Delighted to accept role as a national Further Education leader

Since I penned my last column, I’ve been out and about attending a wide range of meetings and conferences around the future of colleges and leadership, including in two of the UK’s capitals in Belfast and London.

The meeting in Belfast was part of the work I’m doing with the Independent Commission on the College of the Future as the representative for College Principals in England, a role which I am incredibly enthusiastic about as the representative for an entire nation of colleges.

I joined my Principal colleagues from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, together with other members of the Commission, where we had some valuable and constructive conversations about the UK’s future workforce, industry involvement in education and the core purpose for colleges in the future across the four nations as we work towards our draft vision.

I left feeling hugely optimistic about the future of skills development and how it is going to support the post-Brexit economy, the prosperity of individuals in the years to come, and the role that colleges will play in this essential drive to skill young talent.

That brings me neatly on to another new development, and that is my appointment to the National Leaders of Further Education programme, where I join 10 esteemed colleagues from colleges around the country. Working together with fellow members, we will provide strategic mentoring and support to other colleges that need to improve, and we are able to determine the best way to support the particular needs of the college or colleges we are working with.

I’m thrilled to accept this role, as driving improvement in Further Education is something I am passionate about. I’m relishing the opportunity to share the good practices we enjoy at Nelson and Colne College Group to improve education standards nationally, while gaining fresh ideas on where we can strengthen the way we operate.

I can’t end my monthly column without a mention of National Apprenticeship Week – and what a celebration it has been over the last five days. It’s been a real showcase of how Apprentices and Apprenticeship programmes have a positive impact on the performance of employers across a wide range of industry sectors, and the knock-on positive effect a skilled workforce has on the economy.

I took real pleasure from seeing the case studies of Apprentices from our employer partners being shared widely on social media throughout this week, and I would encourage you to have a look at some of the exceptional individuals and their journeys that have been shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. I’m equally proud of the culture we have at College in terms of growing our own talent through Apprenticeships in a variety of College departments.

Until next month, Amanda.

Nelson and Colne College climbs to the top of national performance table for A Levels!

Nelson and Colne College has climbed to the top of the national performance table of FE Colleges for A Levels.

In the newly-published Government performance tables, Nelson and Colne College places first in the country of all FE Colleges and is third nationally of all Sixth Forms and FE Colleges with a progress score of +0.42. This ranks the College as ‘well above the national average’ and means that students attain nearly half a grade better on average across their subjects than they were predicted to achieve.

Nelson and Colne College has consistently been one of the top performing colleges in the country and the new year-on-year figures show this is the highest place the College has ever been for the value added to the grades of students. Progress scores are calculated by comparing students predicted A Level grades based on their GCSE results against their A Level achievement when they leave College.

It was a spectacular year for A Level results for the College in 2019 as it bucked the national trend for students achieving the highest A* and A grades, while 58.5% of students at NCC achieved high A*-B grades, an improvement of more than five percentage points, and the percentage of students achieving A*-C grades also improved to 80%.

For those students who do not achieve successful GCSE grades in Mathematics and English at school, Nelson and Colne College has also placed respectively as the number one and number three FE College nationally for GCSE progress, with the results achieved by students who resit their exams in order to advance in their studies.

Principal Amanda Melton said: “I’m ecstatic at the new performance tables and this achievement sees us at number three of all colleges nationally for A Level progress. I take great pride in the fact that students who attend our College improve to achieve better A Level grades with us than they would have done at almost all other FE Colleges or Sixth Forms in the country.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to my brilliant colleagues on this exceptional result as it is testament to the high-quality teaching, support and progress monitoring that students receive here at Nelson and Colne College.

“Our GCSE resit performance is once again extremely pleasing too. Taking both tables of results as a whole, it means that the College can successfully support those who aspire to achieve the highest A Level grades and reach the best universities in the country, as well as having the capacity and expertise to support students to positive destinations who have not achieved their potential at GCSE level first time around.”

Katie Hill, 17, formerly of The Hollins in Accrington is currently studying A Levels in Biology, History and Sociology at Nelson and Colne College. She said: “I definitely made the right choice in choosing Nelson and Colne College. I love all of my lessons and if you need help with your studies here, the teachers are very supportive.

