News and events
We aim to keep you up-to-date with the very latest Weston College news and events. Take a look below at what's going on at the College!
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Latest events at Weston College
Latest news and developments at Weston College
In a resounding testament to educational excellence, Weston College's T Level learners have achieved an extraordinary 100% pass rate this year – outshining the national pass rate of 90.5%.
T Levels, introduced as a new technical qualification pathway, emphasise a blend of classroom learning and practical experience, making Weston College's achievement even more noteworthy.
The achievement of a flawless pass rate is a reflection of the dedication put forth by students and the unwavering support provided by staff at Weston College.
Sandra Bull, Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Cross College T Level Lead, at Weston College, said: “We are so proud of our T Level learners, and the amazing results that they have achieved – bucking the national trend!
“The results demonstrate the hard work and commitment of our students, staff and also the employer partners who play such an important role in the T Level journey for our learners.
“Our learners are now progressing onto their next stage, which looks different for each learner, with some progressing to university, some going on to complete degree apprenticeships and others going straight into their chosen industry.
“These results, and the feedback we are receiving, demonstrate the impact that T Levels can have and is having on creating the next generation of skilled employees for the evolving demands of the modern workforce.”
One of the driving forces behind this remarkable success is the college's emphasis on putting the learner first. Weston College is renowned for its student-centred approach, ensuring that each individual's unique strengths are harnessed and that support is on hand to support learners in any way that is needed. The dedicated teaching staff, equipped with a wealth of expertise, have played a pivotal role in shaping students into confident, knowledgeable professionals ready to make a meaningful impact.
Hear from some of the learners, and the impact T Levels has had on them, below.
The terms “neurodiversity” or “neurodivergent” is often a topic of conversation for those with a responsibility to build a diverse workforce in businesses, but what does it mean?
The reality is that everyone is different... and there is no single way in which we should think, learn and behave.
Neurodiversity, as a concept, describes these differences and their challenges, but also strengths. Neurodivergence is a term originally attributed to sociologist Judy Singer from the 1990s, and it’s a term used to described people with neurodiverse conditions such as autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia and ADHD amongst others.
- In the UK, around 15-20% of the population are thought to be neurodivergent
- In the UK, 29% of autistic adults are employed, according to 2021 data from the Office for National Statistics
- The British Dyslexia Association estimates that around 10% of the UK population is dyslexic.
65% of neurodivergent employees don’t disclose their conditions to employers out of fear of discrimination (Birkbeck’s Research Centre for Neurodiversity at Work, 2023).
This tells me that too many neurodivergent people in the workforce do not tell their employer that they need support, so managers in businesses need to be given the training and confidence to make reasonable adjustments. Furthermore, a shockingly low percentage of people with autism are in employment.
The team at Weston College and I sat down a year ago and just felt something needed to change. So what did we decide to do?
As a national SEND Centre of Excellence, the College supports over 1,000 neurodivergent students each academic year. We’re experts in this field. We spoke to local employers and asked them what they wanted us to do, and they told us.
We created a series of 1 day, informal but informative workshops a year ago, delivered by highly skilled and experienced neurodivergent and inclusion specialists working at Weston College, alongside some online 'Lunch and Learn' sessions. 7 workshops and 2 lunch and learns later, we have trained 200+ managers for local businesses to be neurodiversity confident. We’ve had law firms, construction, theatres, engineering and media businesses. The impact has seen employers make reasonable adjustments in their businesses for their staff and customers.
Puxton Park was one of the employers who attended the training, and following the workshop, introduced an access card scheme for neurodiverse and disabled visitors to aid communication of a person’s needs and act as proof of access requirements. They also now provide Ear Defenders, free of charge to visitors.
Georgina Francis, Operations Manager of Puxton Park, says: “Being an inclusive attraction has always been extremely important to us. We have worked closely with Weston College and have had the privilege of taking part in their neurodiversity training workshops. This training was enlightening and informative and opened our eyes to the opportunities and initiatives we can take part in to best support the disabled and neurodiverse communities.”
We’re not stopping there. We aim to double number of workplace managers we train in the 23/24 academic year.
We're also offering Conscious Inclusion training which will explore Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) delivered by highly experienced and specialist staff with lived experience. The one-day training supports employers to listen to voices lesser-known, as well as suggesting ways to create an improved culture of inclusion for marginalised groups in the workplace. This workshop is a must attend for anyone looking to celebrate diversity in their organisation. The workshop will deliver impactful sessions around LGBTQ+ Inclusive Language & Issues, Anti-Racism, Trauma-Informed Approaches and how to welcome Sensory Differences.
I’ll finish where I started... everyone is different.
By working together, we can raise awareness and train people to make reasonable changes and maximise the talent that we have in our region.
Employers interested in the training can contact me at email@example.com or visit our website here.
- Lynsey McKinstry – Business Partnership Manager & SEND Employment Co-ordinator
Your child is starting college with us in September, so we wanted to make sure you have everything you need ahead of this.
Starting college is an exciting time but is also a big transition and can be daunting. Our job is to make this as seamless a step as possible and work with you and your child to ensure you both feel comfortable and assured about joining us at Weston College and what lies ahead!
GCSE Results Day and College Open Event
On Thursday 24th August, a lot of our new students will be picking up their GCSE results from their school and checking if they have achieved the grades to get into their college programme.
Our school liaison team and curriculum staff are on hand throughout the day if you have any questions about what your child’s results mean, just give us a call – 01934 411411.
