Welcome to the October edition of the Natspec Highlights! This month, we’re happy to bring you stories of how the hard work of staff in specialist colleges is being recognised, and how one college’s practice is feeding into an international conference. One group of learners is participating in an art project culminating in a public exhibition, whilst learners at another college geared up to learn all about Health and Safety.
At Natspec, we were pleased to welcome senior leaders from our member colleges back to our first big face-to-face event as we held our annual Principals Forum in Birmingham. We’ve got more face-to-face events planned for 2022, including the return of our National Conference, but the majority of our training and networks will remain online.
Speaking of, we’re gearing up for TechAbility 2021 – and there’s still time to book if you’re interested!
- Bromsgrove MP officially opens Chadsgrove College’s brand new extension
- Queen Alexandra College (QAC) achieves Leaders in Diversity Award success
- Condover College’s Speech & Language Therapy Team are Finalists in Regional Awards
- Fairfield Farm College students enjoy exciting new project at the Wiltshire Museum
- Wargrave House Shortlisted Three Times for the 2021 Educate Awards
- Creating a global community through partnerships
- Reflection of Health & Safety Focus Week at Homefield College
Bromsgrove MP officially opens Chadsgrove College’s brand new extension
Chadsgrove College were pleased to welcome local Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid to open a new extension at their college. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care was also joined at the ceremony by Court Leet Bellman Kevin Ward and Bailiff Jo Slade.
The new building will house a bathroom and medications facility, and has been funded by the college with support from the Tishie Yong Foundation.
Mr Javid met with students and staff at the college. In his speech to open the extension, he said: “I always love coming to Chadsgrove, especially on a day like today when you have such great news to celebrate and share with the community.”
College principal Deb Rattley said: “The Minister has met with our students on previous occasions and has a keen interest in supporting our work, sharing our belief that every young person should have the opportunity to develop educationally and enjoy a fulfilling life.”
The college is also looking to develop its current premises by adding a sensory tactile wall.
Brenda Young, a trustee of the Tishie Young Foundation, said: “We were delighted to see the extension and find out how our funding helped with the project.
“We first got involved with the college when we provided some equipment a few years ago and it is great to be able to help out again.”
The college would like to thank the Bromsgrove Court Leet for its attendance on the day and Mathew at Spire graphics and signs for the plaque he created at short notice.
Queen Alexandra College (QAC) achieves Leaders in Diversity Award success
QAC has achieved the prestigious Leaders in Diversity Award from the National Centre for Diversity.
The award recognises organisations going above and beyond in their commitment to the FREDIE values of fairness, respect, equality, diversity, inclusion and engagement. Over recent years, QAC has further improved practices and experiences which benefit all stakeholders and is fully committed to diversity, equality and inclusion.
Bev Jessop, Principal and Chief Executive, said: “We are amazingly proud to have been recognised for all of the work that we do and how far we have progressed as an organisation. The aspiration to become Leaders in Diversity has benefitted students, clients and staff and we have built on our good practices, improved further and continuously learned how we can be even better and this has made QAC and the community charity an even better place for all stakeholders.”
Solat Chaudhry, Chief Executive National Centre for Diversity, said: “On behalf of the National Centre for Diversity I would like to congratulate Queen Alexandra College, their staff and stakeholders on successfully achieving the Leaders in Diversity Award following your assessment.”
An external stakeholder commented: “I have worked with QAC for over 20 years and I can honestly say that the focus on equality and diversity improves year on year”.
The College appreciated the advice from the National Centre for Diversity and the support provided by their assessor. QAC not only aspire to always uphold the underpinning principles of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), but aims to be recognised as champions and leaders in the field.
Never complacent, QAC continues on its journey to be the best Leader in Diversity it can be. The College will continue to improve by listening to staff, students and clients, making QAC an influential and recognised voice as a Leader in Diversity both now and in the future and look forward to working with and learning from others on their journey.
This latest achievement follows on from the College receiving the Investors in Diversity Stage 2 Award in July 2017.
Condover College’s Speech & Language Therapy Team are Finalists in Regional Awards
Alongside seven finalists from CCL’s care team, their Speech & Language Therapy team, who are based at CCL’s education provision and head office, have been shortlisted as finalists for the ‘Putting People First’ award in the West Midland’s regional Great British Care Awards.
CCL’s Speech & Language team have lots of involvement with their learners. This term they have spent one-to-one time with them, undertaking communication assessments, which our therapists have thoroughly enjoyed and have taken some wonderful pictures. The team have been very impressed with all new and current learners, especially one learner, who learned everyone’s names quickly! To celebrate Halloween, CCL’s Speech & Language team created a video demonstrating Halloween related Makaton signs, which you can view below.
On speaking to Vikki Pryce, CCL’s Chief Executive, regarding the GBCA finalists, she said “Having so many nominations shortlisted for the Great British Care Awards is just confirmation of the excellent team we have at CCL. I am proud of every single member of staff that was nominated and every member of staff that works for CCL.”
