University preparation has officially begun for able, gifted and talented Year 8 students who have successfully gained a place on a prestigious Nelson and Colne College academic programme.

Students from five Pendle secondary schools were put through their paces in a series of challenges during a selection day for the three year Pendle Elite programme.

Pendle Elite is designed to stretch, challenge and develop students – helping them prepare for College life and ultimately progress to some of the top Universities in the country.

NCC’s Curriculum Leader for A Levels Helen Marks said: “This is the second year of the Pendle Elite programme, which students start when they are in Year 9. The programme gives able, gifted and talented students the chance to take part in inter-school competitions, challenges, research projects and more.

“Once again, students really impressed us throughout the selection day – showing competitive spirit and an ability to develop a range of skills in tasks including a Dragon’s Den style presentation and team building, leadership and problem solving exercises. Well done to the 30 students now officially enrolled on the programme.”

Ten students from each school – Colne Primet Academy, Pendle Vale College, Colne Park High School, Marsden Heights Community College and West Craven High School– attended the selection day. At the end of the day, each group was whittled down to six.

Pendle Elite will see students engaging with an activity a term, taking part in an Autumn term University Challenge Quiz and an overnight stay to Oxford and Cambridge. Each student will also be allocated a mentor.

Samantha Kendall, 13, from West Craven High School, said: “The challenges have been really enjoyable. The Pendle Elite programme is a unique opportunity, and I am proud to be representing my school.

“I want to come to Nelson and Colne College and then go to University to do Sciences – this will look really good on my CV, and it is going to prepare me for College life and University.”

And Joshua Bond, 13, from Colne Primet Academy, added: “We have been developing skills, like working as a team and communication – I am thankful for this opportunity.”

AG&T co-ordinator at West Craven High School Gail Hargreaves said: “I am so proud to be supporting our most able students with the Pendle Elite challenge; they all thoroughly enjoyed the selection day and can’t wait to start the programme in September. Our year 9/10 team members have immersed themselves fully into the last year’s challenges and have really enjoyed working independently and with each other; they especially enjoy getting together with other like-minded students from other schools.”

For more information about studying at Nelson and Colne College contact 01282 440272.