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Weston College of Further and Higher Education is a general college of further and higher education in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England. It provides education and vocational training from age 14 to adult. In 2015, the college provided education to approximately 30,000 enrolled learners. It is regarded as one of the top FE colleges in the UK. The college is part of the 9th largest college group in the UK.
|Motto||"Creating brighter futures"|
|Principal||Dr Paul Phillips|
In an Ofsted inspection in January 2014 it received an overall grade of "outstanding". In 2017, the college was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. On 27 February 2015, the college was named "College of the Year" and "Overall FE Provider of the Year" at the Times Educational Supplement Further Education awards. It is a major employer in Weston-super-Mare, employing over 500 members of staff. On 25 November 2015, the college announced that it was to become a university centre in partnership with the University of the West of England.
The first recorded educational building to be built on the college site was the National School, constructed at the corner of Knightstone Road and Lower Church Road. Its construction was funded by Archdeacon Henry Law, Weston-super-Mare's rector from 1834 to 1838 and also 1840 to 1862. Archdeacon Law donated approximately £15,000 towards the cost of churches, schools and other public buildings in the Weston area. The National School opened to 320 students on 22 September 1845 - the day George Henry Law (Bishop of Bath and Wells), the archdeacon's father, died.
In 1897, the boys’ department moved to the newly built Board School in Walliscote Road and the National School became a girls’ school. The school changed its name to St John's Church School and was closed in 1964 before being demolished in May 1966 to make way for the development of Weston Technical College, a building that is now used as the college's Knightstone Campus.
Following the mid-century reforms of Henry Cole and others, which promoted the creation of schools to develop a pool of skilled technicians and designers necessary to maintain the country's industrial dominance, the Hans Price-designed School of Science and Art, now known as the Weston College Conference Centre, was built in 1892 and opened the following year. The building was Grade 2 listed on 19 May 1983 and was completely refurbished from a derelict state in 2012. In August 2013, the college's redevelopment of the building was nominated for an English Heritage Angel Award to "recognise the time, effort and determination" of the college for the rescue of the building.
In 2014, North Somerset Council approached the college's leadership team with the idea of handing the Winter Gardens Pavilion over to the college in order to establish a new base for the college's expanding higher education provision and its proposed law and professional services academy. The building had previously been reported as running at a loss of around £30,000 per month. Plans to refurbish and redevelop the building were approved in October 2015, and the building was formally transferred to the college in April 2016.
On 25 November 2015, the college announced that it had been granted university centre status in partnership with the University of the West of England. Part of the college's new higher education provision will be based in the Winter Gardens, when it reopens in 2017.
On 11 January 2016, the college announced that it had purchased the Arosfa Hotel in Weston-super-Mare in order to redevelop it as a Law and Professional Services Academy. It was reopened for teaching after extensive renovation in September 2016.
The college offers A level courses, vocational courses, apprenticeships, traineeships, courses for the unemployed and work-related courses in nine subject areas: administration, business management, foundation English, hair and beauty, independent living and leisure, public services, science, sport, and vehicle engineering. It also provides training for work in the building, catering and plumbing trades. It has facilities for learners with difficulties and/or disabilities (LDD). It also offers some associate degree courses; its degrees are validated by Bath Spa University and by the University of the West of England.
The number of students enrolled in the college's higher education provision has grown considerably over the last decade. In 2009/2010 there were 450 undergraduate students on degree courses. In September 2015, the number of students enrolled in the college's higher education provision had almost doubled to 862.
In 2012, Weston College won a £10 million contract to provide education to inmates of 13 prisons in the South West of England.
In 2015, Weston College invested £1.5 million into creating a "Future Technology Centre" at the South West Skills Campus, enabling the college to teach a full engineering curriculum. In September 2015, Weston College announced that it had won a contract to train apprentices for GKN Aerospace.
Weston College has three main campuses: Knightstone Campus, which used to be Weston-super-Mare Technical College; Loxton Campus, on the site of Broadoak Sixth Form Centre on Loxton Road; and South West Skills Campus. Care and management of horses and other animals are taught at Badgworth Equestrian and Animal Centre.
The Knightstone Campus is the college's main site, located near Weston-super-Mare's town centre, and where its leadership team and support staff are primarily based. The Knightstone Campus is the tallest building in Weston at nine stories in height.
