Students in Top Gear Style Race

A group of students with learning difficulties, from East Durham College, recently challenged their lecturer to a Top Gear style race.

The 10 students, who are on a Level 1 Land Based Operations course, used public transport to get from Sunderland to their Houghall Campus in Durham, while their Curriculum Leader Keith Cook, rather than using the latest Ferrari, used pedal power.

Although the students arrived at the finishing line 15 minutes ahead of Mr Cook, the lecturer received the medal – because the students had left from a different station than they had originally planned.

But, campus head Jane Pringle said the students were to be congratulated as they had used the skills taught to them to change their travel arrangements accordingly.

Ms Pringle said: “As part of their course, they take part in a number of curriculum areas to help build their life skills, including training to use public transport.

“They were shadowed by tutors Kerry Barker and Ross Strong, who delivers the travel training, to ensure they were safe.”

Pathways 3 provide funding to help the College train and encourage students to use public transport rather than using taxis.

The two teams set off from Newcastle Road in Sunderland. The students caught the bus in to Sunderland, then the Metro over to Newcastle, a train down to Durham and finally a bus to Houghall. Keith took a more direct route down the Durham Road then through Pittington and Sherburn and finally downhill to the Houghall Campus in Durham.

Mr Cook, the curriculum leader, said: “I am really pleased about the outcome, because the students used their initiative to enable them to win the race.”

The teams also raised sponsorship for the challenge with all proceeds going to the Haiti Appeal.