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London Colleges Win Prestigious LEP Award

Posted 4th July 2008


(from left to right it is: Trevor Hunter, Curriculum Manager for Applied Optics, City and Islington College; Derek Puddick, Director of  Centre, City and Islington College; Khairal Rahman, ex Optics Student, City and Islington College, now City University; Ian Ashman, Principal, Hackney Community College; Julian Vennis, Director, London Beijing World City Links; Dorothy Jones, Principal, Southwark College)

The London Beijing Vocational Education Project was crowned winner of a London Education Partnership Award (LEPA) in the Lighting the Flame category at an awards ceremony in ‘s on 17 June.

Co-ordinated by Ian Ashman – Principal of Hackney Community College, the project, which was a partnership of 18 further and higher education institutions, was applauded for its remarkable success in attracting students aged 16 to 19 from disadvantaged backgrounds into higher education, using the London 2012 Olympics.

Each of the 18 institutions involved in the project has a “˜twin’ organisation in and, for two years, students and staff have been visiting their Chinese partner to learn how the Olympics can be used to promote educational achievement. As part of the project, students and their counterparts took part in the Fashion Awareness Direct competition, where the brief was to design fashion inspired by the 2008 and 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, tied in with and ‘s historic trading links. Nicole de Silva, a student, went on to win the competition.  Other projects included City and students developing cutting edge sports eyewear and composing an Olympics theme tune.

Over 300 students and more than 50 staff are involved and at least 20 students will be reception hosts in for this year’s Games. Over 90 per cent of those who took part in international visits have gone on to higher education from level 3 courses, compared with an Inner London average of 15 per cent of 18 year olds.

LEPA, now in its second year, is a celebration of innovative partnerships created to enable young people and mature students to access higher education. This year alone entries were submitted involving more than 200 different organisations and educational institutions and covering a wide range of subject areas and educational and personal development.

Receiving the award on behalf of the Project, Ian Ashman commented “We are delighted to receive this award, in particular for the ’2012 Lighting the Flame’ category, sponsored by Podium. This is a unique partnership of 18 further and higher education colleges working in partnership across the capital and developing twinning relationships with Beijing Vocational Schools to learn lessons from the 2008 Games. Our aims are to help ensure the maximum benefit for Londoners from the 2012 Games, as well as give our current students international understanding and experience. The project has also proved a massively effective staff development experience, allowing staff to learn from Chinese educational practice and from each other.

We’d like to thank our funders, the London Development Agency and the Prime Minister’s Initiative for International Education for making the project possible, as well as the London Education Partnership Awards for this recognition of a really unique and exciting initiative.”