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Oldham College wins national SEND award

Oldham College has collected the top prize for Teacher Development in Digital Technology at nasen’s sixth annual awards.

The college was put into the spotlight at a glittering ceremony at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham for its remarkable work in helping learners with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and learning differences thrive and achieve.

The awards are hosted by nasen – the National Association for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities – and supported by sponsors Scanning Pens, who is also the awards headline sponsor, Axcis Education, and official awards media partner, Schools Week.

nasen is the leading membership charity that supports children and young people with SEND to reach their full potential, whilst being a champion, friend and protector of the SEND workforce.

Scooping nasen’s Award for Teacher Development in Digital Accessibility, Oldham College was recognised for its commitment and dedication to inclusivity through the use of assistive technology.

Supplemented by the introduction of an Assistive Technologist at the college, within the academic year 2021-22, over 1,100 staff and students were using assistive technology to help improve literacy achievement, develop confidence, encourage independent learning, and trial new tools and resources that might benefit students on a day-to-day basis, including the creation of a Dyslexia Innovation Hub and use of text-scanning C-Pens in GCSE exams.

Oldham College joined 17 other award winners, judged by a panel of leading professionals with a wealth of experience in education and SEND – as well as individuals with lived experience.

Alun Francis, Chief Executive and Principal at Oldham College, said: “This is another fantastic achievement for our Additional Learning Support staff and we are very proud to have won this award.

“Our ALS team has gained a national reputation for the creative ways in which they support our learners.

“Assistive technology is a vital part of that innovation and continuous improvement which makes sure our learners can access and understand all the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to succeed.”

Chief Executive of nasen, Annamarie Hassall MBE, said: “Oldham College should be extremely proud of what they have achieved.

“Our judges were delighted to reward their creation of a full suite of software to aid challenges with reading, spelling and writing – as well as their additional learning support team and Assistive Technology champions, providing focused support, empowering learners across the mainstream campus.”

She continued: “We received an amazing number of nominations for the awards this year and it has been a great honour to recognise and reward the people who are making a real difference for SEND.

“We very much hope the inclusive work of our winners, who go above and beyond every day to help children and young people thrive, will inspire more great work in the sector going forward, and help strengthen our community’s sense of unity, collaboration and possibilities.”

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