Today, 1 August, marks the one-year anniversary for Havant & South Downs College. Since the joining of Havant Sixth Form College and South Downs College in August 2017, HSDC has celebrated success after success – from seeing our students make it to the final of World Skills to being chosen to pioneer T Levels from 2020.
Let’s take a look back at the top stories from the past year…
In August we saw HSDC receive its first set of outstanding A Level and BTEC results, with an overall pass rate of 98% and 50% of students achieving the toughest A* to B/Distinction grades. The impressive results and smiling faces of the students soon to begin their journey in university, employment or on an Apprenticeship was an inspiring way to start the year!
In this month we had some incredible news that four of our dedicated and creative Media students had been selected to represent the College at the World Skills UK final. Lisa Penney, Steven Cox, Adam Scott-Parker and Toby Summers wowed the judges with their Motown music video and continued to impress at the final where they were placed in the top five. Well done team!
We had a surprise visit from X Factor star James Arthur in October when he came in to sing to student Chloe Hine as part of an ITV show, Your Song. Because of her resilience in overcoming bullying, and then going on to set up her own charity ‘Beat the Bullies’, Chloe was picked for the money-can’t-buy surprise.
Speaking about the experience, she said: “My brain went into overdrive when he walked out. James Arthur was at my College! This international superstar was at MY College. I couldn’t believe it!”
In November, our Catering and Hospitality students laid on an exquisite ten-course dinner for the PIGS’s 100th banquet. Members of the society were treated to a night incredible food created by HSDC students, which were served with a separate wine for each dish. The banquets give our students experience of cooking for big events and with high end ingredients.
In December we saw a range of success, beginning with alumni Tom Peters make it to the final stages of MasterChef: The Professionals. Although Tom didn’t secure the trophy, he still made us and his former lecturer Iain Baillie proud!
Later in the month we were overjoyed to find out we had been awarded a £34,000 grant for our students to research the ‘Pompey’ accent. They’re already doing some great work with this research and we can’t wait to see how it progresses.
The new year kicked off with an incredible start for HSDC, as we were ranked top in the Portsmouth area for academic and vocational excellence! And we also saw budding chef James Cardy make it to the next stage of the Rotary Young Chef of the Year competition. What an amazing start to 2019!
In February we were overjoyed to find out of very own Chloe Hutchins had been named ‘highly commended apprentice of the year’. Formerly an apprentice at HSDC, and now an employee, Chloe secured a nomination for the News’ competition due to her hard work and determination. Continuing to celebrate our staff’s success, we were once again thrilled when engineering lecturer Nadia Arab came second in her category at the Women in IT Awards. What inspirational staff we have!
In March we hosted the Creative Expo, which brought together a wide range of organisations to showcase the diversity of the creative industries whilst giving students the chance to learn more about the options and progression in the industry.
March also saw our Hair & Beauty students present their skills at their ‘House of Hair’ show. The students put their talents to the test, styling their models and showing off what they have learned on their vocational courses.
Catering lecturer Iain Baillie was recognised for his year of hard work when he was named ‘inspirational tutor’ in April. As part of the Institute of Hospitality Southern Branch’s ‘Student of the Year Awards 2018’, Iain was hailed a ‘shining example for the industry’.
We were also intrigued to hear about the journeys of Sport and Public Services lecturer Martyn Bell, who had journeyed into The Gambia in April, dropping off medical and stationery supplies to a number of projects in need.
May saw a huge number of successes for HSDC, starting with Engineering Project Day where students were able to showcase their work to employers.
Student Sam Manners spoke to us in May about meeting with Princess Anne. Because of his hard work as a young carer, Sam was invited to the event where he got to speak to princess about the day-to-day issues he faces as a carer.
The month finished on a high as we received the news that we had been chosen as one of the two Colleges in South Hampshire to pioneer T Levels!
In June the news broke that HSDC will be expanding its opportunities to even more students by merging with Alton College by March 2019!
We also celebrated another successful Pass Off Parade, which for many marked the end of their Public or Uniformed Services course.
July saw the end of another academic year, and the first for HSDC. A Level and Vocational Art, Photography and Fashion students showcased their end-of-year pieces for members of the public which was a brilliant way to round off such a successful year!
What an incredible first year HSDC has had, and we are so excited to be looking ahead to join forces with Alton College to have an even better year for 2018/19!