ISSUE 4 | WINTER 2021
02 WELCOME FROM GROUP PRINCIPAL AND CEO 04 GROUP NEWS 06 TRUST NEWS 11 COLLEGE NEWS 16 EMPLOYMENT & INNOVATION
‘Tis the season to share our successes
18 LEADERSHIP INSIGHT 19 STUDENT & STAFF MATTERS 20 ON MISSION 24 IN THE NEWS
GROUP NEWSLETTER | ISSUE 4
Welcome to the winter issue of the newsletter for the whole of our organisation which includes the staff of: London South East Academies Trust London South East Colleges
1 Bromley Beacon Academy celebrating it’s fifth anniversary see page 7 2 Members of the Bexley Youth Orchestra, Bexley Youth Band and Little Big Band spent a weekend away, preparing for their first public performance since February 2020 see page 10
1 2 3
01 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
3 A virtual campus being discussed, drawn and pitched during our LSEC 2.0 digital transformation co-creation workshop see page 12
WELCOME FROM GROUP PRINCIPAL AND CEO Dr Sam Parrett CBE
Adding social value in all that we do Few could have imagined we would end the year as we started. Over the past few weeks the constant hope that prepandemic ‘normality’ is just around the corner has, once again, been replaced with uncertainty and fresh challenges wrought by Covid-19. Twenty months is a long time to operate in ‘crisis response mode’, however, we must not forget that this year has also been characterised by successes, collaboration, innovation and resilience. The pandemic has driven us to collectively forge a renewed sense purpose and understanding of our role. In my view, our mission to add social value and promote social mobility in every community we work with has never been so important. Furthermore, our mission has helped us to navigate the ups and downs of the pandemic. After months of online learning, it was exhilarating to welcome new and returning students at the start of this academic year and to see our schools and campuses become hives of learning once again. Last term, some of you may have had the privilege of watching a short film entitled A Day I could have lived. The film was produced and directed 02 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
by student Aashish Shrestha. She was the winning entry of a Student Film Making Project funded by our Tackling Inequality Student Projects and Grants programme. A key theme is the importance of ‘seizing the day’, but the film is also a poignant reminder that we exist to help our learners discover their talents and gain the skills and knowledge needed to realise their ambitions. Across our Trust and the College, we know the Covid-19 pandemic continues to adversely impact our students, staff and the communities in which we work. Over the past few months much has been said and written by policy makers and commentators about the need to nurture and protect the wellbeing of our students. According to the Education
WELCOME FROM GROUP PRINCIPAL AND CEO (CONT )
Policy Institute, primary and secondary school pupils lost on average between two and three months of their education during the pandemic – 16% of their education between March 2020 and February 2021. The potential lost earnings over their lifetime due to this is estimated to range from £78bn to £463bn in a worst-case scenario if no action is taken. As a Group we are committed to helping our learners transition back into education and progress onto positive destinations. That’s why, this term we developed College and Trust education recovery plans and launched a Trust-wide education recovery fund. In this publication, Kate Shiner, our newly appointed Trust Director of Strategic Development discusses how the fund will help to improve outcomes for our pupils. Working with employers to secure high quality work experience opportunities is a vital element of our strategy to boost the employability of our students. Improving the employability of SEND students is also high on the national agenda. This term, I was pleased to see the launch of an exciting supported internship programme for a group of Nido Volans students at the Princess Royal University Hospital, part of the Kings College NHS Trust. You can learn 03 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
more about this initiative in the ‘Media round up.’ We’ve continued to learn valuable lessons, which have encouraged us to collaborate and innovate. A key lesson has been the need to work harder to engage our students in learning. Teachers throughout the Trust have pivoted their teaching and learning approaches in order to do so. On the college front we’ve launched a Professional Coaches initiative through our Technical Skills academy; a programme designed to enable us to recruit the most talented teachers as coaches and create an environment where they can share high standards of teaching, learning assessment with fellow teachers. This term has also seen us engage further with staff and students to drive forward our digital transformation strategy. I’m truly delighted the national community action initiative that we have spearheaded in partnership with Loughborough College and East Coast College has grown both in scale and impact. Over 120 colleges have now backed the campaign. September proved to be a campaign turning point, with key national partners coming on board, including the Football Association. This month, Lemn Sissay’s Landmark Lecture inspired us all to get out into
our communities and make a real difference through volunteering. The education sector has a key role to play in encouraging sustainability by educating young people about the importance of caring for their environment and the many careers attached to this expanding industry. As a Group, we are committed to
making a positive contribution by reducing our environmental impact. We’ve embraced the green agenda; from taking steps to adopt a more sustainable attitude in our classrooms to installing photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of our Bromley campus – the first of many new initiatives to help reduce our carbon footprint.
Finally, it is impossible to reflect on the past term without acknowledging the toll that pandemic had on the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and communities. I’d encourage you to read the feature by our Group Chaplaincy Co-ordinator, Reverend Claudette Douglas who offers new perspectives on the matter and urges us all to ‘take time to cultivate our health and wellbeing’. Thank you for your continued commitment which enables us to collectively achieve our goals. We must all remain positive and work towards what we do best; creating opportunities for all our pupils and students. I hope that you take the time to enjoy a much-needed rest over the festive period and return re-energised and ready to face the fresh challenges the New Year may bring.
Group movers and shakers Andy Cowan Chief Operating Officer – Curriculum & Quality Start date November 2021 Previous role Vice Principal Curriculum & Standards, South Thames Colleges Group Current roles Working with colleagues in Curriculum and Quality teams on our journey to Outstanding. Interesting facts about me I trained as a sound engineer and worked in the live music industry for a number of years in some weird and wonderful venues. I was invited to the Premier of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I love DIY, have renovated property but mostly enjoyed building a bar in my back garden during the summer after the first lockdown. 04 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
Asfa Sohail College Principal & Chief Learning Officer Start date New Year Previous role College Principal, Lewisham College Interesting facts about me I decided to follow a pathway in engineering to challenge stereotypes at the age of 17. I ended up scoring the highest marks in external examinations across the district by the age of 18. A young girl with the highest scores in a ‘so called’ male subject area. I was so gullible that I did not realise what I had achieved until the day after when this hit the Pakistani national newspapers, even though I was interviewed by journalists the day before. I have a pet cockatoo who is called Toby. He joined our family six months ago and he behaves like one of my children – always seeking to grab my attention!
David Lambert Chief Technology & Information Officer Start date New Year Current/previous role Deputy CEO and College Principal Interesting facts about me I’ve been trying to learn to play the guitar for over 25 years and I’m still no good, maybe I’ll get it eventually. I brew my own beer from scratch and own a barrel of whisky ready for my retirement. As a complete petrol head, I have ridden round the Isle of Man TT circuit (not during the racing) and been over 70mph but that’s legal there.
GROUP NEWS (CONT )
Group movers and shakers Evren Ali Head of 14 - 16 Alternative Curriculum College, London South East Academies Trust
Start date: November 2021
Previous roles Lecturer and Curriculum Team Manager in Construction for over 10 years. Interesting facts about me I used to play in bands and recorded three original albums, which were released independently. I still make music, but just as a hobby. I am a long-suffering supporter of Tottenham Hotspurs football club. They have brought me no joy over the last 30+ years of support, but I have a feeling that this year could definitely be our year! I work on carpentry and building work during the holidays. My next project is going to be a garden room/summer house.