“I have found the College to be a friendly learning environment and the A Level Connect event held at the beginning of the year was a great opportunity to meet new people and make friends. The learning resources, study spaces and Refectory are also very good.”

Another current student Usman Muhammad, 16, formerly of Pendle Vale College, is studying Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics at Nelson and Colne College. He said: “College is really good. I’m looking to progress on to a Russell Group university like Imperial College London to study Medicine and I’m supported well to do that here.

“There is so much on offer at College to develop you through the extracurricular offer such as the Pre-Professional Programmes, and you gain responsibility and become increasingly independent here in preparation for university.”

Students who attend Nelson and Colne College can expect to receive outstanding A Level support, and this includes Pre-Professional Programmes to aid career aspirations in competitive sectors, specialist one-to-one guidance for Oxbridge applications, taking advantage of the College’s partnership with New College, Oxford’s Step Up programme, and the Realising Opportunities programme with the University of York.

Nelson and Colne College is the number one college in Lancashire for student satisfaction, based on the government’s FE Choices survey.

If you would like to apply to study at Nelson and Colne College, contact 01282 440272 or visit

Off-the-pitch members of Burnley FC team sign up to Apprenticeships with Nelson and Colne College Group

Two off-the-pitch members of the Burnley Football Club team are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week by signing up to Leadership and Management qualifications with Nelson and Colne College Group.

Carl Sanderson, Burnley FC’s Commercial Operations Manager, and Steve Hawthorn, Project Manager and Data Protection Officer at the club, celebrated the occasion by meeting Alison Rushton, Vice Principal for Apprenticeships at the Nelson and Colne College Group, during a ‘Back to the Floor’ opportunity at Turf Moor this week.

Carl and Steve are both eyeing the career progression opportunities that Leadership and Management Apprenticeships can open doors to, and both are looking forward to kicking off their new studies to develop themselves professionally and personally.

Carl, 36, from Burnley, said: “I’m looking forward to starting my Leadership and Management Apprenticeship. One of the things I am often asked about is what I want out of my job, and the answer is progression. I’m always looking better myself and improve my skillset and this is a perfect opportunity to do just that.

“I started working at Burnley Football Club straight after leaving university in 2007 as a Commercial Assistant and I have worked my way up to become Commercial Operations Manager. I really enjoy my job as no day is the same. A lot has changed in the time I have been at the club and my responsibilities have changed too. I’m relishing the challenge of going back into learning to develop my knowledge.”

Steve, 40, from Bradford, said: “I absolutely love the job that I do at Burnley Football Club as I get to work across the departments and I’m part of the Senior Management Team.

“I’ve got quite a broad working background as my degree is in Music Technology, and I worked in entertainment marketing for a number of years.

“I’ve now been in the football industry for 10 years and worked my way up to be Head of Marketing at Bradford City Football Club before I moved to Burnley. I’m excited for the opportunity to gain a formal qualification that is relevant to my career and the Apprenticeship will really help develop my leadership and presentation skills.”

Alison, who is also a Trustee at Burnley FC in the Community, said: “I’m delighted that Carl and Steve have decided to upskill and develop themselves through Leadership and Management Apprenticeships, and it was a pleasure to meet them to learn more about their career aspirations.

“Leadership and Management qualifications are a ‘go to’ qualification for individuals who are aiming high in their career, and Carl and Steve have ambition in abundance.

“Nelson and Colne College Group has a long track record of providing high-quality, flexible and tailored Apprenticeships and training to support employers across the North West region, and I’m proud that we are able to support Burnley FC in its ambition to develop its talented team.”

Following the successful merger between Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College, the range of Apprenticeships offered by the Nelson and Colne College Group has expanded.

Sectors in the Group offer include: Business and Professional Services; Catering and Hospitality; Construction Trades and Building Services; Education and Childcare; Engineering; Hair and Beauty; Health and Social Care; Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair; Retail, Sales and Customer Service; Sport and Leisure.

