Richard Taunton Celebrates Student Success at Annual Awards Event

Richard Taunton Sixth Form College rewarded and celebrated student success at their annual awards ceremony last week when they invited students, parents, teachers and special guests to their Celebration Event to recognise the hard work, commitment and achievements of their students.

The awards were presented by Chief Executive of the Lighthouse Learning Trust, Matt Atkinson, whose witty and thought-provoking closing speech to the students spoke about the importance of questioning everything, speaking up and challenged them to make a change for the better.

Matt said;

It was an honour to be able to present the awards at this year’s Celebration Event, and as always, I am immensely proud of and impressed by the students from our academy trust. Hearing their stories and some of the personal journeys students have made in their time with us is truly inspiring. Their hard work, determination and resilience will see them well through to the next stage in their education and careers, and I can’t wait to see what they achieve next!

Awards were also presented by Laurence Dowding, Roger Parsons (a member of the Old Tauntonians’ Association and Liz Henderson (daughter of Ted Colenutt, a much respected Deputy Headmaster of Taunton’s School and Old Tauntonian) and special guests included the Mayor of Southampton.

The awards recognised the achievements of students across a broad range of subjects and their contribution to college life and the student experience and those who have overcome various challenges through resilience and perseverance. A total of 29 awards were presented, several of which sponsored by local organisations such as Southampton City Council, the Southampton Rotary Club and the University of Southampton.

Head of College, Liz Lee says,

Our annual Celebration Event is always such a wonderful way to end the term, and to recognise the hard work and dedication of our students and staff.  It was wonderful to see so many students, teachers and parents here to celebrate the success of our students, and to see representatives from Southampton education establishments and businesses here to support them as well.

Congratulations to all the well-deserved winners and thank you to everyone who attended. It certainly was an afternoon to remember!

Some of the special award winners included:


Molly Ayres Award


This award is named in honour of a Molly Ayres a student who studied music at the Southampton Girls’ Grammar School, which resided on the same site as the college back in the 1930s. An accomplished musician, Molly subsequently went on to become an admired and well-respected musician and piano teacher. The award is given to the student who has shown themselves to be an excellent musician and performer who has secured a place at a highly regarded music conservatoire or expressive arts academy.

The award was won by Rosie Mellett, who came to the college from Cantell School.  In addition to her strong dance and acting skills, she is a very skilled singer and composer/arranger and has been keen to expand her knowledge in all areas of music.  As well as completing all of her coursework to a high level, she has been involved in a large number of extra-curricular groups: taking on a solo in the Christmas choral concert, undertaking a musical arrangement of “I am sailing” for college choir which was performed at Music for Youth and will feature in our performance at Southampton Guildhall in July and in her free time she has also written a musical!  Rosie has been a huge asset to the music and performing arts department.  She sings to an exceptionally high standard and gave an excellent performance as the lead (‘Roxie’) in the college production of Chicago this year.  Her work ethic, positive and self-disciplined approach is outstanding and has inspired others to apply themselves in a similar way.   Rosie has been offered a place at the World-renowned Italia Conti Academy and looks set to have a bright future in the Arts.


Ted Colenutt Bursary


Ted Colenutt was a former pupil as well as a highly respected teacher and Deputy Principal at Richard Taunton. Before sadly passing away, he set up a university bursary fund over a five year period, to be awarded to a different student each year. This bursary of £400 is intended to support a deserving student through their first year at university. The award was presented by Ted’s daughter, Liz Henderson.

This year’s winner of the Ted Colenutt Bursary is Chloe Collins. Chloe joined us from Cantell School and has consistently shown outstanding levels of commitment in her A Level courses. She has a superb attitude to learning; her development and progress over the two years has led to increasingly mature, thoughtful and evaluative responses. Chloe has a natural ability where strategic decisions are concerned. Her commitment, underplayed enthusiasm and positivity are an inspiration to others. Chloe plans to go on to study Accounting and Finance after finishing college, hopefully at Southampton University.


Old Grammarian’s Award


This award is given to a student who has made the greatest contribution to the college community, and this year it was won by Molly Grist who joined us from Sholing Technology College.

Molly has put in a massive amount of effort during her time at college towards the student union, the equal opportunities committee, recycling initiatives and even making plans to create a sensory garden on campus for the benefit of students and staff. Molly has always used her position as a student union representative to readily challenge the college community on key issues as they have arisen and always conducts herself in a mature and constructive manner. She is always happy to arrange meetings to get the job done and to get the student voice heard and is a shining example of what can be achieved with a relentless determination to follow what you believe in. Molly plans to go on to study Creative Writing after finishing college.


It is not just our students who received awards. We also announced the winners of our highly coveted Support Staff Member of the Year and Teacher of the Year awards. A student vote named Miriam Roberts as the winner of Teacher of the Year. Students commented that…

“Without a doubt, her lessons are the ones I look forward to the most. She’s probably one of the reasons why I want to go on and study Law.”

“Miriam has been one of the best teachers I have had, both as a law teacher and a tutor. As a tutor she ensures that she makes time to hear your concerns and addresses them in any way possible. As a Law teacher, she always makes sure we fully understand the work before moving on, as well as being understanding of anything going on personally.

“The standard of Miriam’s lessons is very high and so engaging for students regardless of their ability. She is an asset to the law department and is the most adaptable, fun-loving, hard-working and supportive teacher, making the lessons fun- which then encourages us to try harder!”

“She takes a personal interest in my success and builds my confidence and if I ever need to talk to someone about anything she’s always there.”

You can view all the photos from this event here and a list of the award winners.