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College’s Offender And Detainee Learning Provision Recognised With Prestigious Award

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Weston College has been awarded a Beacon Award for its work in improving functional, vocational and transferable skills among offenders in nine prisons across the South West of England and detainees at The Verne Immigration Removal Centre.

The College took home the Association of Colleges’ Beacon Award for Widening Participation in Learning, sponsored by Gateway Qualifications. This is the first time a Beacon Award has been won recognising excellence within offender and detainee learning services.

Judges highlighted the College’s inclusive approach to learning which reflects “the best in adult further education within the community” and “inspires the most educationally disadvantaged to engage, improve their skills, discover and fulfil their potential and increase their life and work opportunities on release or repatriation.”

Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of the Weston College Group, commended his staff and said: “This award shows that Weston College is leading the field when it comes to providing effective opportunities for some of the most disenfranchised learners in the country. Our Beacon Award’s success confirms the innovative and student-centred practice that permeates the whole of the Weston College Group.

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“When it comes to offender and detainee learning, we provide the same award-winning level of teaching and support that we offer students across the College. Our approach is to put our learners first and to enable them to realise their full potential.

“This College-wide ethos is why learners in all aspects of Weston College’s provision can expect the same outstanding teaching standards, and the same dedication to providing an engaging and inclusive learning environment.”

This latest award follows national recognition of the College’s offender learning provision through successful inspections from Ofsted and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Prisons. In 2015, offender learning lecturer Jerry Nightingale became the first prison lecturer to be named Further Education Lecturer of the Year at the Pearson Teaching Awards for ‘Britain’s classroom heroes’.

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