The Natspec Awards aim recognise and celebrate excellent practice in the specialist further education sector. We want to promote innovation, ensure continuous improvement, and raise standards across the sector. As specialist colleges strive to carry on supporting their learners despite the uncertainties and challenges presented by COVID-19, we aim to celebrate the hard work they do.
2020 is the inaugural year of the Natspec Awards. We were pleased to receive over fifty entries from our membership, eighteen of which were shortlisted across the six categories.
The Chair of the Judging Panel, Nigel Evans, said: “It was a privilege to be part of the panel judging the Natspec Awards 2020. The standard of the submissions was very high and demonstrates the innovation, expertise and creativity within the specialist further education sector.”
Innovative Use of Technology
Support Work apps: The development of a series of unique apps – for tablets and mobile phones which support students with special educational needs and disability into and at work.
National Star College
Find My Voice: The development of personalised Augmented Communication Aids that operate across different communication devices.
The APOS Talking Till: The creation of the first audible point of sale till software to support young people with visual impairment in the workplace.
Pathways into Employment
Access to Community and Employment: An aspirational pathway into employment embedded into the curriculum: Vocational Profiling; job-matching; in-work support; job-carving and careers education, information, advice and guidance.
Heart of Birmingham Vocational College
Developing a bespoke accredited qualification: Working alongside an employer using RARPA to develop a bespoke accreditation for a supported internship placement.
Wayfinder Recruitment: Wayfinder Recruitment Agency and the After-College Aftercare Club, create opportunities for young adults to flourish through supported employment.
Coleg Elidyr’s Student Forum: The Student Forum influence organisational quality improvement planning, supported by a Total Communication environment to ensure the voice of all learners is heard and acted upon.
Eat that Frog CIC
Speak That Frog – Student Council: A student council led, shaped, and implemented by learners with the activities needed to maintain it embedded in learning programmes.
Elfrida Rathbone Camden – Leighton College
ERC student magazine and skills fair: The student voice forum’s design and production of Flip magazine and development of the first student-led skills fair.
Wellbeing and Mental Health
OT Support to Support Regulation and Wellbeing: Implementation of a universal OT provision, which includes an OT TV channel, bespoke curriculum and resources based on zones of regulation, and weekly yoga sessions.
Transgender: Free to be me – Diversity Group: A group for students that offers one-to-one support, family liaison, advocacy and specialist resources to help all students feel included, understood, heard and challenged, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, faith, race or ability.
Queen Alexandra College
SPARK: LGBTQ+ Alliance: A student group which has initiated an inclusive awareness raising campaign about LGBTQ+ issues across the college, held a residential trip and participated in Birmingham Pride.
Integration of learning and therapy through Physiotherapy and Sensory Sport: The design and implementation of fully integrated joint lead curriculum-therapy PMLD sessions that are embedded in the college weekly timetable.
National Star College
Right Time, Right Place: The development of the Personalised Learning Co-ordinator Tutor role that supports a consistent approach and a holistic programme across the classroom in both residential and community contexts.
RNIB College Loughborough
Embedding Speech and Language Therapy into the enterprise curriculum: The full integration of the SALT provision into the curriculum team. Joint working between teaching staff and speech and language therapists improves communication in working environments including external work placements and supported internships.
A Sporting Success at Derwen: Through partnership with a range of sports clubs that includes tennis, cricket, water sports and football, students are introduced to community activity whilst at college and in their home area.
KASBAH: A partnership between the college and a supported housing charity that provides opportunities for students to learn transferable employability retail skills in the charity shop and also raises awareness in the community of young people with additional learning needs.
Wargrave House LEAP College
Post 16 and Friends of Lyme and Wood Community Project: A collaboration between the college and community groups that provides a range of work experience opportunities including working with a local Nursery to support forest schooling, setting up a community allotment, work in a pop-up cafe in the park and developing and designing a sensory garden.