Bradford College is celebrating after being awarded a National Beacon Award for its outstanding contribution towards Equality & Diversity in the Further Education sector by the Association of Colleges (AoC).
On Friday 27th March, Michele Sutton, Principal and Chief Executive and Sophia Din, Equality and Diversity Manager were presented with the £5,000 Beacon Award prize by the Learning and Skills Council’s National Director Rob Wye, and Director of Area for West Yorkshire, Mike Lowe, during a visit to the College.
The awards, which this year celebrated fifteen years of rewarding outstanding teaching and learning in further education colleges, were announced at a ceremony at the AoC’s annual conference in Birmingham and representatives from the college received a certificate at a national presentation ceremony held at Westminster in February.
Sophia Din, Equality and Diversity Manager at Bradford College said: “We’re proud and delighted to win this award, which confirms the hard work and commitment of our staff to build a College in which all sections of the community can succeed. The award endorses our long standing commitment to embed equality and diversity and develop truly inclusive provision in order to widen horizons, strengthen communities and bring people together.”
Mike Lowe, Director of Area for the LSC in West Yorkshire commenting on the award said: “Congratulations to Bradford College on this well-deserved award! Their commitment to equality and diversity is an outstanding example of how colleges can make a huge contribution to local communities by providing top quality learning and training opportunities that are accessible and inclusive for all. By engaging with all sectors of Bradford’s diverse communities including those people not in employment, education or training, Bradford College is helping to make the city and surrounding areas better skilled and more economically successful.”
Bradford College was the joint winner of the Learning and Skills Council Award for Equality and Diversity for a project it set up following the Bradford riots in 2001 to embed equality and diversity in Bradford over a six year period from 2004 to 2010. The College aims to drive for equality and diversity in professional development among its students, taking a multi-faith approach to learning. It has carried out exceptional work promoting equality and diversity with NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) and has also formed links with an Islamic Academy dealing with the role and training of Imams.
The UK-wide Beacon Awards provide national recognition for excellence and innovation as well as acknowledging the talents of staff at all levels who work in the further education college sector, with Bradford College one of 23 winners this year.
Eddie Brittain, AoC Beacon Awards Lead Assessor said: “By presenting these awards the AoC showcases best practice and innovative development, creating beacons that other colleges can look to for help, inspiration and encouragement. Having seen the awards programme expand in the past fifteen years, I am heartened not only by the quantity of nominations and the engagement of the sector, but also by the quality of what I and my fellow assessors saw when spending time in these excellent providers of learning, like Bradford College.”
Chair of the AoC Beacon Awards, Dame Patricia Morgan-Webb, said: “The AoC now has a fifteen year record of recognising and rewarding excellence in the sector. Beacon winners blaze the trail in finding new ways of doing things, contribute to social justice and are instrumental in local and regional economic generation. I and the AoC Charitable Trust are delighted to reward this contribution to our communities and our economy through the presentation of these awards.”
Beacon status celebrates learning providers that deliver outstanding teaching and learning and is for providers funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted).