Katie Spurgeon,18, studied BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Forensic and Criminal Investigation at Royal Leamington Spa College but when the pandemic curtailed the year she was set to miss one of her most anticipated practical modules.
The module involved learning how to excavate a grave, which will be a key skill for Katie when studying Archaeology and Anthropology in Forensic Science at Bournemouth University later this year.
So, after agreeing with her parents, she set about digging up her garden at home and sourced cow bones from the local butcher and buried them two feet below the surface.
Katie cordoned off the area with ‘crime scene’ tape, put on personal protective equipment and then set about excavating the site, exploring archaeological technique to recover the buried remains in the process.
She achieved two Distinction* and a Distinction in her course, which represented an upgrade after her tutor contested Katie’s initially awarded grades.
Katie said: “All year I’d been looking forward to the practical task of excavating a grave. I had some free time during lockdown, so thought I’d just do it in my garden instead.
“My college lecturer shared some source materials with me to learn from that we would have been using in class, I visited my local butcher for the bones and started the task.
“I documented every step of the process, like you would do in a real assessment and it definitely helped me to develop my skills.
“I enjoyed it. It was really fun. It took a long time but it wasn’t boring, and my mum was fine with me digging up the garden.
“It’s the practical parts I really enjoy, and I’m hoping to get more opportunities to do that at Bournemouth University this year.
“I’m really happy with my results. I put in a lot of hard work and it wasn’t necessarily an easy course at Royal Leamington Spa College.
“I’ve always had an interest in forensic science, stemming from watching television programmes when I was younger and now I can continue to follow that dream.”
Royal Leamington Spa College is part of WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group).
Amanda Hill, lecturer in Forensic and Criminal Investigation, Criminology and Psychology at Royal Leamington Spa College, said: “Katie showed incredible initiative to take on this task during lockdown, and after reading her report it’s clear she executed it extremely well.
“It was disappointing that we weren’t able to deliver this module directly to Katie, but we were in touch with tips and guidance as the excavation is certainly a key skill considering her future career plans.
“We look forward to following her progress closely in the future and wish her all the best in her studies at Bournemouth.”
To find out more about studying at Royal Leamington Spa College visit www.wcg.ac.uk/study