Harlow College awarded key Beacon award

Communities / Thu 13th Feb 2014 pm28 12:06pm

STAFF and students were celebrating as Harlow College was awarded the prestigious Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award for Innovation in Further Education.

The college was presented with the award, sponsored by OCR, by Lord Willis, President of the AoC Charitable Trust, at the AoC Beacon Awards National Presentation Ceremony in London on Wednesday 5 February. The college was also congratulated by Matthew Hancock, Minister for Skills and Enterprise, who was present at the ceremony.

Harlow College won the award for an innovative teaching and learning strategy which focuses on the individual needs of each of its learners.

The strategy works by teachers setting clear targets at the start of each learning session, which can be a half or full day, which the students can achieve at their own pace. One-to-one support is available and students are free to go once they have reached their targets. If a student meets their targets quickly, then in the next session, they are given more challenging targets so that they are always stretched and supported.

Success rates are very high and the assessors stated that, “there is an open and honest relationship between learners and staff which fosters accountability and responsibility.”

Charlotte Bosworth, OCR Director of Skills and Employment said:
“The FE sector is one of the most innovative in education and the entries for this year’s OCR Award for Innovation in FE proved this time and time again. Our winner, Harlow College, has abandoned a rigid ‘top down’ model for planning teaching and learning. Instead, they introduced a flexible ‘bottom up’ model which is benefitting students and staff alike and could be rolled out to transform teaching and learning in other colleges. ” 

Karen Spencer, Principal of Harlow College said:

“We are delighted to have won a second AoC Beacon Award, this time for Innovation in Further Education for our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy. It is a real testament to our team spirit and how our staff use their creativity to ensure students are genuinely at the heart of the College and are equipped with the confidence and skills for their next steps in life.”

Chair of the AoC Beacon Awards, Dame Pat Bacon, said:

“As the Chair of the National Steering Group it has been a really interesting and exciting experience being involved in the selection of the AoC Beacon Award winners once again.

“The field this year was as strong as ever. It’s great to see colleges identifying the challenges that we face, and confronting them head-on in innovative and creative ways.

“The winning entries this year are all fantastic examples of the ways in which colleges are demonstrating how thoroughly they understand and respond to the needs of their learners, wider communities and employers.

“I should like to congratulate all of the successful colleges and hope that they can make the most of the opportunity afforded to them through the Beacon Awards to help stimulate innovation and curriculum development across the sector”

Roger Marriott, AoC Beacon Awards Chief Assessor, said:

“I have been greatly impressed by the innovative and excellent initiatives which have been identified through the assessment process of the AoC Beacon Awards this year.

“It is a privilege to be able to see, first hand, the many imaginative and creative approaches that colleges are adopting to support their learners. The dedication and passion shown by these winning colleges to ensure that individuals are given the opportunity to realise their full potential is inspirational and I hope that the wider sector will benefit as a result of celebrating their achievements.”

Sarah Banks, 17, from Harlow – BTEC Science student and Student Ambassador

“It was a fantastic experience and I was proud to represent the college and to hear the positive feedback from the other guests. People were really inspired by our success story.”

Harlow College will host a local celebration event later this year.

I hope you’ll be able to use the article and please let me know if you would like any further info on the event or the college.

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