GCSE success for Activate Learning’s Guildford College students

Students at Activate Learning’s Guildford College are celebrating today after collecting their successful GCSE exam results. 

Over 95% of students taking full-time GCSE programmes or standalone maths and English GCSEs at Guildford College 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.  

This includes mature students who need these GCSEs to progress in the workplace, learners who may have missed the chance to go to university and want to study at degree level, alongside part-time students who have studied GCSEs at evening classes. 

Cheri Ashby, Deputy Chief Executive of Activate Learning, said: “I would like to wish a massive congratulations to the thousands of students who are collecting their successful GCSE results from across our Activate Learning colleges and online provision today.  

“For many of our students receiving their GCSE results today, this isn’t their first attempt at them. Which is why, for me, it makes it all the more satisfying, as we get to see people succeeding where they previously haven’t and overcoming the challenge of previous failure, where they’ve pushed themselves to achieve. This is testament to our Learning Philosophy and the work we do with students to make them realise that previous failure doesn’t determine future success.  

“We have seen some remarkable results today across our both our colleges and our online provision, which continues to go from strength to strength.  

“For many of our learners, today’s results will open a door to further education and training opportunities or allow them to take up work opportunities they wouldn’t have been able to previously.  

“For those students who are due to join us next year, I hope everyone has done as well as they had hoped. Please remember that if you have not, we are always here to help you work out what you can do next and talk through your career options with you. Our colleges are part of our local communities and we here to support anyone who needs help.” 

Gulsen Celik, 40, is a mature student who has just completed a pre-Access course and needed to get her GCSE in maths and English in order to progress onto an Access to Nursing programme, with the ambition of starting a career as a midwife.  

Gulsen was delighted to achieve a grade 5 in maths and a grade 4 in English. This means she will now be starting her Access to Nursing programme at Guildford College in September.  

Gulsen said: “It really is an amazing achievement for me to have passed both of these subjects this year. English is my second language and I am also a single mum, so I had a lot to juggle this year!  

“I worked very hard to achieve these results and the college really believed in me. My tutors were such a support, and I would recommend Guildford College to anyone. I am looking forward to starting my Access course in a few weeks’ time!” 

Samuel Urhie-Daniels, 26, from Guildford, studied English and maths GCSE, alongside his Access to Business programme. Samuel achieved a grade 5 in English and a grade 4 in maths, which now enables him to accept an offer to study for a degree in Business Management with Marketing at the University of Surrey.


Samuel celebrates GCSE success with fellow student Keelan Brison

Samuel said: “I had to overcome a lot of barriers in my life to get this point, and it’s through sheer hard work, focus and determination to succeed that I am now delighted to accept my university place starting in September.  

“The GCSE teachers here have been nothing short of amazing and I have to thank Faculty Manager Iain Cherrington for his belief in me. I have turned my life around and it’s because of the support that the staff here at Guildford College have given me.  

“The college took a chance on me, and I worked so hard to prove to everyone that I could do it. I am very proud of what I have achieved so far. I will celebrate properly on my graduation day!” 

Seventeen-year-old Sergio Cooksey has just completed Level 2 Esports at Guildford College and studied to retake his English and Maths GCSEs alongside his full-time programme, having received grade 3 in both subjects at school last year. 

Sergio is delighted with his results…and so is his English tutor Lucy!

Sergio was delighted to discover that he has achieved a grade 5 in English and a grade 4 in maths, which means that he will be able to progress on to a Level 3 programme in Media from September.

Sergio said: “I really did not enjoy school, I had a really tough time and left with one GCSE, so to have achieved two passes today means so much. I enrolled at Guildford College at the very last minute last year and it was the best decision I have ever made! 

“I really wasn’t sure I’d manage it, but it was the belief that my tutors had in me which pushed me on.  

“My English tutor, Lucy, really encouraged me and gave me the confidence in my abilities, whilst giving me really clear and concise feedback to improve my writing skills. I am absolutely thrilled with my results today!” 

Student Viktoriia celebrates passing her English GCSE with her mother, Mariana

Viktoriia Romaniuk is an eighteen-year-old Ukranian student who has passed her English GCSE with a grade 4, having joined the programme in the Spring of this year. Viktoriia is studying for a Level 3 in Business at Guildford College and hope to progress on to the University of Surrey next year to study Economics.

Viktoriia said: “I came to England with my mum and sister last year, at the start of the war in Ukraine, as it wasn’t safe for me to continue my studies there.  

“It took some time to sort the paperwork out for me to catch up with my studies, and the tutors at Guildford College couldn’t have done enough to ensure that I caught up, by giving me extra lessons in their lunch breaks.  

“As English is my second language, this was quite a challenge, but I worked hard and never gave up. Life in England has been good, although I obviously miss home and my father. I think he will be proud of me when I tell him about my GCSE pass today!”  

Twenty-one-year-old Elliott Harris has been studying at Guildford College since 2018 and has, today, passed his maths GCSE on his seventh attempt.  

Elliott proudly celebrates his GCSE achievement

Elliott, a Level 3 Gaming student, is now able to accept his offer of a place at the University for the Creative Arts in Epsom to study for a degree in Digital Marketing and Social Media and couldn’t be happier!

Elliott said: “I never gave up. The pandemic years put me back a bit, but I knew that if I remained positive and energised, I would get there in the end. I am so pleased and relieved to have finally passed and I have to thank Ben, my maths tutor, for his kindness, patience and support. He is the teacher that people need, and I couldn’t have done it without him.” 

Guildford College offers part-time GCSEs in English and maths, well as a wide range vocational programmes in Art and Design, Beauty Therapy, Business and Enterprise, Construction, Early Years, Engineering, Esports, Foundation and Supported Studies, Hairdressing, Health and Social Care, Hospitality and Professional Cookery, IT and Computing, Media, Media Makeup, Performing and Production Arts, Teaching and Education and Tourism. 

Additionally, Guildford College’s extensive network of business partners means they provide outstanding apprenticeship opportunities via Activate Apprenticeships. 

This year, Guildford College is providing information, advice and guidance via Clearing sessions at the college from GCSE Results Day, and throughout the end of August and September. Tutors and career advisers will be on hand to help anyone who is unsure as to what to do next after GCSEs, and can also provide advice on funding and other student support services.  

Clearing sessions can be booked on the Activate Learning website