More than 95% of Activate Learning’s Banbury and Bicester College students taking full-time GCSE programmes or standalone maths and English GCSEs achieved a pass in this year’s exams.
Many of the college’s GCSE students are learners who resit maths, English or both, to continue in education or progress their career.
This includes mature students who need these GCSEs to progress in the workplace, learners who may have missed the chance to go to university and want to study at degree level, alongside part-time students who have studied GCSEs at evening classes.
Cheri Ashby, Deputy Chief Executive of Activate Learning, said: “GCSE results day is such a special time for us at Activate Learning, as often we see our students overcoming the barriers they have encountered in their studies previously, to improve their grades and succeed where perhaps they thought they would not.
“Once again, this year I am delighted to see so many students improving on what they have previously achieved, and to do so in the first public exams for two years – and for many of them their first since they were in Year 6 – is a real achievement.
Celebrating students of all ages
“I’d also like to take a moment to celebrate our older students who may have returned to education to get their mathematics and English GCSEs to advance their careers. I’ve heard some amazing stories about some of our mature students and I really want to shine a spotlight on their achievements, especially given the demands many of them faced in terms of juggling family commitments, busy home schedules and coming into college.
“In particular, our mature students studying English and mathematics GCSEs fully online have experienced tremendous success today. This is a tribute to the way our teachers have embedded our Learning Philosophy by supporting our students to develop and build their confidence, keeping them motivated through helping them understand the relevance of their learning to their career pathway and having lots of opportunities to practise their skills and improve through ongoing feedback.
“I would like to also express my thanks and appreciation to all our staff who have worked tirelessly over the past year to ensure our students achieve their qualifications.
“For those students that are due to join us next year, I hope everyone has done as well as they had hoped. Please remember that if you have not, we are always here to help you work out what you can do next and talk through your career options with you.”
Ensuring progression with GCSE qualifications
Lizzie Foulds, a part-time GCSE student and top performer at Banbury and Bicester College, is celebrating an outstanding set of results including a Grade 6 in English Language, Grade 4 in Maths and a Merit in English Language (Spoken).
Lizzie said: “I can honestly say I am over the moon with my results! When I left school years ago, I wasn’t fazed that I had failed my GCSEs but now, as an adult, I have realised how important it is in order to move on to bigger and better things.
“Without the support of the tutors and the brilliant atmosphere at the college I wouldn’t have been able to do it.
“Now, at nearly 30 years old, I have my GCSEs and I am prouder than I could ever have imagined.”
Gill Abdulla, also a part-time GCSE student achieved Grade 5 in English and Grade 4 in maths.
Gill said: “I’m really pleased I passed. I work at a school as a Teaching Assistant, and the knowledge will be invaluable.”
“During the pandemic, I worked with 18 of the 35 students on-site and they all had different abilities.
“I wanted to better myself in order to support them, as well as understand what my sons would go through preparing for their GCSEs.
“It’s a massive achievement that’s not only helped me in work but also in tackling exams.”
Aiden Garrard studied the Elective Home Education (EHE) GCSE programmed and achieved a Grade 5 in Maths and a Grade 5 in English Language.
“I am happy and surprised by my results. I feel I passed due to my tutors help and dedication to teaching.”
Supporting students to thrive
Activate Learning in Banbury provides part-time adult GCSE programmes, alongside a wide range of BTEC Diploma and Access to Higher Education programmes. Additionally, Banbury and Bicester College’s extensive network of business partners means they provide outstanding apprenticeship opportunities via Activate Apprenticeships.
This year, Banbury and Bicester College are providing information, advice and guidance via Clearing sessions at the college from GCSE Results Day, and throughout the end of August and September. Tutors and career advisers will be on hand to help anyone who is unsure as to what to do next after GCSEs, and can also provide advice on funding and other student support services.