Mastering the art of success

THREE students from Warrington have received offers to study in one of Europe’s leading universities for the visual creative arts.

Ruby-Rose McGann, Sophie Booth and Mary Davidson – all studying Art Foundation at Priestley College – were in demand after attending interviews at the Glasgow School of Arts.

Ruby-Rose and Sophie have both accepted their offers to study at the university, which counts Turner Prize winners, Masters of Fine Art and an Oscar-winning director among its alumni.

“Sometimes you can go to a place that you’ve heard is prestigious and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, but Glasgow was everything we had hoped,” said Sophie, a former pupil at the University Academy Warrington.

Ruby-Rose, who had studied Textiles, English, Media Studies and Art A-Levels at Priestley, was similarly impressed and looking forward to further developing her talents and techniques in textiles.

“I think what I have learned at Priestley will really help at Glasgow because I have been able to develop my style and confidence so much,” said the former Cardinal Newman pupil.

“I enjoy the fact we’re not told what to do and are allowed to develop our own personal style.”

Glasgow School of Arts was founded in 1845 as one of the first Government Schools of Design with a role in promoting good design for the manufacturing industries

Today it says its purpose remains the same – to contribute to a better world through creative education and research.

Priestley’s students had to send photographs of their work and provide a statement about why they wanted to study at Glasgow.

They also had a 20-minute interview in which to make an impressive first impression.

“This is like getting into Oxbridge for our art students and it is so hard to secure a place because the competition is extremely tough,” said Tutor Steve Lane.

“They have been really committed to their course at Priestley so thoroughly deserve these offers.”

Mary, also a former Cardinal Newman pupil, has decided to study at the University of the Arts London, which is considered the world’s sixth best university for Art and Design. She had taken A-Levels in Biology, English Literature alongside 3D Design and Art at Priestley before starting on the Foundation course.

“It was a difficult decision to make because I wasn’t confident of getting offers from either,” said Mary.

“In the end I had to choose the university that was right for me.”


Ideas in focus at Imagemaker magazine

A WARRINGTON student has inspired the creators of an international photographic magazine with her ideas.

Kerry-Ann Collar produced work for Professional Imagemaker magazine as part of a brief for her BTEC Graphic Design course at Priestley College.

Her suggestion was to include a feature that focussed on five objects from a photographer’s working life that represent milestones in his or her careers.

Not only did the magazine’s editor, Mike McNamee, answer her questions, he’s also considering it as a regular part of a feature.

“Not only did Kerry-Ann come up with some lovely designs, but she also developed an idea that could really work in the magazine,” said Mike.

“We are considering merging the concept into the questions asked by Angie Adams for her regular column.

“We all have things tucked away in a cupboard or hiding amidst the detritus of our business life that have, or have had, a significant part to play in our journey to the present day. The discipline of thinking of the important five is a trip down Memory Lane.”

Each year Imagemaker publishes the work of Priestley College’s BTEC Graphic Design students if it meets the magazine’s standards. It means their designs are seen by people in 72 countries.

This year the work of 13 students was published in the March edition and it included a variety of inventive designs for double page spreads and follow-on pages.

They also used some of their own photography to complete the designs.

Kerry-Ann, a former pupil at The County High School, Leftwich, said: “It’s amazing to think that people in America and China have seen our designs.

“It’s a great thing to have in our portfolios as we go to interviews for universities and for jobs.”

Priestley chemists impress in science competition

THREE scientists from Priestley College impressed in a test of mettle against their peers from across the North West.

Chris Cox, Zoe Fairfax and Chloe Tildsley had to work out how much iron there was in Irn-Bru as well as calcium in milk during the competition held at Liverpool University.

They finished third out of more than 25 schools from the region – nearly half of which were teams from grammar or independent schools.

“We didn’t think it had gone that well so we were really surprised to finish third overall,” said Chris, a former pupil at St Gregory’s RC High School.

To qualify for The Royal Society of Chemistry’s competition Priestley’s trio first had to secure an A grade in their mock exam in December.

During the competition they were given several challenges with a basic method to follow. It tested their knowledge and ability to apply classroom theory in a new environment.

“We got to see what a university laboratory is like, which was great for me as I want to go on to study Chemistry,” said Chloe, who previously studied at The Heath.

Priestley’s students had practised several times after college in the run-up to the competition.

During the test in Liverpool they had to use techniques including titration and spectroscopy to solve the problems they were given.

Former Culcheth High School pupil Zoe said: “It was a great experience and we were all really glad to have taken part.”

Footballers’ goal is the American Dream

AMERICAN scouts have their sights set on five talented footballers from Warrington.

Priestley College took 17 members of its Football Academy to compete on Long Island in a tournament that attracted the attention of 250 university coaches.

Former Hope Academy pupil James Sigsworth has received two expressions of interest including one from the New York Institute of Technology.

It was well deserved for the 18-year-old who enrolled for a third year at Priestley so that he could benefit from the college’s new links to Soccer Scout USA.

“The facilities out there are like what you see at a Premiership club here in England,” said James, who plays semi-professional football for Atherton Collieries.

“For someone like me who wants a future in football it is a great opportunity.”

Priestley was the only British team taking part in the competition and won two of four matches in the tournament as well as a friendly 7-1.

Their achievements were even more impressive considering they had a much smaller squad than the American teams so players had little rest.

Priestley’s four girls joined the Gold Coast FC squad and Grace Nelson, who plays for Everton’s U23s, was as impressive in goal as she was out of it, saving four certain chances.

Five coaches expressed an interest in ‘signing’ Grace who is now considering the best step to take for her future in the sport.

If she heads to America, she will be a strong Division One player meaning the former Birchwood Community High School pupil will have the best training and academic opportunities available.

“I’ve got another year to think about it, but I can’t fault the experience I had out there,” she said.

“The stadiums are huge and I would make lots of friends out there. I am sure it would be an unbelievable experience.”

Other students to receive interest from the coaches were Joe Salter, Tom Jones and Jamie Smith. They all now have to decide if the overseas option is for them.

Sports Tutor Dan Jordan, whose links with Soccer Scout USA helped make the trip possible, said the life-changing experience had resulted in Priestley’s students making unforgettable memories and lifelong friends.

“There are still hurdles for them all to jump to secure a place, but this trip opened their eyes to the opportunities available to them beyond Warrington and the UK,” he said.

“More than that they had an incredible time and met some great people.”

Sharing the Disney magic

YOUNG performers brought some familiar characters to life last week when they shared some Disney magic with two primary schools.

BTEC Performing Arts students from Priestley College made a song and dance out of the likes of Aladdin and The Jungle Book for the entertainment of around 400 children.

They also put their own spins on Frozen as well as Beauty and the Beast, weaving some moral tales into the classic Disney favourites.

“It was a challenging performance to put together, but seeing the children’s reactions made it all worthwhile,” said Carla Boswell, a former pupil at Culcheth High School.

Priestley’s Disney showcase was performed at St Wilfrid’s CofE School in Grappenhall and Bexton Primary School in Knutsford.

For the students the challenge was telling the classic tales in 10 minutes while also relating the moral of the stories to their young audience.

Creating a piece of theatre aimed at children is part of the final project for the BTEC students who had to research how best to communicate with children as young as three-years-old.

Tutor Nancy Serjeant said her protégés had to treat the performance as if they were a theatre company.

“They had to organise everything down to sourcing their own costumes and props,” she said.

“What they achieved was incredible and had the primary schoolchildren mesmerised so I couldn’t have asked for more.”