Staff and students are celebrating after Furness College was named a finalist in the prestigious Golden Apple education awards.
The college has gone from strength to strength following a merger with Barrow Sixth Form and now runs across two campuses with a further education college at Channelside and a specialist sixth form campus at Rating Lane, both in Barrow.
The shortlisting in the Further Education Provider of the Year category in the Cumbria-wide awards, organised by CN Group, follows a remarkable year in which Furness College has become the largest provider of education and skills training in Cumbria and won multiple counts of national recognition for the high quality of its provision and outcomes for students.
It now offers qualifications ranging from A levels and apprenticeships to professional/technical courses and university degrees.
Principal and Chief Executive Andrew Wren said: “We are delighted that the Golden Apple judges have recognised our college as one of the strongest performers in the county.
“The merger has brought benefits to staff and students that have put Furness College at the forefront of post-16 education and skills training nationally. Students now benefit from increased access to specialist tutors, more facilities and there has been investment in both campuses.
“The future looks bright: the quality of provision is going from strength to strength, and the college’s finances are extremely strong.”
The college maintains excellent links with industry and in 2016-17 opened the county’s first £4million Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Centre to meet the growing demand for highly-skilled workers. In the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework report, Furness College scored an ‘excellent’ rating for ensuring students go into highly skilled employment after their studies and for the academic support it offers.
Among the notable achievements in the past year, Furness College has been:
- Awarded the county’s top placing of silver in the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework for the high quality of higher education and ‘consistently exceeding’ rigorous national quality requirements;
- Rated as the highest-performing general Further Education college in the country for value added score in applied general qualifications in the government performance tables;
- Recognised as a leading national performer in further education by becoming one of the first in the country to achieve chartered status after demonstrating quality across the board in areas including teaching and learning, governance, finance and engagement with the local community and employers;
- Recognised by the National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN) as a High Quality Provider for delivering excellence in skills training;
- Become the first college in Cumbria and one of only 100 in the country to be awarded Leadership Academy Status by Sports Leaders UK recognising commitment to developing students’ leadership skills;
- Awarded Fair Train’s Work Experience Quality Standard in recognition of best practice in delivering work experience programmes including work placements, internships, traineeships and apprenticeships.
The Teaching Excellence Framework silver award followed in-depth analysis from a panel of experts who looked at the range of courses offered at the Channelside campus – from HNC and Foundation degrees to full Honours degrees – to rate the teaching quality, learning environment and outcomes for students.