Our News

22 August 2013

CAVC celebrates GCSE success

Cardiff and Vale College has seen more GCSE learners than ever before this year, due to a special course designed to give people a second chance.

There have also been some fantastic results for people learning languages with all traditional GCSE language courses having 100% pass rates.

The College’s GCSE Open course is a unique course that gives people who might not have done as well as they wanted the first time they took their GCSEs another chance. It enables people to either resit traditional subjects such as Maths or English but also offers the opportunity to take many other subjects not usually on school curriculums such as Photography, Citizenship or Media Studies.

The students study their course over one year, rather than the usual two years. GCSE Open has proven so popular that the number of GCSE exams sat at the College rose from 679 in 2012 to more than 1,000 in 2013. Most of the Open GCSE students have passed with three to five GCSE grades A-C by taking this flexible route.

Celebrating their success through the GCSE Open course today were twins Damien and Owen Moran. Both are dyslexic, and Owen has severe dyslexia.
At the age of 13, Owen and Damien moved to Valencia in Spain with their family. They went to an English school and they had one lesson of Spanish a week and moved back to Wales when they were 16 but struggled to get back into the British schooling system - they had done all the GCSE work, and revised but did not actually sat the exams.

After being out of education for a year and being home taught by their mum, at the age of 17 they came to CAVC to study Maths, English and BTEC Applied Science. They both achieved C, C, Merit – the highest grades that were possible for the foundation papers that they sat.

Owen and Damian said: “We are glad that we’ve passed and it was the best that we could do.”  

Seventeen-year-old Floran Popalyar from Cardiff missed most of her GCSEs last year as her grandmother had just passed away. She came to CAVC to study GCSE Open as she had failed to get into the sixth form of her school and really wanted another chance to gain the qualifications.

“Coming here was the only option,” Floran said. “It’s proved really good for me – I’ve got the C in English that I needed to get on to a Travel & Tourism course, which I am enrolling on today.

“College has been great – it was completely different to how I thought it would be and I’ve had a really good time. I now want to carry on studying. I want to study Travel & Tourism and then go on to work in an airport.”

Kayleigh Arrowsmith, 27 and from Cardiff, is a single mum with a three-year-old son who was two at the time of studying. She got As in Religious Studies, History, Sociology and English Literature and a C in Maths.

“The teachers have been fab and if it hadn’t been for them I would not have got the grades,” Kayleigh said. “I came to College because I want to become a history teacher.

“It was hard being a single mum and coming to College but I managed to study between classes in the learning and skills centre and also after I put my son to bed. Some tutors also gave me extra time in their lunch hour. I’m going on to study A Levels in History, English Literature and Religious Studies at the College.”

Thomas Maylia, 17 and from Cardiff, was forced to leave school in Year 11 due to health problems. He said: “I did quite well and I’m happy with my results. I studied Maths, English, Human Physiology and BTEC Applied Science. I’m hoping to do AS Foundation next and then go onto university to study Medicine. The support I have received at Cardiff and Vale College has really helped me stay in education this year and manage with the workload.”

Twenty-year-old Jamie O’Brien from Llanedeyrn gained a B Film Studies, C in English and Ds in Maths and Media.

“Before college I was on a government funded Web Design course at the CAD Centre,” Jamie said. “I decided to come to Cardiff and Vale College to do GCSEs as they are fundamental qualifications when looking for a job. In school I was immature and had low attendance. College is good as it helps you better yourself. First time around, I had a G in English and now I have achieved a C so I’m feeling good. I’m hoping to progress to do A Levels in English and Business.”

CAVC Head of Department, Sixth Form Helen Wilkins said: “Nearly all of our students on the GCSE Open course achieved three to five GCSEs with grades A to C which is quite an achievement. I’m really proud of all of them and wish them every success in the future – whether they come back to the College to gain more qualifications or progress in other directions.”

The College’s part time language GCSE students have also done well this year. The French, German, Spanish and Italian all had 100% success rates, with 100% of GCSE German learners gaining A-C. CAVC’s new Arabic course had an 80% success rate with 80% of learners achieving A-C.

CAVC Head of Department, Language Studies Rob Parkin said: “These are outstanding results for part time GCSE languages at Cardiff and Vale College. We offer a wide range of part time language courses, and from next term we will be adding Polish.

“We also offer some courses that reflect the Capital Region’s diverse community: Chinese, Urdu and Arabic. During the last we year we offered part time GCSEs in Arabic, French, German, Italian and Spanish and the results were excellent – 100% pass in the traditional European languages and 80% in Arabic!”