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City College Norwich celebrates outstanding student achievements

8th October 2018

Inspirational stories of students’ achievements and progress, of dedication, overcoming barriers, and making a difference for others have been celebrated at City College Norwich’s annual Further Education Awards.  

Twenty-three outstanding students were honoured at the ceremony, each with their own remarkable story to tell of their learning and achievements.  The award winners were nominated by their tutors and lecturers from more than 4,000 students who studied with City College Norwich and Paston College last year.

The awards reflect the huge breadth of further education courses offered by City College Norwich and Paston College, from entry level and supported learning, to GCSEs and A levels, work-related BTECs, NVQs and other vocational courses, and Access to Higher Education.

The inspirational students, their family and friends, employer partners, teaching staff and other guests were treated to a glitzy reception at The Great Hospital, Norwich, ahead of the award presentations.  These exceptional individuals were presented with employer-sponsored awards in recognition of outstanding progress, achievements and contributions on their course of study.

The evening was rounded off with the presentation of three special awards.  The Award for Exceptional Performance was presented to Gareth Palmer; the Governors’ Robert Walton Award for Outstanding Contribution to College Life was presented to Amy Parrack; and the Governors’ Award for Outstanding Student Achievement was presented to Georgina Sunter.


“A lovely, inspirational man”

The recipient of the Award for Exceptional Performance was Gareth Palmer, from Great Ellingham, who successfully completed the Access to Higher Education: Engineering course.  Mr Palmer achieved this despite having to care for his wife, Tania, who had a serious long-term illness.  Tania sadly passed away in March.  She had asked Gareth to promise that he would complete his studies and go on to realise his ambition of working in aviation - something he is well on his way to doing.

Gareth’s Access lecturer described him as “a lovely, inspirational man”, praising not only his determination through this extremely difficult period, but also his willingness to contribute and help others in the group as they worked together to meet the academic demands of the course.

Mr Palmer, who is now studying on the college’s Professional Aviation Engineering Practice degree, at the International Aviation Academy Norwich, said:

“Completing the Access course was a fairly easy task because it was something I wanted and something Tania made me promise I would do.  A promise is a promise.  In theory she should be getting the limelight and this award.”

“I have stayed friends with other members of the group from the Access course.  It was nice to know that there were people with me as I was going through this.  And staff at the college have been very, very good to me.  The plan is to become a category B1 mechanical engineer to start with, and to get the avionics licence as well.  When I can no longer work on aircraft engines it would be nice to come back to somewhere like the International Aviation Academy and pass on my knowledge to others entering the industry.” 


Award-winning documentary

The Governors’ Robert Walton Award for Outstanding Contribution to College Life was presented to 18-year-old Amy Parrack, from Blofield.  Amy completed the college’s University of the Arts London (UAL) Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Media last year. As part of her Final Major Project, Amy produced a documentary film, My Authentic Self, which tells the story of a transgender young person and her transition from male to female.

Amy’s outstanding film achieved a Level 4 Distinction and was praised by the external verifier as the best he had seen in 20 years of teaching and examining.  The film went on to be shown atthe UAL Origins Creative Arts Festival at the OXO Tower in London, where it won an award.  Amy said: 

“The thing I enjoyed most about making the film was that it was just such a good and positive enriching experience.  I really wanted to make something that I was quite proud of, so that’s why I chose to do a subject that I was really passionate about.  I put a lot of effort into upping my camera skills and everything that went into it.  I’m really, really happy with how it turned out.”

“It was really good to get this FE Award.  I definitely feel that within the college your work is praised on a more personal level, people are genuinely really pleased.  It’s a really nice feeling to know that people have actually watched the video and invested their time into it and have reached out to me to tell me about it.”

Amy is now studying on the college’s Media Learning Company, Foundation Diploma course.  She hopes to get into a career in directing and producing after she completes her training with City College Norwich.


