Staff and students at Glasgow Kelvin College celebrate winning a coveted “Further Education Oscar” for its Youth Access programme.
Staff and students were celebrating today at the news that Glasgow Kelvin College has been awarded the prestigious Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award for 14-19 Widening Participation. The college was announced as winner of the award, sponsored by the University of Southampton, by Lord Willis of Knaresborough, President of the AoC Charitable Trust, at the AoC Annual Conference in Birmingham on Wednesday 20 November.
Glasgow Kelvin, previously John Wheatley, College won the award for its Youth Access programme which brings together a number of community partners with the College to offer a large youth access programme for 12-19 year olds, operating across several centres.
Record success for ‘learning by stealth’
The programme covers challenging 12-19 year olds and has been highly successful in introducing ‘learning by stealth’ – slowly raising aspirations by targeting and working with the youngster’s own interests and then expanding their horizons and introducing them to new learning experiences.
The programme has a clear record of success over 10 years, building relationships, expanding provision and getting a greater number of young people to achieve formal qualifications.
What people say about the programme and the award
Professor Alex Neill, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) at the University of Southampton and sponsor of the Award, said:
[quote]The period in a young person’s life between 14 and 19 years of age is pivotal if we are to provide them with the right encouragement and information to make the choices in their education that will shape the rest of their lives. One of these choices might be to study at the University of Southampton where we are committed to attracting the most talented young people regardless of their background. Sponsoring this Award is important as it recognises the outstanding work that schools and colleges have undertaken in helping its students reach their future potential.[/quote]
Alan Sherry, Principal of Glasgow Kelvin College (previously John Wheatley College before merger on 1st November, 2013), said:
[quote]We are delighted and honoured to receive this award and thank AoC and University of Southampton for this recognition. Our Youth Access programme is a unique and prime example of the College’s drive to widen access and, through partnership, bring disengaged young people into a creative and stimulating learning environment. Added to useful IT skills, they also learn the skills for life and work, in line with the Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence agenda.
Thanks and congratulations must also go to the Glasgow Kelvin College staff who help to provide a meaningful, high quality learning experience in a non-traditional setting. This is significant recognition for a hugely worthwhile programme.[/quote]
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.
Local celebration and national ceremony
Glasgow Kelvin College will host a local celebration event in the New Year and will be presented with its Award by Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills and Enterprise, at a national presentation ceremony due to be held at Westminster on 5 February 2014.
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- Glasgow Kelvin College was vested on 1st November 2013 from the merger of Stow College, North Glasgow College and John Wheatley College in Glasgow. (The award recognises the Youth Access programme set up by John Wheatley College in Easterhouse and Glasgow’s East End.) The College expects to deliver a wide range of learning programmes to some 14,000 students in 2013-14. Currently around 50% of Glasgow Kelvin College’s students reside in the 15% most deprived postcodes in Scotland. To help address this, a broad portfolio of vocational and core skills programmes is delivered, from introductory and access through to degree level learning.
- The AoC Beacon Awards highlight the breadth and quality of education in Colleges throughout the UK and increase understanding of Colleges’ contribution to UK educational skills policy and economic and social development.
- The AoC Beacon Awards are now in their 20th year and are awarded to UK colleges who capture and celebrate the positive impact they have on their students, staff and communities.
- The Awards are administered by the AoC Charitable Trust which was established to advance the education of members of the public over the age of 16 years.
- The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship across a wide range of subjects in engineering, science, social sciences, health and humanities. With over 22,000 students, around 5,000 staff, and an annual turnover well in excess of £400 million, the University of Southampton is recognised as one of the country’s leading comprehensive research institutions. We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.