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  • Writer's pictureSue Williamson

There are No Limits!

There are no Limits!!!!! This is quite a bold statement, but totally appropriate when you understand that I am talking about the achievement of our students who were recently entered for their RSL Level 3 Subsidiary Diplomas. Unlike many schools and colleges, our students were studying with us on site, all year, and therefore did not have to have a teacher-assessed component to their grade; they completed the course, handed in all the work, which was marked and sent to RSL; and then we waited ...

This was a nerve-wracking time, as it was the first year of us having students studying at this level, and although we thought everyone was doing really well, we didn't have anything to compare it to.

We shouldn't have worried! We entered 6 students. All passed, and there were also 2 distinctions and a distinction-plus!

And here is the interesting bit. All of our learners have some kind of challenge or additional need that makes it harder for them (or should make it harder for them!) to realise their potential. Our students have come from Pupil Referral Units, or Special Schools for example, or in some cases from mainstream environments, where they were not being served well by their schools/colleges. All learners have an EHCP (which only 3% of young people have, those with the most complex additional needs). Some of the students have struggled in the past with mental health, or autism, and some have a learning disability, but all surpassed themselves, and reached attainment levels that they should be proud of. The thing that makes it more surprising still ... all this was achieved during a pandemic, which has not been the easiest of times to study in. Young people have been hit very hard by the restrictions; having to make do without all the activities and social occasions they would usually have to add structure to their lives, with not much of a chance to be with friends - their lives definitely contracted, and all at a very crucial stage in their development too.

So now you can see why I say there are 'no limits'. This year, the same group of students will study their Extended Diploma which is worth 3 x full A levels, and we will have a further 5 completing their Subsidiary Diploma. We will be entering Level 3 Art students for the first time - and everyone else who is studying on our Smart Ways programme, will be entered for Level 1 or 2 Creative/Performing Arts.

To finish with a little nod to the music team. As you can imagine, there was some pretty amazing teaching going on this year. We had our challenges to face too because of the pandemic, but everyone pulled together and went over and above so many times.


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