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Pilot course paves way for new sixth form at Gainsborough school

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: October 08, 2012

Body matters: Teenagers Kaeleigh Hart, Amber Shemwell and Rosie Maynard get down to basics on the health and social care course at Trent Valley Academy. Picture: Anna Draper

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A pilot course for post-16 students at a Gainsborough school could pave the way for a new sixth form.

The new BTEC diploma in health and social care has been launched at the Trent Valley Academy.

Opened three years ago following the closure of the Castle Hills Community Arts College and Middlefield School, the trust-run campus has continued to offer educational packages for the 11 to 16 age range.

But the all-girl intake for the pilot post-16 provision has achieved a new milestone for assistant principal Mike Hatfield.

He has spent the last three years negotiating with Lincoln and Gainsborough Colleges and the E-ACT trust sponsors to introduce the new course.

And he does not disguise his long-held ambition to introduce a sixth form at TVA.

"As part of the Gainsborough Consortium, the academy already plays a leading role in developing provision for 14 to 19 learning in the area," said Mr Hatfield.

"Our partnership with Lincoln College has made it possible to offer students aged 14 to 16 vocational courses including motor vehicle maintenance, construction and hospitality.

"And we are absolutely delighted to offer post-16 provision in health and social care through this partner- ship.

"If demand allows, we will then expand this provision to enable students to study a wide range of subjects without having to travel outside the Gainsborough area."

Former dental nurse Nicola Piroli now teaches health, safety and security, along with anatomy and physiology, to the BTEC students.

"I really love the new course because all the girls are now very mature and well focused on their studies," she said.

Sixteen-year-old Callie Muxlow has already identified the health and social care qualification as a direct route to her chosen career.

"I want to do midwifery at either Lincoln or Leicester universities and this is the best way to do it," she said.

Amber Shemwell, 17, had already started a level two course in the same subject when she heard about the course at her old school.

"I just dropped down a year to do this because it's much better," she said.

Jaide Aston, 16, said: "I want to be a nurse and a course like this is a much more practical alternative to A-levels.

"Plus I did level two last year and I already know all the teachers."

Sixteen-year-old Rosie Maynard pointed out how differently the year group were treated by staff.

"We all know our way around the building and some of the children think we're teachers," she said.

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