Along with classrooms and office space, the campus contains a library, a canteen, hair and beauty salons, a gym including a sports hall on the 7th floor, a training kitchen and restaurant, and specialist facilities for people with learning difficulties and disabilities. The building also has a university centre on its sixth floor, and a wing of performing arts and musical theatre studios in a single story extension at the rear of the building.
In 1998, the college renovated the Knightstone Campus in order to soften and modernise its reception's appearance. The college's entrance was originally located on the first floor, accessible by a flight of stairs located on the college's southern, Knightstone Road facing elevation. The renovation moved the entrance to the ground floor and relocated it on the college's east elevation, facing Lower Church Road.
In 1998, North Somerset Council handed over the ailing Broadoak Sixth Form College on Loxton Road to Weston College, which launched the facility as Weston College's Sixth Form Centre the following year. In 2007 the building underwent substantial redevelopment and was renamed the Jill Dando Centre in commemoration of murdered local television presenter and journalist Jill Dando, who went to college on the site.
In 2006, construction began on the plot adjacent to the sixth form centre to create Weston College's Loxton Campus. The £15 million university campus was opened by Anne, Princess Royal on 23 June 2008.
The campus contains a series of suites and studios from which the college teaches its creative arts courses and some of its degree level education.
The facilities include performance spaces, creative arts workshops, graphic design studios, recording and rehearsal suites, a library and a canteen. The building also has its own sports pitch.
South West Skills CampusEdit
The South West Skills Campus on Locking Road comprises the college's 'Technology, Engineering and Construction Centre of Excellence', its automotive training centre, its business enterprise centre, its eco-house and its 'Future Technology Centre', which includes its engineering centre.
In August 2015, the campus was nominated for the Best Educational Building and Best Change of Use of an Existing Building categories at the Local Authority Building Control Building Excellence Awards.
In 2012 the 10-bedroom Weston Bay Hotel was refurbished as residential accommodation for learners with special educational needs, with a focus on learners on the autism spectrum. The facility promotes independent living and social skills, and assist its learners by increasing their access to Higher Education and career opportunities.
In January 2015, North Somerset Council agreed to sell Weston-super-Mare's Winter Gardens Pavilion to the college for the nominal fee of £1. The sale is part of the council's plan to regenerate Weston-super-Mare's town centre and the college intend to turn the building into a Law and Professional Services Academy.
The college was assessed by OFSTED in December 2013, and was classified in Grade 1, "outstanding", for overall effectiveness, for its results, for teaching quality, and for management effectiveness. It was the first general further education college in the West of England to receive this grade under the new OFSTED framework. It was assessed as Grade 1 in five of its nine subject areas, and Grade 2, "good", in the remaining four.
The college's 2016 A Level results indicated that 99% of its students passed, with 74% achieving at least one grade above a 'C', and 46% achieving 'B' to 'A*'. In 2018, the college's A-level result pass rate remained at 99% for the third consecutive year.
In 2014, more than 20 per cent of the college's Bachelor of Arts graduates achieved a first class honours degree, beating the national average of 16 per cent. In September 2015, this number of graduates achieving first class honours rose to 21.3%.
In 2016, higher education teaching at Weston College was assessed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. It reported that the college met expectations and that the quality of student learning opportunities was 'commended', which is the highest grade the organisation can give.
Weston College GroupEdit
University Centre WestonEdit
In 2016, Weston College re-branded its higher education provision to reflect its university centre status with UWE Bristol. The University Centre Weston brand was debuted on the hoarding surrounding the seafront section of the Winter Gardens Pavilion in August 2016.
Inspirational Futures TrustEdit
In 2012, Weston College founded and acted as the main sponsor for the Inspirational Futures Trust; a multi-academy sponsoring charity. In 2014 the college assisted in the creation of the North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College, an academy that specialises in the STEM fields, and assisted in the planning and developing of its campus, Weston College Academy. In 2015, Herons' Moor Academy joined the trust, and St Katherine's in Pill, Somerset intends to join the organisation in 2016.
In 2016 the trust opened the Bristol Futures Academy, a 14-16 alternative provision free school for learners with behavioural issues.
