English Language Students Do Well

by Alastair Hamilton -

Shetland College UHI has offered courses in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) for many years, helping new residents to make their way in the islands. 2016-17 saw particularly strong exam results.

The ESOL classes are provided at a range of levels to meet the needs of individual students, who are supported in improving their speaking, listening, writing and reading skills.

Since moving to Shetland from Poland in 2014, the Lis family has achieved SQA recognised qualifications through the college, and they’ve worked hard to support each other on the ESOL course. This year, Monika Lis is to receive the class prize sponsored by Grieg Seafood, in recognition of her excellent language skills and dedication to her studies. Her tutor, Averill Dorrat, says that Monika "is an excellent role model for other young people and is to be commended for her commitment to language learning in her adopted country." She is moving on from Shetland College UHI to study Pharmacy at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, and is to be presented with her prize at the FE Awards Ceremony on 22 September.

This year the Higher ESOL course in Shetland was also followed by a student in Orkney via video conference, with this successful arrangement set to continue in 2018-19. This student, Neus Salomo, has now successfully found employment as a primary teacher in Spain.

Andrew Anderson, Senior Lecturer in Community Learning, explains:

“In 2016-17 there were 49 students who attended ESOL classes, with most of them being very successful and gaining SQA recognised qualifications. The students often have very busy working and family lives and need to show dedication and commitment to achieve their awards.”

This year all students who sat the Higher ESOL exam passed, with over 60% achieving an A grade, which is indicative of the high calibre of exam results across the college. In 2016-17 the college achieved a 70% pass rate within A-C grades across Higher and National 5 exams undertaken.

Susan Berry, Acting Depute Principal, noted that “strong results were seen within English for Speakers of Other Languages, Psychology and Sociology. It is positive to see consistently strong results across Higher and National 5 programmes for students at Shetland College UHI.”

The students often have very busy working and family lives and need to show dedication and commitment to achieve their awards

Shetland College UHI has an excellent record in preparing students for exams. Earlier this year, it achieved the highest percentage in Scotland (81.6%) of full-time further education students who completed their courses successfully in 2015-16. That represented a year-on-year increase of 7% and compares with the national success rate of 65.5%.

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