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Equality and Diversity at Blackpool Sixth

Equality and Diversity at Blackpool Sixth 2017/18

Equality and diversity (E&D) objectives

Blackpool Sixth wishes to advance a sense of pride in our diverse college community through “celebrating diversity and upholding our core values” – this is our theme for 2015-18.

Blackpool Sixth is committed to ensuring that there is equality of opportunity to succeed, reducing any attainment gaps between different groups of students.

Blackpool Sixth is committed to ensuring that all groups of staff are treated fairly and have access to equal opportunities.

The Strategic Equality Committee will monitor progress towards these objectives and will report on them in the annual Equality and Diversity Report.

Closing the gap

As a college, one of our equality and diversity objectives is to ensure that there is equality of opportunity to succeed, reducing any attainment gaps between different groups of students. To ensure there are no gaps in attainment, we monitor the proportion of students who meet or exceed their minimum target grade. In 2017-18, any gaps in attainment have closed or remain very small (less than 3 percentage points of difference) for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, students with disabilities, students with learning difficulties, young carers and children looked after. Furthermore, slightly more boys than girls met or beat their minimum target grade in 2017-18, bucking the national trend.

Exam access arrangements provision

Blackpool Sixth facilitates a wide range of access arrangements for students during internal and external examinations and assessments, in line with the Joint Council for Qualifications regulations, to ensure individual equality of opportunity to succeed.

Individual student data monitoring in EMRIS

Teachers are provided with key information about each student in each of their classes by a series of discreet flags facilitating them to quickly identify the group profile and adjust teaching delivery to meet individual needs.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Blackpool Sixth created many opportunities to raise awareness of both staff and students around mental health during the Mental Health Awareness Week in May 2018. This included external organisations such as Papyrus and the Lancashire Health & Wellbeing Service coming in to offer advice and guidance alongside various internal activities.

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Time to talk events

We have held events for staff to encourage raising awareness around mental health and creating opportunities for staff to talk and make connections.

Provision of in-year headline E&D performance data

The college has management information systems in place which facilitate the robust in-year monitoring of a pre-agreed set of discrete groups to monitor student progress against the full college cohort.

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Our PAT (Pets As Therapy) dog joined us every week in the Focus Centre to meet with the students. The students loved to come and meet with the PAT dog particularly at exam times when they can be feeling anxious and stressed.

Votes for Colleges

As part of our pastoral provision, we have been delivering “Votes for Colleges” sessions. These include a wide range of topics that are affecting people around the world with links to British Values through topics such as different cultures and religions. Students are then able to vote on the topic and see results from other areas of the country, raising debates as to why different parts of the country think differently about different things. These sessions allow a safe space for all students to talk about issues that are going on in the world. Some examples of topics include food shortages in Africa, terrorism attacks and immigration in the UK.

Tea and Chat

“Tea and Chat” afternoons have been available to students at key times during the year, such as the lead up to the summer exam season. The sessions are designed to help students to cope with stress or anxiety by using distraction techniques. On one of these afternoons, we supported the Beat Eating Disorders campaign. Staff and students took part in their #sockittoeatingdisorders day by donning their funky socks, taking time for tea and chat and indulging in calming activities like knitting and pom pom making.

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LGBT History Month/Resilience Week

This year the LGBT+ Group chose to raise awareness of hate crime, and how it can affect victims and their families. We welcomed Sylvia Lancaster of ‘The Sophie Lancaster Foundation’ in February to talk to students, staff and visiting high schools. She spoke about the murder of her daughter Sophie and how she has created a lasting legacy in the charity and the work she does with schools and campaigns.

Faith Space

The ‘Faith Space’ has been created as safe environment in college where students or staff can go find a few minutes of calm.

LGBT ‘Show Your Pride’ Day

Our annual ‘Show Your Pride’ day successfully raised £226.28 for ‘The Sophie Lancaster Foundation’ selling cakes, badges and wristbands. Live music from several of our music students added to the celebratory atmosphere. We welcomed students from Unity Academy as well as guests from UR Potential, Horizon and Meet ‘n’ Match.

There are several activities, religious or non-religious, in the room with clear instructions on how to get the best out of them. These include practising mindfulness, following the labyrinth or sitting in silent meditation.

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Charity events

A host of charity events have been held during the 2017-18 year. The department of Business & IT supported Mission Christmas with the department of Social Sciences and yet again managed to fill a whole classroom with gifts for children who may otherwise have woken up with no presents at Christmas. The BTEC Business students ran another very successful Christmas market in the foyer, selling treats, gifts and raffle tickets whilst, raising money for CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young).

Mental health marketplace

A marketplace event took place to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week in May 2018. Papyrus were invited into college and the Additional Learning Support team had several stands with information, resources and activities to promote mental health and well being. Pastoral mentors brought groups of their students to the marketplace during Life Links sessions to take a look at the stalls and the resources on offer. Students and staff got involved in balloon modelling along with other activities, showing students that distraction techniques can be very soothing and lots of fun!

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