Hull College is a AoC Beacon Award 2023/24 Finalist


9:15 am

Hull College has made it through as a finalist in the prestigious Association of Colleges' Beacon Awards.

The college has been shortlisted in the JISC award for Effective Use of Digital Technology in Further Education for its ground-breaking work in addressing economic disadvantage and language barriers for more than 1,000 ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students. Working in partnership with UFI VocTech, the college has transformed the educational landscape for its ESOL students, fostering integration, improving communication, and nurturing an environment where every student can thrive.

Teachers utilised Translate technology in lessons and assessments to swiftly identify learning difficulties that had previously gone unseen when students struggled to communicate in English. The real-time translation feature enabled personalised support, accelerated English language learning, and fostered inclusion and achievement among students facing trauma and displacement.

Beyond the classroom, the college provided training to staff, including administrators, receptionists, and learning centre personnel, on using the Translate app on phones when interacting with non-English speaking students. This supported students’ access to key services and integration into college life, enhancing their sense of belonging. Implementing this widely available, simple and free technology proved transformative in dismantling language barriers and facilitating vulnerable students’ engagement and progression despite adversity.

The Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK further education (FE) colleges. The awards have been running for 29 years and remain the most sought-after recognition amongst colleges.

The aim of the awards programme is to demonstrate and promote the far-reaching impact of colleges on their students and the communities they serve. The commended and winning case studies will be used to increase understanding of colleges’ contribution to educational skills policy and economic and social development.

Debra Gray MBE, CEO and Principal of Hull College, said: “The work that we’ve done with Microsoft Translate has been revolutionary in supporting a thousand ESOL students to develop as rounded individuals who can find their place in our communities, who can secure work, who can raise their children and can navigate life in modern Britain. We’re not just in the business of training them in English language skills, we’re in the business of helping them to rebuild and create new lives in the UK.”

Mark White CBE DL, Chair of AoC’s Charitable Trust said: “The AoC Beacon Awards showcase exactly why colleges are so important to every community and why people value them. This award recognises the critical role undertaken by boards, governors and governance professionals developing capacity for sustained improvement in the quality of provision for students.”

The AoC Beacon Award Winners will be announced in Spring 2024.

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