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The Corporation

Posted: 22/08/13

College toasts record GCSE pass rate

Staff and students at West Nottinghamshire College are once again celebrating record exam results.

Today (22 August 2013) is national GCSE results day and the college has recorded its best-ever overall pass rate of 100%.

It comes just a week after the college toasted its all-time highest A Level pass rate of 99.7%.

A total of 202 students sat GCSEs at the college this year (2012/13).  Results of the 205 exam entries include:

  •  An overall pass rate of 100% – up 0.6% on last year’s 99.4%;
  • 100% pass rates in all four GCSE subjects offered by the college – namely in English, maths, psychology and science – with science recording 100% for the seventh consecutive year;
  • English saw a 2% increase (up from last year’s 98%), completing the clean sweep of perfect pass rates.

Deputy principal Patricia Harman said: “Once again our GCSE students have excelled themselves. The majority are adults that need to improve on a particular grade from school in order to go on to further study and pursue a new career.

“Regardless of their circumstances, getting the grade they missed out on first time around can be truly life-changing.

“Furthermore, to achieve record pass rates for GCSEs and A-Levels in the same year is a marvellous achievement by the college and one that students and staff can feel justifiably proud of.”

There were tears of joy when adult learner Natalie Carney opened her results envelope to reveal GCSE passes in maths and science.

Gaining the C grades she needed in both subjects takes Natalie, from Mansfield, one step closer to achieving her dream of becoming a nurse.

It marked the end of a long struggle for Natalie, who was forced to abandon her GCSE studies at West Nottinghamshire College first time around to bravely fight cervical cancer.

She had courageously tried to continue with her night classes after being diagnosed with the disease in February 2012, aged just 22.

But the trauma of her shock diagnosis and the prospect of several months of gruelling treatment left Natalie feeling she had little choice but to quit college before sitting her final exams.

“I’d already decided to drop science and re-take it the following year. Then I discovered I was due to have a day-long chemotherapy session on the day of my final maths exam – so I wouldn’t have even been able to sit that one,” said Natalie, now 24, a former pupil at  All Saints’ Catholic School, Mansfield.

Natalie resumed her studies in September 2012 having finished her treatment, which included a hysterectomy and enduring painful chemotherapy and radiotherapy, in July.

“Returning to college was daunting because I’d shut myself off from people and was worried about mixing with people who didn’t understand what I’d been through,” explained Natalie, who had previously studied the BTEC National Diploma in Travel and Tourism at West Notts from 2006-2008.

“But my tutors, Ralph Ainsworth and Claire Kawamoto, were really supportive and my classmates helped me begin socialising again and get back to a normal life.”

In January this year, Natalie finally got the news she was praying for when she was given the all-clear, describing it as “the best news ever.”

She said: “I was so relieved. I couldn’t stop crying for days.”

Now, after finally passing her maths and science, Natalie is returning to the college in September to study GCSE English at evening classes, following her day job as an inbound booking agent at the Annesley-based HQ of automotive retailer Pendragon Plc.

Natalie, who has led calls for the cervical screening age to be reduced from 25 to 20, aims to then progress onto the college’s Access to Nursing course the following year, having already been told she had secured a place subject to passing her GCSE maths and science.

It means the former air hostess’s long-held ambitions of starting a new career in nursing are now firmly in her sights.

She said: “Nursing really appeals because I like to help people. I feel it’s something I’d be good at – especially after everything I’ve been through. I received the best treatment possible and I’d like to ensure other people have the same care. My illness has definitely spurred me on to do it even more.

“Having to leave college first time around and starting my studies again hasn’t put a stop to my plans – it’s just taken a bit longer, that’s all. It’s been a long journey to get here but I’m one step closer to a career in nursing. 

“Above all, I’ve got a positive future again which, a year ago, I didn’t feel I had.”

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