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A Night of National Nominations for Abingdon & Witney College

20th Nov 2019

Abingdon & Witney College are in the running to win two national awards at the 2019-20 Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Awards, it was announced yesterday evening (19 November).

At the AoC Conference in Birmingham, the Beacon Awards finalists were revealed during the annual event attended by hundreds of representatives from colleges across the country.

The College is in the running to win both the Edge Award for Excellence in the Practical Delivery of Technical and Professional Learning, and the RCU Support for Students Award.

The Edge Award celebrates colleges which have developed high quality practical teaching and learning approaches that give students experiences that are real, meaningful, challenging, stretching and life changing. At the 2017 Beacon Awards, the College won the same award for its student-led social action projects in the Business, Events & Tourism, Public Services and Sport subjects.

This year, it was the College’s approach to land- and animal-based vocational courses that were judged to be worthy of shortlisting.

Pam Willsher, Head of Faculty for Land-based Industries & Construction Trades, said: "This innovative project was designed to equip our undergraduate students with a range of meaningful analytical, problem-solving and independent research skills, using real life industry-based projects tailored to the needs of individual employers or charitable organisations.

Teaching and learning strategies underpin the curriculum with a large emphasis on student led learning, assessments linked to industry visits, and effective use of our animal and livestock technology centres. Our alumni panels - combined with a unique tutorial system called HE Upgrade - supports development of key employability skills."

Supported by RCU and AoC, the Support for Students Award seeks to celebrate outstanding examples of student support for a significant group of students.

Every year, the College provides unique support and teaching for more than one hundred students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The project that has caught the eye of the judges is the Pathway department's use of WikiMe, a digital platform that enables SEND students with complex needs to record and celebrate achievements, share progress and information with other stakeholders and parents and provides a safe interactive social media space for our most vulnerable learners to interact with friends.

Angela Petruso, Pathways Manager, said: "We are thrilled to be nominated for this project as it validates the impact of WikiMe on our students lives and on their ability to truly see what amazing progress they are making."

Di Batchelor, Principal at Abingdon & Witney College, said: “Once again we find ourselves recognised in multiple categories at the AoC’s Beacon Awards; I’m delighted to have continued this tradition, as we know how well regarded the Awards are.

"Most of all, I’m proud of our amazing staff and our high-achieving students, who are all responsible for the College’s success and help to make achievements like this possible.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:

“These colleges have gone above and beyond in equipping and empowering students to have a voice, to solve their own challenges, make their own choices and to participate in their community. All have shown great dedication to fully support students into college, employment and adult life, and which enable them to achieve success and help them to transform their lives.”