

“The majority of students have studied alongside their main vocational course while others are adults who have studied at evening class to achieve a qualification they missed out on at school.

“For some adults, it is the first time they’ve studied in many years and some have combined this with working during the day, which requires a considerable amount of dedication.

“Whatever each student’s individual circumstances are, gaining a good GCSE represents a major achievement and serves as a vital stepping stone to higher-level qualifications or an exciting new career.”

Adult learner Damon Ince was delighted to gain the grades that take him a step closer to achieving his ambition of becoming a primary school teacher.

His B grades in English and science, and C in maths, means he can progress on to the Foundation Degree in Children’s and Young People’s Services at the college in September.

The 33-year-old, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, admits he under-achieved at school, which led to him “drifting” into a variety of jobs including supermarket grocery assistant, barman, pet shop sales assistant and labourer at a quarry.

When he turned 25, Damon realised he wanted to change things.

“My initial thought was a career in the fire service but after speaking to my mum, who works as a teaching assistant, she convinced me to quit my job and pursue something better suited to my mind-set. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a teacher,” he said.

Spurred on by this new-found ambition, Damon enrolled on to the NVQ Level 3 in Children’s Care, Learning and Development at the college.

While studying the course, he secured a job as a teaching assistant at the same school that his mum, Trish, works at; the former New Rose Primary School – now called Rosebrook Primary School – in Mansfield.

Last year, Damon decided to re-take his GCSE English, maths and science to improve on his grades from school and move forward with his career plans.

Now, after getting the GCSEs he needs, Damon can look forward to combining his higher-level studies with his newly-secured teaching assistant role at the soon-to-open Hucknall Beardall Fields Primary School.

Damon said: “Leaving school all those years ago with low grades left me feeling quite down about myself. But getting these results today has totally lifted that dark cloud that’s hung over me for the last 16 years.

“I’ve worked really hard over the last year, studying three evenings a week at college. I would have been happy with three C grades so I’m delighted I’ve done even better than anticipated.

“It means the start of a whole new chapter in my life, as today I’ll be enrolling on the foundation degree which starts in September. I feel like I’ve got a foot on the ladder to where I want to be in the future.” 

Anybody interested in taking GCSEs at West Nottinghamshire College should call 0808 100 3626.

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Why choose West Notts?

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

*Value added is a measure of a student’s progress against their starting point
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