Two classmates from Nelson and Colne College who both have conditional offers for the same degree at Oxford are fully focused on their futures and university life.

Despite the unusual lockdown circumstances and with no A Level exams, Daisy Simpson-Talmer and Niamh Ward are continuing to prepare for the next step of their education where they have conditional offers to study English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford.

In the knowledge that there is nothing more that they can do to gain their coveted places, both students have been putting their time to good use through reading, research, studying – and even teaching younger siblings. They have now both received their reading lists from Oxford ahead of the new academic year beginning in September, and are making progress with these.

For the dream to become a reality, Daisy, formerly of Ss John Fisher and Thomas More RC High School, and Niamh, previously of Marsden Heights Community College, require three A grades each. They face an anxious wait until mid-August as their College work and mock exam results are considered for final grades by the teaching teams at College.

Niamh, who studies English Language, English Literature and Media said: “I’m looking forward to university and the reading list from Oxford is really interesting and wide-ranging from Charles Dickens to Emily Bronte and William Thackeray.

“One of the things about lockdown is that I have been able to read a lot which is something I love, particularly dystopian literature. It’s just a waiting process until August but I am happy with the quality of work I have produced throughout College and how I did in my mock exams.”

Daisy, who studies English Language, English Literature, History and Spanish said: “I’m much more content now that we have received the clarification on how our work is going to be assessed and it is now a waiting game.

“I have done a bit of reading and research during lockdown which is a passion of mine – I really like the Romantic era as well as political history. I also wanted to keep up my Spanish so I have been balancing an online language course with teaching my seven-year-old sister who is learning from home which has been an interesting experience!”

The lockdown period has also given Niamh and Daisy a chance to reflect on their time at Nelson and Colne College, and the positive experiences and brilliant support that they have both enjoyed.

Niamh said: “I have loved my time at Nelson and Colne College. My teachers have been excellent and very helpful in the extra workshops that are put on for students. The college has good resources and facilities, including the study zones, and I took part in extracurricular activities including the Pre-Professional Programme in Journalism and the Book Club.

“When I came to College, Oxford was not really somewhere I had in mind. My English tutor encouraged me to apply, and I had fantastic support with my application and personal statement. When I visited Oxford, everybody was very welcoming, and it felt like an environment where I could study in the future. I think I would be disappointed if I don’t progress to Oxford, but I have St Andrews as my second choice and I would be very happy to study there.”

Daisy said: “It would be a great feeling to progress to Oxford. Like Niamh, my tutor made me realise that it was something that was achievable. I found the people at Oxford are relatable, and I felt comfortable and at home there when I visited. I think I too would be disappointed if I don’t progress to Oxford, but my second choice is Lancaster and I loved the university and campus when I visited so I know I would be happy there too.

“I will look back at College with fond memories as I have loved my time at Nelson and Colne. There is an element of freedom to learn here and expand your knowledge, and I have enjoyed the ability to study the subjects I am most passionate about.”

Nelson and Colne College is the number one FE college in the country for A Level progress, and is number one in the country for student satisfaction.

A Level students at Nelson and Colne College receive a wide range of tailored additional support, and this could include the new Scholars programme for 2020-21, completing innovative Pre-Professional Programmes for competitive degrees, taking part in Oxford University’s Step Up programme and eligibility for Realising Opportunities with Lancaster University.

Applicants looking to apply to Nelson and Colne College still have the time. Visit or contact the Admissions Team on 01282 440272.