05 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
Grant Monaghan Head of Horizons Academy Bexley Start date September 2021 Previous roles Head of 14 - 16 Alternative Curriculum College at London South East Academies Trust Interesting facts about me I spent four years serving as a Royal Marines Commando. I support Arsenal Football Club (for my sins). I am an avid gym user, and use my enthusiasm to deliver training sessions to staff as part of their physical and mental wellbeing.
Kate Shiner Director of Strategic Development, London South East Academies Trust Start date November 2021 Previous roles On secondment from the Department for Education. A civil servant for 18 years in the DfE and the Ministry of Justice Interesting facts about me I am originally from Somerset but have lived in Lewisham with my partner and two boys for the last 12 years. I like to run, do pilates, cook for my family and friends, and also go out to restaurants. We got a puppy during lockdown – a greyhound/border collier lurcher called Moo – so now spend a lot of my spare time taking him for walks.
TRUST NEWS The Trust’s Education Recovery Plan is available online
Rising above the challenges Neil Miller, Deputy CEO, LSEAT writes: The start of the school year seems a very long time ago. Although the new academic year has brought many challenges, there has been much to celebrate. I would like to say a huge thank you to all our staff in our secondary provisions who supported our Year 11 and Year 13 students to very successful outcomes. We appreciate the professionalism, commitment and resilience you have shown throughout last year which helped to ensure our students were able to achieve the very best grades possible. With your support the vast majority progressed to the next stage of their education, training and employment. This term, we’ve been delighted to welcome many new staff to the Trust family, including Kate Shiner who has joined us on secondment from the Department of Education as the Trust’s Director of Strategic 06 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
Development. I hope all of our new staff have settled in well and feel supported by their colleagues. Much has written about the impact of the pandemic on education, children and young people. Indeed, across our Trust we felt the adverse impacts on our schools, pupils and their families as well as our teachers. Not only have teaching and learning, the everyday routines and consistency of our academies been disrupted, the vast majority of our pupils have missed vital parts of their education and learning experiences. We have seen the impact on the physical, mental health and wellbeing of our pupils and their families. In many ways, the longer-term effects of the pandemic are yet to be fully understood. In June we welcomed the government’s package of funding to support education recovery and to tackle the lost learning caused by the pandemic. While the government’s focus on academic recovery is welcome, we believe that a more
holistic approach is needed. We are determined to do everything we can to ensure our students return to a normal educational experience and gain the skills and knowledge needed to progress fully. That’s why we have developed an Education Recovery Plan. A copy of the plan can be found on the Trust website. In addition, we have launched a Trustwide Education Recovery Support Fund. The establishment of the fund reflects our belief that a broader approach must be adopted. The Fund will provide £500k of funding over the next two academic years to support our academies. This is in addition to the one-off DfE allocation of Covid Recovery Funding. For more information on the fund, please read Kate Shiner’s article. In November, Aspire Academy received the long awaited call from Ofsted. Many thanks to all staff at Aspire for working so hard to get ready for the inspection. I look forward to sharing a copy of the
inspection report with you along with some of the lessons we have identified. We continue to place a strong focus on school improvement, sharing and advancing best practice across the Trust. To this end we have established a school-to-school initiative to help model and share best practice peer to peer. Challenge partners have been busy developing momentum to help schools improve and we have also introduced a new system for appointing headteachers. On the EDI front, we continue to develop our strategy and EDI champions have been appointed in each school. I would like to say a personal thank you to each and every member of staff across the Trust for all your hard work and efforts this term. I am extremely grateful to you for ensuring that our children and young people have been provided with a near ‘normal’ school experience, despite all the adversities thrown at you.
TRUST NEWS (CONT )
Bromley Beacon Academy celebrates five years of success Last month, Bromley Beacon Academy celebrated its fifth birthday – and an outstanding journey of improvement. The Trust’s special school in Old Homesdale Road, Bromley, supports children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs. Staff and pupils were joined for the celebration by the Deputy Mayor of Bromley, employers, councillors, parents and other stakeholders. Guests at the special event were treated to a fantastic dance display by Cohesion Plus, award presentations and tours of the facilities, led by pupils. Speeches were given by Trust CEO, Dr Sam Parrett, Deputy CEO, Mr Neil Miller, Headteacher Mr Philip Tagoe and Vice Chair of Trust, Denise James-Mason. When the Trust took the school in 2016 it was failing and at risk of 07 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
closure – but dedicated leaders and staff have transformed provision for pupils, with Ofsted rating it as Good in 2019 for the first time in its history. Achievement rates at the school have been on an upward trajectory for the last three years and every single pupil leaving the school last year moved into further education, an apprenticeship or employment. Addressing guests, CEO of London South East Academies Trust, Dr Sam Parrett CBE, said: “The remarkable achievements of Bromley Beacon Academy are testament to the incredible dedication, commitment and hard work of the senior leadership team, staff, pupils and our wider community. Working in partnership with the Local Authority, employers and our neighbours has strengthened our links with the community – and has enabled us to effectively support a growing number of children and young people with Social, Emotional
and Mental Health needs in the Borough. I offer my sincere thanks to everyone who has been involved in BBA’s journey to date and I look forward to the many further successes that this school will undoubtedly achieve.” During the event, Deputy Mayor of Bromley, Cllr Tony Owens, announced Year 11 pupil, Khaidon, as winner of the school’s T Shirt competition, presenting him with a certificate and voucher. Pupils had been asked to come up with a special 5th birthday t-shirt design which reflected the school’s values and Khaidon’s fantastic effort was chosen as the winning creation. Also during the afternoon of celebration, pupils Mark Baker, Nathanial Karikari and Tony Lee Lovell were presented with awards for writing some outstanding poetry. Read more online now
TRUST NEWS (CONT )
Launch of Trust-wide Education Recovery Fund Kate Shiner, Trust Director of Strategic Development writes: I joined London South East Academies Trust at the beginning of November. I was delighted to meet you all at the recent Trust All Staff meeting and I hope to meet more of you face-to-face in the new year. Part of my role is to follow up on the One Trust review that was started earlier this year and implement the next steps to ensure the central services meet your needs and operates as One Trust. I will be seeking staff input, so look out in the new year for how to get involved. At the Trust All Staff meeting I was also very pleased to launch the 08 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
Education Recovery Support Fund. This is a new central fund to support all academies with education recovery following Covid-19. The fund will provide extra resources from paying for extra teaching and non-teaching roles to innovative ideas such as new soft furnishings, soft play equipment, school trips, new IT resources, staff training. We want to encourage all staff to apply – those of you working in the academies every day are the best placed people to know where extra money would have a big impact on our pupils’ outcomes and wellbeing, so please do let us know through this
process. The form is very short and easy to complete, and the application deadline is Friday 14th January. Please email your applications to Kate Shiner and Neil Miller and copy in your headteacher or head of school. Successful bids will be announced at the end of January.
