Thorpe St Andrew School wins national award for vocational Btec qualification

Thorpe St Andrew High School BTEC quality nominee Kate Woodcock(front centre) and some of the team w

Thorpe St Andrew High School BTEC quality nominee Kate Woodcock(front centre) and some of the team who together won the National BTEC School of the Year award.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A high school whose vocational qualification programme has seen 95pc of students progress to higher education has been named the outstanding school of the year in a national competition.

Thorpe St Andrew High School last week collected the Oustanding BTec School/College 2013 award at a ceremony in London.

The prize built on last year's success, when the school's Hannah Cunningham won the award for best student in the children and social care category.

The award comes despite last month's publication of Department for Education statistics which showed Norfolk had the country's lowest rate of A-level or equivalent students progressing to stable employment, education or training.

Deputy principal Steven Farmer said: 'It's a fantastic achievement for the school and a well-deserved accolade for the students and staff who deliver BTec and work exceptionally hard.

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'The judges were really impressed with the quality of the work they saw and they were really impressed with the students they saw working and talked to, and they were impressed with the diversity of the provision on offer.'

Although the school mainly concentrates on GCSEs and A-levels, it is also able to offer BTecs in subjects including health and social care, child care, sport, performing arts, IT, dance and engineering.

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Asked how BTecs help with students' employment, Mr Farmer said: 'They understand the kind of work they can get and the kind of people they need to be to get placements, and it creates a relationship between employers and schools which is essential when schools are being told they don't provide the necessary skills for the workplace.'

Sophie Cracknell, 15, is studying dance, and has been doing work experience at the Theatre Royal in Norwich.

She said: 'I chose it because it's something I wanted to pursue in life. It really helps me because the course is brilliant. It's easy to follow but also challenging at the same time.'

Last year the school's BTec courses had a 100pc pass rate at level three, and 97pc at level two.

Kate Woodcock, BTec quality nominee, said: 'The award shows the BTecs are worthwhile. The students go on to course-related employment or get course-related university places from their courses.'

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