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Youngsters in London’s East End are getting a new direction in their lives through qualifications in Progression at Newham Sixth Form College.

Newham Sixth Form College is located in London’s East End in one of the most ethnically diverse communities in the country. Just take a look at the College’s website [DW1] which has translations in over 100 different languages, from Africaans to Zulu, taking in Cebuano, Malagasy, Tajik and more.  The area also has a high proportion of people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

For this reason the College, known as NewVIc, has developed courses designed to meet the needs of those learners who have struggled at school by giving them a chance to forge a positive direction in their lives. Some may have a learning disability, have been held back at school through illness or frequent absences, or simply haven’t been able to cope with the style of teaching at school. At NewVIc they experience courses that are specially tailored to take account of their individual educational needs.

OCN London accredits two courses. One (lasting a year) leads to a Diploma in Progression at Entry 3 level which the College has incorporated into their ‘Rising Stars’ programme. The other is an intensive 18-week course which leads to a Level 1 Certificate in Progression. This qualification gives them the skills necessary to move onto a more advanced course at Level 2 in vocational subjects such as Health and Social Care, Travel and Tourism, Business and Performing Arts.  Both qualifications have been designed by OCN London specifically to give students a firm grounding in order to start their career journey.

Juliana Martin is the lead verifier for OCN London at NewVIc. She says: “We looked around at various accreditation bodies and decided OCN London suited our student’s needs best. We’ve been running these courses with them for a number of years so have developed a rapport. It’s a nice smooth working relationship.”

NewVIc is a very popular College serving the local community, having excellent working relationships with local schools.  They take in between 50 and 70 learners a year across the two courses. The Entry 3 students may have had difficulty at school, which recommends they progress to the College at 16 when they leave.  “Our classes are much smaller than school with  15 of 18 students per subject instead of at 30 or more. That makes a huge difference,” says Juliana.

OCN London’s tailored approach enables NewVIc to design courses around student’s needs instead of trying to follow a one-size-fits-all programme. There are lots of different units on offer to students so they can choose to study things that interest them and design their own packages.  “That means if we want to change something we just email OCN London and they do it for us. Our students need this flexibility and it’s so much better than having to stick to a rigid format.” 

Learners are initially assessed to identify their literacy level.  The College has devised a standard level of assignment brief which is reviewed each year, then amended to reflect the varying abilities and different teaching methods.  Learners enjoy a variety of topics ranging from life skill subjects, to leisure-based activities.

Kyle is one example. He enrolled on the Entry 3 Diploma in Progression course in 2015 with very low confidence and self-esteem, feeling overwhelmed and scare. But the teachers made the subjects enjoyable, which helped him relax. Drama and art helped to build his  confidence. The Budgeting and Money Management unit helped him to think about how he was spending money and save for the future. Kyle has now progressed on to a Level 1 programme and has been appointed a sports ambassador for the College.   When asked what he wanted to do in the future he said: “When I was in school, I didn’t care about my studies; I cared more about my friends. Now I want to study sports so I can help kids in school like me.  ”

About the qualifications

Entry Level 3 qualifications are designed for students who either got very low grades at GCSE or didn’t take any exams. Level 1, the next stage up, is for students who maybe got grade Ds at GCSE so were not quite at the right standard to go straight onto a Level 2 course. Find out more about the Entry Level 3 qualifications in Progression and the Level 1 Certificate in Progression.