TRUST NEWS (CONT )
Trust Staff and students celebrate hard work and resilience on GCSE results day Students and staff across London South East Academies Trust’s schools demonstrated their hard work and resilience by delivering an encouraging set of GCSE or equivalent qualification results. After an extremely challenging year, with much disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, sustained improvement was achieved across the board, with outstanding individual achievements made by many students. In the vast majority of schools, 100% of students achieved a qualification in English and maths. Over 100 young people across five of the Trust’s schools received GCSE or equivalent results. Each school stayed opened throughout the lockdown period to support vulnerable students, helping to ensure that no child was academically disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic. A robust programme of online and distance learning was also put in place for those pupils unable to attend during this time. 09 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
School term highlights Endeavour Academy gets a make-over Over the summer, Endeavour Academy had a brand-new art room installed. The old food room was removed and converted into a brand new creative space for students. In addition, the old Art room has now been transformed into an amazing practical space for Food Technology. Staff and student feedback have been very positive and they have been enjoying the new spaces. Belmont Academy celebrates National Poetry Day – and learns about the value of giving In October, Belmont Academy celebrated National Poetry Day. The poet of choice was James Berry, an influential Jamaican Poet and the author of the poem One. Students immersed themselves in the poem and then created their own version, which included a performance to the song One Love by Bob Marley. They
also created a 3D art representation of James Berry, accompanied by statements from the children celebrating their uniqueness. The newly formed pupil-led community committee also welcomed St Paul’s Church Foodbank to Belmont as part of its commitment to contribute to the local community. Tying in with harvest festival, families donated an impressive amount of food items and toiletries and the children learnt about the important role the foodbank plays and where their donations end up. Bromley Trust Academy, Hayes Campus relaunches Peer Mentoring scheme This term Bromley Trust Academy, Hayes Campus, re-launched its peer mentoring programme. Pre-Covid this had been an immensely successful initiative where older students were nominated by their teachers to provide encouragement and advice for their younger peers. Year 11 students who applied for the position of mentor were formally interviewed and paired with a mentee from Year 10 or KS3 and received training from staff, including safeguarding rules and listening skills. Mentors were recommended on the basis of their reliability, punctuality and willingness to commit to weekly meetings. As well as providing additional
support for younger students, this initiative also provides excellent evidence for Year 11 when writing their CV’s and post 16 applications. Aspire Academy re-introduces school sports provision This term, Aspire Academy was excited to re-introduce its afterschool sports provision. The clubs, which include football, basketball, proved to be a hit with students. Swimming, an important life skill, was also added to the curriculum and students enjoyed their first tentative strokes in the pool. Following a successful trial day last year, staff and students at Aspire Academy were also delighted to welcome back Olympia Boxing to deliver sessions. Woodside Academy hosts coffee morning for parents and carers In October, Woodside Academy hosted a coffee morning for parents and carers of Year 11, 12 and 13 students. The event, designed to share information about post-16 options, was well attended. To support the running of the event, Post-16 students were on hand to escort visitors and provide refreshments. Their efforts were highly commended by guests and noted by the presentation of certificates.
TRUST NEWS (CONT )
Music matters Bexley Music round up Madelaine Caplin, Director of School Improvement and Bexley Music writes: I start by saying a huge Trust ‘thank you’ to all Bexley Music staff. The adaptability, creativity and professionalism of the team is to be commended. Take up from schools wanting high quality whole class music provision, small group or individual instrumental tuition, has been very encouraging. Participants from 5 – 80 years old are accessing music tuition and ensembles, bands, choirs, and orchestras at Belmont Academy. This venue is a hive of activity during evenings and weekends. However, it has not been an easy term. 10 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
The current rules and regulations regarding lessons, rehearsals and performances during the pandemic are stringent and restrictive. Despite this Bexley Music has continued to survive and to thrive. In September members of the Bexley Youth Orchestra, Bexley Youth Band and Little Big Band spent a weekend away, preparing for their first public performance since February 2020. They showcased their work to an enthusiastic audience at the Lesnes Abbey Proms. The warmth of early autumn sunshine, the beautiful setting and the crowd settled on the grass with food and drink aplenty added to the atmosphere. It was a great way to kickstart a term of musical events.
Since then, Bexley Music staff and students haven’t stopped. Some of our young musicians participated in the London Jazz Festival at the Royal Festival Hall. Bexley Music was represented at the LSO East London Academy performance at LSO St Lukes. Young musicians playing alongside the London Symphony Orchestra members. What could be more inspiring! Demonstration Week involving Bexley Music staff visiting over 34 schools was a great success, with new partnerships formed. At Harris Academy Falconwood extra-curricular string and brass clubs together with targeted instrumental and vocal tuition for GCSE students are now in place. And there is much to look forward
to. Coming up in 2022 are Bexley Young Musician of the Year Awards, the Olympic 10th Anniversary performance with LSO On Track, Music Tours to Jersey, Berlin and Prague, a Pan London Battle of the Bands event for Bexley secondary school student and the Bexley Music Festival. We will also welcome ArtsTrain, close partners of ours, soon to be based with us at Belmont Academy from January 2022. ArtsTrain, offers diverse and creative music projects particularly for young people suffering financial disadvantage and those seeking Part of London South East Academies Trust alternative music BEXLEY provision. USIC
On the road to recovery: curriculum and quality matters Andy Cowan, Chief Operating Officer – Curriculum and Quality writes: It’s a good feeling as we reach the end of term one, isn’t it? Of all the component parts of the year, it’s the one that feels so much longer given our return to enrolment in late summer, induction and all the essential pieces of work that it takes to kick off the academic year successfully. There is so much to celebrate; our students have returned in significant numbers from a period of unprecedented uncertainty to study and think about their futures with positivity and commitment. Whilst we know that much of that uncertainty persists in many ways, it’s that optimism and hopefulness that we must capture and distil in our lessons, planning and actions across the rest of the year. The festive break is great time to remind ourselves of all the things that motivate and excite us. And some quiet space where you don’t check your emails is important. We have lots to think about and 11 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
consider across the College for the rest of this year. Most of it related to the big picture – the opportunities, projects, bids, initiatives (both local and national) and of course the students and their outcomes. When it comes to the crunch, that’s what matters most isn’t it? Every day, every student is exposed to that excellent experience making them better informed, more excited, engaged and committed to moving on to the next stage. That is where our focus must remain in order to recover the achievement and progression opportunities for our students. Making sure that teaching and learning remains of excellent quality, consistent and stable in these next months is where energy must be focused – it’s all in the planning. There is lots to change too. Teams and colleagues are thinking about how we adjust what we do and how we do it to make things smoother and more efficient. We want the output to be equal to or greater than the energy that goes into the job. We know that the ‘to-do’ list doesn’t get smaller but
making how we do it and how much of an impact it has, as successful and efficient as we can, is a critical leap towards our goals. There is also lots of opportunity to support each other. Some fantastic training, conversations and projects have taken place so far this term – like the Black FE Leadership Group development day and the LSEC 2.0 Digital Transformation sessions; ways to help us think beyond our daily roles and the positive impact we can have in our work and practice. Finally, ways to develop our professional skills and the College business exist across the Group and I’d encourage you to look at the ever-expanding portfolio of courses on offer in our Distance Learning platform on the website. This isn’t just for external students. Staff across the Group can undertake a variety of subjects and study in their own time and use our AEB allocation to do it. The options can always be added to, so if there is a course or subject you’d like to see on there, please let us know and we can review it. Read more online now
From September 2022 we will start delivering four T-Levels in Construction, Digital, Health and Business Administration. We will be working in partnership with the Education and Training Foundation and Association of Colleges to provide a wide range of opportunities for staff and students in these areas. In December we successfully ran our first T-level event for internal and external learners, giving them an opportunity to learn more about the T-Levels. We will also be developing our work with the Employer Engagement team to run a series of employer focused events to increase the number of placements that will be made available for the T-Level students.