Nelson and Colne College Group is holding its Apprenticeships and Careers Expo on Wednesday 5 February from 5pm until 7pm at Nelson and Colne College, and visitors will have the opportunity to find out more about Apprenticeships, volunteering options and work placement opportunities.

The Nelson and Colne College Group is the number one college in Lancashire for employer satisfaction, based on the government’s FE Choices Employer Survey.

If you are interested in starting an Apprenticeship with the Nelson and Colne College Group, please contact the Apprenticeship Team today by calling 01282 440319 or visit

‘New year, new you’ and opportunities for all

I would like to begin my first column of 2020 by wishing you a happy new year, and I hope that you had a wonderful festive break.

Here at Nelson and Colne College, we have a flying start to the new year. This week, we held a series of adult advice events promoting our fantastic Higher Education offer and new Professional Skills courses for anyone looking to improve their professional credentials in 2020. We also highlighted our brilliant range of leisure and wellbeing courses delivered by our wonderful Lancashire Adult Learning team.

It may be a bit of a cliché, but the new year is always an opportunity for a ‘new you’, and it really is never too late to learn. Taking Higher Education qualifications as an example, they truly can be transformational for career prospects and improving lives. As a Further Education College we are able to support our community to develop their skills and qualifications at all levels, even to degree level, with courses to suit everybody starting in January and February.

For those who were not able to make the advice events, I would encourage you to contact our teams at Nelson and Colne College to find out more about our Higher Education and Professional Skills qualifications, and at Lancashire Adult Learning, who will be happy to share details of leisure and wellbeing courses. You can also find out more by visiting or

Turning attention back to supporting our community, our continued support for local employers will be highlighted at our Engineering Apprenticeship Event on Thursday 16 January, from 5pm until 7pm, aimed at College leavers, school leavers and parents. It is the perfect chance to find out everything you need to know about Engineering Apprenticeships, volunteering and work placement opportunities.

Some of our key employer partners and their Apprentices will be on hand to talk to for valuable insight into careers in the sector, and these include Pendle Engineering, Saco, Bright Engineering, Protec Fire Detection and Fort Vale. There will be the opportunity to apply for live Apprenticeship vacancies on the night too.

As a Director at the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership, and as Chair of the Lancashire LEP Skills Advisory Panel, I understand the skills demands of our regional engineering sector, the opportunities it presents, and its value to the economy, particularly here in Pendle and East Lancashire.

Before I sign off, National Apprenticeship Week takes place this year from Monday 3 February. We will once again be celebrating the value of Apprenticeships with our Apprenticeships and Careers Expo at College on Wednesday 5 February – a date for the diary.

Until next month, Amanda.

College’s partnership with Burnley FC in the Community enters fifth academic year

Burnley FC in the Community is pleased to announce that it has entered is fifth academic year in partnership with the Nelson and Colne College Group.

Initially confirmed as the Clarets charity’s Principal College Partner in 2014, the relationship has proved to be a lasting and purposeful pairing, incorporating established programmes such as the Shadow Youth Team, as well as more recent developments including apprenticeships, traineeships and employability initiatives.

The partnership’s flagship programme is the Shadow Youth Team; a combined football and academia BTEC that offers talented players aged 16-18 the chance to continue into higher education whilst gaining practical football experience.

Following a similar format to nationwide football academies, players train daily with UEFA licensed Burnley FC in the Community coaches and play on a competitive basis whilst completing a BTEC Sport Level 3 Extended Diploma with the support and guidance of highly skilled teaching staff at Nelson and Colne College.

Across five years of the partnership, 408 young people have completed the programme, with a further 32 completing the female equivalent – the Girls’ Post-16 Academy. Last season, alongside their BTEC qualification, 28 Shadow Youth Team graduates secured their FA Level 1 Football Coaching award. Players have also progressed onto impressive destinations both in the UK and overseas including university, employment, semi-professional and professional football.

