York College

Nick Martlew - UK Director for Crisis Action

Nick Martlew attended York College 1999-2001 to study A Levels when it was formerly York Sixth Form College. He progressed to Somerville College, Oxford University (2002-05) where he gained a First Class Bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, and then a Master’s degree in International Politics from the University of Sheffield (2005-06).

Nick is currently UK Director for Crisis Action, an international organisation that works behind the scenes, building coalitions to influence those with power to protect civilians in armed conflict. He has been with Crisis Action for two years, including a year leading a global campaign on Syria, involving hundreds of organisations worldwide, as well as eminent diplomatic leaders and others, such as Banksy, Idris Elba, and Elbow.

Prior to joining Crisis Action, Nick has:
• Worked for Save the Children where he led their advocacy work and collaborations on Syria, Libya, Somalia, and hunger crises in East and West Africa, living for periods in Jordan and Senegal.
• Worked for Oxfam in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Ethiopia.
• Served on the Board of the Brussels-based humanitarian NGO platform, VOICE (Voluntary Organisations in Cooperation in Emergencies).
• Written a number of advocacy reports including 'Band Aids and Beyond' and 'Childhood Under Fire'.

Nick was guest speaker at the annual York College A Level Awards in December 2015, where he presented awards recognising students who excelled in their A Level studies this year.

Nick Martlew web

Of his time at York College Nick says: “When I think back to my time at what was York Sixth Form College, I think of working really, really hard. In the shuttling between the lessons and the library and so on, I don't think I lifted my head to recognise how lucky I was: having teachers that would stretch me and open up new opportunities for me; being at a college that had sufficient scale and quality that I could do a frankly odd mix of A levels, all with great support; and making friendships that to this day are some of my most precious.”

Tom Cantrell - Author and Lecturer

After graduating in 2001 Tom continued to study drama and completed his doctorate in 2010. He is now Head of Theatre in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York and has published several books on theatre and acting.

Tom Cantrell web

“I studied English, Theatre Studies and History A Levels from 1999-2001. My tutors were Martin Peel and Sue Skirrow for English and Theatre, and Mrs Black, Geoff Stewart and Andy Gwinnett for History.

“I had a fantastic two years at York College. Academically, all my courses were run with enthusiasm and dedication by the staff. Central to my experience was a sense of fun. My theatre studies tutors exposed us to a huge range of writing and theory which further inspired my love of theatre. The mixture of analytical study and practical experimentation is a teaching model I have developed in my own work at the University of York. The old Portakabin, half class room, half studio, brings back very happy memories, though the potential for students in the new building looks rather more impressive!

“The quality of life at the college was also very high. To be treated as an adult, both socially and academically, led to an independence which is vital.

“My qualifications from the courses allowed me to study at Cambridge University - a thought that had not even crossed my mind when I started. This was due to the infectious enthusiasm of the staff, whose passion for the subject was handed down to the students.

“Since leaving York College I continued to study drama at undergraduate and postgraduate level. I’m now Head of Theatre in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York. I am currently working on my fourth book, exploring how actors prepare for television roles. My interest in theatre, particularly writing about it, was a product of my time at York College.”

Annie Turney - Graduate Trainee

Former York College A Level Student of the Year in 2012, Annie Turney returned to speak to current students attending the Law Society as part of the College’s enrichment activities. A Level Law, Business and Economics students attended to hear Annie talk about her experience at university and how she is about to commence a graduate training programme with the supermarket chain Aldi.

Annie Turney Alumni web

Having completed her Law degree at Durham University, Annie talked about choosing universities and degree programmes to apply for, what to expect when starting at university and gave some helpful hints and tips on getting the most out of the time at university, both academically and socially.

York College provided a transition from school to university for Annie. She said: “At university you have to work more independently, which is something you learn to do at College. Using things like Blackboard (the College’s Virtual Learning Environment) prepares you for using similar at university when you have to log on everyday to get messages and work.”

