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Beacon Award Commended College Synopses 2022/23 - The AoC Award for Widening Participation


Hopwood Hall College

The college identified a cohort of learners who without intense support and intervention were not succeeding in accessing and engaging with college education. In anticipation of these issues we identified these learners through effective partnerships. As a Trauma Informed college, we anticipated, that due to Covid, stability, consistently and nurturing would be paramount for these cohorts. We delivered a number of innovative transition activities to support these learners to attend and stay in college. After success in the summer transition work of 2019 with learners experiencing mental health issues, we expanded this in the summer of 2021 (2020 support was through a mental health practitioner due to Covid preventing a transition project) to include three transition projects, ‘Reach’ to help school refusers successfully start at the college, ‘Strive’ to provide a bespoke multi-skills construction group throughout the college year for those with challenging behaviour and ‘Bootcamp’ a summer project for those learners whose behaviours or anxieties had led to them potentially being unable to progress further at college. All these projects were very successful and have led to the expansion of activities in 2022 to build on the good practice gained and widened the cohorts which included trans-gender learners.

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College

In2Sport is a sport education programme designed to equip learners with the necessary skills and qualifications to enter employment in the sport, fitness and active leisure sectors. The course is designed specifically for individuals who are currently unemployed and have experiences of the criminal justice system and/or are overcoming addiction. Across the academic year, In2Sport learners obtain 3 sport qualifications, including a Level 2 Gym Instructing qualification. From the off, learners are integrated into day to day life at the College. They attend face-to-face 2x weekly and receive full perks of being a student, including a monthly bursary to remove travel and financial barriers, access to the library which removes digital barriers and access to the gym which can be otherwise inaccessible due to high membership costs. The College works closely with a range of external support services who refer their service-users into the programme, including The CFO Activity Hub, St Mungo’s and ARA. These partnerships have ensured sustainability of the programme and have resulted in wider societal benefits, such as high percentages of learners successfully completing their probation orders, no further criminal offences being committed, as well as no drug or alcohol relapses. In November 2021, the BBC came into the College to capture the programme, see video attached: