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    Oxfordshire college recognised for teaching excellence and social projects at national awards ceremony

    Abingdon & Witney College have won a prestigious award at the 2017 Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Awards in Birmingham.

    The College, who were represented in three categories, won the Edge Award for Practical Teaching and Learning. The Edge Foundation, who sponsored the award, are an independent education charity and were particularly impressed by the College’s commitment to developing a moral and social code, with the aim of improving employability prospects and leading to an ethos of respect and responsibility.

    ‘Action Tap’ was the project that impressed the judges enough to earn the award. Piloted in 2015 within a small section of the College, it now sees over 100 students from across the curriculum areas of Business, Accounting, Sport, Public Services and Events and Tourism come together to work collaboratively on social action projects.

    Such activities have included sports coaching at schools, helping to run and support charity events, weekly hospital visits and networking at local business events.

    At its core, the initiative engages local employers and community organisations with the students’ education, bringing the College and businesses in the area even closer and helping students to develop key practical skills that employers and higher education institutions want.

    The College was a close runner-up in the two other categories – the AoC Award for Mental Health and Wellbeing and the Student of the Year Award, where former student Kirsty Newman only narrowly missed out on the top spot.

    Di Batchelor, Principal at Abingdon & Witney College, said: “We are immensely pleased to have continued our proud tradition of being recognised in multiple categories at the AoC’s Beacon Awards, and to have won is just a fantastic privilege as we know how well regarded the Awards are.

    To have one of our amazing and forward-thinking social projects like ‘Action Tap’ recognised on the national stage in FE is brilliant. The students and local community have fully engaged with this initiative, and the staff have worked tirelessly to get it to where it is today.”

    “2017 has been a very busy, but very successful, year for the College,” she continued, “having come out of an Ofsted inspection with an overall ‘Good’ and an ‘Outstanding’ apprenticeship programme, and having the highest Level 3 achievement rates of all General Further Education colleges in the country. Congratulations to everyone involved!”

    Carole Stott MBE, Chair of the AoC Charitable Trust, said: “Every year the Beacon Awards receive many 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. Abingdon and Witney College can be rightly proud to be named as the winners of their category.”

    (November 2017)

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