Studying Law at A Level gave Annie a good grounding for starting her Law degree and she says she found it useful to refer back to her old College notes. Having studied Geography, English Language and Economics also helped as each taught different argument forming and essay skills.

The support from College tutors was also of great benefit to Annie, as she says: “The teaching style at College changes through the two years you’re here, so that you gradually become more independent as they prepare you for the next step.” Annie has kept in touch with her Law tutor and found her email support invaluable during her first year at university when she had a few doubts about her study.

Whilst doing her degree Annie knew she wanted to work in the Business sector rather than Law, but she proves the point that you don’t have to do a degree and then work in that particular field. Often many degree programmes take people on to lots of different career courses, the main thing is to study something you enjoy doing.

And Annie’s advice to current A Level students? “Use your final summer well. Relax and take some time out, but also use the time to plan your direction for when you arrive at university. Have an idea of where you want to be in five years time, look at your course modules and focus on the ones you want to take. Then it won’t be so daunting when you get there.”

Rosie Corrigan - UK's Youngest Female Mayor

A Levels: Government and Politics, Law, English Language and Literature and Modern History. AS Level: Philosophy (Graduated 2011)

York College was delighted when an A level alumna was elected Mayor of Selby.


In May 2011, aged just 18, Rosie Corrigan became one of country’s youngest councillors as she was elected to represent the Selby West Ward on the Selby Town Council. In May 2013, she was elected as the Deputy Mayor for Selby, meaning that she had the honour of standing in for the Mayor of Selby when he was unable to conduct his duties. She was then thrilled to be elected as Mayor of Selby the following year, making her the UK's youngest ever female Mayor.

Commenting on her role, Rosie said: “I enjoyed challenging perceptions of what people expect a mayor to look like, and encouraging children and young people to become active in their community.”

Rosie completed her studies at York College in 2011, graduating with A levels in Government and Politics, Law, English Language and Literature, Modern History and an AS level in Philosophy. Rosie also completed an EPQ on the progression of the then Health and Social Care Bill Regulated Activities through Parliament.

Rosie, who was Head Girl at Holy Family Catholic High School in Carlton before coming to York College, said: “I loved being a student at York College! The tutors encouraged us to think outside the box - they helped us to grow into young adults, as well as grow academically. I chose to study at York College because it provided the wide range of courses I wished to study.”

Rosie explained that her political interests really progressed and thrived here at College: “There was a lot of political discussion and debate at York College. Students and tutors alike challenged each other’s ideas and this meant I was able to develop a real understanding of my own ideas and arguments. My tutor was brilliant at this - he always made us question our arguments, and wasn’t afraid to voice his own views either!”

Whilst at College, Rosie began to feel particularly opposed to certain reforms that the government were making, including the scrapping of the Educational Maintenance Allowance, and the raising of tuition fees. In response to this, Rosie organised a peaceful protest at the College, which saw students and tutors hold hands around the College building to ‘hold on to their education’. Rosie was delighted with the fantastic turnout and her actions were even covered by a regional news channel. Coincidentally, this all happened on Rosie’s 18th birthday!

Rosie also threw herself into the extra-curricular opportunities at York College. She helped to run the debating society and also attended the law society, both of which, she says, were so enjoyable that she barely realised she was developing skills that would be invaluable beyond College, as well as making some brilliant friendships. She particularly enjoyed participating in a mock trial at Leeds Crown Court as part of the law society. She added: “It was a brilliant experience which brought to life what we had learned in the classroom!”

Rosie’s fantastic A level results (A*, A, B, C) enabled her to study British Politics and Legislative Studies at the University of Hull. She added: “I had to fight back the tears on results day - I was so happy!”

Whilst studying for her degree, Rosie enjoyed a role as an intern in the Westminster Office of the Rt Hon Andy Burnham, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and former Secretary of State for Health.

In summer 2015, Rosie completed her year as Mayor and graduated from her degree. She is now working in Parliament, in the Office of Jamie Reed MP.

