X Factor starlet now making a name for herself at Doncaster sixth form college

A few months ago she had a brush with fame as an X Factor hopeful.

Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 8:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 8:58 am

Now she's organising a talent showcase herself with her friends at New College Doncaster, in Auckley.

Television viewers were rooting for Charlotte Lee, aged 17, after she impressed judges on the X Factor with a performance of the Pink song What About Us on the television, performing to 6,000 people at Wembley Arena.

They considered putting her into a girl group '“ but although she made the shortlist, she did not make the final cut for the contest.

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Months later, life is back to normal for Charlotte, from Sprotbrough.

She is back in college, and is one of hundreds of pupils at the site, which opening in September 2017, who will make up its first full year of A-level results next summer, studying music as well as PE and business.

She said: 'It was back at the end of July when I as on the X Factor. I was already a student at New College. They were talking about putting me in a girl band, and they showed some of the deliberations on the television. There were 11 of us that they were considering for the group, Sweet Sense, but I didn't make the final cut in the end.

'It was weird being there in front of thousands of people. but a great experience. I still sing, and go busking in Doncaster. I raised £311 for the Teenage Cancer Trust doing that in 90 minutes recently.'

She is one of four students at New College, on Hurst Lane, who are organising the NC Fest, to be performed next year as a talent showcase. The others are Olly Holmes, Alix Costin and Katie Howard.

Olly, aged 17, from Hickleton, had one of the main roles in the college's musical last year, its first such show, playing the character of Roger in the production of Rent.

He said: 'This year we're doing a Christmas showcase and the NC Fest. The idea is everyone can come together and perform whatever they want.'

It will include singers, dancers and drama. 


Big year for college

They're getting ready for a big year at New College Doncaster.

Last year was the first year that the new sixth form college opened its doors. All the students were starting for the first time.

A handful of maths students sat their A Levels. But this summer will see hundreds of youngsters sit their exams at the college, and in August they will get their first full set of results.

Principal at the college, Brendon Fletcher, said: 'We will be getting most of our external results for our first group of students this coming summer. About 70 per cent of our students are doing their A levels, with 30 per cent doing a level three BTEC. We had the BTEC results this summer, and they were very strong. Eight of 12 courses achieved a value added score in the top 10 nationally. The other four also performed well.

'We had one set of A-levels, with 10 of the maths students sitting their exams. Six got A* grades and four got As. They were bright students who we expected to do well.

'But we are very proud of what the staff and students have achieved in the first year here.'

After opening last year in a building that was still not fully completed, with 400 students and 26 teaching staff, they have seen big growth this year.

When the school opened for its second academic year in September, there were around 40 new classrooms, new dance and drama studios, and a gym. They are now being used by 950 students in total, who are taught by nearly 50 staff.

They already have 600 applications to come to the college next September.

Mr Fletcher says the aim is to provide an environment somewhere between that of a school and a university. Teachers use their first names. There is no uniform or school bell. But he aims for a culture of hard work and academic performance.

There are scores of clubs and societies, from sports to arts.

Bus routes have been arranged to cover most areas of Doncaster, as well as North Nottinghamshire and the Isle of Axholme in Lincolnshire. These are being reviewed and could be extended in the future.

They have also extended the number of subjects available, with engineering and criminology course brought in as well. It means there are now more than 50 subjects.

'I think that's the one of the keys to success," said Mr Fletcher. 'Students want choice, and to be able to choose subjects that fit their needs.'


Overseas expedition

Ella Shackleton is set to swap Hurst Lane for the Himalayas next year.

And she's not the only one.

The 17-year-old from Scawthorpe is one of a number of students at New College who have signed up for World Challenge '“ a scheme which will see them head for Nepal for three weeks.

When they arrive, they will be taken off the beaten track to get involved in projects working to help the local community.

Work will include working on the construction of local schools, providing running water, or working with a mother and baby unit.

Before they go, they have to raise £4,000 to pay for their trip.

Ella said: 'I've always wanted to do something like this. But my parents wanted to make sure I was doing something that was safe. With school being involved with it, they know there won't be any problems and that there is a good support network.

'I'm going to go bag packing in supermarkets to raise some of the money. But I also plan to raise money by running children's activities in the summer holidays.

'I'm new to the college and this is helping me make lots of new friends who are planning to go on the expedition.'