Students at Plumpton College celebrated their academic achievements recently at the annual awards ceremony at the end of June. Mr Des Lambert, (Principal) and Mr Mike Atkinson, (Chairman of College Corporation), introduced the guest of honour, Dr Stuart Burgess (Rural Advocate). The Principal also welcomed guests, visitors, governors, sponsors, staff, students and families.
Guests included The Worshipful, the Mayors of Newhaven, Eastbourne and Lewes Town Councils, the Chairman of Sussex Learning and Skills Council (LSC), The Chief Executive, East Sussex Economic Partnership, as well as representatives from Wealden, Lewes and Mid Sussex District Councils.
Mike Atkinson (Chair of Governors) welcomed all to the event, which celebrates the academic achievements of students. He stressed the importance of enterprise, competence and confidence in life.
The Principal recalled the outstanding progress during this year, which included a good Ofsted report and expansion of the College and its buildings programme as a result of increased student numbers. An earth walled building has been constructed at Ivyland Farm, the College's Centre at Battle, resulting in a fascinating building, which will generate interest and be of much educational use. Plumpton College is committed to a reduction of its carbon footprint and is developing an oil extraction plant, producing its own cold pressed oil which is used to run its vehicles.
A new Horticultural Centre at Robertsbridge has been established, together with a Forestry and Arboriculture Centre at Flimwell. The new Winery/Science Centre is scheduled to be a major feature as the College leads research in this field. The year has included the highest ever student recruitment numbers, activities and outstanding achievements, matched by an extensive buildings programme.
Students had put in much effort including 'rag week' and supporting a charity in Zambia, so that a little bit of rural Africa now links with Plumpton College.
Equine students had many shows including organising their annual Horse show.
Outdoor education sports students had many opportunities to gain qualifications, including a sponsored parachute jump as well as educational visits to Wales and Scotland, with skiing in Austria. Dog grooming students organised a successful dog show, while many agricultural students gained awards at trade shows, as well as showing livestock. Animal Science and Veterinary Nursing students visited a game reserve in South Africa.
The Principal concluded that good years do not just happen and involved support from many. He offered thanks to many supporters, including LSC, University of Brighton, FE and HE providers, and East Sussex County Council. In particular, all Staff were warmly thanked for all their loyal support and hard work, often beyond the call of duty. Students were thanked for their achievements and reminded to maintain contact, since they become automatic members of The Old Plumptonians' Association.
Dr Burgess presented the awards to successful students, including prizes for part time students, all of which were generously sponsored by a wide range of businesses. He commented that it was an honour and a privilege to do so. He spoke strongly about the need to diversify, to create a strong rural economy, which will drive people to develop business skills and become entrepreneurs. He praised all graduating students and said that that they had received a good training at Plumpton College, had worked hard and received help from partners and parents but, in the end, it was down to the individual to succeed. Students should remember to 'go for it, make a mark in the rural communities, change lives and make history'.
Robert Craig, on behalf of the student body, gave a vote of thanks to all present, especially the academic and many helpful support staff, commenting that they had all enabled students to both learn and develop as individuals. These lessons and positive memories would stay for life!
In concluding his presentation, Mike Atkinson thanked all District and Town Councils, as well as all the sponsors, for their support.
Photo: Mr Des Lambert, (Principal, Plumpton College, centre) with Dr Stuart Burgess (The Rural Advocate, centre right) and Mr Mike Atkinson, (Chairman of College Corporation, centre left), with Plumpton College award winners.