Highly Commended: Nicholas Earl-Phillipps – V Cert Aspiration Awards

We’re delighted to announce that Nicholas Earl-Phillipps, a learner at Bitterne Park School has been highly commended in our V Cert Aspiration Awards.

Nicholas has autism and an Education Health and Care Plan. Having been told by care and educational professionals at age 5 that Nicholas would probably never receive any formal education, his mother has seen Nicholas go on to achieve great things at his mainstream school, including achieving an NCFE V Cert in Food and Cookery.

Through applied learning and encouragement of his teachers, Nicholas has been able to overcome many of the challenges that his Autism presents which make engaging with education difficult in a classroom setting. His Food and Cookery teacher, Mrs Llewellyn, spent several years with Nicholas, building up a relationship that has helped him not only achieve his V Cert, but 7 other GCSE level qualifications by the end of year 11.

Mrs Llewellyn said of Nicholas: “When we started the NCFE V Cert in Food and Cookery, Nicholas had no confidence in the kitchen what so ever. He was terrified of burning or cutting himself and didn’t want to hold a knife, let alone cut food up. Nicholas trusted me, and over the year, he shone. His confidence grew with every practical lesson and, towards the end of the course, Nicholas was even eating and cooking foods he never would have tried before.”

When told that he had been highly commended, Nicholas said: “I feel quite honoured actually. It’s taken me all these years to get where I am – I am very pleased.” Nicholas has now gone on to 6th form to study Hospitality.

Richard Cosford, Assistant Head Teacher and Director of Inclusive Learning at the school, was behind Nicholas’s nomination and commented on the remarkable pupil. He said that: “I believe Nicholas is a real inspiration for any child who struggles with meeting the challenges of a demanding educational curriculum. Nicholas is proof that with the right environment and the relevant and engaging course, education can be totally fulfilling, fully inclusive and remarkably rewarding.”

At NCFE, we believe that when you create opportunities for success, you can enrich society. Technical education, where the roots are embedded in applied learning and engaging content, allow pupils of all different levels of ability to succeed in the right environment and with the right learning techniques.

About the awards

This year marked the launch of our first V Cert Aspiration Awards, which asked schools and teachers to nominate a ‘Pupil of the Year’ with big aspirations. The scheme was developed to recognise learners who are using V Certs to help them reach their goals and make positive improvements to their life.