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GCSE success for Activate Learning’s Reading College students

Nearly 90% of Activate Learning’s Reading College students taking full-time GCSE programmes or standalone maths and English GCSEs achieved a pass in this year’s exams.

20 August 2020

Nearly 90% of Activate Learning’s Reading College students taking full-time GCSE programmes or standalone maths and English GCSEs achieved a pass in this year’s exams. 

Many of the college’s GCSE students are learners who resit maths, English or both, to continue in education or progress their career.  

These include mature students who need these GCSEs to progress in their careers, learners who may have missed the chance to go to university first time round and want to study at degree level and also part-time students who have studied GCSEs in evening classes. 


Conrad Cameron-Tueton, a 17-year-old, full-time student from Reading and a top performer at Reading College, is celebrating an outstanding set of results at grade 9-9 (double award) in GCSE combined science, 8 in maths, 7 in English and statistics. Conrad recently relocated to the UK after having moved from New Zealand. 

Conrad said: “I am relieved with my results as I was aiming for a 7 or above in English and 9s in all of my sciences. I enjoyed studying at Reading College as it was a lot more independent and you get treated like an adult. I made some good friends and the teachers are very good. 

“Thank you for all of the hard work that the teachers put into me and for seeing my potential because I struggled a lot when I was younger because I had mental health problems. The teachers were very resilient and pushed me to do my best, giving me lots of opportunities to do extra work and helped me to achieve my grades. 

“My drive for learning has become much better after being pushed to achieve these grades. When you put in the hard work, anything is possible.” 

Conrad will now go on to Farnborough Sixth Form College to study A Levels in chemistry, physics and maths. In the future, he would like to go to Oxford or Cambridge to study physics and business with the aim of starting his own rocket engineering and development company.  


Joanna Chennell, a 36-year-old Access to HE in Nursing and Midwifery (online) and part-time GCSE student at Reading College achieved a grade 8 in English.  

She said: “I have always wanted to train to become a midwife, but I have never been able to do it before. Studying the access course online enabled me to fit it around looking after my three children. 

“The support from the college was really good. I was nervous about returning to education, but I really enjoyed being in a classroom for my English classes and my teacher was really good.  

“All of the teachers set relevant homework and signposted us to videos and other resources. They answered emails and questions. My access tutor Preeti helped me with my UCAS application and gave me support with interviews. The careers team also helped me when I spoke to them.

“I’m really pleased with my results. I worked really hard and attended all of my classes. It has shown me that I am able to do anything that I put my mind to. 

“I would recommend the college to anyone who has been out of education. The teachers are really supportive in helping students to reach their next steps and make a difference to people’s lives. 

“Doing an access course really prepares you for going to university and I’m excited about going to university to be challenged to prove what I can do.” 

Joanna is awaiting confirmation to study midwifery at the University of West London. 


Julie Gorst, 50-years-old, from Reading achieved a grade 4 in Maths, after resitting the qualification. She will now progress to do an Access to HE: Health Professions Level 3 Diploma at the college with the aim of then progressing to university to study to be an occupational therapist. 

Julie said: “I didn't realise that studying maths and English was free until a friend said that they had done it. 

“I started studying GCSE maths and English at Reading College in 2018, I passed my English, but failed maths so had to do the course over again, I preferred maths as I like working things out. 

“It was actually better second time round as I was able to understand more. My teachers were amazing especially Miko Prescott, so I would like to say a massive thank you for all your patience and encouragement along the way. 

“I loved going to college, it was something for me for a change and my teacher was amazing and very patient. The class was a range of all ages and abilities from different walks of life, but we gelled really well and some of us are still in contact.”  

“I would definitely recommend Reading College as they cater for your every need even when I needed extra time for the exam as I am dyslexic. Don't wait to sign up, get up and do it now, I'm 50 and I wish I had done it years ago, but better late than never!” 

Sally Dicketts CBE, Chief Executive of Activate Learning, said: “I would like to congratulate everyone who is picking up the results they need today in their GCSEs.  

“Many of our GCSE students are sitting their exams with us for a second time, or in the case of some of our adult learners for the first time.   

“Today will decide whether they are able to progress into the next stage of their education or access an opportunity they might not otherwise have been able to.   

“For everyone that’s managed to get what you need, I want to say a big well done! This hasn’t been the easiest of years in which to study, but your perseverance and commitment to your studies has got you to where you need to be.  

“And for those who haven’t quite achieved what you’d hoped for, please don’t despair. We will be there to support you over the coming days and help you to get where you need!” 

Reading College offers part-time GCSEs in English and maths. The college also offers two full-time GCSE pathways, the humanities pathway consists of English, maths, history, sociology and media. The science pathway consists of combined science, English, maths and statistics. 

Reading College teaches a wide range of A Levels including history, law, biology and accounting, as well as a degree-level qualifications in psychology and criminology and the Professional / Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Additionally, our extensive network of business partners means that we provide outstanding apprenticeship opportunities. 

This year, we are providing information, advice and guidance at the college on the GCSE results day, and throughout the end of August and early September. Tutors and career advisers will be on hand to help anyone who is unsure as to what to do next after GCSEs, and we can also provide advice on funding and other student support services.