Award categories and criteria

Innovative use of technology

This award will go to the college that has demonstrated the most innovative use of technology to enhance students’ experience of college. The technology itself does not have to be new; it is the use of it that must be innovative.

Tell us:

  1. how and why you are using the technology and what makes that innovative, for example through: adaptations for different students/groups; radically different application of hardware / software; further development of hardware / software
  2. how your use of the technology is leading to an enhanced experience for students while in college, for example by: increasing their ability to access learning; allowing them to take part in activities otherwise inaccessible; helping them to gain new skills; enabling them to have enhanced quality of life
  3. how students’ own aspirations, interests, preferences, opinions and feedback have been central to the development of the practice
  4. what evidence you have that your use of technology is making a positive difference for students.

Pathways into employment

This award will go to the college that has demonstrated the most innovative practice in building progression pathways into employment for students.

Tell us:

  1. how your practice is furthering students’ chances of gaining employment after leaving college, why you introduced this practice and what makes it innovative
  2. how you are working with employers and / or other partners to build and sustain your pathways
  3. how you have ensured that students’ aspirations, interests, strengths and skills are core to the development of the pathways
  4. what evidence you have that this practice has made a positive difference for students in terms of employment outcomes such as paid work.

Student Voice

This award will go to the college that has demonstrated the most innovative practice in terms of enabling their students to have a voice and act on what students tell them.

Tell us:

  1. what student voice practice you have introduced, why you introduced it and what makes it innovative
  2. how your new practice has empowered students and allowed them to have a greater say about what happens in college and / or on their courses
  3. how you have used the voices of students, heard as a result of your innovative practice, to make positive changes in your college or more widely
  4. what evidence you have that your new practice has had a positive impact on students, for example, in terms of the skills, confidence or self-esteem they have developed.

Wellbeing and mental health

This award will go to the college that has demonstrated the most innovative practice in relation to wellbeing and mental health.

Tell us:

  1. what wellbeing or mental health practice you have introduced, why it was needed and what makes it innovative
  2. how students have been involved in the design and / or implementation of the initiative
  3. how your new practice fits into your wider healthy-college approach
  4. what evidence you have that your new practice is having a positive impact on students, for example in terms of improved wellbeing and / or mental health, being better informed, more aware of sources of support or more able to communicate about their mental health / wellbeing needs.

Inter-disciplinary working

This award will go to the college that has demonstrated the most innovative practice in joint working between different disciplines within their setting, for example teachers and therapists curriculum planning together or job coaches and assistive technologists collectively designing bespoke in-work support for students.

Tell us:

  1. what inter-disciplinary practice you have introduced, why it was needed and what makes it innovative
  2. why interdisciplinary working was key in achieving your objectives
  3. how the new approach has enabled staff from different disciplines to learn from one another and how staff sharing their learning has helped students
  4. what evidence you have that students have benefited from this new inter-disciplinary practice, for example in terms of increased independence or capacity for self-determination, improved progress in their learning, or increased access to learning opportunities.

Partnership working

This award will go to the college that has demonstrated the most innovative work with partners to expand or improve opportunities for students. The partnership must be with external partners, for example local authorities / adult services; community or charitable organisations; housing associations; employers; parents; general FE colleges or schools.

Tell us:

  1. about the partnership you have developed, why you are working in partnership and what makes your approach innovative
  2. about the different contributions of each partner
  3. how you are maintaining the partnership, in particular ensuring that it has firm foundations so that it is not solely dependent on good relationships between individuals
  4. what evidence you have to show that your innovative approach to partnership working is having a positive impact on students, for example enabling them to achieve ambitious learning outcomes, develop skills relevant to their post-college ambitions or make more informed choices about employment options.

Curriculum innovation

A man and a woman having a discussion over a file folder

This award will go to the college that has demonstrated the most innovative practice in relation to the design and / or delivery of their curriculum. The practice can relate to the whole college curriculum or focus in on a specific area, aspect or student group, for example the vocational curriculum, a level 2 catering course, the independence pathway, learning about Prevent, sex and relationships education for PMLD learners, or A level maths for students with visual impairment.

Tell us:

  1. about your new curriculum content or approach to delivery, why you have introduced it and what makes it innovative
  2. how you have involved students in developing the new content or approach and how you have ensured that that they are enthusiastic about and motivated by it
  3. how you have ensured that the new content or approach is up-to-date, consistent with best / industry practice or other guidelines, and relevant for the intended students
  4. what evidence you have that shows the new content or approach is benefitting students, for example in helping them to access new learning, engage more fully or make improved progress.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

A group of college students standing outside the college. Some are in wheelchairs.

This award will go to the college that has demonstrated the most innovative practice in building an inclusive organisation in which all people are treated fairly and where intersectionality is recognised and diversity celebrated.

While the initiative may include staff and other stakeholders, it must involve students. It can relate to the whole organisation or address a particular equality, diversity or inclusion issue, for example in relation to a particular student group, activity within college or curriculum area.

Tell us:

  1. about your new equality, diversity and / or inclusion practice, why you have introduced it, how students have been involved and what makes it innovative
  2. how the attitudes, behaviours, knowledge and / or understanding of students and staff have changed as a result of your innovative practice
  3. how you will ensure that the impact of your initiative is far-reaching and that it continues over time to help you build and sustain an inclusive organisation in which all people are treated fairly and where intersectionality is recognised and diversity celebrated
  4. what evidence you have that your new equality, diversity and / or inclusion practice has made a positive difference for the target group and the wider college.