WINNERS! BCS crowns Gateshead College “Sports College of the Year”

We've seen off tough competition to be crowned 'College of the Year 2012' by the prestigious British Colleges Sport (BCS).

Not only that but our talented sports student, Keira Ramshaw, also secured the 'Student of the Year' runners-up spot in the female sporting performance category.

BCS exists to encourage and enable students and colleges within further education to develop their potential by providing high quality support and advice.

The annual awards recognise the very best in sporting achievement and excellence, reflecting British colleges' commitment to student sport provision, learning and development. 

The judges were impressed by Gateshead College's contribution to developing opportunities through wider participation in football, netball, basketball, rugby union and rugby league.

Attendance at training has been consistently high over the last year while the college has provided competitive opportunities for all players, who have been able to build on these to develop their skills and learning further.

The contribution the college makes towards BCS across all its teams also stood out and has provided the basis for continued success for students attending the Academy for Sport at Gateshead International Stadium.

For instance, every football team entered in the BCS 2011/12 season won its respective leagues. On a regional level, the college achieved success in BCS NE competitions through its athletics, netball, rugby and golf academies while nationally success has come in winning the women's BCS National Cup for the first time and the men's U19' and U18 teams won the BCS League One  and League Two.

Hosting events to further regional sport, such as the first BCS National Track and Field Championships, also helped the college to award success. The Championships saw 160 competitors from 16 colleges competing in the region for track and field success, helping the BCS take a significant step forward in UK athletics provision.

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Keira Ramshaw capped an outstanding year of achievement at the college awards by scooping the Student of the Year' runners-up spot in the female sporting performance category.

The BTEC Extended Diploma in Coaching Development and fitness has been a part of the successful Women's Football Academy but it was her off-field achievements which earned high praise and a place among the UK's very best college students.

The caring Sunderland youngster, who's netted 30 times this season for the women's football team has been devoted to looking after her ailing grandmother while continuing her studies.

Keira, who has achieved outstanding marks on the diploma course, is looking forward to completing her studies before embarking on a career as a gym instructor or coach.

Melanie Reay, women's football coach said: "Keira's not only an outstanding student but a kind and considerate young person. She always gives her best and has achieved outstanding results this year.

"All of this on top of caring for her grandma. Her achievements on and off the football field have been truly been recognised with this award. She thoroughly deserves this award and should be very proud of herself.

"She is also an important member of both Sunderland Women's Football Club and the national set-up - she was recently named in the England Women's U19 squad for the UEFA European Championship Finals in Turkey taking place in July.

Sport Academy manager, Lewis Pendleton said "Winning the college of the year is a huge achievement and thanks go to everyone who has helped us to win this prestigious award.

"We are committed to BCS and equipping our North East students with skills, confidence and enthusiasm for success in their future sports careers whether as players or working behind the scenes.

"This is reflected by our contribution to BCS through working in partnership with other local colleges, mentoring them to try to improve their own sports provision and curriculum and develop their status as sports colleges."