Blackpool and The Fylde College only provider in Lancashire to achieve Teaching Excellence Framework Gold
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Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC) has been awarded a Gold rating for the standard of its higher education – one of only three further education colleges in England to achieve the highest rating in each area assessed.
What rating is this?
The college, which operates from five campuses and four specialist centres and employs 1,000 people, has received Teaching Excellence Framework Gold, the highest possible award in the revamped ratings by higher education regulatory body the Office for Students.
The Gold award, which lasts for four years, indicates that the student experience and outcomes on B&FC’s undergraduate courses, including higher and degree apprenticeships, are typically outstanding.
B&FC is the only higher education provider in Lancashire to receive all three ratings as Gold and one of just two higher education institutions in the North West to achieve the accolade.
How was the college assessed?
The award provides an overall rating made up of two individual assessments relating to student experience and student outcomes.
The rating, which replaces the Gold award the college received in 2017, is based on submissions from both the college and students, which are then assessed by a panel of peers from the higher education sector.
B&FC, which has indefinite foundation degree and time-limited degree awarding powers as well as offering Lancaster University-accredited courses, was assessed on its provision for both undergraduates and apprentices, which total more than 2,500 at any one time.
What does the college say?
Principal Alun Francis OBE said: “Unlike more traditional universities, B&FC delivers over 50 diverse professional and technical HE courses, including higher and degree apprenticeships and operates over a broad church, with students coming from a mix of backgrounds – from those coming straight from further education at age 18 to students coming back into education later in life, those studying alongside employment and others who may be the first in their family to go on to higher education.
“Our student-centred approach and smaller class sizes ensure our learners succeed in their course and progress to highly skilled employment through a bespoke offering that caters for their needs throughout their time with us.
“This Gold rating is evidence that our extensive efforts for every student and apprentice, and recognition that our personalised approaches with wraparound support, are working. It is particularly rewarding that so many students – from our University Centre close to the centre of Blackpool to Fleetwood Nautical College, where our seafaring students study – got involved in feeding back to the Office for Students about their positive experiences.”
Carrie Lee, the Students’ Union Sabbatical Office who led the student submission, creating a survey, holding focus groups, workshops, and a biannual ‘big student meeting’, said: “As a former B&FC student now responsible for leading the Students’ Union, it makes me immensely proud to know that the college has been awarded TEF Gold.
“This achievement is a testament of the continuous and collective hard work that B&FC staff, students and apprentices dedicate themselves to. It’s a recognition of the high standards that B&FC set, and are held accountable for, and a celebration of our core values, evidencing how students and apprentices really are at the heart of what we do.”
B&FC are also the lead college of the new Lancashire and Cumbria Institute of Technology (IoT), and a spokersperson added that its standing as a TEF Gold-rated college would enable learnings to filter down to the other IoT academic partners.