Learners at the College of North East London (CONEL) have seen their pass rate rise sharply in the last academic year (2005/06).

CONEL statisticians have just completed detailed analysis of the results, which show that 92 per cent of students passed their main qualifications, giving CONEL one of the highest pass rates in the country.

"We have focused relentlessly on raising the achievement of our learners", said College Principal Paul Head. "While we knew that this strategy was working, we didn't quite realise to what extent until all the results were confirmed and the analysis completed. Ninety two per cent is a really excellent result, particularly in a college which has a reputation for widening participation to include learners from all abilities and backgrounds."

Initiatives on widening participation are designed to remove barriers to education from the path of learners whose parents or carers have no direct experience of further or higher education.

The confirmation of this result is encouraging for current students who are hoping to do equally well. It also demonstrates to prospective students that CONEL is a good option for those who aim to achieve high standards.

Vik Seeborun is a Course Team Leader in Business, teaching Accounting and Business Economics. These courses are rapidly growing in popularity and expanding to meet increasing numbers of students and the needs of businesses.

Vik has been rated by OFSTED as a Grade One teacher in successive inspections. "People know there are business and accounting jobs available and money to be made," he says. "These results are down to hard work from CONEL staff and a great willingness to learn that's the commitment from our learners."

Many students, particularly those on part-time course, are highly motivated when they arrive. Some younger learners see their aspirations rise sharply as they learn. "They might come here because there is a financial incentive but soon, their motivation changes and they begin to see a future with prospects and a good career ahead of them," says Vik.

Support staff work in a variety of roles alongside teachers, all contributing to students' success. Colin Granger is Workshop Manager in Construction, another very popular school. He ensures that workshops run smoothly, that good health and safety practice is in place and that the right material and equipment is provided so that people can carry out practical assessments.

"Our students are taught to understand the work ethos and discipline of working in the construction industry," Colin explains, "Punctuality is essential, if they arrive late on a building site, they can lose the job. Behaviour is very important. Students do placements in the industry and they become very disciplined, they are taught about the risks that can cause accidents, so they go out on site, knowing how to conduct themselves."

"We have the right strategies in place to deliver genuine improvement," commented Paul Head. "Staff have worked hard to produce such excellent results and boost our reputation. It has been a genuine team effort, with people in a range of different roles supporting and encouraging our students to achieve this brilliant 92 per cent pass rate."

CONEL will host an Open Day for 14 to 18 year olds on February 13th from 4 to 8pm. It is an opportunity for young people who are thinking about the next stage of their education to explore what the College has to offer. They can meet lecturers and find out about courses to fit their interests and future career plans.

An options event for 13 year olds will be held at CONEL on February 13th between 2pm and 4pm, with the College and other providers giving advice to younger pupils.

Adults who are considering Further Education will have an opportunity to find out about CONEL's courses on March 14th from 5.30pm to 8pm prospective learners of all ages are welcome to this event.

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