This year, we have also decided to host a summer open event on the afternoon of GCSE results day in case you would like to come to Knightstone Campus and speak in person to our staff about your child’s results. This is also open to young people and their parents who have not yet applied to the College and following receiving their results have maybe decided that college could be the best path for them!
To attend simply register by clicking here.
Our 2023 Welcome Festivals begin on Friday 25th August and run until Monday 4th September 2023. This is where our new starters come to our Knightstone Campus and complete the final stages of their enrolment journey and officially become a Weston College student.
Your child should have already received their invite with the appointment, but if this is not the case, do not worry and simply contact our admissions team on 01934 411481.
Your child will need to bring with them the below to their appointment and will leave having signed their college agreement, as well as having had the opportunity to speak to our support services, get their Welcome Guide, sustainable goody bag and pick up their college ID and lanyard, which must be worn at all times when at college.
Students will need for this appointment:
- GCSE Results slip or certificates – we can’t enrol them without these
- Proof of your identity (passport, birth certificate, driving licence, etc.)
- National Insurance number if they have been issued one
- Parents/carers' contact information (telephone numbers and email)
Depending on which campus your child is studying at, induction for all students begins on the below:
- Loxton Campus – Monday 4th September
- South West Skills Campus – Monday 4th September
- Knightstone Campus – Wednesday 6th September
Your child will be told where to go for their first day during their Welcome Festival, as well as given the link to access this in their enrolment confirmation email. Though, if they are unsure, they can access the information by clicking here.
Induction lasts up to two weeks and is where students will take part in various activities designed to help them feel prepared for the transition to college. We want them to use this week as an opportunity to build relationships, explore the tools required for learning at college, and establish positive routines and expectations.
Students timetabled teaching will then begin the following week, starting on the 11th of September, alongside some induction activities including our campus Freshers Fayres that will take place from 19th-21st September.
MyWeston is the official Weston College app and portal for Weston College students, which personalises communications and consolidates access to all college systems - everything a student needs, all in one place!
It runs on mobile devices as an app but is also available on desktop devices within the college network. There are loads of features for learners on the app including access to their timetables, instant college news, up-to-date events, online learning, support services, and much more. The app also integrates with several of the college's other systems which means that the app will be a one-stop shop for all the information about the college.
Please check your child has downloaded it.
Travelling to college – get your child’s bus pass now!
Getting to Weston College is easy, as all three of our main campuses have great transport links across the region and are all easily accessible by road, train, and bus.
Most of our new students who join us from school travel to college by bus and we, therefore, subsidise over 50% of the cost of any of our bus passes.
These are now available to purchase now, and your child will have the choice of two passes, depending on where you live and how often they travel to and from college campuses.
All information and how to purchase them can be found by clicking here.
New freedoms and responsibilities
College timetables (or learning schedules as we call them) are significantly different from school and can take some time to get used to. Your child may not need to attend college every day and their day will be longer, with some classes ending in the late afternoon.
Students will have free periods to complete coursework, do research, or revise and we always encourage them to manage their time appropriately and proactively. However, there is also time for volunteering, part-time paid work, or for interests such as sports, drama, or music. We also have a very active Students’ Union, which promotes various opportunities and other clubs, trips, and activities.
Our students continuously tell us how they appreciate being treated as adults. A big part of this is taking responsibility for their learning and they will be given more freedom than they experienced at school. But with freedom comes responsibility! Your child will be asked to sign and acknowledge our behaviour policy and code of conduct to help ensure our core value of Respect is upheld by everyone. We expect our students to display the same behaviour you’d find in any workplace and our proud to model our curriculum on the ethos ‘Ready to Learn, Ready for Work, Ready for Life’.
Unique opportunities to develop professional skills…
As an award-winning college, our teaching goes beyond the curriculum to develop your child’s knowledge, skills, and behaviours to put them in the best possible position to achieve their career aspirations. We focus our curriculum on the following components:
- Position employers and partners at the centre of our curriculum design and delivery, which will maximise career opportunities, and progression and enhance the academic experience, by providing up-to-the-minute industry knowledge and expertise, thus ensuring any learner is an attractive future asset regardless of destination or progression path.
- Significant investment in real-world learning using industry-standard state of art facilities, to bridge the skills gap for the regional economy, at the same time creating opportunities for learners to engage in real-world learning outside the classroom including industry placement, enrichment opportunities, and exposure to wider employers through masterclasses, trips, and visits.
- Embed an inclusive approach across all we do and with everyone we work with. This will achieve an inclusive talent pipeline through embedding inclusive learning opportunities within each programme, giving learners the opportunity to learn from each other and the wider community.
- Develop leaders of the future by providing all students with the platform to deliver positive change within wider society, with a key focus on social action and sustainability.
- Create ambition and promote the development of career management skills through a planned careers programme and offer, including access to expert advisors ensuring that all learners are equipped with the tools to make an informed decision about their next steps to university, employment, or further programmes. Our approach to careers is already highlighted as a leading example within the college sector.
What students need to do before their first day
Below are some key activities that your child will need to have completed before their first day. For any help, please get them to contact their personal tutor.
- Download the MyWeston app via the App Store or from Google Play.
- Download the Microsoft Teams app via the App Store or from Google Play.
- Log in to Office 365 with your college email and login and download your FREE Office 365 software.
- If under 18 get your parents to complete the parent permission slip for trips and work experience and bring it with you on your first day.
- If you are going to travel to college by bus, make sure you have purchased the necessary bus pass. All information can be found here.
We look forward to welcoming your child to Weston College.