COLLEGE NEWS (CONT )
LSEC 2.0 the road to digital transformation David Lambert, Chief Technology and Information Officer writes: Imagine a college that exists not just in Bromley, Bexley, Greenwich and Orpington, but also as a virtual campus you can access anytime, and from anywhere. All your lessons and learning materials available on demand, as well as the opportunity to connect with world-class tutors, industry experts and the wider College community. Exciting ideas such as these were discussed, drawn and pitched during our LSEC 2.0 digital transformation co-creation workshop last week. These workshops are part of our shift to become a more tech savvy college, blending online and in-person delivery to give learners the best possible experience. Learner voice has been a vital input to both the Digital Transformation Strategy published back in March, and the LSEC 2.0 vision, with more than 100 students taking part in focus 12 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
groups, including those who served as judges on our ‘Dragon’s Den’ style panel, and a further 500 students via surveys. The most recent strand of work is being driven by cross-departmental collaboration, with Senior Leadership Team members, Group Executive, the Technical Skills Academy and Quality
teams, and of course teachers. We are also supported by our Year Here fellow, Sean Davey, who joins us on placement until February 2022; Year Here is a social innovation programme for professionals who choose to pivot their careers towards more impactful work, and a key partnership for us.
We are currently collating the workshop outputs, with the aim of validating and further building on these with curriculum colleagues from January onwards. We recognize that we have a long way to go when it comes to Digital Transformation, but also acknowledge the hard work and sense of community that emerged as colleagues have pulled together through various lockdowns. It is in this spirit of collaboration, peerto-peer support and willingness to try, that we plan to move forward. As we streamline and simplify the number of digital tools we use as an organisation, we unlock greater capacity for growth and innovation. Learners have made clear their preference for flexible learning, but with a strong community and focused spaces for study on campus. Technology will never replace the vital role that teachers play in the classroom, or that our campuses play in local communities, but it can help us to enhance, augment, experiment and innovate – and we’re excited to do just that!
COLLEGE NEWS (CONT )
Education for Sustainable Development Rhona Sapsford, Career Pathway Director, SEND, ESOL & Additional Support writes: As a college, we are committed to making a positive contribution to sustainability. This involves reducing our environmental impact and doubling the amount of social value we generate over the next five years in relation to the safeguarding of our natural world – a key strand of our social mission and commitment to transform lives and communities. The SEND Education for Sustainable Development flagship project is an excellent example of how sustainability can be embedded into the curriculum at all levels. This innovative programme brings a range of different activities together with the overall aim of boosting biodiversity in an extensive woodland area (on the College’s Bromley Campus) – while supporting SEND learners to develop life skills and empowering them to play a key role in the College’s green and 13 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
sustainability agenda. Over 80 16-24 year-olds within our specialist Nido Volans centre are involved in this initiative, with a further 20 young people reached via our Forest School Schools Link programme per year. The wider college community (c6000 students and c400 staff) also benefits from the unique biodiversity and innovation that the project has generated. The nature trail, biodiversity work, recycled products for the shop, composting college waste, utilising community waste and generating income are all examples of this. 100% of the materials used to create and maintain the extensive woodland pathways comes from either local tree surgeons, who deliver for free or from students’ own regular collections of ‘waste’ wood around the site. Learners get access to ‘hands on’ work experience which supports the biodiversity of a college site and increases the environmental awareness of students and staff. They get the
opportunity to develop life and employability skills in many different areas – from confidence-building to manufacturing and sales – while getting a better understanding of the living environment, enabling them to become ambassadors for the College’s green ambitions. They also gain skills such as taskorientated targeting, teamworking, leadership and communication – all of which are key for employability and successful progression into society. Local employers are also benefiting too. We work alongside Id Verde (the Borough contractor for green spaces) to boost biodiversity, maintain green spaces and raise awareness. Id Verde benefits from being able to reach out to a group of young people; encouraging their direct involvement and interest in the work being done – helping to secure future employees. Local tree surgeons benefit from being able to get rid of their woodchip and logs in a way that directly benefits the environment instead of damaging
it. Without the College using the many tons of chip and logs (which get regularly delivered), it would be burnt or go into landfill. By re-using this material, the environment benefits, while a beautiful facility has been created for staff and students to enjoy. Beyond the obvious environmental benefits, the project gives our learners an enormous sense of pride and involvement – as well as developing many skills from entrepreneurial to manufacturing. Accessible to all, our students are fully engaged with the initiative, keen to be part of the progress and regularly acting as fantastic ‘green’ ambassadors helping to spread the word and influence behaviour. This unique work demonstrates how high-needs students are not only able to participate successfully in a sustainability project, but can flourish and develop new skills while having a hugely positive impact on their environment; benefiting and inspiring the entire college community.
COLLEGE NEWS (CONT )
SEND Centres for Excellence FE Provider Spokes: Education Training Foundation The Education and Training Foundation has established three national Centres for Excellence in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to provide support for further education providers to improve their SEND provision. In October 2021, London South East Colleges was awarded £20,000 to become an FE Provider Spoke to the SEND Centres of Excellence programme. The programme was only open to FE providers who have strong relationships with a wide range of employers, particularly those who have employed SEND learners. The College has an exemplary track record in providing outstanding support into employment for SEND learners; winning multiple awards for a large percentage of SEND learners with complex needs who progress into sustained employment. The goal of the FE Provider Spokes programme is to host activities and events where employers advocate for employing learners with SEND, showcasing the difference they make to their business. Alongside this, employers are asked to 14 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
discuss the benefits of working closely with FE providers and SEND learners are given a platform to showcase their skills. London South East Colleges will be delivering two sector-based engagement events, covering creative arts and sport. By combining our expertise with the experiences of our employer partners, we hope to increase the number of employer partnerships, which will increase the number of SEND learners locally and nationally who find long-term employment. Employers supporting the events include: Mousetrap Theatre Woolwich Works Ravensbourne University Churchill Theatre Somerset House Kent County Cricket Crystal Palace Football Club Charlton Athletic Community Trust MyTime Active London Marathon
Brilliant work from a brilliant group The SEND Vocational Taster group at Holly Hill produced a fantastic painting project. All learners set out their own individual designs and were tasked with using different colours and displaying their abilities to cut in effectively.
COLLEGE NEWS (CONT )
Embracing the green agenda Andy Simpson, Group Director of Estates writes: A new report by the Association of Colleges has highlighted how vital education is when it comes to climate change and sustainability, so that we as a nation can collectively achieve our net zero emissions goal by 2050. As an education organisation, this means we need to rethink everything we do, so we can ensure sustainability is at the heart of the way we operate. As part of The Green College Commitment, London South East Colleges has pledged to become a net zero college by 2050, increasingly making annual reductions on our environmental impact. From our education programme to our campus and learning community, we are inviting everyone to play their part. We believe that by focusing on these four themes, our organisation can make positive environmental changes.
15 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
POSITIVE IMPACT Making a positive impact to reduce our carbon impact through all our operations, functions.
Introducing more natural solutions, environments and choices in operations and decisions, support nature.
Being a responsible provider by offering aligned learning, upskilling and encouraging a shred collective responsibility.
YOUR CONTRIBUTION We all have a collective responsibility in our lives and our actions to make a positive impact – what are you going to do or lead today?
OUR ENABLERS Every learner and staff member has the opportunity to study and be involved with sustainability. Staff feel supported to be sustainability champions and leaders whatever their role. Everyone feels recognised and rewarded for their sustainability contribution.
EMPLOYMENT & INNOVATION
Advancing the employment and innovation agenda Angela Beaton,
Director, Employment and Innovation writes: In recent months, much has been written about the role and contribution of the FE sector to improving the UK’s skills base and catalysts of economic growth and driving innovation. This year we have continued to be at the heart of a plethora of initiatives which illustrate the role further education colleges play in driving forward the employment, innovation and skills agendas:
16 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
Functional Skills for employment Workforce diversification is a key priority in the Met Police Inclusion and Diversity Strategy and the lack of functional skills qualifications by applicants has been identified as a key barrier to recruitment. We have worked with the Met Police to develop a range of flexible learning opportunities for applicants to secure their Level 2 Functional Skills, which is an entry requirement. These courses are increasing in demand; with two new groups commencing in December and further courses being planned to meet demand. Courses are a blend of remote classroom and face to face to meet the needs
of the learners. This term, to promote these learning opportunities and drive interest, we ran well attended events with the Met Policy and Youth Hubs at Bexley and Greenwich campuses. Become a healthcare hero! The skills shortage affecting the Care sector has been well publicised in the media. In partnership with Bromley Healthcare we have designed and delivered the Prepare to Care initiative aimed at equipping applicants with knowledge and skills to secure a role within the care industry. This programme incorporates the Care Certificate, First Aid, Food Hygiene, Manual Handling, Employability and sector specific awareness modules. On 10th December we teamed up with GLaBB, Bromley Health Care and Care Outlook to promote these courses. The Adult and Community Learning (ACL) team provide Bromley Health Care with First Aid and Manual Handling training as part of their staff compliance requirements.
Youth Hubs progress and next steps Since their inception, Youth Hubs engaged with 921 people in receipt of Universal Credit and referred by DWP. 22% have engaged with training and 32% have gone on to secure employment. The Youth Hub team have run four successful events in partnership with DWP and attended a further six events to raise awareness of opportunities. Although the Bromley Youth Hub contract has now ended, we are now working with Bromley, Greenwich and Bexley on next steps to ensure that this valuable partnership working continues. We plan to extend the scope of the Hub’s work to those aged 25+ with a new focus on training to secure employment. The Greenwich and Bexley Youth Hubs are still open and continue to welcome referrals.
EMPLOYMENT & INNOVATION (CONT )
ACL back in demand and running events! This term, Adult and Community Learning has been in huge demand. We have welcomed a mix of returning and new learners to our Greenwich Park and Greenwich Campuses. Stunning weekly flower arrangements are displayed on reception and students’ work proudly displayed throughout the building. Since the summer, further centre updates and improvements have taken place with improved technology in classrooms, with Smart TVs and some new Interactive White Boards planned by December 2021. In September, ACL hosted Open Studio events over two weekends welcoming nearly 300 visitors. These events are run by our ceramics and art learners who have turned their learning into a business. We also showcased our creative classes to a new audience. Our learners were very successful with their sales and we gained some new students as well. On Sunday 12 December we were delighted to hold our first Festive Fair since the pandemic began. 17 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
Twenty learners ran stalls to sell items produced through their courses. Our ESOL learners attended to practice their English skills. On the day of the Fair we held a range of creative lowcost workshops such as wreath making, pottery lights, first aid at home, with some taster sessions for visitors to ‘try before they buy’. In addition, we held a
fundraising raffle in support of a local Mental Health Charity, Deborah Ubee Trust. Currently the Trust offers free counselling to under 18s. In addition, we are continuing to collect for the FE Foodbank Initiative up to and during this event. In 2022, ACL have much to look forward to, including Spring and Summer Fairs.
The Prince’s Trust, Traineeships and In2Work This term, The Prince’s Trust learners participated in a range of learning and work experience activities designed to increase their self-confidence and teamwork. They enjoyed an exciting week of adventures and challenges designed to improve their selfconfidence and expose them to new things; from Go Karting, and cycling to visits to the Science and Imperial War Museums. We were proud to see learners rise to the challenge of running a Community Fundraising Project for Children with Cancer UK. They researched the organisation and childhood cancers, designed promotional flyers and ran a fundraising event. News of final amount raised will be shared via
College News. Our Traineeships and In2Work programmes have worked well, with a number of In2Work learners progressing onto Traineeships. Staff have worked to introduce a Digital Skills qualification into the curriculum which has been well received and it is evident that learners on these programmes take huge pride in their portfolios. We continue to place a strong focus on enrichment including My Bank sessions to help young people to take charge of their futures by managing their finances. This month, learners will also attend an online Houses of Parliament workshop exploring democracy and how the institution operates.
Connecting with students is the key to behaviour management Errol Ince, Vice Principal of Quality, London South East Colleges writes: Having worked in FE for over 30 years, I have experience of dealing with behaviour in colleges in many different contexts. From teaching 16-19 year-old apprentices, to dealing with altercations in corridors, I have tried and tested an array of techniques to manage behaviour and maintain control. Above all else, I’ve learnt that establishing genuine relationships with students is by the far the most effective tool in the behaviour management toolbox. This is about managing people – and doesn’t just apply in the classroom or the college corridors. It is relevant to our broader lives. A person’s ability to form a rapport with others will positively impact them in all situations. Making a connection with a student does not mean becoming their best friend. It’s about creating an environment in which people feel valued and supported to share their ideas in a structured way. For example, I taught a student who was consistently looking out 18 | ISSUE 2 | 2021
of the window. Each time he lost concentration, I asked him another question to draw him back into the conversation and into the learning. We joked about this – rather than me shouting at him to pay attention – and the student’s engagement increased. We all learn from our mistakes and I certainly have. Many years ago, a student made a comment about the shirt I was wearing. I responded with a comment back about his own dress sense and immediately realised that I’d crossed a line. I’d been too personal and rather than ‘making a rapport’, I’d upset the student and lost my connection with him. It took some time to repair this relationship and was a clear lesson to me. As a teacher, raising your voice rarely has a positive impact. I’d go as far as saying never escalate your voice. If a student is shouting, the calmer you need to stay. Not always easy, but two angry people will have a phenomenally worse outcome than one angry person. The only time I would break this rule is if a student was putting themselves, or someone else, in danger – “STOP”.
