AoC Beacon Awards

The AoC Beacon Awards, launched in 1994, capture and celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK further education colleges. They are designed to "promote the interdependence of further education colleges, business, professional and voluntary organisations to their mutual advantage, through highlighting excellence and sharing best practice".

The 2015-16 winners AoC Beacon Award winning colleges were announced by Baroness Sharp of Guildford on 17 November 2015 at AoC Annual Conference and Exhibition. You can view the full list of winners and shortlisted colleges here.

All assessors provide detailed feedback on each application which we are happy to share with you via telephone, with the aim of helping colleges to improve the prospect of their submission being shortlisted.

2016-17 Programme

There are 13 awards available for the 2016-17 programme.  The awards are divided into three main categories:

2016/17 Beacon Awards Prospectus and Criteria (PDF,439.46 KB)

The profile booklet of the 2015-16 winning colleges gives a brief overview of each of last year's winners.  Full project profiles will be written up over the summer and be available in the autumn.

Project Profiles for the 2015-16 winning colleges (PDF,1.68 MB)

The full project profiles of the 2014-15 winning colleges can be read by visiting the Beacon Award Winners 2014-15 page.  These are based on the college's original application and the assessors' report and give a good overview on how the college established its winning project, what the benefits have been to learners and how it can be replicated.  They are also useful documents to show the level of detail required for applications.

Why apply?

Colleges benefit from the high regard in which the awards are held, which is good for their reputation and prestige. We run national online radio and print PR campaigns, which reach 8.5 million people, to promote the winning colleges.

Each year the awards are presented at a prestigious Beacon Awards National Ceremony, to which Ministers and MPs, as well as college staff and principals, are invited.

All colleges applying for Beacon Awards are able to request detailed feedback on their applications, not just winning colleges.

Testimonials from last year's winners and interviews with AoC Charitable Trust President Lord Willis of Knaresborough and Steering Group Chair Dame Pat Bacon are available to view on the dedicated Why Apply? section of the website.

Also available, for reference, is the podcast run by the Chief Assessor providing advice and guidance on how to apply for the 2015-16 awards, containing notes on what makes a good application and is well worth a listen.

Case studies

Each year, we write up a detailed summary of each winning project based on the original application, the assessors' report and a follow-up form completed by the winning college. These case studies are an excellent resource and can give a blueprint for other colleges wishing to replicate the award-winning practice.

View case studies for previous AoC Beacon Award winners.