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News: Aspiring journalist writes story close to her heart

Stacey Smith, Journalism student
Stacey Smith, Journalism student

A Media student at Nottingham College has told the story of the College’s specialist Pre-16 provision in a special feature article on her blog.

Seventeen-year-old Stacey Smith spent two years studying towards her GCSEs with Nottingham College (on a Pre-16 course), after a period of being home educated.

The specific Pre-16 programme that Stacey completed is designed especially for students who have spent time being educated at home. It helps them get qualifications to prepare for their future.

After passing her GCSEs, Stacey has now progressed to her Level 3 Journalism course (equivalent to A Levels). As part of her current course, the aspiring journalist chose to report on her own positive experience of the Pre-16 Home Educated programme, alongside interviewing fellow students and staff.

Below are some extracts from her article, in her own words and from her interviewees.

Stacey’s piece (extracts from her full article)

The Pre-16 course helps students who have either been home educated or aren’t at school for certain reasons achieve their GCSEs in order to succeed in later life. This has proven to be a huge success as many of their former Pre-16 students are off studying in further education or have successful jobs. As I myself have previously been on this course for two years, I can fully say that this course changed my life. It shaped me to the girl I am today.

Speaking to staff

Jo Edgerton is the manager of the Pre-16 GCSE course. She oversees all the staff and students who are on this course. She has watched the course blossom into the fantastic thing it is today.

Jo Edgerton said: “I’m amazed at how quickly people make friends on this course. I think what’s really nice about the programme is that you’ve got young people that have experienced very similar things that they can be supportive of one and other.” It is satisfying to watch them blossom all together. “I think it’s the thing that makes you do the job basically.”

Interviewing students

As well as speaking to the staff at Nottingham College and having my own personal views, I wanted to speak to previous Pre-16 students to get their thoughts on the course and what they experienced. I spoke to two former students who both studied on the Pre-16 course.

Aaron Roche has been a part of the Pre-16 GCSE course at Nottingham College for three years.

When asked about what advice he’d give a new home educated student joining the course, Aaron advised “To make friends with a group of hard working students.”

Aaron Roche

You’ll enjoy your course, and will not regret it.

Aaron Roche - Pre-16 student who has now gone on to study A Levels at Nottingham College's High Pavement Sixth Form

From leaving the Pre-16 course with eight GCSEs, Aaron has progressed onto his A-levels at Nottingham College. He is currently studying chemistry, biology and psychology.

A personal view

But what was college like for me? I joined the Pre-16 course in September 2018 and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Coming from a school environment, to studying at home to then being in a college environment, it really was a whirlwind of emotions. But I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

Nottingham College really welcomed me with open arms and slowly, I became the girl I once was. It was one of my proudest achievements and I would do it all again if I could. I’ve made so many amazing friends who I will always have in my life and I gained great grades during my two years at college.

I will always be thankful for the amazing two years I’ve had as a Pre-16 GCSE student. The course is such an amazing experience!

Published on:
  • 25th February 2021 (8:30 AM)
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