With a shared aim to expand the horizons of disadvantaged young people, the partnership has more recently evolved to incorporate employability opportunities. Burnley FC in the Community now delivers a bespoke programme, developed in partnership with Nelson and Colne College, from the charity’s Leisure Box community leisure facility in Brierfield. Mentoring participants with low attainment levels in maths, English and ICT, participants are supported with studies away from the traditional college environment, with qualification accreditation provided by Lancashire Adult Learning, a part of the Nelson and Colne College Group. 73 participants have taken part in the course to date, 90% of participants have achieved a qualification and 75% have moved onto a higher education course in the same subject.

In addition, Burnley FC in the Community now operate the sports facilities at Nelson and Colne College, inclusive of an indoor sports hall, multi-use games area and outdoor 3G pitch.

Neil Hart, Chief Executive Officer of Burnley FC in the Community said: “Our partnership with Nelson and Colne College is our standard bearer for working collaboratively with other organisations in our community. One of the very first we established, it remains one of our most important and valued we have as an organisation.

“It’s been fabulous to enjoy another year of success and to see how the relationship continues to reap new and exciting rewards.”

Amanda Melton, Principal and Chief Executive of The Nelson and Colne College Group said: “The relationship that we enjoy with Burnley FC in the Community definitely makes it one of our premier partnerships and we hold it in the highest regard.

“I’m thrilled to see what began as a small cohort on the Shadow Youth Team has grown into a programme where hundreds of young people from across the North West region have enjoyed the benefits of its success, and that the offer now supports increasing numbers of aspiring females through the Girls’ Academy. What’s more, the opportunities and scope continue to broaden, and I’m excited to see our partnership progress further over the coming years.”

The highly successful Shadow Youth Team programme and Girls’ Post-16 Academy will also be available at Accrington and Rossendale College from September 2020. Students can apply now.

To find out more information about Burnley FC in the Community and the Nelson & Colne College Group visit or

Nelson and Colne College celebrates stunning rise in A Level performance

Nelson and Colne College is celebrating a stunning rise in the number of students who achieved the highest A* and A grades at A Level.

The college’s overall A Level pass rate is 99% and the number of students achieving coveted A* and A grades has seen a spectacular rise by three percentage points, up to 24.6%.

Across the board, 2019’s results show an increase in higher grades, with 58.5% of students at NCC achieving high A*-B grades, an improvement of more than five percentage points. The percentage of students achieving A*-C grades have also grown and now sits at 80%.

Almost all subject areas scored 100% pass rates with the Mathematics and Science departments seeing strong achievement with 17 A* grades and 46 A grades.

There was high achievement in Creative subject areas, with 100% of Fine Art, Graphic Design, Photography and Textile students achieving A*-B grades. In Business, Humanities and Languages, there was a total of 23 A* grades and 68 A grades, with strong performances in Sociology, Psychology, Business and Spanish.

Many students are going on to study at top universities across the UK, including Russell Group establishments such as the University of Cambridge, Durham University, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, the University of Manchester, Newcastle University and the University of York.

Students are progressing on to study a range of highly competitive degree courses including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Computer Science, Law and Economics.

Principal of Nelson and Colne College, Amanda Melton, said: “I’m delighted with the 2019 A Level results and I would like to congratulate our students on achieving these remarkable results.

“Nelson and Colne College is an extraordinary place to study and the rise we have seen in the highest A* and A grades demonstrates what an extraordinary learning environment we have created here at NCC.

“Each year, we continue to be a beacon for excellence and this is achieved by combining phenomenal teaching, excellent facilities, the offer of exceptional work placement opportunities and a first-class extracurricular programme, including Pre-Professional Programmes for competitive career pathways.

“It all contributes towards our students excelling and achieving the best that they can.”

To follow in the footsteps of this year’s A Level stars, enrolment will be taking place at Nelson and Colne College on GCSE Results Day on Thursday 22 August, and on Friday 23 August.

Nelson and Colne College is the number one college in the country for 16-18 learner achievement, based on government data, and it is number one in Lancashire for A Levels, based on progress scores. It is also the number one college in Lancashire for student satisfaction, based on the government’s FE Choices survey.

If you would like to enrol at Nelson and Colne College, contact 01282 440272 or visit