Ella studied A level English Literature and Classical Civilisation with NEC, obtaining an A* and A grade respectively. She has now been offered a place to read English and German at the University of Oxford this autumn.

“My experience of school was not very positive, I experienced bullying and discrimination, and was also aware of how much time was wasted because of crowd control and misbehaving students.”

Having left school at 13, it was crucial for Ella to be in control and able to study at her own pace, when and where she liked. 

“It was very important to me to be able to work very quickly through the curriculum – I did 4 A levels in one year rather than two –  and NEC made this possible.” 

Ella was impressed with the level of support she received from her personal tutors “especially when thinking about the demands of the exams”, and found her course materials “clear and easy to work with.”

“I chose NEC because it is a  well established and respected  distance learning provider, and was very clear about what it offered.”

It is a testament to Ella’s determination and hard work that she achieved her goal to be offered a place at her university of choice. This is something we hope we’ll see more of in the future as top universities become more open to able students coming through the education system from underrepresented socio-economic and minority backgrounds. 

Ella is not the first of our students to attend Oxford or Cambridge after studying with us (and we hope not the last). We see many students either return to, or continue their education with us for many reasons – whether it’s to go on to higher-education, change or progress in their career, or just study for the pure enjoyment of it. What unites them all is their determination to achieve their goals. 

NEC is a charity set up to provide opportunities for students like Ella who are outside the formal education system. We put all our resources into what we hope ultimately makes the difference; quality materials, great support, feedback and encouragement. 

As for Ella, her advice for anyone considering online distance learning is simple and clear: 

“Plan out your time correctly and be consistent – you have to be strict and disciplined with yourself in order to succeed.”

All of us at NEC wish Ella the best of luck at university. 



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