In 2018, the Weston Mercury reported that the trust may cease to exist in its current form, and that restructures had been proposed.
Offender Learning Services LimitedEdit
In August 2012, Weston College won the south west offender learning provision contract from Strode College, and has since delivered offender learning to 13 prisons in the south west of England. Following prison closures across the country, the college now delivers to the following nine prisons: HM Prison Erlestoke, HM Prison The Verne, HM Prison Bristol, HM Prison Channings Wood, HM Prison Dartmoor, HM Prison Eastwood Park, HM Prison Exeter, HM Prison Leyhill and HM Prison Portland.
|Bristol Education Provider of the year||Bristol Life Awards||2018|
|Training Provider of the Year||Bristol and Bath Apprenticeship Awards||2018|
|Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education||The Royal Anniversary Trust||2017|
|Beacon Award for Learning Difficulties and Disabilities||The Association of Colleges||2017|
|Beacon Award for Widening Participation||The Association of Colleges||2017|
|Higher Education Quality Mark||Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education||2016|
|Matrix Standard accreditation for advice and support services ||Assessment Services Ltd||2015|
|Beacon Award for Careers Education and Guidance||The Association of Colleges||2015|
|Beacon Award the Effective Integration of Libraries/Learning Resources Centres in Curriculum Delivery||The Association of Colleges||2015|
|College of the Year||Times Educational Supplement||2015|
|Overall FE Provider of the Year||Times Educational Supplement||2015|
|Gold Award for staff development||Investors in People||2013|
|Sword of Honour||British Safety Council||2012|
|Building of the Year||Somerset Trust||2012|
|Beacon Award for Inclusive Practice||The Association of Colleges||2012|
|Champion status for staff development||Investors in People||2010|
|Crème de la Crème Business Award||Awards Intelligence||2010|
- George Shelley, former member of the British boy band Union J
- Nutty Noah, a singer-songwriter
- Alfred Leete, creator of the Lord Kitchener Wants You recruitment campaign, studied at the School of Science and Art
- Jill Dando, television presenter and journalist, studied at the former Broadoak Sixth Form Centre which later became Weston College's University Campus
- Sophie Long, journalist and BBC News presenter
- Michelle Terry, actor and writer
- Prideaux, Sophie. "Weston-super-Mare step closer to becoming university town as college given University Centre status". The Bristol Post. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- "Weston College holds biggest ever graduation ceremony". The Weston Mercury. 28 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
- "Register of HE providers". Higher Education Funding Council for England. Higher Education Funding Council for England. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- "Weston College named as top Further Education establishment in the UK". This is The West Country. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
- Yong, Michael (27 July 2016). "7 things we learned from City of Bristol College's latest Ofsted". The Bristol Post. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
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- Bristol Post, "Weston College rated as outstanding by OFSTED".
- Woodsford, Henry. "Weston College receives prestigious royal recognition". Weston Mercury. Archant. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- TES FE awards, "Weston College celebrate awards".
- Cheddar Valley Gazette, "Weston College celebrate awards".
- "LinkedIn: Weston College". LinkedIn.
- Poole, Sharon (2012). Weston-super-Mare Then and Now in Colour (1 ed.). Stroud: The History Press. ISBN 9780752467955.
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- "School of Science and Art, Weston-Super-Mare". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- "Education Buildings". Historic England. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- Hans Price gem is back to its best, Weston, Worle & Somerset Mercury.
- "Project to restore Weston-super-Mare heritage recognised at national awards ceremony". South West Business. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
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- "History Of Weston Weston College". FE Jobs. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
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- Evans, Bethan. "Key venues in crisis?". Weston Mercury. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
- Millett, Briana. "Weston College's plans for the Winter Gardens approved". Weston Mercury. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
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- Robinson, Sarah. "Weston College buys hotel to transform into academy". Weston Mercury. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
- "IN PICTURES: Former Arosfa Hotel now open for teaching at Weston College". Weston Mercury. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
- Wilf Hudson (20 January 2014). Further Education and Skills inspection report: Weston College – General further education college; Inspection Number: 423351. Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (OFSTED). Accessed November 2014.
- [s.n.] (October 2011). Integrated quality and enhancement review: Summative review: Weston College SR 004/11. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Accessed November 2014.
