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A parent's perspective: Emma Smallwood

Emma Smallwood, Parent, Coleg Gwent

Emma Smallwood
Emma Smallwood, Parent, Coleg Gwent   With 11 excellent passes at GCSE, Jake Smallwood had loads of options for his next step. But when Jake’s mum Emma found out he was thinking about going to college her first reaction was concern, soon allayed by finding out more information at Open Days and talking to College staff.  “The stigma that college is for those not bright enough to do A Levels is outdated,” says Emma.  Her initial concerns that Jake wouldn’t be challenged and wouldn’t achieve his potential have been proved ill-founded: "In fact, Jake is more inspired, motivated and ambitious than ever.”

Jake is doing an Extended Diploma in Interactive Media – a subject he wouldn’t have been able to specialise in at sixth form – which will get him the UCAS points he needs to go to university.  Emma explains: “I thought the preferred route to university was A Levels, similar to when I was in school, but in fact the Extended Diploma is the equivalent of three A Levels and accepted as such in the workplace and in Higher Education."

It’s not just the subject Jake enjoys, but the college atmosphere, and Emma has seen a difference in his confidence since starting college last September:


 “Jake says the learning environment at college is more relaxed than school as he’s trusted to get on with his work, and he says the classroom is more like a design studio with all the latest technology and a professional atmosphere. Jake is much more confident and self-assured and he puts it down to his time in college.”

Emma’s not the only one pleased with Jake’s progress: “I’ve been to parents’ evenings and the lecturers are impressed, not only by what Jake produces in college, but his enthusiasm – he’s always working on a project outside of college as he’s so keen to get as much experience as possible – he almost turned down a holiday he’s that dedicated!”

The relaxed environment doesn’t mean Jake isn’t getting the attention and support he needs from his tutors, and Emma thinks the relationship he has with them has made him see his own potential and believe in himself: “They’re so supportive of all of their students.  They want Jake to succeed as much as he and I do."

    Emma Smallwood, Parent, Coleg Gwent

Emma is a strong advocate of parents considering all options for their son or daughter.  “Coleg Gwent offers more choice, just as much, if not more support, and a learning environment that brings out the best in young people.”

Got a question about your child coming to college? Check out our information for parents section.

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