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Merger brought success stories

CITY and Islington College is a child of incorporation. It was founded in 1993, the year colleges were freed - some would argue cut adrift - from local education authority control.

Sharing the platform with Stephen Twigg, minister for young people and learning, at the college's anniversary celebrations on Monday will be Julia Abernethy - a less well-known speaker, but one who is likely to talk passionately about the value of further education.

At the age of 12 she was unable to read and write. She says her school refused to accept her reason that she was unable to attend because of ill health, and therefore refused to provide home tuition.

She went to City and Islington at 17 where she got five grade A GCSEs, went on to A-levels and won a place at Cambridge University. Now, she is in the final year of a PhD in human population genetics at University College London.

She said: "The world is my oyster now. There is no way I would be doing this if it hadn't been for City and Islington and the support I had from my teacher there."

The college was created from the merger of several institutions including Islington sixth-form centre, taking in adult education at the same time.

By 1990, the number of its students going to university had doubled. This year, the college, which has reduced its number of sites from 13 to 11, is due to open its first new buildings.

Principal Frank McLoughlin said: "When the college was founded 10 years ago, we committed ourselves to building on the individual strengths we inherited, to create a single college that would both address the needs of its local communities and that would aim for excellence.

"We have certainly achieved that in terms of quality, student achievement and examination results."

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