York College

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York College has been shortlisted for a TES FE Award in the ‘Support for Students’ category in recognition of the College’s successful work on its ‘Safety Net’ initiative. 

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The College’s ‘Safety Net’ supports students who raise concerns, in a safe/non-judgemental way and provides a comprehensive and highly accessible support network. This wrap-around care is underpinned by high expectations and a relentless focus on achievement for all students, as well as staff demonstrating high ambitions for the students.

The ‘Safety Net’ also promotes effective partnership working, providing access to specialists. It adds value to the College’s support framework, for example partners supporting drop-in services, 1:1 support and cross college events.

The College has a dedicated place for these students to go and has amended staff teaching timetables to ensure they are available at key times. Putting the success of the ‘Safety Net’ high on the College’s agenda, staff have built positive relationships with partners and improved communication and referral systems.

Since the College’s outstanding Ofsted Inspection (December 2013) York College has hosted an Ofsted Best Practice Review associated with the City of York and their work on supporting NEETs. The College has also hosted other colleges to discuss aspects of the ‘Safety Net’ support mechanisms.

Deputy Principal, Graeme Murdoch comments: “The success of the ‘Safety Net’ is due to a number of factors. It works by having the right staff in place who have a real desire to do the very best by the student(s). There are regular discussions between key staff, with easy and quick access to relevant support for staff and students. The staff involved are very committed, experienced and focussed on the needs of individual students. Staff have received training to allow them to spot the ‘volatile indicators’ that show students who may be beginning to disengage with education. As well as links to very supportive external agencies there is a strong commitment by senior managers. It works because everyone wants it to work.”

Members of staff from the 'Safety Net' team will  attend the TES FE Awards at the Grosvenor House, London on 27th February. Fingers crossed for a York College win!

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