College given top honours for high-level staff training

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By YouPR | Monday, November 26, 2012, 12:12

A Weston College degree course aimed at people working in the Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LDD) field has been given top honours at a national education conference.

The Foundation Degree in Inclusive Practice was honoured with a Beacon Award at the Association of Colleges (AoC) annual conference in Birmingham this week.

Presented by the City & Guilds organisation, the UK's leading provider of vocational qualifications, the award recognises outstanding practice in staff development at FE level, rewarding innovative best practice that delivers identifiable results and benefits.

The College's FdA Inclusive Practice was started in 2007 to meet the needs of staff working in the LDD area. It was the first qualification of its kind in the country, and is a beacon of learning for other colleges and organisations working in the same field.

Almost 50 Weston College staff members have taken the qualification, with a 100 per cent pass rate. Some of the benefits include the ability to respond effectively to a wide range of students by assisting learners to manage learning barriers.

Staff say that completing the qualification has increased their confidence in working with learners and promoting inclusive education and opportunities.

Course co-ordinator Barbara Titmuss said: "It's great to see the success of the course, from a pilot of 8 students in 2007 to this year's intake of 21 and a waiting list already for next year. This is a testament to the commitment of staff teaching on the course and the desire of people working in this field to strive for excellence in their professional practice."

The course includes two years' study at Weston for the FdA, with a third year at UWE Bristol to complete the BA Hons Degree in Education in Professional Practice

The degree initially specialised in autism but has expanded to include Behaviour for Learning; Literacy difficulties and Profound and Complex LDD. Other specialist modules are in the pipeline.

Dr Paul Phillips, Weston College Principal and Chief Executive, said: "We have long understood the importance of meeting the needs of learners with LDD and this award shows how seriously we take staff development in this field.

"I would like to congratulate all those who have taken, or are taking, the degree and I wish them every success. Most importantly I would like to pay tribute to the entrepreneurial talent of Jacqui Ford and Barbara Titmuss at Weston College who brought a concept to reality. Both are examples of dedicated professionals who demonstrate a real understanding of an inclusive learning agenda."

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