Congratulations Jayde Kirkup!

We asked students to send in a 500-word article explaining what brought them to college, along with their hopes, fears and aspirations and asked you to vote for your favourite entry.

Almost 350 FE Week readers voted in our online survey so a big thank you to all those who voted.

It was a close competition with the winner, Jayde Kirkup, taking the top spot by just a few votes. Jayde will receive either a Macbook Pro or £1000 worth of John Lewis vouchers.

FE Week would like thank all the thousands of talented students who entered the competition and especially our five shortlisters. Look out for our write-up of the competition online soon!

Read Jayde’s entry below.



Hello there, I’m Jayde Louise Kirkup. I’m 16 and I’m attending East Durham College in Peterlee. The subject I’m taking is the ‘Btec Health and Social Care Level 3 Diploma’.

I’ve chosen this course because I know it’s going to give me the greatest foundation for me to achieve my life long wish. I’ve wished all my life that I will eventually inspire and help others like I’ve been helped all my life.

With me having Cerebral Palsy it’s obviously paid a great deal with my attendance at school.

Since I was only 8 years old I’ve had operation’s to better myself, so for the future, where I am now, I’m able go to college and walk around just like everyone else.

I mean, it’s still painful and I get very fatigued easily and I get a lot of spasms but I have so much ambitions and aims for myself I cant just let this little part of myself stop me when I know there’s other people worse off!

Furthermore, I’ve had to learn to walk again four times, I’ve pushed myself all my life to be where I am now, and I’m still not going to stop until I’ve achieved everything I wish for.

In school, like I’ve previously said my attendance was very poor, so I had to work twice as hard as most people, therefore, my aim for myself before I left school was to get 100% attendance in year 11
which was succeeded with hard work, effort and not giving up even if I was in pain or had hospital appointment’s.

I believe that if you believe in yourself and you don’t give up, anything can be possible.In my course, I need to achieve the highest marks possible which I really hope to get, even though I know I wouldn’t EVER settle for anything less.

I need to get either 2 Merits and 1 Distinction or 2 Distinction and 1 Merit.

My life long desire is to help young, physically disabled people in a job like Occupational therapy or Physio therapy.

With me having the experience of having physio all my life and the benefits from help will hopefully be a great benefit for them to see.

Not just to have people surrounding them to help them but to have someone beside them which would not only help them but actually know what there going through which will then hopefully inspire them to help themselves and believe that nothings impossible.

Also, I hope I can eventually say that ‘If I can do it, you can do it’.

I know in my heart that if I wasn’t disabled, I wouldn’t be inspired or as strong willed as I am today.

I’m so lucky to have a great family who have always encouraged me that I can do whatever I set my mind too.

Which is why I’m hoping that I’ll succeeded in everything I try in life so I shall get the chance to help people the way I have.

I cant just lay back and not do anything with my life and keep watching people who have never got given the chance to get operations and get better the way I have.

It makes me upset sometimes, why was I the one who got given theses chances to change into someone I’ve always dreamed of being.

I’ve always dreamt of being like everyone else, to be able to do things like everyone else can do because  it’s hard to come to terms with things you mentally can do but physically can’t.

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  1. Jayde Kirkup

    Hi this is Jayde, I honestly can’t believe I’ve won, this is the first good news in my family for a while and I’m over the moon to be the winner, thank you to everyone who voted for me :’)

  2. Hi Jayde,

    I’ve sent you an email confirming you’ve won and what happens next. If you could reply as soon as possible then we can get your prize sorted and sent to you as soon as possible.

    Congratulations and thank you for entering the competition.

    • ineke Ely

      You deserve it! Let’s hope it is the start of many good things to come your way.
      If you go for the vouchers, spend them wisely, and don’t go over the top in your excitement. The ‘feel good’ factor will last much longer that way.

      Good luck!

      Ineke Ely (again).