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Blackburn College becomes first in North West to be recognised for investing in children

Pictured is Rob Johnson, Project Manager for Investors in Children with students and staff members who helped support the award. Students pictured are: Rumana Jeru, Leah Rhodes, Rahma Mansur, Hassan Ghani and Jon Burke.

Blackburn College has become the first College in the North West to receive an Investing in Children Award which recognises and celebrates imaginative and inclusive practice linked to Student Voice, engagement and student participation. 

Investing in Children (IiC) is a UK initiative that promotes the human rights of children and young people.

Recognised by Ofsted as a Good Practice Resource, full-time Further Education students at Blackburn College have been contributing through Student Voice activities during the 2017/2018 academic year.

The Investing in Children Membership Award™ Scheme recognises and celebrates examples of imaginative and inclusive practice with children and young people.

In applying for the award Blackburn College had to demonstrate dialogue with young people which leads to change. However, College students had to provide the evidence in order for Blackburn College to achieve the coveted award.

Students have been highlighting issues important to the wider student body helping to shape positive change at Blackburn College whilst also participating in fundraising events and staff recruitment.

Andrew Pickles, Assistant Principal for Student Support and Engagement at Blackburn College said:

“This is a very positive achievement as we are the first College in the North West to receive the award.

“I would like to thank all staff and students that have been involved.”

Lecturer Gretel Redwood said:

“This scheme has provided students with the opportunity to complete a variety of participation activities and to influence decision making within Blackburn College.

“Students have participated in Student Voice activities by providing feedback to their student representative and have also been involved in the recruitment for appointing the Executive Dean of Higher Education at the University Centre at Blackburn College, the Vice Principal (Curriculum and Quality) and the College’s new Principal and Chief Executive.”

Student representatives at Blackburn College attend monthly Board of Studies meetings where they are able to share their peers’ feedback on teaching and learning across the College.

Improvements made as a result of student feedback include the opening of more student social spaces, replacing laptops and providing additional computers to support student learning.

Two library committees have also been set up in response to student feedback. The committees ensure that stock within Further Education and Higher Education libraries remain up-to-date and relevant to student needs.

Re-useable cups and water fountains have also been made available to students to address their concerns around sustainability and limiting the amount of single-use plastic.

Gretel added: “The students agreed, along with the Investing in Children assessor, that Blackburn College should receive this award – having their mark of approval is what makes it so special.”

Investing in Children was established in 1995 by senior managers from Durham County Council and the NHS. In May 2013 Investing in Children was spun out from Durham County Council to form a Community Interest Company – IiC CIC.

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