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Derwen College scoops national award

Derwen College has been crowned Further Education Provider of the Year at nasen’s seventh annual awards.

The College was recognised for its outstanding work in supporting children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and learning differences to reach their full potential.

The awards ceremony, held at the Grand Hotel Birmingham, was hosted by nasen – the National Association for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities – and supported by official media sponsors, tes.

nasen is a charitable membership organisation that exists to support and champion those working with, and for, children and young people with SEND and learning differences.

Derwen was recognised for its outstanding work to enable all students with SEND to reach their aspirations, regardless of their ability, gender, race or sexual orientation.

The college provides an extensive range of opportunities for students to learn key life skills, not only through many wellbeing activities and weekly external work placements, but also at the college’s unique Marketplace, where student-led shops, eateries and a small hotel are all open to the public.

Derwen’s theatre group raises awareness around topics including bullying and kindness, as well as the college’s dynamic Duke of Edinburgh Awards programme – which includes an adapted Bronze award opportunity for students with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

The College also has a commitment to Student Voice, and a dedicated personal, social and health education (PSHE) team delivers topics which include, ‘my place in the world’ and a ‘moving on’ module preparing students for that all-important leap to life after college.

Fifteen other schools, individuals and organisations were recognised alongside Derwen College, judged by a panel of leading professionals with a wealth of experience in education and SEND – as well as individuals with lived experience.

Helen Owen, personal development and wellbeing manager at Derwen College, said: “This award recognises a cross-college team effort, where staff from across care, education, wellbeing and therapies all collaborate to make a real difference to the lives of our students and the wider community.

"We have a shared commitment to break down barriers and challenge preconceptions around SEND, supporting students to thrive as they move from full time education into the next stage of their lives.”

Chief executive of nasen Annamarie Hassall said: “Derwen College should be extremely proud of what they have achieved. We received the greatest number of nominations this year, full of inspiring and deserving schools, colleges, settings and individuals that are working together to make a difference for children and young people.

“All our winners, and those nominated, are true role models for the sector, shaping practice in their setting, while leading and inspiring others. They exemplify what is making a difference for learners with SEND and most of all, for inclusion.”