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News: Hard work pays off for GCSE students

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Students standing outside the Adams Building holding their results with a yay baloon

More than 2000 Nottingham College GCSE students received their results today (22nd August). Among the successful students were lots of adult learners who have returned to education for a change of career or to improve their prospects.

GCSEs are now graded with a new point system 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest grade.

Among those celebrating are next door neighbours Debs Wharmby and Charlie Buxton, who inspired one another to go back to education to better themselves.

Charlie and Debs holding their results
l-r Charlie and Debs

After losing her husband, 60-year-old Debs from Sneinton wanted to get out and try something new. After realising her passion for writing during the course, Debs is now using her grade 6 in English to progress to a Creative Writing course.

I can honestly say that my teacher Ryan is the best teacher I’ve ever had. He really encouraged me to write stories during the course and it sparked a real interest for me. 

I currently run my own recruitment business but now I’m considering a complete career change. I’m so pleased that Charlie and I were able to encourage and support each other, and to both get the grades we wanted feels like such an achievement. 

 — Debs Wharmby

Charlie, 28, returned to do her GCSEs when her baby son Arleigh was just five weeks old. With her grades 4 and 6 in maths and English she is now progressing to the Access to Law course at Nottingham College in September. 

It has been challenging, but I have a goal; I know it’s going to be hard but I’m determined to reach my dream of becoming a lawyer. I wanted to better myself for me and my family and prove it’s never too late. 

 — Charlie

Mature student Jordan Wood juggled his work commitments with the full-time GCSE programme and now has the grades he needs to progress to an Access to Higher Education course. The Social Sciences and Humanities course will help him towards his goal of studying for a degree in international relations and politics. 


I did so much better than I thought, so I’m really relieved. The tutors are great and really supportive. 

 — Jordan

Seventeen-year-old Suha Ali only moved back to the UK from Saudi Arabia last year, so she hadn’t had chance to finish her GCSEs at school. She took the full-time GCSE programme at Nottingham College, which meant studying and taking her GCSEs in just one year!

Suha holding their results outside the Adams Building

I got 7s in Biology, Maths, Physics and English Language, and a 6 in Chemistry. I’m going on to study A Levels now, and one day I’d like to work in healthcare. 

I’m excited for a new chapter, and it’s been a good year. It’s been hard, but I’m happy. 

 — Suha

Mum-of-three Sarah, 45, came back to study GCSEs at the same time as her teenage son. She will now progress to the Access to Higher Education (Social Sciences) course at the College. 


I’m ecstatic and so relieved! I’ve sacrificed a lot to be here. I gave up my full-time job as a deputy manager and my husband doubled his hours to compensate. 

He and my children have been so supportive, so I’m really pleased that I’ve made them all proud. 

 — Sarah

Will’s mum Annette had a heart attack out of the blue back in June, so he had a lot to deal with on top of finishing off his GCSEs as part of a special Pre-16 programme. 

However, he’s now celebrating his results and looking forward to starting at Nottingham College’s High Pavement Sixth Form.

Will with his results

I was looking for something that was different to school for my GCSEs. I found the GCSEs at Nottingham College a lot more relaxed than school. It wasn’t easy, but just different. 

 — Will

Today is an important day for our students, many of whom are continuing their studies at the College, either through vocational options such as Diplomas and Apprenticeships, or A Levels, Higher Education and Access courses. 

It’s been very inspiring to see so many students of all ages and backgrounds celebrating, proving GCSEs are a great option no matter what your circumstances, and that it’s never too late to return to education to improve your prospects. 

I am very proud of all our students and I wish them every success for the future. 

Samantha Yeomans — Faculty Area Manager for Full-Time GCSEs
Published on:
  • 22nd August 2019 (3:42 PM)
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