London South East Colleges has been highly commended in the Secondary School/College of the Year Award category at an awards ceremony in London for its continued commitment to developing its students’ communication skills.

The 2018 Shine a Light Awards is a national scheme run by learning company Pearson in partnership with The Communication Trust. It celebrates innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication developmentThere were 10 awards in total, with winners and highly-commended finalists chosen by a panel of experts in the sector.

 From its two sites in Bromley and Bexley, London South East Colleges provides special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision to students with moderate to complex needs. Following an initial assessment, staff identify how each student can best access the curriculum and thrive.

Support ranges from occupational therapy, specialist apps on iPads for non-verbal students, equipment for learners who are deaf, blind, or visually impaired, and staff who are trained in signing. Meanwhile, in-house speech and language therapists (SLTs) liaise with feeder schools to ensure that the right support is in place for students on day one.

In addition to this the college runs an employability programme, plus an independent living programme to support young people with more severe and complex needs. By encouraging students to work at the college’s ‘Chefs Table’ restaurant, within the horticultural facilities, or join its performing arts programme, staff are able to support communication development while providing students with essential life and employability skills. 

 Impressively, over 50% of students on the college’s supported internship programme go in to employment, against a London average of just 6%!

 Rhona Sapsford, Assistant Principal of SEND at London South East Colleges, said:  “We are delighted to be presented with this award as it reflects the very hard work undertaken by both our staff and our students.

 “We put a huge emphasis on giving our students the support they need to communicate effectively, which in turn helps them to reach their full potential. It is very much a team effort at London South East Colleges and I am grateful to everyone for their dedication and commitment to creating such a high quality provision.”

 Stand-up comedian and actor, Adam Hess, host of the 2018 Shine a Light Awards, said: “The dedication of London South East Colleges is outstanding. As a child, I struggled greatly with dyslexia and an immense fear of public speaking, if it wasn’t for the support I received when I was younger I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.

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“It is fantastic to know that other children and young people are being given the support they need to learn, thrive and achieve their goals. London South East Colleges should be very proud of its success.”

Octavia Holland, Director of The Communication Trust, said: “Congratulations to London South East Colleges and everyone who triumphed at the 2018 Shine a Light Awards. They have shown what can be achieved when expertise, enthusiasm and dedication is given to children and young people who struggle to communicate. These awards highlight the very best practice that is taking place in settings across the country."

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