I’ve come across many lively characters in the classroom – all vying for the attention of others and myself. Low level disruption in this setting can severely impact learning, so needs to be dealt with swiftly and firmly. Focusing on the most dominant character within a group is key – picking them out, addressing them by their name and challenging them politely and positively where possible. As well as teaching, I’ve spent much time as senior manager and an associate inspector helping to maintain behaviour across communal areas in the College. This often brings different challenges from those we face in the classroom, but the golden rules remain the same. Colleges need rules to keep people safe – such as wearing ID, not having hoods up and (at the moment) wearing face coverings. Young people rarely respond well to constantly being told to do something they don’t want to do, so delivery is key to ensuring a positive response. Unlike your own class of students, you are unlikely to know the names of everyone walking around the campus.
However, all should be wearing their college ID, so make a point of looking at this and addressing them by their name. This immediately establishes a connection and indicates that you are talking very personally to them. Taking a positive and friendly approach will almost always elicit a better response. Rather than shouting ‘take that hood off’ – I’d approach a student, ask them what course they are on and then ask them to remove their hood, explaining why we have this rule in place. Luckily, serious incidents at our College are rare, but we know they can happen. If staff have formed effective relationships with students through high quality day-to-day behaviour management, there is a far better chance that more serious situations can be de-escalated quickly. Consistency is key. All staff members need to be enforcing the same rules and challenging unacceptable behaviour in the same way. Behaviour management requires a united front across the board – so students know what is required of them and when, no matter who is patrolling the corridor!
STUDENT & STAFF MAT TERS
Take time to cultivate your wellbeing Reverend Claudette Douglas, Group Chaplaincy Coordinator writes: Abscission (from Latin ab-’away’ and cinder ‘to cut’) is the shedding of various parts of an organism, such as a plant dropping, a leaf, fruit, flower or seed. Whenever plants or shrubs shed their leaves during the autumn this period is known as Abscission. It is often unseen or misunderstood as a time of sparseness and fragility but the reverse is true. This period marks a pivotal season of preparation, renewal transformation and growth. Our emotional, physiological and spiritual Wellbeing are interwoven finely balanced circuits of thoughts, feelings and impulses that need our vigilant attention and time. There is no escaping the fact that we only get back from ourselves what we are prepared to invest. If you want to develop robust, radiant teams then it’s not all about spreadsheets, KPIs or productivity box ticking; it’s about doing real work on and with yourself. As humans we too shed our skin but thankfully not all at once! Recent 19 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
studies show that in one year, you’ll shed more than eight pounds (3.6 kilograms) of dead skin. What is interesting is that we do not pay attention to these processes as skin shedding occurs in microscopic flakes – but it is happening without us knowing. When the plants and vegetation are in this season it heralds a time of expectancy and hope as buds born in this season are now fully exposed and the brave and unclothed structures showcase the coming buds. We need to mirror and cultivate these organic processes ourselves. As living beings, we also need to shed what no longer serves us so we can prepare ourselves for the transformational growth that follow; preparation, acceptance and change. The ground is mulched and nourished by the falling leaves and everything is part of the cycle that cultivates life. There is a time and season for everything under the sun, that includes us and our busy lives.
We need time to: reflect and put our lives into perspective plan strategies and visualise the future we desire activate and manifest our promises to ourselves strip back, prune, declutter and regroup our mind, body, soul (and homes!) relax, enjoy and top up our love tank with gratitude and a positive attitude We need time to shed all that is old, outworn and dying. It can be our perspectives, ways of working or ways of being that may need shedding. Some of us need to let go of toxic relationships and snip off negativity, fear and unresolved issues that inhibit us from being productive.
Give yourself permission to transform yourself and change for the better. Being honest with ourselves is the key; so, develop the courage to remove the rot and make room for newer stronger parts of ourselves to emerge.
Group strategy update by additional social action projects Louise Wolsey, Chief and support for learners during Transformation Officer writes: lockdown. These include our Equality, As we approach the half-way point Diversity and Inclusion Grants projects, in our five-year Group Strategy, we #LockdownUnlocked and volunteering continue to make strong progress in activities such as FE Foodbank Friday. several areas of our mission to change We aim to increase our social value people’s lives, create social value by a further £2million in 2021/22 and promote social mobility in every by broadening the areas in which community we work with. the Group has an impact; such This academic year we have as decarbonisation and local published three social supply chain spending. That value reports, that We way, we will increase our have been validated generated impact beyond skills and by the Social Value over £36 million qualifications. Portal, as a way of social One way in which we of understanding value are working to achieve our progress. this is to increase impact as Using the National an anchor institution by being TOMs Framework to better connected with other local calculate our impact, across organisations and our communities. the Group we generated £36,771,833 Since February 2021, we have spoken of social value in 2020/2021. This is an at multiple events, showcasing our increase of almost £7 million on the approach to community wealth building previous academic year and driven 20 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
and the benefits of generating social value. This includes events run by the Confederation of British Industry, Social Value UK, Association of Colleges, E3M, Social Value Portal and the NHS Confederation. This year, we have also been working with the Greater London Authority to drive forward London’s recovery alongside other anchor institutions. Our goal is to ensure that London’s post-Covid recovery can support all Londoners in a way that does not further exacerbate the inequalities highlighted during the pandemic. As an anchor institution with significant experience in measuring our impact, the Group has been a key
contributor to the London Anchor Institutions Impact Reporting Group. We hope that by sharing how tools like the National TOMs Framework can help other organisations to measure their impact, we can support other organisations to drive community wealth building forward.
ON MISSION (CONT )
Good for me good for FE Andrew Cox, Group Director, Transformation and Growth writes: Back in June 2021, when we launched our national community action initiative Good For Me Good for FE, we never expected to receive the response we have had. As of December 2021, over 120 college have signed up to the campaign, with £500,000 of social value generated through 23,000 volunteering hours and 26,000 of donated food items. Most recently, the Football Association has backed the campaign. Through their BT Playmaker scheme, they will provide free training to help volunteers improve their impact. Over the Autumn term and Christmas season we ran a plethora of events, including our first #GoodforMEGoodforFE Landmark Lecture on 25 November. The Lecture, led by Lemn Sissay OBE, was opened up to partner colleges and attended by more than 100 colleagues from 26 partner colleges. Lemn founded the Gold from the Stone Foundation, the Charity behind the Care Leaver Christmas Dinner campaign. 21 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
The importance of community action: Lemn Sissay inspires college network
EVENTS IN DECEMBER INCLUDE:
1st - 17th London South East Colleges Festive Foodbank drive 6th - 17th Nido Volans Christmas Panto 6th BR6 Restaurant and Bakehouse SE London Christmas Care Leavers Hamper Workshop 9th - 12th GoodforMe GoodforFE Santa Dash (don’t forget to donate on our national Just Giving Page) 12th Bromley Council Care Leavers Christmas Celebration 16th Bexley Campus Festive Foodbank Trolley Dash 25th South London Christmas Dinner with Lemn Sissay As we look to provide a greater range of volunteering activities for our staff and students in 2022, the campaign will help us to provide the new partnerships and opportunities required to deliver them. On the back of COP26 and the upcoming volunteers’ week, we will be looking at how we can deliver larger projects in collaboration with other colleges.
