STAR Students Shine

Thu, 16/11/2000 - 00:00

A college in County Durham has praised the efforts of a group of first year students some of whom were at risk of dropping out of their course or not progressing to the next level but have turned things around.

14 students at East Durham College were asked to take part in a new Youth Participation S.T.A.R Project (Supporting Transition And Retention) and have all come through it with flying colours.

The programme which ran from January for 10 weeks focused on helping and supporting students with a mix of behavioural, emotional or social difficulties - who were all finding the transition from school to college particularly difficult.

Janice Armstrong, one of the Transitional Development Facilitator at the College, explained: “Transition into Further Education can be a daunting process especially if students have been used to smaller supportive environments in their previous schools. All students on the programme commenced full time courses at the College in September and have struggled with their studies and college life in general.

“This extra programme has really made a big difference; they are all flourishing and have a new self confidence which is just wonderful to see.”

The students participated in a range of activities and went on a number of outings designed to help them improve their ability to mix with new people and build their self confidence.

The students were praised by their tutors and College Principal Stuart Wesselby at a celebratory meal put on for them at the College’s restaurant Scene1.

One student who took part in the project was Shanice Brown. Shanice, who is 17 and from Peterlee and has Autism, was picked out by tutors as one of the real stars.

Since commencing the programme tutors have seen a tremendous change in her; she has really come out of her shell and more willing to try new things – a massive achievement.

“I can’t believe I took part on all the different activities and made these new friends, they are great these guys,” Shanice said.

The project was funded by The European Social Fund and Skills Funding Agency.