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Further afield

New sixth-form college celebrates first exam results

Students at the first new sixth-form college to be opened since 2004 collected A-level exam results for the first time last week. At Rochdale Sixth Form College, 21 students who transferred from Hopwood Hall College achieved 100 per cent pass rates in all but one subject. The college added that AS-level results for its first whole cohort of students were also promising, with half the subjects in the top 25 per cent of value-added results for the UK. Principal Julian Appleyard said: "It is particularly gratifying to see how far the students have progressed, with many achieving far higher grades than would be predicted by their exam results at 16. These results put Rochdale Sixth Form College on the map."

`Privileged' Yale College principal retires

Yale College principal Paul Croke (pictured) has retired after 38 years in education. Former vice-principal Jasbir Dhesi will take the reins when Mr Croke steps down after nine years leading the Wrexham college. The college was awarded 19 grade 1 ratings from Estyn, the Welsh education inspectorate, during his time in charge. Before taking over at Wrexham, Mr Croke was principal of Gorseinon College, now part of Gower College Swansea. He said: "I feel privileged to have been able to lead such an incredible college as Yale for the past nine years. It is certainly the highlight and culmination of my long career."

Lottery funding to help people with learning difficulties

Lakes College in West Cumbria has been awarded lottery funding for a project to help people with learning difficulties into work. The pound;119,000 grant will support a project called Stay West, which aims to tackle the underlying barriers to the employment of people with learning difficulties and disabilities and help them to improve their life skills. It will offer 36-day work placements for students with learning difficulties, along with awareness training for employers and local communities.

Construction students build on skills with 3D simulations

The College of North West London is using virtual reality technology to teach construction students. It has chosen to use 3D simulations (pictured above) by Skills2Learn to allow students to practise plumbing, carpentry, brickwork and plastering outside of the workshop, while saving tens of thousands of pounds in materials. The technology includes fully interactive models of real-life construction equipment, but the training takes place on a computer screen with a mouse and keyboard, rather than using more expensive 3D virtual reality headsets.

Retail management degree hits shelves at Derby College

Derby College is expanding its HE provision by offering a BA honours degree for the first time, in retail management and leadership. The college says the degree, to be launched next year, comes in response to demand from the retail sector, and offers progression from its existing foundation degree in the subject. Principal David Croll said: "We work with some of the major high street retailers, handling work-based training up and down the country. Increasing participation in higher education and supporting the development of the local and national workforces are both key objectives for Derby College."

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