Author, poet and broadcaster, Lemn Sissay OBE, delivered a virtual Landmark Lecture on behalf of London South East Colleges – inspiring staff and students from colleges around the country to get involved in volunteering. As a great advocate for social mobility, Lemn spoke about his own experiences of growing up in care and his inspiring journey to success. He discussed the value of community action – highlighting his own charity, which provides Christmas dinner to care leavers – and the many benefits that helping others can bring. The virtual event was part of the College’s Good for Me, Good for FE campaign; a nationwide drive to generate £1m of social value through volunteering and fundraising activities. As a poet, playwright and broadcaster, Lemn has read on stage throughout the world and has made several award-winning TV documentaries. He has received many accolades for his writing and his poetry – including an OBE earlier this year for services to literature and charity. Lemn has also been the Chancellor of the University of Manchester since 2015. Addressing attendees, Lemn spoke
about the value of community action and power of making something happen that has never been there before. He said, “Raising money is not difficult. But there is value in the people, in the work they do and in the work you do. That has immense value. We can be so cynical in life. But volunteering is the most uncynical and open way of connecting with the world. Volunteer from a place that understands it can help you. And the magic is – it helps others too. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”
ON MISSION (CONT )
Equality, diversity and inclusion Janet Curtis Broni, Group Chief People Officer writes: We are committed to the promotion of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion as professional, practical, and positive issues that enrich our work. We want to ensure that all our staff understand their roles in embedding EDI in their day to day work, and how they treat and support colleagues and students. We also want to ensure that our EDI principles are embedded within our policies, processes and projects. Good progress has been made against the EDI objectives set out in our 2020-2024 strategy. In addition to mandatory EDI training, further staff training on Inclusive Recruitment, Deaf Awareness and Embedding EDI in the Curriculum has been implemented. Throughout last academic year, staff and students engaged in EDI matters, under the Tackling Inequalities grants programme. Targeted interventions have been put in place to help us narrow student 22 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
achievement gaps and further work on narrowing achievement gaps will be implemented this year. We have also adopted a targeted approach to encourage staff and students to take out more grants for research projects with a focus on student achievement gaps, student experience and other initiatives aimed at tackling inequalities. We are also implementing further positive action recruitment strategies for areas of under representation. Celebrating Black History Month As part of Black History Month, this month, we had some fantastic displays at each college campus, with mannequins taking centre stage with cultural outfits, provided by members of staff being displayed. Flags of different countries were displayed around the common rooms and displays showing prominent black people were shown to promote conversation. We also set up an interactive board where staff and students are invited to state what ‘being black means’.
Staff Training On the staff training front, we have introduced new training sessions to help ensure that EDI is fully embedded within all of our practices and procedures. This included introducing Unconscious Bias in Recruitment (inclusive recruitment) training specifically for Recruiting Managers, and training on Embedding EDI in the Curriculum. Going forward, we plan to hold more of these training sessions to ensure that all Recruiting Managers receive Unconscious Bias in Recruitment training, and to train more of our teaching and quality assurance staff in Embedding EDI in the Curriculum. As part of our focus on talent management, we conducted a survey and a focus group amongst our ethnic minority staff to establish their aspirations, training and development requirements. Themes that came through included coaching, mentoring, technical upskilling and informal training. These elements have been included in our overall talent management programme, and we have also accessed some of the training, mentoring and networks, provided by the Black FE Leadership Group (BFLEG). The BFLEG mentoring programme has also been rolled out to all our ethic minority staff.
We have also been working in partnership with East Surrey and East Sussex Colleges through the College Collaboration Fund to develop our current and aspiring managers and leaders from diverse backgrounds. This is being achieved through a range of collaborative opportunities from shadowing and secondments to the Education and Training Foundation’s Leading from the Middle programme, as well as professional coaching and mentoring opportunities. BLFEG Membership and Diagnostic Assessment In November, as an affiliated member of the BFLEG, Members of the Corporation and Senior Leaders across the College, engaged and participated in an induction day into the implementation of the 10-point plan. The one-day event facilitated discussions, which aimed to deepen our understanding and learning of anti-racism. We explored new ideas, tools and strategies through shared, lived experiences, discussions and viewpoints and insights. We were better informed of the 10 point plan toolkit and identified our priorities and agreed the list of actions to effect real change.
ON MISSION (CONT )
Work experience matters @LONDO
employability journey. Maria Humphreys, Head of Following an employer talk last term, we are Student Placements, London thrilled that BPTW Architects recently invited three South East Colleges writes: students (from our art and design and construction According to a recent report by the and built environment courses) to take part in twoIndependent and Evening Standard, week block placements. This has been an amazing unemployment statistics reveal that opportunity; enabling students to develop an youth unemployment in the capital has soared by awareness of the architectural/building project cycle 55% to 105,000 since the start of the pandemic and understand the diversity of roles within with more than 21% of young people jobless an architectural practice. And the impact and seeking work. Never has it been so of our work has extended beyond our important to ensure our students have Youth body of students; we have also managed access to high quality work experience unemployment to help boost their employability skills in the capital has to place Diane Ladiocan at BPTW Architects. Diane volunteered to support and ensure they are ‘workplace ready.’ soared by the College COVID test centre, located To deliver our unique employability at the Bromley Campus, while she applied programme, Career Advantage, our for graduate jobs. Little did she imagine that work experience team continues to volunteering with us and support from our work develop relationships with employers and build experience team would lead to a full-time job! opportunities for face-to-face and remote work A range of work placements and employer placements and virtual talks. We are delighted that opportunities are in store for the New Year. employers such as, PWC, NHS, MET Police, Bexley Spurred on by the launch of the Turing Scheme, we Council, HSBC, GMAX Trackstars and Ethica Care are busy developing international work placements to name but a few have enthusiastically engaged for 2022 for our students too. These opportunities and committed to supporting our students on their
23 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
include placements in Valencia, Spain for our Business and IT students, Lisbon, Portugal for our SEND students and Seville, Spain for our Higher Education students. Bring on 2022!
IN THE NEWS
MEDIA ROUND-UP Throughout the autumn term, we achieved some excellent media coverage across both regional and educational press.
of the 120 learners going on placements this year are from disadvantaged groups, of which
are from SEND groups
24 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
Colleges owe it to their students to get involved with the Turing Scheme to improve social mobility With Brexit spelling the end of the successful Erasmus scheme for the UK, the launch of the Turing Scheme in March 2021 as a replacement was positive news. Under the scheme, the government funds international placements between two weeks and 12 months long. FE applicants receive up to £1,360 for travel costs and up to £109 per day for living costs. Unlike Erasmus, the funding is available to go anywhere in the world that a college can set up a partnership. There is no funding available for a return trip from students in the host country to come to the UK: they must secure that funding from their own governments. However, for us the Turing Scheme is set to be a really important part of our mission to help our students develop a laseeg.co.uk/news
range of employability, communication and social skills. We did not previously belong to Erasmus, so this is our first foray into international placements and with a global pandemic, we’ve had to find a way to get the programme up and running. Uptake in FE has varied; in August the Department for Education revealed 110 further providers had won £22 million of funding, but £35 million had been allocated to FE, meaning not all the money was dished out. The DfE also anticipated 10,000 FE students would be involved. However, colleges applied for funding to cover only 6,000 students. Here’s how we have overcome some of the challenges: We have initially focused on establishing our programme within Europe; utilising country contacts we already have, with partners we can trust. This will ensure high quality placements in Dublin in Ireland, Seville and Valencia in Spain, Lisbon in Portugal and Larnaca in Cyprus. Six groups of 20 students (120 in total) will participate in the first year.
