Students head to the BAFTAs

Joni Ashton
Joni Ashton

TWO students from Priestley College will walk the red carpet after being nominated for BAFTAs.

Declan Metcalfe and Joni Ashton, who have both just completed their Computer Games Design BTEC Extended Diploma, are finalists in the BAFTA Young Game Designers competition.

They will attend a ceremony at BAFTA’s headquarters in Piccadilly where they will walk the red carpet and see their games displayed.

“I can’t believe it,” said Joni, a former pupil at The Heath in Runcorn.

“It’s amazing to be nominated and something incredible to look forward to.”

BAFTA said just 40 young hopefuls, who were selected by a jury of industry experts, will attend the ceremony. The competition aims to inspire the game designers and makers of the future by giving them the chance to develop their concepts with industry professionals.

Harvey Elliott, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, said: “The quality of entrants to the BAFTA YGD competition increases every year, and this year’s finalists are amongst the best young game designers in the country.”

Declan, formerly of Cardinal Newman Catholic High School, said: “To make the finals of such a prestigious competition feels like a huge achievement. It really does make me want to achieve even greater things within the industry.”

Declan Metcalfe
Declan Metcalfe

Declan’s game concept is called ‘Plate Defenders’ and involves the player defending and cleaning plates using anti-germ tower defences. The germs evolve making progressive stages of the game more difficult.

Jellyfish was Joni’s vision and his main character’s quest was to return to his family negotiating explosive mines en route. It uses the players’ own music to set the rhythm of the game.

Priestley College introduced a Computer Games Design course four years ago and has seen two successful cohorts go on to further studies and careers.

Both Declan and Joni secured triple distinction star in their BTEC results when they were announced last week.

Priestley Tutor Matt Wilson said: “I am extremely proud of both of them and they thoroughly deserve this recognition. To have one student from Priestley nominated for a BAFTA is incredible, but two is unbelievable.”

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