The Bedford College Group has won the prestigious Beacon Award in The National Centre for Diversity Award for Inclusive Learning Leadership
For nearly a decade, Bedford College has led the way in championing diversity and inclusion, putting it firmly at the heart of the organisation and embedding it within its corporate culture.
In 2013 the College created its first Equality, Diversity and Inclusion role and by 2019 it had become the only UK college to achieve the Stonewall Silver Award. In December 2021 it was the first college to be awarded Gold from Stonewall for its LGBTQ+ inclusion work on campus and in the community.
Using best practice
The extensive work the Group has undertaken includes making EDI training compulsory for every new member of staff, providing all employees with on-going access to professional development in this area, regularly sharing LGBTQ+ strategies with other settings, and hosting a range of LGBTQ+ groups, forums and activities for staff and students. This includes LGBTQ+ Support Advocates, who are trained to deal with specific LGBTQ+ student issues.
The Group is now using this best practice approach and applying it to inclusion work for other protected characteristics, focusing next on race equality.
Celebrating the best
The Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. The award supported by the National Centre seeks to recognise examples of practical teaching and learning that equips people with the skills that today’s global and digital economy demands, through a broad and balanced curriculum, high quality training, engaging real world learning and rich relationships between education and employers.
Said Deputy Chief Executive Em Lowe:
“This is a tribute to the commitment of everyone across all our college campuses to promote and embed inclusive values which support all our students and staff.”
Mark White, Interim 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 examples of excellent practical teaching and learning. The work of the winning college shows how important colleges are in providing students with the necessary skills for the real world.”