Fairfield Farm College students enjoy exciting new project at the Wiltshire Museum
Students at Fairfield Farm College have been working with the Wiltshire Museum on a new 4-week project, focusing on the work of WW2 landscape artist Eric Ravilious. His work captured many beautiful paintings of the chalk downlands of Wiltshire and Sussex.
The Chalk Hills project is for people with special educational needs, who enjoy art and being creative. The project focuses on the ‘Dummy Book’ which Ravilious produced before he died. This was a mock-up of a planned book which he was set to create after the war, and the students have been tasked with re-creating the book, including words, images and photos.
The first workshop was held at the Wiltshire Museum, where those taking part were able to develop their skills in watercolour painting and were able to experience the exhibition for the first time. Over the coming weeks students from the college will be enjoying various trips to places that inspired Ravilious’ most famous paintings, such as the Westbury White Horse. There are also further workshops planned, which will be held by a local artist at both the museum and college. Students have thoroughly enjoyed their time on the project so far and are looking forward to showcasing their work to the public in the final exhibition in November.
Wargrave House Shortlisted Three Times for the 2021 Educate Awards
The Post 16 department at Wargrave House are thrilled to announce they have been shortlisted three times for the Educate Awards for 2021!
The awards showcase the work of schools and colleges which are delivering outstanding education and helping students achieve their full potential. With over 21 categories, the awards, in partnership with Copyrite Systems and Ricoh, is the largest education awards in the region.
Kim O’Brien, founder of the Educate Awards, said: “A huge well done to the schools and colleges who have made this year’s shortlist. After a difficult 18 or so months, it is extremely important that we recognise the amazing schools and colleges which have supported students, families, staff and the wider communities during the pandemic. The calibre of entries was absolutely incredible and deciding on the shortlist was a really difficult process.”
Wargrave House have been recognised in the following three areas:
- Community Partnership Award
- Most Inspirational 16-18 Education Provider
- School Support Star of the Year
Julliet Doherty, Head of Post 16 said, “I am beyond proud to work with these phenomenal young people who face a range of challenges across their day. Post 16 has been truly a shining light over the past 18 months and these accomplishments are testament to the dedication of students and staff across Post 16. We are looking forward to a fantastic night of celebration”.
Creating a global community through partnerships
A team from Doncaster Deaf Trust is set to present to a global audience as they take part in OCALICON – an American based autism and disability conference – for the first time.
The team will deliver presentations to a worldwide audience in November covering specialist areas including partnership building, helping deaf people into employment and SMILE therapy.
Alexis Johnson, executive principal at Doncaster Deaf Trust, who will be leading one of the presentations said: “We are thrilled to be working with the team at OCALI to deliver three sessions at their conference.
“At Doncaster Deaf Trust, inspiring change and promoting access for people with disabilities is an important part of what we do. We believe that we are better when we collaborate with our staff and partners. When we work together, we bring new ideas and diverse perspectives that benefit our thinking, practices, and work. Collaboration and strategic partnerships in different sectors are an integral part of the foundation of our growth and impact.
Celebrating 15 years of inspiration into action, this virtual, international conference offers over 200 sessions and networking opportunities that target autism, sensory, intellectual, developmental, and intellectual disabilities and communication disorders. OCALICONLINE 2021 will showcase the best-of-the-best from collaborators and partners, organisations who are inspiring change and promoting access in their own corners of the world, in their own ways, from their own perspectives.
Doncaster Deaf Trust are excited to present the following sessions:
- The Art of Building Partnerships
- Supporting Deaf People into Employment
- SMILE Therapy
Reflection of Health & Safety Focus Week at Homefield College
Homefield’s Health & Safety Focus Week was held in the last week of October. Students and residents learnt all about keeping safe at college, at home, in the workplace and out in the community.
The College’s Health & Safety Co-ordinator arranged a jam-packed week with lots of great activities for students and residents to learn about health & safety, in particular hazards, fire safety and first aid. With interactive and engaging resources, students and residents delved into the world of health & safety, with activities such as a fire safety word search, hazard crossword, First Aid matching and even conducting a site inspection.
Residents joined in on the fun, with Kelly & Tom enjoying an enthusiastic game of health & safety bingo, spotting the hazards with lots of shouts of ‘be careful’ and ‘very dangerous’, whilst Paula completed her resource booklet, figuring out which health & safety responsibilities are true or false.
As part of the pack, students & residents created their own safety resolutions. There were some great ideas, including ‘do not run indoors’, ‘do not look at my phone when crossing roads’ and ‘turn off plugs after I am done using them’.
Pathway 3 students undertook Level 2 Award in Basic Life Support, where they learnt to assess an incident, provide first aid to an unresponsive casualty and provide first aid to a casualty who is choking. By the end of the course, students were able to identify when to administer CPR, how to use CPR, and how to place a casualty into the recovery position.
The highlight of the week for many was a visit from Leicestershire Fire Service. Local firefighters talked to students about their job and how to stay safe from fire, and demonstrated the equipment stored on their trucks. Students loved being able to have a go with the hose and get a feel of the power of the water used to tackle fires.
The whole college community had a really great week, coming away with lots of top tips for staying safe. Remember, health & safety is as simple as ABC: