4th May 2022
Representatives from South Devon College were delighted to receive awards in two categories at the AoC’s Beacon Awards ceremony held in Westminster on Thursday 3rd May.
The Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year.
South Devon College won the prestigious Nous Group Award for Education for Sustainable Development as well as the RCU Award for Support for Students.
The Nous Group Award for Education for Sustainable Development recognises, celebrates and promotes examples of colleges that support the transition to greener economies and fairer societies and integrate critical issues such as climate change, biodiversity, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable consumption and production, into the curriculum.
This award success follows 10 years of work and recognises in particular the embedding of a sustainability agenda into the College’s Personal Development curriculum, which is delivered in tutorials.
The judges also praised the work that the College continues to deliver within the local community. The College has a significant focus on developing and supporting a sustainable local community by providing education and training tailored to the sustainability requirements of South Devon’s employers.
Laurence Frewin, Principal and CEO at South Devon College, said:
“We are delighted to have won not one, but two AoC Beacon Awards. Sustainability really is at the heart of South Devon College. This is not new, we have been working on this for 10 years, making sure we take seriously our environment, the climate crisis and future sustainability of our world with real action.
“Incorporating sustainability into everything we do, in all its forms: Social; Environmental and; Economic; we are committed to bringing sustainable thinking to life and informing our students by developing their knowledge, behaviours and understanding so they can start, and continue, to really lead sustainable lives now and in to the future and be great global citizens.
“Of course this is a long term and continuous journey. Our Beacon Award success is just a snapshot of the College now with evidence and examples of our progress and impact over the last decade and what we are planning for the coming decade as we head towards our goal of net zero carbon by 2030.”
The second award – the RCU Award for Support for Students – seeks to recognise, celebrate and promote examples of student support provided by colleges for a significant group of students, across a whole provision or college wide approach.
This accolade was awarded in recognition of South Devon College’s success in supporting student carers to access and remain in high quality education to enable them to realise their potential.
Since March 2020, the college has seen a significant spike in the numbers of young adult carers within its cohort. As well as recognising the increasing complexities of YAC responsibilities, it has been apparent that health and social care agencies have often been stretched and struggled to identify the growth in number of this cohort as well as meet the increasingly complex needs of young people with caring roles, in a major part due to a lack of face-to-face services during lockdown. The College has worked hard to address this and collaborated proactively with partner agencies to endeavour to ensure no YAC is left behind.
Alex Howarth, Head of SEND, Learning Opps and Vulnerable Learners at South Devon College, said:
“We are overjoyed that our work in supporting our young adult carers has been regognised with this prestigious award. This initiative has been led by Stephanie Sparkes, the College’s Young Carers Champion, who is herself a young carer. The interventions that Stephanie has developed and made accessible to students and staff are simple and effective. By understanding individual circumstances we facilitate interventions that remove barriers and enable success. This work is an integral part of the college’s work to promote equality and diversity amongst its staff and students.”
Mark White, Chair of AoC’s Charitable Trust said: “The AoC Beacon Awards showcase exactly why colleges are so important to every community and why people value them. This award recognises examples of excellent practical teaching and learning. The work of the winning college shows how important colleges are in providing students with the necessary skills for the real world.”