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Students from Northampton College have collected money to help raise awareness of Down’s Syndrome and raise funds to build a specialist playground for children with severe learning disabilities.

The Progression Diploma students raised £130 at the Lower Mounts campus and will put the cash towards East Hunsbury Primary School’s ‘Project Playground’ – an ambitious scheme to upgrade their current outdoor play space that is expected to cost £50,000.

Throughout the day, all Essential Skills classes had starter activities to raise awareness and staff and students wore colourful and odd socks to help raise awareness of the condition.

Andrew Griffiths, Essential Skills teacher at Northampton College, said: “The students really embraced the chance to have some fun and help raise money for a project which has the potential to change dozens of lives for the better. I’d like to thank everyone that contributed to the collection and I’m looking forward to seeing the project become a reality.”

Staff at East Hunsbury Primary School want to create an inspiring and inclusive play space for pupils with severe learning difficulties and their mainstream peers. The school has a 40 place specialist unit for children with severe learning difficulties.

Outdoor learning forms an essential part of the curriculum at the school and enables children to play together, build relationships, take risks and gain a better understanding of the world.

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New national league tables have revealed Northampton College has soared 178 places in the rankings in just three years, to become the leading provider of Further Education in the region.

Data released as part of the latest 2016/17 National Achievement Rates Tables (NART) shows Northampton College is ranked 31st out of more than 200 colleges for 16 to 18-year-old education and training.

The transformation has also seen a major improvement in the GCSE maths and English resit pass rates for 16 to 18-year-old students, with the college now ranked 15th nationally for maths and 18th for English. The data has revealed that 95 per cent of Northampton College students pass their course.

The college performed well across all levels of course provision, coming out as the best college in the South East Midlands region for level 1, 2 and 3 courses.

Pat Brennan-Barrett, Principal at Northampton College said: “These results are phenomenal and are testimony to the rock solid professional approach of our staff and students to improve our performance so markedly in just three years.

“At Northampton College we concentrate on developing each individual’s wider skills for employability, innovations, communication and work ethic. Many of our students are the employers of the future. We take great pride in our students’ success.”

A major investment programme has seen an overhaul of the college’s facilities, with new buildings in both Northampton and Daventry completed in recent years and plans in place for a state-of-the-art £4.75million Advanced Construction Engineering centre to be built at Booth Lane.

Chair of Governors at Northampton College, Geraldine Schofield, said: “We have an exceptional team of teaching staff to help meet the educational challenges we face and a Board of Governors which has helped guide, challenge and support our long-term strategy.”

The latest tables follow on from positive finding in last year’s NICDEX college rankings, which saw the college named the second best in the country based on student and employer satisfaction as well as the proportion of younger and adult students who move on to good quality work or further study.

Patrick Leavey, Deputy Principal at Northampton College added: “We have focused on supporting our students, equipping them with the skills they need to excel both in the classroom and in the workplace. Our retention rates have improved significantly, allowing us to work with students for longer and encourage them to keep on learning.”

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Northampton College’s Student Governor has won a national filmmaking award for a piece explaining the importance of voting for young people.

Ada Stone landed first prize in the National Association for Managers of Student Services (NAMSS) annual film competition, fending off competition from colleges from up and down the country.

Media student Ada wrote, directed and produced the film himself, with the support of friends and classmates.

He said: “I approached it from a modern perspective: making it more exciting and less of a lecture, so that’d be most likely to appeal to other teens. I went for a hip hop style with a genuine sounding spoken word, aiming to make it seem like this is dozens of young people pitching in for one goal.”

Ada’s film included students from the college, a script read out by students, views of Northampton and the college campus as well as facts about voting.

The judging panel was so impressed with Ada’s film that it was shortlisted alongside entries from Burnley College and Cardiff and Vale College to receive an award at the NAMSS annual conference gala dinner at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in Birmingham – with Ada and Northampton College emerging triumphant.

When asked how he will use the experience of entering the competition in the future, Ada said: “I plan to take a film production course in university, and enter the film industry – this experience is invaluable. I shall use this to improve my personal skills as a student and filmmaker, understand a lot more about being prepared, communication and delivering a message.”

You can view Ada’s winning entry by clicking here.

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Alexandra Constantinou

Alexandra Constantinou

Ambitious Alexandra Constantinou is aiming for big things having embarked on an apprenticeship with engineering giant Siemens.Setting her sights on a role at the top of the industry, she said:...



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