One of the students celebrating his results from RNC (Royal National College for the Blind) during AS Level results week 2017 was 19 year old Michal Wojcik, from Thirsk in North Yorkshire; he achieved 3As in AS Level Sociology, Psychology and English Literature.
These top grades are in stark contrast to Michal’s expectations when he first started at RNC in September 2016, he explains “I had only done 2 AS Levels prior to coming to RNC where I ended up scraping a D in Philosophy & Ethics and got a U in Psychology. It was in the middle of me losing my sight.” Michal suffers from a hereditary condition known as Stargardt’s and had gradual sight loss through his early teens but during the end of high school his eye sight worsened.
When he first heard about RNC Michal admits that he was reluctant to come “Who wants to be 4 hours away from home? No one wants to move that far away from their friends and family. But I realised, as my sight was getting worse, I needed to come here.” It was not an easy start for Michal and he says “To be honest, I was just really homesick.”
RNC Sociology Teacher Ali Straker explains “Michal suffered from a severe lack of confidence; he nearly dropped out of the A Level programme in his first week because he was convinced he ‘wasn’t A Level material’ but I am so pleased that he completed the programme and his results reflect his ability and the work that he put in.” Michal says “The teachers really pushed me, which I am really grateful for now because within the first few weeks I realised that I could handle the course and as I settled into my time here I found that there’s such a good support network where you can ask anybody for help; you just don’t get that at normal colleges.”
In terms of the teaching support he received, Michal reflects “There is such a difference between RNC and mainstream. The tuition wasn’t as good where I was before because I was in a class of 30 and couldn’t even read the board. Now I’m here, the smaller class sizes help a lot and the teachers actually understand my sight.” Ali Straker comments “The way that Michal can pick up and grasp new concepts is astonishing – he is very, very able.”
After a successful first year Michal says “I’m really looking forward to going back to RNC for my second year in September; it will be good to get back into a routine and I have some really interesting stuff coming up in my courses. I’ve always been interested in psychology and knowing that I have achieved the grades I have means that I am now looking at uni next year and can look to the future. Career-wise I’d really like to do something related to therapy or counselling.”