Article in summary

The article describes the 2022 CIFE awards ceremony at the House of Lords, at which CIFE President, Lord Lexden OBE presented prizes to high achievers from CIFE colleges.


Article in detail

The annual CIFE Academic Awards Ceremony was held at the House of Lords on Tuesday, 26th April. Lord Lexden presented awards to twenty-one students, each nominated by their College. The recipients were warmly applauded at the presentation, all having studied at sixth-form colleges belonging to the Council for Independent Education (CIFE), of which Alistair Lexden is President.

As a result of the disruption caused by the pandemic the ceremony last took place in 2019. Each member College nominated an outstanding student to attend the ceremony. Nominees and their families enjoyed a spring afternoon of tea and sandwiches overlooking the Thames in the Cholmondeley Room of the House of Lords. The recognition of students’ efforts is a key event in the CIFE calendar, recognising the work of the independent sixth form college sector and the achievements of our high-flying students.


Some of the winners were from the UK, some from overseas, demonstrating the range of different students excelling at member Colleges. Their impressively varied university destinations- from Oxbridge to medical, dentistry and vet schools- underscores how ambitious CIFE students are, and the success of member Colleges and their brilliant teaching teams in helping them realise their aspirations.

Equally important was the range of extra and co-curricular achievements demonstrated by the talented attendees. The group included academic Olympiad participants, a volunteer NHS service responder, successful musicians, youtubers, artists, student council leaders and debaters. All made a genuinely broad contribution to their College communities.

Many students join CIFE Colleges with well-established track records of academic excellence. Others have experienced academic setbacks or challenging personal or health circumstances. This year’s winners include a number of inspiring students who have managed, through hard work and determination, to turn their academic fortunes around and exceed prior expectations.

Chairman of CIFE and Principal of MPW Birmingham Mark Shingleton said: “Our first such event at the House of Lords for a few years and it felt good to be back. I hope the students who attended with their parents or guardians experienced a day they will remember for some time to come. Whilst it is easy for us to take such awards ceremonies for granted; the reality is that for our students attending such an event is a prestigious affair and a wonderful endorsement of CIFE.



College winners

Ashbourne College

Aliysha R

From Aliysha’s first day at Ashbourne, it was clear she was going to be successful, and she thoroughly deserved her three A* grades and a place to study Dentistry at Leeds. Her grades were not inflated in any way: she took five separate mock examinations for each subject throughout last year and in 11 of her last 12 assessments she gained A*. She worked incredibly hard, responded to feedback intelligently and was constantly looking for ways to improve.
She sustained a high level of effort all the way through her studies and was a positive influence on all those around her and viewed every mistake she made as an opportunity to learn. She was a valued member of Ashbourne’s Medical School Programme, was a great ambassador for our College, and we have no doubt that she will go on to achieve great things in her future.

Bath Academy
James K

James joined Bath Academy in September 2019 on a 2-year A Level programme. He initially studied Art, Geography, Physics and Spanish. On enrolling, he undertook a standardized psychometric assessment that showed that students with the same GCSE profile as James across the country had achieved three grade AAA on average at A Level at the top 25% of sixth forms. It was clear from the start that James had come to Bath Academy with the focus and determination to get top grades in all his academic subjects. He initially studied Spanish as an additional subject at AS Level, but when he took the exam he surprised himself by achieving a grade A, so decided to carry it on as a fourth subject into the second year. It is just as well that he did, as his focus and determination led to him achieving A*A*A*A*. He is now thriving at UCL studying Architecture.

Bosworth College
Sahar K

Sahar’s studies have led to considerable academic achievements, and she has proved very hard working and positive in her approach with good ideas about quite complex problems. She performed extremely well in the Senior Maths challenge, and was invited to sit the first round of the British Maths Olympiad. Modest about her achievements, she has a mature outlook, is highly talented, and has a voracious thirst for knowledge outside her A level studies. She is encouraging and supportive of her peers. Sahar plans to study Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial.

Brooke House College
Snehit V S

Snehit is an exemplary scholar who has demonstrated excellence in all his academic subjects. He is an aspiring aerospace engineer who has also considered medicine. He is a particularly impressive role model to the younger students. This year he has been the Chair of our School Council, encouraging his peers to embrace designation responsibilities for inclusion, wellbeing and sustainability. He is an accomplished musician and plays at school and local community events. Brooke House College is an ISA 11-18 mainly boarding school with over 60 nationalities and an elite Football Academy.

Cambridge Tutors College
Raiwin W

Raiwin joined CTC from Thailand, on a Thai Government Scholarship, on to our 2-year A-level course. He attained A* grades for A levels in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. None of his academic work over the two years of learning, at times online due to Covid, was below A grade. Raiwin had an interest in engineering for many years and he is currently studying Civil Engineering at Manchester University. He has his own YouTube channel where he presents on his ideas for the future of transport infrastructure. Raiwin also took part in our Model UN speaking on behalf of South Africa’s low carbon emission tax policy. He was also a keen participant of the Biology Club even though this was not one of his subjects.
Raiwin was a popular student both with his peers and teachers. He was a pleasure to have at our college.

