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The Corporation

Posted: 25/08/11

College celebrates GCSE and A-Level 99% pass rate double

Students and staff at West Notts are again celebrating record exam results.

That’s because the college has today (25 August 2011) announced its highest-ever GCSE pass rate of 99% – up from the 96% achieved last year.

It comes just a week after the college recorded its all-time highest A-Level pass rate – also 99%.

A total of 136 students sat GCSEs at the college in 2010/11, which saw 174 exam entries. 

Results include:

  • An overall pass rate of 99% – up 3% on the previous year (2009/10);
  • 100% pass rates in three out of five GCSE subjects offered at the college – namely in psychology, science and sociology;
  • A 98% pass rate in maths – up 8% on last year;
  • The percentage of high grades (A*-C) across all subjects, including English and maths, has risen to 65% – a 10% increase on last year;
  • Perfect pass rates in science and sociology for the fifth consecutive year.

Principal and chief executive Asha Khemka OBE said:  “These are fantastic results and reflect the hard work our students have devoted to their studies and the tireless support of their tutors.

“Our GCSE students include adults that need to gain a specific qualification to improve their career prospects, and students returning to college after missing out on the grades they wanted at school.

“GCSEs are a vital stepping stone to higher-level qualifications and open up new career opportunities.  Whatever their reasons for studying, our students can feel justifiably proud of themselves and confident they can now progress on to further study or pursue their career goals.

“To achieve 99% pass rates for A-Levels and GCSEs in the same year is a marvellous achievement by the college and cements our reputation for both academic and vocational excellence.”

Opening their results envelope proved a life-changing moment for many students.

Not least for mother-of-two Pam Donohoe, 35, who was celebrating after finally passing her GCSE maths – at the 23rd attempt!

Pam, who failed the subject at school, went on to miss out a further 21 times while re-sitting it at her local college in Sheffield.

But after moving to Mansfield, Pam enrolled at West Notts, where she sailed through the subject – gaining a grade C at the first time of asking.

“Maths was the only GCSE that I hadn’t got and I was determined not to be beaten," she insisted.

“My tutors, Geraldine and Helen, were fantastic.  They made maths easy and gave me lots of help – even teaching me on their lunch breaks.

“When I realised I’d passed I was really shocked but it’s finally starting to sink in.  I can’t believe I don’t need to study maths ever again!”

Pam studied the subject alongside the Access the Nursing course at West Notts, which she also recently passed, achieving the Diploma.

She is now set to start work as a student nurse at King’s Mill Hospital, Sutton-in-Ashfield, in January 2012 – and hopes to fulfil her ambition of becoming a fully-qualified nurse. 

“I feel absolutely ecstatic,” said Pam. “And I can’t wait to start my new career.”

GCSE results day was also a definining moment for Richard Corcoran, 31, from Church Warsop, Mansfield

That's because the former police officer needed to gain a GCSE in English Language in order to pursue a new career in medicine.

Now, after passing with a grade A, Richard is looking forward to starting the Access to Medicine course at Stafford College in September.

After that, determined Richard wants to study a degree in medicine – something he hopes leads to a career as a doctor.

“I’m chuffed to bits with my A grade,” said Richard, who opened his results envelope with his mum, Jennifer.

“I really put the work into my studies and had an excellent tutor, Rob. I couldn’t have done it without him.

“I’ve now got lots of further study ahead of me but hopefully in six years’ time I’ll be a doctor, which is my dream.”

Teaching assistant Tom Stone, from Mansfield, was delighted with his grade B in science.

It means the 25-year-old, who harbours hopes of becoming a primary teacher, can now turn his attentions to higher education.

“I left school with quite poor GCSEs so over the years I’ve come to West Notts to re-sit various subjects.  I’ve since passed my maths and English so just needed science to complete the set.

“I’ve already got an NVQ Level 3 in children’s care, learning and development, so now I’d like to progress to higher education.

“I’d like to become a primary teacher – and this finally puts me on the way to fulfilling my ambitions,” said Tom, who works at Newlands Junior School in Forest Town, Mansfield.

Hollie Weatherson, 26, and Heidi Slack, 21, met during their studies at West Notts and have become firm friends.  They will both be going to Nottingham Trent University in September to study teaching.

Hollie, from Newark, said: “I am really happy with my C grade in maths as I got a D when I was at school.

“I’d been working for EoN as a manager and was getting lots of stress and no enjoyment so I’ve just done the access to education course to start me on the road to primary school teaching.  I know it’s going to be far more rewarding to work with children.”

Heidi, from Mansfield, said: “I needed my science GCSE to get into a career in teaching so I’m delighted I’ve got a B!  Hollie has been a great support all year, helping me overcome my nerves.  She very kindly opened my results envelope today as I was just too anxious.

“I can’t wait to go to university and it will be great to still see Hollie as we’ll be studying in the same building.”

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