Adult students do well in GCSEs at West Notts College

West Notts College student mother-of-four Racheal Bailey gained a grade 6 in English, 4 in maths and B in science in her GCSEs.
West Notts College student mother-of-four Racheal Bailey gained a grade 6 in English, 4 in maths and B in science in her GCSEs.

Adult learners put in a strong GCSE performance at West Notts College.

West Nottinghamshire College has today (Thursday 24 August, 2017) announced a GCSE overall pass rate of 92.4 per cent.

There were 1,167 students who sat GCSEs at the college this year - an increase of 453 from the previous year, due to the government’s requirement for students aged 16-18 without grades C or above in English and maths (grade 4 under the new system) to continue to study these subjects post-16.

A total of 1,523 GCSE exams were sat this summer - an increase of 733 from the year before - across the college’s three subjects, producing a 94.7 per cent pass rate in science, 92.5 per cent in maths, and 92.3 per cent in English.

The college also has many adult learners who return to education to gain GCSEs they missed out on at school - often so they can progress to further study or re-train for a new career that requires core qualifications.

Of students aged 19 and above, A*-C (9-4) passes were achieved by 68.8 per cent of students in science, 63.2 per cent in English and 59.7 per cent in maths. A*-B passes in science were recorded by 50 per cent of students aged 19 and above.

English and maths were examined under the government’s new GCSE grading system being phased-in by 2019. These subjects are now graded numerically, from 9-1, instead of the A*-G letter system. Grade 9 is the highest that can be achieved under the new system, set above the current A*. Grade 4 is a ‘standard pass’ and broadly equivalent to a grade C, while grade 5 is considered a ‘strong pass’.

Principal and chief executive Dame Asha Khemka said: “We’ve seen another big increase in the number of 16 to 18-year-olds re-taking GCSE English or maths alongside their main programme of study, while we continue to see many adult learners attending evening classes to improve on their grades from school. In both cases, it requires considerable dedication and commitment.

“Regardless of each student’s circumstances, gaining GCSE passes in core subjects remains a hugely-important milestone in their lives. GCSEs are a vital platform to higher-level academic or vocational study, and opens the door to new and exciting career opportunities.

“My congratulations to all students on their achievements, and sincere thanks to the teaching staff that have supported them along the way.”

Mother-of-four Racheal Bailey managed to combine studying three GCSE subjects while raising her children, whose ages range between eight and three.

The 25-year-old, from Mansfield Woodhouse, was “totally thrilled” to achieve a grade 6 in English, 4 in maths and a grade B in science.

She said: “Life is busy with four young ones aged eight, six, five and three, but I’ve succeeded in studying my GCSEs and coming out with good grades. I first did my GCSEs in 2008 and achieved four Cs grades but knew I needed better, as my ambition is to become a doctor.”

Another student who did better than she anticipated was Jeanette Holloway, who achieved a grade 5 in maths - the equivalent of a strong C grade pass.

The 44-year-old from Ollerton, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with a grade 5 as I didn’t even expect to get a 4. I decided to return to studying because all the job adverts you see these days expect you to have GCSEs in maths and English so I thought it was worth doing.

Thirty-year-old Yulia Sharp is originally from Russia, which is where she gained her business degree. Because the degree isn’t recognised in the UK, she studied GCSE in maths and English at the college in order to progress to higher education.

Yulia, who now lives in Mansfield, was overjoyed at gaining a grade 8 in maths - equivalent to a strong grade A - and a grade 6 in English, equal to a strong B.

Clifford White, 44, from Hucknall, opened his exam results with a broad smile, as getting grade 4s in maths and English means he can progress to further studies at the college.

Kate Upton, 19, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, studied GCSE maths and English alongside the BTEC diploma in health and social care at the college.

Opening her results envelope, Kate was thrilled to discover she had achieved a grade 5 in maths and a grade 4 in English.