Keith Fletcher Memorial Access to HE Student Prizes 2019-20

Now in its 10th year, the national Access to HE student prize, in memory of Keith Fletcher, formerly of Open College South West Region and a keen advocate of Access to HE, has once again produced a group of very worthy candidates. 

Access students deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated, whatever the circumstances, it is hard at the best of times and this year has been a complete change to how we would normally operate, and we want to recognise this. This year, prizes will be presented to the winners in each category with all other nominees receiving a commendation certificate and a gift voucher, to recognise their achievement in exceptional circumstances.

The nominations have now been scrutinised by a panel of judges from each participating Access Validating Agency (AVA) and a winner has been chosen in each category. There are two categories ‘Outstanding Academic Achievement’ and ‘Outstanding Commitment to Study’.

 All candidates will be invited to join a special virtual presentation event, at the beginning of March (date to be agreed), where the winners will receive a certificate and cheque of £750 to help them with their future study.

Judges of the Prizes

The following were the AVA nominated judges of this year’s Keith Fletcher Memorial Access to HE Learner Prize:

Julie Farmer, Deputy Chair of OCN London Quality and Standards Committee

Darren Howells, Interim Chief Executive, Agored Cymru 

Jack Wilcock, Product Development Manager, Ascentis 

Michelle Elliott, Vice Principal, University Centre Quayside 

Gordon Laing, Edge Hill University, Trustee for Open Awards

Dr John McCann, retired Assistant Principal, Hills Road Sixth Form College, former member of CAVA Council 

Paul Phillips, Board Member and Chair of LASER Access Quality & Development Committee, former Head of Admissions and UK Recruitment, Royal Holloway University of London

Yvonne Savage, Access to HE Moderator and External Quality Assurer, Gateway Qualifications

Outstanding Academic Achievement

Criteria for nomination: Students proposed in this category should have excelled in their academic study by producing assessed work of a consistently outstanding quality whilst on their Access courses. They should have shown evidence of some or all the following:

  • outstanding commitment to their Access studies, perhaps in the face of difficult and challenging personal circumstances,
  • having made an inspirational journey which demonstrates the life transforming power of learning,
  • individual achievement beyond standard expectations,
  • clear evidence of extra effort above and beyond that which would normally be required of a student.

Winner: Gavin McKay, Coleg Ceredigion, Agored Cymru

“Gavin’s natural intelligence and skill set allowed him to achieve excellent grades consistently demonstrating standards above level 3, which consequently resulted in all graded units achieving distinctions. He demonstrated excellent research skills, with a mature linguistic ability beyond the level required for this course, and demonstrated a natural aptitude towards health sciences.” Tutor

An excellent student who writes with scientific insight and understanding, and achieves a very high standard of scholarship.Judge

Runners Up:

Sadie Coates, Nelson and Colne College Group, Ascentis

“A career driven individual who has proved herself to be an outstanding student on the Access to Health and Social Care Professions course. Every assignment she has submitted during the course has been graded Distinction standard, and this has been successfully achieved by balancing her demanding work commitment.” Tutor

“An outstanding independent learner whose work demonstrates an excellent grasp of subject material, and the ability to write fluently with insight and understanding.” Judge

Eleanor Georgina Cunningham, Wirral Metropolitan College, Open Awards

“During the course, Eleanor consistently produced work of an extremely high standard – especially in Chemistry – and was an active and supportive member of the class – providing assistance to other students when they needed it.” Tutor

“An outstanding student whose work demonstrates an impressive knowledge and understanding of a range of scientific material, excellent powers of analysis, and commendable scholastic skills.” Judge 

Carin Calder-La Croix, City Lit, OCN London

“Carin has been an outstanding academic achiever from the very beginning of the course. She was always incredibly well-prepared with her questions and commentary during class, indicating a very sharp intellect and willingness to go above and beyond.” Tutor

“An exceptional student who presents well-founded arguments persuasively, demonstrates good powers of analysis, and a thorough understanding of conceptual and core material.” Judge

Michael Philips, Petroc College, Cambridge Access Validating Agency (CAVA)

“Michael is one of the best chemists I have seen on the Access chemistry course. He had an intuitive understanding of the subject matter which I have not often seen in students on this course. Coupled with an incredibly strong work ethic, this enabled him to achieve excellent results throughout the course.” Tutor

“An outstanding student whose work demonstrates an excellent grasp of scientific material, clear expression, high accuracy, and sound problem solving and presentation skills.” Judge

Jack McCann, Chichester College, Laser Learning Awards

“An exceptional student who achieves an outstanding standard of scholarship across a range of subjects, and whose work demonstrates an excellent awareness of the relative strengths and weaknesses of key ideas, theories and concepts, and impressive skills of analysis.” Judge

“Jack has exceptional academic ability. He is an unassuming and modest young man, with a maturity that belies his years and an aptitude for writing academically in a most engaging and insightful way. He has shown his academic strength across all subjects in his diploma.” Tutor 

Outstanding Commitment to Study:

Criteria for nomination: Students in this category should have shown evidence of some or all the following:

  • outstanding commitment to their Access studies, perhaps in the face of difficult and challenging personal circumstances,
  • having made an inspirational journey which demonstrates the life transforming power of learning,
  • individual achievement beyond standard expectations,
  • clear evidence of extra effort above and beyond that which would normally be required of a student. 

Winner: Tanya O’Connor, Petroc College, Cambridge Access Validating Agency (CAVA)

“Exemplary commitment shown. Despite the learner joining the access programme with lots of issues, organisation and planning had supported these. The pandemic threw up further issues and the student had to plan and manage not only her own learning but that of 4 children. It was astounding to read who the student used her experiences to support the next cohort of access learners by creating learning materials especially about remote learning.” Judge


Charlotte Glass, Stockton Riverside College, One Awards

“A determined and highly motivated student who was tenacious in the pursuit of their HE educational goal, and had to overcome debilitating heath issues to succeed on their course.” Judge

Douglas Haig, Derwentside College, One Awards

“A hard working student who clearly grew in academic stature throughout their course, and provided encouragement and help to others students.” Judge 

Victoria Swindells, Tameside College, Open Awards

“A well-organised learner who stoically overcame an array of difficult personal circumstances, grew in confidence throughout their course, and effectively balanced parental, work and study responsibilities to achieve their HE educational goal.” Judge

Shaun-Junior Bishop, Cardiff and Vale College, Agored Cymru

“This student has shown tremendous self-reflection and resolve to understand their own ways and of learning.” Judge 

Charlotte Cook, West Kent College, Laser Learning Awards

“A highly motivated and dedicated student who was steadfast in their desire to achieve their HE dream and did so in the face of traumatic and tragic personal circumstances.” Judge

Keith Fletcher Memorial Access to HE Student Prizes 2019-20
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