Jodie-Marie Toone - PGCE student and College tutor

A Levels: Psychology, Sociology, Law, Early Modern History. AS Level: German (Graduated 2009)

Jodie-Marie Toone began her York College journey in 2007 as an AS Level student. Little did she know she was about to embark upon a Psychology course which would map her future career and be the reason for her return to the College in 2013.


After completing her GCSEs at Carlton Holy Family Catholic High School, Jodie-Marie chose to move onto York College where she completed A Levels in Psychology, Sociology, Law and Early Modern History, and an AS Level in German. She instantly took to Psychology, going on to win the Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation Psychology Prize which is presented each year to an outstanding Psychology student in memory of ex-student, Caroline Stuttle.

Wanting to pursue her passion further Jodie-Marie progressed onto a degree at the University of York in Sociology and Social Psychology. Whilst Jodie-Marie enjoyed her university experience, she always missed York College and the phenomenal support she had received from her tutors. When she decided on pursuing a PGCE upon graduation, returning to York College was the obvious choice.

She explained: “I chose the York College PGCE course for a number of reasons. I am particularly interested in teaching at AS and A2 level so the focus of the course on Further Education and Lifelong Learning was perfect for me.

“Being accepted onto the course would also mean I would be able to do my teaching placement with York College itself; something that I knew would be an incredible opportunity. I’m teaching in the Psychology department which is a fantastic team of professionals that is very well led, and who are supportive of each other. The chance to work with them for a year, while studying in an institution with an outstanding reputation, was very appealing.”

The PGCE programme at the College has certainly lived up to Jodie-Marie’s expectations. She added: “The course has been fantastic - hard work, but worth it! The tuition is excellent, the mentoring system invaluable and being able to work with a range of professionals and students has cemented my decision to teach.

“When I first started the course I never thought I’d be able to actually stand up in front of a class and teach, but thanks to the fantastic support of my mentor, I now know that I can!”

When her PGCE course ends in the summer, Jodie-Marie will move onto Selby College, where she has gained a full time Psychology tutor post.

In June 2014, York College was delighted to see Jodie-Marie win the Adult Learner award for the category 'biggest achievement'. Congratulations to Jodie-Marie!

Max Seabrooke - Designer for the BBC

A Levels: Product Design (Resistant Materials), Art and Design (Fine Art) and Pure and Statistical Mathematics (Graduated 2010)

Since leaving York College Max has achieved a First Class BA Honours degree and has worked with multiple designers and agencies specialising in different design disciplines. He has won two awards and is currently working within the BBC's rapidly moving department 'User Experience and Design', first under their Design Trainee Scheme in London and now as a junior designer at BBC North in Salford.


At York College Max achieved the academic qualifications needed to be accepted on a Design related undergraduate course, receiving invitations to study at all the universities he applied for. However, it was his multi-disciplinary portfolio that helped communicate to the interviewers his passion to pursue and understand the discipline of design.

He says: “The facilities at York College supported my creativity and development of skills within my Fine Art and Product Design subjects. Traditional and new, digital hardware in the College's workshop enabled me to produce prototypes that acted as a great introduction to the discipline of product and industrial design. The close proximity with other creatives in the Fine Art studio meant there was a good platform for ideas to thrive and become more engaging. Finally, my tutors for Pure and Statistical Maths over the two years were excellent at explaining quite complex formulas and aiding personal methods of revising.

Some of the fondest memories I have from my College years are connected to the Fine Art courses' visit to Venice in 2009, when we viewed the work displayed in the 53rd International Art Exhibition. My memories of the city and all the Art exhibitions/galleries we visited influenced my ideologies and continues to inspire me today.”

He was encouraged by the BBC to reach out to educational institutes to talk about the discipline User Experience as well as the BBC Trainee Scheme for graduates and designers with a good knowledge base. He therefore did not hesitate to return to York College to interview students as part of his BBC research. He said: “Stepping back into the College for the first time in four years was a peculiar experience and surprisingly I was greeted by staff members that remembered me! I was able to conduct my research over the course of a day and talking with some of the students about my post-College experiences resulted in interesting reactions and questions about requirements and opportunities.”

Need Help?