- Russell Jordan (21 October 2010). "Weston College: Focused monitoring visit report" (PDF). Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (OFSTED).. Accessed November 2014.
- Bethan Evans (25 January 2013). College lands £10m contract to educate prison inmates. Weston, Worle & Somerset Mercury. Accessed November 2014.
- Thompson, Gavin. "Weston College wins contract to train GKN Aerospace apprentices after investing £1.5 million in facilities". SouthWestBusiness. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
- "GKN Aerospace and Weston College join forces to launch apprenticeship programme". Business Leader. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
- Weston College Guide, The Telegraph.
- What Can I Study?, Badgworth Arena.
- "Campuses and facilities". www.weston.ac.uk. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
- "Space and softness for Weston College". The Architects' Journal. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Herbert, Paul. "College takes over a school's sixth form". Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
- "College unveils new Jill Dando tribute". The Weston Mercury. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
- "New £15m campus image is unveiled". The Weston mercury. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
- "Royal visit for Weston". The Weston mercury.
- Millett, Briana. "Weston College campus finalist in two design awards". The Weston Mercury. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
- BBC News, "Weston College opens special needs academy".
- "Weston College spends £1 million on new LDD facilities". The Bristol Post. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
- "Weston's Winter Gardens sold to Weston College for £1". BBC. BBC. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
- "New Lease of Life for Weston-super-Mare's Winter Gardens". Bristol Post. Bristol Post. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
- The Guardian, "Winning over Ofsted: how to become an outstanding college".
- Bristol Post, "Ofsted College's 'amazing result' up with UK best".
- "Students Celebrate Excellent Exam Results | Weston College". www.weston.ac.uk. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Woodsford, Henry. "Weston College enjoys more than 99 per cent pass rate for third year running". Weston Mercury. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
- Robinson, Sarah (19 September 2014). "Gallery: College students celebrate degree success". The Weston Mercury. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
- "Higher Education Review of Weston College" (PDF). QAA. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
- Robins, Sheridan. "NEW: Latest from Weston College's Winter Gardens development". Weston Mercury. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- "North Somerset Enterprise and Technology". In North Somerset. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
- Millett, Briana. "First primary joins educational trust". The Weston Mercury. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
- Pickstock, Heather (9 May 2016). "St Katherine's School in Pill to become part of 'inspirational' trust by end of academic year". Bristol Post. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
- Yong, Michael. "New free school for children with behavioural issues to open in Bristol". The Bristol Post. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
- Young, Eleanor. "Future of Weston multi-academy trust uncertain". Weston Mercury. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- Offord, Paul. "Prison learning contracting under review". FE WEEK. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- Marks, Alexandra. "Provider involvement in prison learning review 'essential'". FE Week. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- "Education in South West prisons". Weston College. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- "2018 Winners". www.bristollifeawards.co.uk. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- "Finalists – Bristol & Bath Apprenticeship Awards". bbapprenticeshipawards.co.uk. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- Offord, Paul (14 November 2017). "Weston College takes two gongs at the AoC Beacon Awards". FE Week. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
- Millett, Briana. "Weston College given Matrix accreditation". The Weston Mercury. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "Beacon Award winners in full | FE Week". Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- "Weston College honoured | Business Leader". Business Leader. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- "Weston College named as top further education establishment in country". The Bristol Post. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- Millett, Briana. "Two national accolades for college". The Weston Mercury. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "Prestigious award for college". The Weston Mercury. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- Evans, Bethan. "College goes for gold in national award". The Weston mercury. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- Evans, Bethan. "Heritage award for a town 'jewel'". The Weston Mercury. Archant. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Evans, Bethan. "Weston College scoops Beacon Award". The Weston Mercury. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- Pickstock, Heather. "Is Clevedon's George Shelley from Union J about to head for the Australian jungle?". North Somerset Mercury. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- Pickstock, Heather. "BBC Radio Bristol - Steve Yabsley and Nutty Noah". BBC. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
- Bryant, Mark. "Poster Boy: Alfred Leete". History Today. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- Evans, Bethan. "News presenter returns to college". Weston Mercury. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
- Franklin, James. "Michelle is right at home for new Sky comedy show". Weston Mercury. Retrieved 12 January 2016.