Welcome to the first year of the Natspec Awards.
The Natspec Awards will help us recognise and celebrate excellent practice in the specialist further education sector. They will also be an excellent way to promote continuous improvement and raise standards in our sector. We are on the look-out for innovative practice which encourages high aspirations and enables young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities to achieve their goals.
Whatever the size of your setting, and however long your organisation has been established, this is your chance to showcase effective, evidence-based practice and share your learning with the sector.
We have produced a leaflet you can download to share with colleagues that contains all the key details about what the Awards are.
30 September 2019
Closing date for applications
19 February 2020 – at 12 noon
by 31 March 2020
Winners announced at Natspec Principals Forum
8 October 2020
Originally we aimed to present the awards at Natspec’s 2020 National Conference, but circumstances have forced us to postpone it.
The awards are open to any specialist FE provider that is currently a full member of Natspec. You can learn more about membership of Natspec on our website. The awards are not open to Natspec Transform members or General FE Colleges.
Applicants must be willing to support Natspec to disseminate the learning from their projects. For example, we might ask you to contribute to producing a written case study or short talking-head video, take part in a webinar, or present your work at a forum. This way, all members will be able to benefit from the effective practice we identify through the awards.
We want to identify approaches that have recently been implemented, rather than established practice that has become ‘business as usual’. At the same time the practice needs to have been running long enough to have made a demonstrable, positive difference to students. There may be aspects of the practice that are already in place in other settings, but there should be something new and exciting about the way it is being applied. It might be an approach that has been adapted for a different student group or a new way of working that has led to significantly improved outcomes.
Projects can be small-scale and carefully targeted at a particular student group or whole college initiatives. While the practice described might not be transferable to other settings in its entirety, we will be looking for projects that will provide useful learning for other specialist FE settings.
Applications for the awards can relate to a programme, practice, course, project or other form of teaching, learning, advice, guidance or support.
To be considered for an award, the project must:
- show innovation
- have been introduced in the last 2/3 years and already been evaluated in one way or another
- have had or be having a demonstrable positive impact on students
- be sustainable and/or capable of further development
- provide useful learning for other specialist FE settings.
Natspec members are eligible to apply for each of the six awards. There is a maximum of one application per category. The same project cannot be entered for more than one category.
The Natspec Awards categories 2020
The six awards categories are:
- Innovative use of technology
- Creating successful pathways into employment
- Effective capturing and use of student voice
- Effective wellbeing support or mental health initiative
- Effective inter-disciplinary working
- Partnership-working to maximise opportunities/outcomes for students
An independent panel of judges will choose the winners of the Natspec Awards 2020. They are as follows:
Nigel Evans, former Ofsted HMI, will chair the panel.
How to apply
Applications must be made via the online form on the Natspec Awards website. A limited amount of additional supporting evidence can also be uploaded electronically.
You will need to explain:
- what has been implemented
- why it is innovative
- what the impact has been
- how it will be sustained/developed.
In the evidence submitted we would always expect to hear from students as well as from a range of stakeholders; stakeholders may differ from one category to another. No paper copies will be accepted. Please restrict your applications to around 750 words.
Why you should apply for a Natspec Award
In applying for an award, you have the chance to reflect on the successful approaches you have developed, as well as review the positive impact that they have had on your students.
You also have the opportunity to share innovative and effective practice – and to be recognised for the difference you have made for young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.
All shortlisted applicants will have their individual projects profiled on the awards website, while we will work with the award winners to ensure their practice is showcased across the sector.
What the winners receive
Award winners will receive:
- £250 CPD bursary
- use of the Natspec Award winners’ logo on their college headed paper, websites and other promotional materials
Award winners will also be presented with a certificate and a trophy to keep.
Award sponsors will promote and share winning and commended winners’ case studies with their partners and affiliates.