Carfax College
Tierney H

Tierney has been at Carfax College for three years and has become an enthusiastic and valuable member of our community. She is always keen to get involved with college activities, recently winning the annual essay competition, and creating some amazing pieces of pottery for our art group. She is an avid reader and story writer, as well as being a supportive mentor to other students. Tierney has made outstanding academic progress in recent years, has achieved excellent attendance, and is working at pace towards achieving her personal and academic goals.

CATS College Cambridge
Anna H

At CATS Cambridge we ask our students to follow four principles; turn up, try hard, be kind and smile. Anna has been the very personification of these principles.
Selflessness, self-possession, tenacity and resilience are all hallmarks of Anna’s approach to life. Anna has met with great success with us, in the classroom, on the student council, in the debating chamber and as a House Captain. There is no doubt that she will be equally successful in whatever comes next; she plans to study PPE at Durham or Warwick University.
Anna is a proud Ukrainian, wherever her studies take her she is determined to use what she learns to good effect in her homeland. We are confident that her contribution will be significant.
Anna is a student who stands out. She puts herself out, she gives to others, she cares. She is a remarkable person.
Молодець, Анна, вітаю

CATS College Canterbury
Nang K (Christine)

When Christine arrived at our school as an international student, it was clear that she had the fortitude to overcome challenges of communication, organisation and decision making in a quest to study medicine at university. Completing extensive work experience supporting Head Trauma patients, representing the school as an ambassador, maintaining outstanding grades, everything was looking good. Then in March 2020, the greatest test to any student’s education presented itself. However, what is remarkable about Christine is that she decided to remain in the UK, away from family, her school shut, alone in her accommodation in Canterbury. Like a tree in a tornado, Christine has stood upright for what she wishes to achieve, and despite the political upheaval in her home country of Myanmar, she was determined to follow this quest, to ultimately help others in the field of medicine.

CATS College London
Ye N H (Henry)

Henry (Ye N H) was a diligent student who studied on the College’s “Fast Track” A Level programme between January 2020- June 2021. He progressed to University College London to study Applied Medical Sciences. Henry proved himself to be a highly attentive and deeply reflective student who took part in all activities set by his teachers, in and out of the classroom. He had creative insight in his subjects from extensive background reading and revision, often making mature contributions that helped lead peer and class discussions. His strength was his explorative approach to science which fuelled his passion and thirst for learning in his future HE studies. Henry exhibited great resilience and independence in his commitment to A Level studies during the Pandemic; an experience that sharpened his skillset and motivation to be successful in the future. He was a role model student at CATS London and is most deserving of this prestigious award and recognition.

Cherwell College
Frederick HK

Fred has shown what determination and finding your pathway into further education are about at Cherwell College: exceeding expectations. Fred’s progress since enrolment has been exemplary. He has been an enthusiastic and keen leader amongst his peers. He not only gets the job done, but with the will and the initiative inspires those around him. Fred has been instrumental in organising the Physics Olympiad, engaging fellow students, encouraging and mentoring. Fredericks’s determination to succeed has been very apparent, culminating in excellent progress within his academic programme, best in school in recent AS examinations.

Collingham College
Kate D

Kate joined Collingham College from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital School to study for A levels in English Literature, Psychology and Biology. Kate suffers from Chronic Migraine which is an incurable neurological brain disorder by which sufferers experience headaches, often severe and highly debilitating, for at least fifteen days of the month. She also has an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) which affects the way the brain processes sounds, including speech. Kate has been awarded the college prize not only for her outstanding achievements in her academic studies, but also for her exceptional determination and fortitude in the face of her incredibly difficult health challenges. Kate achieved A* in all three of her subjects and is currently studying Liberal Arts at the University of Bristol.

David Game College

Chawalpat S (Bob)

Bob joined David Game College in September 2019, where he studied A levels in Chemistry, Biology and Maths. Bob’s family relocated from Thailand at very short notice and Bob had to unexpectedly take GCSEs and achieved very credible grades in a matter of weeks. Bob fully immersed himself in college life, taking part in many activities including the Medical Program, Leadership seminars and Debating Society. He also set up tutorials to help other students in his class with their studies. During lockdown, he learnt to read and write Korean, worked as an NHS service responder and painted a digital picture which he sold and donated the funds to a hospital in Thailand. After passing his A levels with top grades, he went to study Medicine at UCLan. He is now the Year 1 course rep for Medicine and Chair of the Thai Society. He has received bronze and silver medals for volunteering and is also a student ambassador for the Medical Protection Society.

