Mollie sitting on the balcony outside the Student Hub, Orchard Hall can be seen in the background

Mollie left RNC in 2015.


Hey everyone I’m Mollie. I am a third year student at RNC. I live in Ulceby, North Lincolnshire. I am currently studying Health and Social Care A2, Extended Project, Level 2 Maths and Level 1 Braille.


My background

I had always attended mainstream school and had a teaching assistant in all my classes. I was only diagnosed with my eye condition towards the end of year 9 when I had a new eye consultant and he wanted to do more tests to see how far I could see and realised that it wasn’t a lot.

Quite soon after my diagnosis I got involved with the local VI team at the local council and they mentioned RNC. I didn’t really know what to expect when I came to RNC; I’d tried to get into specialist school before and though I met their criteria I was told that I was too academically bright for specialist school!


My Condition

My main condition is Cerebral Palsy which arises from me being born prematurely; It means that I am wheelchair bound. My eye condition is also connected to Cerebal Palsy, I have Optic Atrophy. This means that I have lost some of the optic nerve disc fibres in my eyes. My eye condition also means that I have no peripheral vision.


Getting to RNC

My head teacher wrote a letter to my funders admitting that they’d let me down and hadn’t done what they should have for me. They were really bad at doing things like providing me with resources in large print. I did look at local colleges for after I left school but none of them would take me because they couldn’t offer me the support I needed.


How RNC has helped me

Coming to RNC was like starting again, it’s helped me so much with my confidence – I didn’t have any whatsoever before I came here as I was so shy. RNC is not just about the academic stuff, it’s everything else; having friends, the support from the PSOs (Pastoral Support Officers) and WSOs (Wellbeing Support Officers).

I never thought I would be able to achieve my D of E (Duke Of Edinburgh) award and I had boxing sessions with Aaron Ford, one of the Sports Academy teachers.


Making friends is easy at RNC

My best memory of RNC is meeting my friends – I’d never had any friends before. How can you make friends in mainstream when you have a TA (Teaching Assistant) with you all the time? Other students don’t want to be with you and a member of staff at lunch and break times – it’s not cool.

I’ve been lucky enough to make really strong friendships with the other A Level students, Juan is my take away buddy and we always have dinner together at least once a week, normally pizza Tuesdays – my favourite is pepperoni and garlic butter!


RNC has given me my independence

It’s so good at RNC because they don’t have TAs (Teaching Assistants) so there is no stigma attached. There are WSOs (Wellbeing Support Officers) available any time, whenever I need them I can just call. But here I’m able to do lesson transfers on my own without having to rely on someone else. Being at RNC you’re treated like an adult, it’s so different from mainstream, you’re allowed to call everyone by their first names.


Activities at RNC

I’d never had friends before I came to RNC and so I’d never really taken part in any hobbies or activities. All activities set up for disabled groups are sports-related, I went to a couple but I am so not sporty and just didn’t enjoy it. I’m really girly and like make up and fashion.

Since being at RNC I get to go out at weekends doing things that I actually want to do and get to hang out with my friends. RNC puts on trips where we go to get our nails done at the salon, go shopping and dining club is my favourite, where we go out for meals in town.

Every Wednesday afternoon I am involved in a group called Digital Geeks where we learn about how to use different social media to promote the College. It’s really fun and I’m able to hang out with students from different years that I might not spend time with otherwise.


Being away from home

Going to RNC was the first time I’d left home, it was weird at first but once you’re here you just get into the swing of things. It takes me a bit of time to adjust after coming back from holidays and half terms but once you’re settled it’s like you’ve never been away. RNC is my home away from home. Without Facebook I know it would be harder, I am on it all the time to communicate with my family back home. Facebook is so much easier than phoning and means we always stay in touch.


My hopes for leaving RNC

After RNC I am hoping to go to Sheffield Hallam University to study a foundation degree in Working with Children, Young People and Families. The long term goal is to become a social worker and eventually set up my own care agency for children with disabilities.


My advice to anyone thinking about RNC

Come and see the place before you make any assumptions – people can put things into your head and confuse you. You don’t really know what it’s going to be like until you come here so give it a try!


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