West Notts College has a regional and national reputation for success on its vocational programmes and apprenticeships – which is to be expected for a recognised leader in further education (FE).
But not everyone would necessarily link the college with outstanding A-level success – and yet this is arguably the most successful area of all.
The college has the best A-level performance of any FE college in the East Midlands, and is fourth-highest in England and Wales out of over 200 providers for ‘value-added’, which measures the progress students have made between taking GCSEs and sitting their A-level exams.
We’re also the second-highest performer among all providers across Mansfield and Ashfield, including local sixth-forms, based on 2014/2015 results.
This year has brought even better results, with a 99 per cent overall pass rate and more than 40 per cent of all students getting A* to B grades.
We’ve seen excellent performance by our first-year students, which sets them up for their final year of study and progression to higher education.
The cornerstone of our success in recent years is that A-level students have their own study facilities in a distinct area of the Derby Road campus, with exclusive use of purpose-built classrooms and laboratories. They are taught by specialist tutors with a track record of excellence in their subject area, and are supported by achievement coaches who are experts in helping students study for multiple qualifications and get ready for exams.
A-levels students also successfully complete an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) on a subject of their own choice, which is often linked to their intended university course or career – helping them develop valuable skills for higher-level academia and employment.
While enjoying the inclusive learning environment of our dedicated sixth-form centre alongside their fellow academics, A-level students also have the benefit of being part of the wider college community.
They regularly take advantage of our excellent sports facilities and clubs, which includes access to our academy of sport for those who are particularly good at football, basketball and delivering physical activities.
They can do work experience and volunteering – key activities for those applying for university – and can get involved in fundraising and enterprise activities that will enrich their personal statement or CV; helping them prepare for that all-important interview. No wonder so many of our students have the confidence to apply for courses at prestigious universities across the country – and routinely secure their place.
For those wanting to progress to higher education closer to home, our soon-to- open Vision University Centre will bring an increasing portfolio of courses that covers all main areas of study.
We’re extremely proud to be one of the leading A-level institutions in the region – and prouder still of our role in preparing young people for the next step on their journey towards further study or the world of work.