Norfolk

Norwich autistic teenager James Triggs named Student of Year

James Triggs and Lorraine Bliss
Image caption James Triggs with St Edmunds Society chief executive Lorraine Bliss

An autistic teenager left devastated when he was thrown off a college course has been named Student of the Year by his new teachers.

James Triggs said winning the award at St Edmunds Society in Norwich showed "another door had opened" for him.

The 18-year-old was asked to leave City College Norwich in September 2017, having been "enrolled in error".

His mother Emma said: "It looks like a blessing in disguise. Nobody wants that to happen but he made the best of it."

Image caption James Triggs has studied subjects ranging from woodwork to maths

She said the support at St Edmunds, which teaches employability skills to young people outside mainstream education, had seen James's confidence soar and improved his social skills.

"The change in him is just unreal," said Mrs Triggs, 42, of Beverley Road.

"He wouldn't talk to anyone, he had no friends and no confidence.

"By the time he went to St Edmunds he had had so many ups and downs, and the letter we were handed [from City College Norwich] was like the final nail in the coffin. St Ed's have given him confidence, and they have said they believe in him."

Image caption Emma Triggs said missing out on a previous college may have been "a blessing in disguise" for her son

James had spent just three days on his new course in 2017 when he was asked to leave, with the college saying it could not meet his needs and he had been enrolled in error.

But after nearly two years at St Edmunds, in which he has studied woodwork and construction skills, English and maths, he said he was "very happy" to be named Student of the Year.

"My mum said when one door closes, another one opens," he said.

"St Edmunds were really helpful and the teachers are really nice, and I've made quite a lot of friends."

In September the teenager will study games design at another college in Norwich, and hopes to build a career in the video games industry.

In 2017 City College apologised to James and his family for the mistake.

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