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Bolton College catering students Courtney Martin and Antonia Openshaw are flying high after respectively gaining a distinction and a merit in their catering theory exam.

The students discovered a love of cooking after sampling catering on a foundation course, before progressing to a full-time Level 1 and then onto a Level 2 programme in Food Preparation & Service.

Despite excelling in the kitchen, Courtney and Antonia found the theoretical side of their programme challenging, owing to dyslexia.

After a disappointing technical exam result in March, catering Lecturer Mandy Anderson utilised additional student support to ensure than when the students sat the exam again in June, they had the best possible chance to pass, and that dyslexia was not detrimental to their exam performance.

Mandy liaised with Janet Hough, one of the College’s Exams Officer, to ensure that the students were supported by not only readers and scribes but also an Oral Language Modifier.

The College’s Specialist Inclusion Coordinator for Dyslexia, Alison Mollon, completed the necessary assessments and paper work, liaising with Janet Hough whom then worked with City & Guilds, so that Courtney and Antonia were able to sit the exam with the support they needed.

Janet Bishop, Head of Learner Support, ensured that appropriate training was delivered to the allocated staff, in line with strict City & Guilds rules. Melanie Sylvester and Rose Loran, who are Communication Support Workers, used their new skills to support the students.

Thanks to the support provided by the College, which is part of the University of Bolton Group, and the determination and commitment of Courtney and Antonia, the students achieved a Distinction and a Merit, with Courtney improving her grade from 24/70 to 58/70, a remarkable feat.

Mandy Anderson said: “To say I’m bursting with pride is an understatement. Courtney and Antonia worked so hard to get the grade they did. Thanks to the support put in place, and the different departments working together to ensure the best possible outcome for the girls, they could sit the exam and perform to the absolute best of their abilities.”

Courtney and Antonia have now progressed to Level 3.

Courtney said: “I was in a panic after failing the first exam, so I couldn’t believe it when I found out I’d got a distinction!”

Antonia said: “I love catering, so after this, I’d like to work in the catering industry.”