Students and staff from a specialist art and design college in the north east are celebrating after achieving a series of amazing results in A-levels and BTEC Extended Diplomas.

Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) in Middlesbrough has maintained its record of a 100 per cent BTEC pass rate for more than 12 successive years. 84 percent of its BTEC Extended Diploma students gained a triple distinction (DDD) or above, which is the equivalent UCAS points of three As at A-Level, a massive increase of 18 percent on last year.

Among the outstanding results for Extended Diplomas revealed at the campus on Green Lane this year are the programmes in Fine Art, which saw 92 percent of students achieve DDD or above and Textiles, with over 91 percent of its students gaining a triple distinction or higher. Also achieving top results were courses in 3D Design, with 90 percent and Design Crafts with 87.5 percent.

A-Level students have also have had another successful year at the college, with 71 percent achieving three A-C grades.

18-year-old Caroline Robinson from Stockton achieved three As for her A-levels in History of Art, Photography and Fine Art, exceeding her predicted grades of ABB.

After receiving offers from four universities, including one unconditional offer despite having not yet finished the course, Caroline is now going on to study a four-year History of Art course at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). Part of The University of Edinburgh University, ECA was her first choice for higher education and where she will eventually gain an MA at the end of her studies.

The student, a former pupil at All Saints C of E Academy in Ingleby Barwick, was delighted with her results, which were better than expected. She said: “I have been up since 3am but I checked my results on the UCAS website at 8am this morning, and it was there in black and white. It’s a shock to see it written so plainly, because what it actually means is I am going to university so I shouted and then woke my Mum up with the news!

“I was a bit nervous as I thought I had done okay and all I needed to get was ABB but never expected to get three As. I did consider going to Oxford University but I chose Edinburgh as I have family there and it is a great course and city. I visited last year and I just knew I wanted to live there, as the art campus is lovely.”

Caroline has really enjoyed her time at CCAD, saying: “I considered all the local colleges but I really wanted to specialise in art subjects so this was a natural choice. My art teacher also highly recommended CCAD.

“I have always been interested in art since I was little and really enjoy contemporary art, which I studied in my second year. It’s a real family atmosphere here, so friendly and quite a special college. I wish there were more like this around the country for young people.”

She added: “I’m really looking forward to living on my own and excited about getting to know everyone on my course, which I am starting to do now on Facebook. We have people from all over the world, Dubai, America, Australia, Slovenia and it’s such an inclusive atmosphere, even though we haven’t even met yet!”

Caroline is already looking forward to her new future and will be celebrating tonight with friends and planning for her first Freshers’ Scottish Ceilidh Ball at her new home in Edinburgh.

A-levels can also lead to a less traditional route to university for art and design students but a great way to experience a new subject in a college environment, as demonstrated by CCAD foundation diploma student, Helena Greening.

Following her successful A-level studies at Stokesley School and Sixth Form College, 18-year-old Helena, from Osmotherley, is now on her way to Oxford University to study BA (Hons) Fine Art after completing a foundation diploma in art and design.

Helena decided she wanted to specialise in art but wasn’t quite ready for a full-time degree at a university. She said: “Ever since I’ve been small I’ve loved art but I didn’t think it was possible for it to be my career, then I heard about the Foundation course at CCAD, and I knew the course was just perfect for me. I couldn’t have got in (Oxford) without my Foundation and my next step to study a Fine Art degree is a continuation of my life through what I love, art.”

Martin Raby, Principal at Cleveland College of Art and Design, said: “We are exceptionally proud of the successes of our students this year and these fantastic results are testament to their commitment and hard work. I would like to congratulate them all on their achievements and wish them well as they move to university or employment.

“Cleveland College of Art and Design has once again demonstrated its commitment to be one of the UK’s leading specialist art and design colleges. We pride ourselves on the quality of teaching, along with the employer-led learning, training and mentoring opportunities that are offered to our students, which mean they are better equipped for whatever choice they make next, whether that’s university study or the world of work.”

CCAD has enjoyed success and achieved great results over the last few months, with the north east art and design school awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework in recognition of its outstanding quality of teaching.

In addition, the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education results, announced in July, placed CCAD at 96.7 percent for graduate employment or further training six months after graduating – the highest for art and design employability in the country and overall fifth in the country when compared to all providers.

Patrick Chapman, Head of Employability and External Relations, added: “These results and our outstanding graduate employability record show that CCAD really is the place to study if you are serious about a career in the ever growing creative industries.”

The college will be offering extended diplomas awarded by University of the Arts London from September, the first college in the North East to do so.

For more information on opportunities at CCAD contact (01642) 288888 or visit www.ccad.ac.uk.

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