Investing in East London’s future

Our annual analysis of the university destinations of our students always makes impressive reading. While we can’t guarantee that every former NewVIc student who progresses to a degree level course will get a graduate level job in a few years’ time, we can be fairly confident that they are acquiring the skills which will help them to be more competitive in the labour market.

Overall, 707 NewVIc students progressed to Higher Education in 2014. This year saw a 22% increase in the number progressing to the highly selective Russell Group institutions as well as equally selective and specialist universities such as SOAS, the Institute of Education, Ravensbourne and the University of the Arts, London. 73 NewVIc students progressed to Russell Group universities, 16 of whom were vocational students. 2 of our students progressed to Oxford University.

Of these 707 progressors, 343 had studied A levels and 364 had studied vocational courses such as BTEC Extended Diplomas. These vocational students often progress to the same degree courses as their A level peers and in some cases are better prepared for the demands of further professional study and like the young woman who progressed to a Law degree at Leeds University with a Extended Diploma in Science, they are not always bound by their vocational specialism.

Some people claim that vocational learners are ill-equipped to contribute to the economy or that somehow they are to blame for whatever skill shortages there are. This would appear to be disproved by the sheer numbers of our vocational students progressing to specialist and competitive degree level courses which will put them in a good position when they graduate.

83% of our class of 2014 are studying in the London area and will continue to live at home. Far from being a disadvantage for these students it means that they can keep their maintenance costs down and benefit from their existing support network. Many will also continue to volunteer or mentor in the local community or at their former college during their undergraduate years making a sustained commitment to community cohesion and developing their successors.

Taken as a cohort, the class of 2014 look like a team of professionals capable of running a small country. When you consider that this is just one of many East London colleges and a fairly typical year, the vital contribution of East London’s post-16 education providers becomes evident.

A brief summary of the degree courses of the NewVIc class of 2014 by broad area:

(the numbers don’t add up to 707 as the final course is unknown for a few of the students who progressed)

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths: 205 students

Includes 69 engineers (aeronautical, civil, electrical, mechanical, software etc.), 52 health related (including 9 pharmacists/pharmacologists, 9 nurses, 6 podiatrists, 5 medical students, 3 radiographers and 2 optometrists), biologists, chemists, physicists, forensic scientists etc.

Economics, Business, Management and Accounting: 148 students

Includes 63 business, management and finance, 43 accountants and 15 economists as well as international business, marketing and human resources specialists.

Humanities and Social Sciences: 89 students

Includes 34 studying Psychology and related degrees, 16 studying Politics, development studies and international relations, 16 historians (including 1 Egyptologist), 8 sociologists, 7 geographers, 7 studying philosophy or religion and 1 anthropologist.

Visual and Performing Arts: 62 students

16 performing artists (dance, drama, music and music technology), 15 studying digital creative media and photography, 14 studying art, fashion, illustration, textiles and graphics, 11 studying film production or editing, and 6 architects.

Law and Criminology: 51 students

29 lawyers and 22 criminologists.

Education and Social Work: 51 students

24 studying early years or early childhood studies, 16 education studies including special needs, 9 teaching (primary and English), 2 studying social work.

Sport, Travel, Tourism and Event Management: 46 students

31 studying sports, coaching, PE or football studies, 15 studying tourism, airline and travel or event management.

English and Languages: 41 students

Including 14 students studying English literature, language or linguistics, 7 journalists and 7 creative writing students and 3 language students (1 Arabic, 1 German and 1 Hispanic studies).

While we are justly proud of these students’ achievements, it would be wrong to claim all the credit for their progression to university. It takes a whole education system to make an undergraduate and their primary and secondary education made a vital contribution to building their academic and social skills as one of our 2014 Oxford University progressors, Rumana, acknowledges here.

Looking at the fantastic range of degree courses our students are progressing on to it is clear that this cohort, like those before them, represents a colossal investment in the future of East London. Between them, they will be offering a phenomenal level of skill, dynamism and commitment to every sector of the economy of their city. Let’s hope that economy is ready to make the most of them.

More on NewVIc students’ achievements: College success with disadvantaged students.  How to achieve high university progression rates.   Guess what? Vocational students go to university too.   London’s colleges promoting social mobility.   Colleges are real engines of social mobility.

Full-time prospectus

About Eddie Playfair

Principal of Newham Sixth Form College (NewVIc) East London. Blogging about education, politics and culture in a personal capacity. I also tweet at @eddieplayfair
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