Placements will happen between February and July 2022. Students will undertake placements in vocational skills sectors, including cybersecurity, digital marketing, healthcare and early years. Positively, 57% of the 120 learners going on placements this year are from disadvantaged groups, of which 10% are from SEND groups. This is higher than the government expectation of 48% of disadvantaged students. The benefits to every student will be immense – albeit not quite on the ambitious global scale we would have aimed for pre-Covid. But that will come. It is a shame that not more colleges are currently taking part. Although the full scope of the scheme can’t currently be maximised, with careful planning colleges can still hugely broaden our students’ horizons. At a time when young people have missed out on so many important experiences, educators must now work harder than ever to help fill gaps wherever possible. Read more online now
IN THE NEWS (CONT )
Outstanding HE students receive CIOB recognition Three construction management professionals, and former London South East Colleges students, have been awarded 2021 CIOB Maidstone Hub’s Outstanding Student Awards. All three women attended college and passed with distinctions last year, while juggling work and complex life issues. Becki Sinclair from Claritas Group completed her BTEC HNC Construction Management from the College’s Bromley Campus; while Faith Rukiat Abudu and Rajinder Basra, an associate director – project controls
at Mace, studied for their HNDs in Construction Management at the Holly Hill Construction Campus. Faith said: “It goes to show my hard work, perseverance and determination paid off and didn’t go unnoticed. A friend of mine said to me: ‘A black woman in construction? It’s going to be really difficult; it’s hard enough being a woman in construction’. My answer now: bring on the challenge, I have proved to you with hard work, anything is possible – Black woman or not.” Read more online now
FE Festive Foodbank campaign relaunches as part of the GoodForMeGoodForFE campaign FE colleges around the country are giving their foodbank collections a festive twist to support local communities over the festive period. Launched last year, FestiveFEFoodbankFriday is now part of the sector’s Good for Me Good for FE campaign. 120 colleges are engaged with the initiative, aiming to collectively generate £1m of 25 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
social value over the coming year. With demand for foodbanks continuing to increase nationally, supporting them is a key strand of the campaign. Colleges are encouraging staff and students to donate either single items or to create hampers to make Christmas a little easier for the many people in need. Many other fundraising activities will
College partners with Bromley Healthcare to launch Prepare to Care training programme London South East Colleges has been selected as a partner by Bromley Healthcare to run its Prepare to Care training programme. The care sector is currently experiencing a huge skills shortage. Bromley Healthcare is looking to train and recruit skilled staff from local communities who can deliver the highest possible standard of care to fill their vacancies across Bromley, Bexley, Lewisham and Greenwich. The aim is to secure a workforce that can deliver professional, personal, quality care to the local community in the comfort of their
also be taking place in the lead up to Christmas under the campaign’s umbrella, including Santa Dashes and Christmas lunches for care leavers. Dr Sam Parrett CBE, Group Principal and CEO of London South East Colleges, says: “Sadly, foodbanks across the country are continuing to experience high demand, so encouraging our partner colleges to support these is an important part of our campaign. Christmas is a difficult time for many and we are delighted that so many colleges are re-launching
own home. This eight-week fast-track programme is designed to open doors to a career in healthcare within the NHS and shine a spotlight on the variety of roles available, ranging from healthcare support workers to homecare workers. Participants will be equipped with the key skills and knowledge needed to work in the sector. They will also gain an essential entry level qualification in health and social care. The College will also provide key training in employability, moving and handling, food hygiene, first aid and care standards. On completion of the programme, participants will be ideally placed to apply for a job with Bromley Healthcare or within the wider healthcare sector. Read more online now
their festive foodbanks. Colleges add value to their communities every single day. Good for Me Good for FE captures and maximises this hard work, bringing our sector together to support social mobility and aspiration. We are working hard to generate our target of £1m of social value and the collection of 20,000 food items – and are hugely grateful to all the colleges that have committed their support.” Read more online now
IN THE NEWS (CONT )
The Education Skills Crisis: Urgent action needed It has been hard to escape the news about job vacancies reaching record highs across many industries and the tirade of policy experts keen to give their opinion on the matter. Is it the start of a new high-wage economy with a booming labour market or the start of something much worse – with gaping skills shortages leading to broken supply chains, resulting in empty shelves and sending the cost of living spiralling upwards? We’re all aware of the shortages making the headlines – including HGV drivers, fruit pickers and farm workers – with calls for ‘fast track training’ and ‘visa reform’. But such solutions will only fix part of the problem; we need to remember that these shortages have been plaguing education providers for years. It’s very easy for commentators to say ‘just train the domestic workforce’ – but it must be recognised that to do this, we need to find the experts to do 26 | ISSUE 4 | 2021
the training. Colleges have struggled for some time to recruit high quality, vocational lecturers. In the current climate of skilled workers being in such short supply, there is little motivation for many of these experts to move into teaching, when the financial rewards of working in their industry are so much greater. Those of us working in education know and understand that the rewards of teaching are wide-ranging, if not economically superior. But with teaching salaries being frozen in real terms and those of FE staff already being considerably lower than their school counterparts – we are reaching a precipice of potential disaster that is becoming critical. Government and businesses need to develop a longer-term vision that recognises the risks of not having enough or indeed, the right, staff to train the future workforce.
Employers across most industries are struggling to recruit the staff and skills they need, from hospitality and healthcare to digital and construction. It is inevitable that businesses will struggle to remain profitable if they can’t access the skilled workforce needed to deliver services – and this absolutely includes FE Colleges. Skills gaps within the education sector is a serious problem as it will inevitably lead to a reduction in our capacity to train people. If we can’t train people, skills gaps across other industries will continue to grow rapidly. There is no possible argument that can hold against the benefits of investing in education. Every political party knows the importance of this when developing a manifesto. One extensive study from the University of Illinois* estimated that the difference in skills levels among OECD countries can fully explain 55% of differences in economic growth since 1960. This is stark, irrefutable evidence that education is crucial to driving a successful and sustainable economy. The FE and skills sector needs to be recognised as a priority skills shortage area, with greater resource made available to help us attract the talent we need right now. Read more online now
College Chair receives fellowship from the Chartered Institution of Further Education Stephen Howlett CBE DL, Chair of London South East Colleges has been awarded a fellowship from the Chartered Institution of Further Education (CIFE). The CIFE represents best practice within the FE sector. It brings together colleges and training providers across the sector to recognise and celebrate their professionalism and success. Stephen’s fellowship from the prestigious organisation comes two years after London South East Colleges’ gained membership. In his role, Stephen will continue to support and promote excellence within the sector. A ceremony took place at Apothecaries’ Hall with Skills Minister, Alex Berghart, in attendance. Stephen’s Fellowship was one of seven to be awarded, together with three honorary fellows and six new CIFE memberships. Read more online now
Together we can build a sustainable community Over the next five years we will play a key role in the social and economic improvement of the region by working closely with our partners, students, staff and stakeholders. This will impact on what we teach, how we do business, how we develop our staff and how we support our learners.
T: 020 3954 4000