LSI Independent College
Aleksej R

Aleksej joined LSI Independent College in September 2019 on a 2- year A Level programme. Aleksej was an excellent student throughout his time at LSI and well deserved the grades he received in Summer 2021: A*A*A* in his Maths, Physics and Chemistry A Levels.
Since his A Levels, he has spent an 8-month internship at The Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics investigating Dark Matter, which involved him working 1.5km underground!
Aleksej is applying to study Theoretical Physics at Russell Group universities and we wish him all the very best in his further studies and beyond.

MPW Birmingham
Isobel J

Isobel joined MPW Birmingham in September 2019 to undertake a 2-year A level programme in Government and Politics, Sociology and Spanish achieving grades A*A*A* having completed her GSCE studies at Kings Norton Girls’ School. Isobel won a place at the university of Birmingham to read International Relations with Spanish. During her time at MPW Isobel served as a student ambassador assisting prospective students with insights into college and always conducted herself as a role model for other students. Her behaviour was never short of excellent, and Isobel was an outstanding scholar.

MPW Cambridge
Neve P

Neve joined MPW Cambridge in October 2019 for A level courses in Geography, Economics and Art. She achieved grades A*A*A* and is currently taking a gap year and is applying to university this year. At MPW, her commitment, drive and dedication were second to none and she was mature, polite, hardworking and ambitious. She was a hugely popular member of the community, playing a vibrant role in the Student Council and participating in Q&A sessions on college Open Days.

MPW London
Polina N

Polina completed three years studying at MPW. Initially she joined our 1- year accelerated GCSE course then moved onto our 2 -year A-Level course studying Mathematics, French, English Literature and the Extended Project Qualification. Polina achieved grades A*A*A*A*. She is currently studying Accounting and Finance at King’s College.
Polina commented “The college has not only helped me in achieving top grades but also contributed to shaping me as an individual. I have made life-long friends at MPW and have acquired numerous sporting and intellectual interests such as tennis and Model United Nations. Having completed work experiences at companies such as Lloyd’s of London and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, I strongly believe that my A-Levels, diverse cultural background and relevant experiences will prepare me to emerge into a successful career in the field of finance”.

Oxford International College
Pui KN (Pearl)

After extensive GCSE/ IGCSE academic and extra-curricular achievements at school in Hong Kong, Pui Ka Ng gained five A* grades at A level, and an A* in her EPQ. She is now studying Law at Cambridge University.
While at OIC Pearl was an active member of the Law Society, Debating Society (Vice President), European Youth Parliament and Model United Nations. All these activities have enhanced her already impressive public speaking skills and honed her ability to “construct solid arguments, rebut and critique opposing views and express my ideas clearly under time pressure”. Pearl also took part in essays competitions offered by the John Locke Institute, Cambridge University (Lucy Cavendish prize) and Dukes Education. Pearl has an interest in performing arts and has immensely enjoyed her work at the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation.

Oxford Sixth Form
Nyasha M

Nyasha overcame great structural inequalities in her life by working hard, persevering, and being resilient. She had some external support on the way which she efficiently utilised to allow her to complete her A-level studies in the UK, achieving very good results while battling with a significant health issue. She has secured a full scholarship in the USA, where she’s currently studying.

Regent College
Jaipal K

In his recent past, Jaipal had been working as a nurse. After giving it much thought, he then made a significant decision to repeat his A levels to pursue a more demanding degree and career. Jaipal is an enthusiastic, hard-working student, amicable in nature and helpful to the younger students around him. Despite gaps in his education, he has adapted quickly and with our guidance to understand the skills and methods required to ensure his time in education proves fruitful. This is evident via his exam progress as after working on his personal development and learning systems, he often achieves A and A* grades. He has now applied for Biochemistry at five prestigious institutions in line with a career that he will find more satisfying. We wish him the very best in his endeavours with Regent and beyond.

Rochester College
Kristina S

Kristina from St Petersburg secured a place to study Veterinary Science at The Royal Veterinary College after being awarded three A* Grades at A level in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics on a 2-year A level course at Rochester Independent College. A talented and determined student, Kristina turned down a coveted offer from Cambridge University to take up her place at RVC as she preferred a more practical approach to the veterinary sciences. During her time at Rochester Kristina was fully involved with the boarding community, acting as a prolific online student ambassador, looking after the College’s brood of chickens and tending to their welfare through the second lockdown and working as a campus gardener.

Westminster Tutors
Anusha P

Anusha joined Westminster Tutors to retake her A levels in Psychology, History and Economics. Retake students often have a motivational hurdle when they first join, especially when their friends are already at university. Anusha’s attitude throughout the course was exceptional, and she was a consistently positive presence in the college in what was a tough year for many. Moreover, she made the most of the opportunities to develop her academic skills, and ended up achieving three As, winning a place at Manchester to read History. Going to Manchester had always been her ambition, and she maintained a focus and dedication to her studies that were exemplary. However, it was her optimism, friendliness and awareness of others that set her apart from other equally academically successful students, and she fully deserves to be the Westminster Tutors student of the year.