Outstanding GCSE grades round off a successful transition

Georgina Sunter was presented with the Governors’ Award for Outstanding Student Achievement.  Seventeen year old Georgina, from Taverham, joined the college’s Phoenix Insight course last year, having previously been home educated.  As Georgina herself says, coming to college represented a major transition:

“I was very anxious about it.  It was quite a big step to go from being not in a school at all, to being in such a big college, but it was made really easy by all of the people and all of the teachers who were there to support me.  It’s a really nice atmosphere.”

This support helped Georgina to achieve outstanding GCSE results this summer, gaining the highest grade (9) in Chemistry and Physics, and a grade 8 in Catering.  She has now begun studying A Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry with the Sixth Form Centre at City College Norwich.  Georgina plans to go on to university or a degree apprenticeship in engineering. 

Reflecting on her Further Education Award, Georgina said: “I was quite surprised, to be honest, it wasn’t expected at all.  But I was quite proud to have been recognised for doing well in my GCSEs.”


“Success takes many forms”

Corrienne Peasgood, Principal, City College Norwich, commented: “These Further Education Awards are a celebration of incredible achievements and remarkable individual journeys made by our students at both City College Norwich and Paston College.  Many have achieved exceptional grades academically.  As a college we also recognise that success takes many forms and is often about much more than grades alone.  This is epitomized by our FE Award winners.  Congratulations to all of our award winners on their truly outstanding achievements.”


City College Norwich’s Further Education Award Winners 2018

  • Outstanding Achievement at A Level, Sponsored by Howes Percival Solicitors - Maisie Barber
  • Outstanding Achievement at AS Level, Sponsored by Mills & Reeve - Franky Sewter
  • Outstanding Student Progression in Supported Learning, Sponsored by Holiday Inn Norwich - Nicole Howes
  • Overcoming Barriers to Success in Pre-Employment Training (MINT), Sponsored by Hatch Brenner - Cameron Marshall
  • Dedication and Progress in English, Sponsored by Ingleton Wood - Ella Broom
  • Dedication and Progress in Maths, Sponsored by Grant Thornton - James Austen
  • Dedication and Hard Work in ESOL, Sponsored by Birketts - Xhoana Zatoski
  • Outstanding Personal and Academic Progression in Phoenix Plus, Sponsored by Norwich City Council - Georgina Sunter
  • Outstanding Achievement in Construction, Sponsored by Kier - Lindsey Moon
  • Outstanding Achievement in Creative Arts, Sponsored by Norwich Theatre Royal - Amy Parrack
  • Outstanding Progress in Business and Retail, Sponsored by Arnolds Keys - Joseph Hastings
  • Outstanding Effort in Engineering, Sponsored by KLM Engineering - Sammie Ashforth
  • Outstanding Achievement in Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy, Sponsored by Aqua Sana - Aidan Hunn
  • Outstanding Commitment and Progression in Hospitality, Catering & Tourism, Sponsored by The Forum Trust - Harry Daisley
  • Outstanding Achievement in Health and Social Care and Childcare, Sponsored by Serco - Katherine Hockin
  • Outstanding Achievement in Sports and Public Services, Sponsored by Active Norfolk - Georgia Potter
  • Outstanding Achievement and Commitment in Access to Higher Education, Sponsored by Snelling Business Systems - Gareth Palmer
  • Outstanding Achievement and Commitment at Paston - Year 1, Sponsored by North Norfolk District Council - Taryn Yarnell
  • Outstanding Achievement and Commitment at Paston - Year 2, Sponsored by The Society of the Old Pastonians - Thomas Nudd
  • Outstanding Achievement in Education and Training, Sponsored by Norfolk County Council - Anne Brown
  • Outstanding Commitment and Achievement in Information Technology, Sponsored by Aviva - Alejandro Montero
  • The Students’ Union Award for Enhancing the Student Experience - Emily Staley
  • The James Barr Memorial Award - Andrea Christmas-Arden
  • Award for Exceptional Performance – Gareth Palmer
  • The Governors’ Robert Walton Award for Outstanding Contribution to College Life – Amy Parrack
  • The Governors’ Award for Outstanding Student Achievement – Georgina Sunter


Pictures: Jason Bye