A student from Derwen College has been voted onto a National Union of Students (NUS) committee

Thomas Shacklady stood against learners from mainstream colleges across the country to gain a place on the Further Education Committee.

The 24-year- old Creative Studies student from St Helens, in Merseyside, was delighted to be chosen as a representative for the NUS – a body that champions students’ rights.

Sarah Laszlo, Learner Voice Programme co-ordinator at Derwen College said: “We are delighted to announce that Thomas was successful in being voted on to the committee. He will now continue the work that former Derwen student Robin Ferguson has been doing with NUS for the last two years to drive forward change within the movement for students with learning difficulties and disabilities.

She added: “Thomas’ role will involve many early morning starts and travel to London for meetings with the rest of the committee and leading figures within NUS. The role carries much responsibility as Thomas will be raising issues affecting our learners and those like them in other specialist colleges.”

Thomas, who has Down’s Syndrome and learning difficulties, started at the specialist college in Gobowen in September 2015.

He said: “It was a surprise but it felt great to find out I was on the FE Zone committee. I’m looking forward to travelling across the country and supporting people with learning difficulties and difficulties.

“I enjoy being sociable and am looking forward to my role.”

His father David added that he and Thomas’s family were also all incredibly proud of him.

Emily Chapman, NUS Vice President (Further Education), commented: “I am so excited and pleased to have Thomas on my FE Committee this year at NUS. When he arrived at our NUS UK Zones Conference you could see his drive and want to achieve this position.

“He has such a strong and needed voice to represent SEND Learners. His voice is vital to myself as in education, SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) and LDD (Learning Difficulties and Disabilities) Learners are going through so much and are rarely heard.

“I look forward to working with Thomas over the next 12 months and making sure that his voice and the voice of all SEND Learners are heard.”