A week for celebrations

“Last week, we hosted a magical evening of celebration for all our higher education graduates and a selected number of stars from across the College who have been nominated for special recognition. We were delighted to welcome guests from our partner colleges, universities and schools, and the business and organisations from our local communities that we work with closely throughout the year, to share in our celebrations.

It was fantastic to see so many people joining us at the wonderful Athena Theatre in the heart of Leicester’s cultural quarter, coming together to reflect on our achievements.

Taking an opportunity to celebrate is important because we have come a long way in the last twelve months. We are celebrating our first full year as a merged college. Our colleagues have worked hard to integrate their teams and now we are stronger together and have increased our powerful reach across the East and West Midlands.

The success of our merger is borne out by the dramatic improvement in satisfaction with our services. Ratings by employers and students alike have soared in the latest national survey. We’re proud that achievement rates for our students have improved across the board compared to last year, placing us well above the national average. We have some of the best apprenticeship achievement rates in the Midlands. We are particularly proud of our 14-16-year-old students who achieved their best ever GCSE results this year.

Many of our student stars received awards because they had excelled in their studies. They included ICT student Marcus Walsh who progressed from Level 1 up to 3. Toby Cooper received my Principal’s award for his successful progression through the levels on his electrical engineering programme.

Students achieving at a higher level are obvious causes for celebration. They have worked hard and enabled their potential to shine. We also celebrate those achievements that have been hard won, by students who have overcome significant challenges and handled difficulties in their lives that make their achievements all the more remarkable.

These award winners included Kelsey Wooding who achieved the equivalent of nine GCSEs on our Inspire programme despite being excluded from school. And Mark Day, who has progressed to our HND in Graphic Design, learning ways to manage his autism over successive years in college.

Last week’s celebrations served as a reminder of the vital role of further education within our communities. For many of our students, the college environment provides a lifeline for them to learn and develop personally, sometimes making mistakes, but always supported to achieve their full potential. Our staff work hard every day to encourage them to aspire to reach heights they may not have considered possible.

Thank you to everyone who made our celebration event possible and let us carry our successes with us as we embark on another challenging year.”

Marion Plant OBE, Principal and CEO