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College wins national award for lighting the way to law professions

17th November 2015

A programme to give more students access to law courses has won Barking & Dagenham College a national award. The College received its award - an Association of Colleges' Beacon Award - sponsored by Gateway Qualifications, for ?Widening participation in Learning?.

Excellent teaching and innovative thinking

The College had established that there was high unemployment and a lack of higher level skills in its local community and set up a project to encourage adults to join its Access to Law course. The students have the chance to work in the Legal Clinic, a student-developed learning company supported by local lawyers and pro bono barristers, an experience usually only accessible to students in their third year of a law degree.

The prestigious Beacon Awards are given every year by the Association of Colleges (AoC), the membership organisation for further education colleges, to colleges that have demonstrated excellent teaching and innovative thinking in the further education sector when it comes to creating positive opportunities for both staff and students.

Photo caption above: Sabeena Shah, (centre) Curriculum Team Leader for Access to Higher Education, with some of the Access to Law students who launched the legal clinic. From left to right the students are: Samuel Adelowotan, 19 from Dagenham, Bismark Twumasi, 24, Sabeena Shah, Surriya Zabar, 29, from Romford, and Hidralcino Monteiro, 22, from Romford. "Proud"

Principal & Chief Executive of Barking & Dagenham College, Mark Robertson (pictured above) says:

“We are delighted to have won the AoC Beacon Award for Widening Participation in Learning.

"We have achieved this accolade thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff who tireless strive to assist learners to achieve their potential. We are very proud of our record in encouraging the participation of our local communities in learning activities.”

Carol Snape, Chief Executive at Gateway Qualifications, said:

“Having seen first-hand how the recipients of the Beacon Awards in 2014 benefitted from winning and how other colleges learnt from their projects, I approached the AoC about supporting the awards this year.

“With a proud heritage of widening participation and empowering learners by providing accessible qualifications, I felt that it would be good to encourage colleges doing innovative work to truly widen participation in learning.

“In our award winner we were looking for a college that took this principle and implemented it in its widest context; offering effective and imaginative approaches to attract and motivate learners; particularly those with personal or social barriers; resulting in the successful acquisition of skills, knowledge or qualifications for further learning or employment.”

Roger Marriott, Chief Assessor for the Beacon Awards, said:

“Every year the Beacon Awards receive a large number of excellent submissions and the high standard made it hard for assessors to determine the winning application in each category.

“All the entries demonstrated the commitment of colleges to create the best possible experience for their students. Barking & Dagenham College can be rightly proud to be named as the winner of the category.”

"Exemplary and innovative work"

Dame Pat Bacon, Chair of the Beacon Awards, said:

“Barking & Dagenham College is an outstanding representative of the excellent work happening in colleges across the country.

“It is a privilege to oversee these awards which allow us to celebrate the exemplary and innovative work colleges are developing to support their students, staff, employers and local communities, as well as helping to support our recovering economy.”

Representatives of the colleges were invited to the AoC Annual Conference and Exhibition where the results were announced. A local presentation ceremony will take place in the New Year.

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