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Students get their say in LOOP awards

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Lewisham Southwark College is to host the first ever LOOP Awards – the first Further Education awards based solely on what students think about their colleges – and has been shortlisted in six different awards categories! The event will take place at our new Southwark campus on Thursday 24 November.


The College, which has been a partner of LOOP, the student-led ratings and review website, since it was set up in 2014, has been shortlisted for awards in Practical Learning, Support, Safety, Careers Advice, Teaching Quality and College Life. Colleges are shortlisted based on reviews and ratings, and winners then decided by a student judging panel.

The Awards will see our College welcoming staff and students from FE institutions across the UK. As well as honouring the winners, the event will feature the stories behind partner colleges and their journey to improve services for students.

The LOOP Awards are aimed at celebrating institutions that are raising standards in education through high quality student feedback. Since the launch of LOOP, over 10,000 students have given their views and helped drive forward over 500 educational improvements.

Jayne Morgan, Assistant Principal Quality and Improvement at the College, says: “We’re so proud to be hosting the first ever LOOP Awards! We’ve been involved from the very start of this exciting and innovative project which students and the college have benefited from. LOOP training upskills students, makes them partners in improvement and gives the college valuable insights into their experience.”

Our annual Student Awards saw students, their friends and family, staff and special guests coming together for an exciting evening at our Lewisham Way campus on 10th November.

The Awards recognised the hard work and wonderful achievements of students in categories including ‘most improved student of the year’, ‘best future employee’ and ‘enterprise student of the year’. The 90 students shortlisted for the Awards, who were nominated by their tutors, came from across every department and all campuses – from beauty to business and construction to catering.

The Awards ceremony welcomed special guests including a number of valued sponsors who have supported students through their donations and by providing work placement opportunities. Learners from many departments helped make the evening a success, including our catering students who provided the delicious nibbles and our dance and drama students who entertained guests.

College Principal Carole Kitching says: “We’re very proud of everything our students have achieved – from the high achievers to those stepping out of their comfort zones and overcoming personal difficulties. We know that this is only the beginning of a fulfilling career for our award-winning students, and we look forward to following their success in the future.”

 

The run up to Christmas is a peak period in the floristry industry, and our floristry learners are getting a real taste of what working life is like at this hectic time of year. Students from all levels have been given the chance to work at top London floristry business Hayford and Rhodes over the next six weeks – and have already made a great impression at the company.

This is the first time Hayford and Rhodes has opened its doors to trainees – usually it only employs senior florists – making it a new experience for both our students and the company. Based near the Shard, Hayford and Rhodes is the oldest family florist business in London and has won numerous awards for its stunning floral work.

The first group of students working at the company are focused on producing bespoke Christmas floral decorations, and full of enthusiasm about the experience. “Watching the florists working is very inspiring,” they say. “We have had fun working together, and I think this experience is turning us into a real team.”

Hayford and Rhodes’ Managing Director Joanna Rhodes says, “The students have been amazing this week. My whole team have been seriously impressed, and I would welcome all these girls back any time! They have supported all areas, including events, conditioning flowers and helping with packing designs for delivery. They have also helped at a wedding at Two Temple.”

Course tutor Louise Roffey says, “This is a fantastic experience for our students as they’re really seeing how demanding but exciting it can be to work in floristry at this busy time of year.”

Performing at a glitzy awards ceremony and receiving an unprecedented Distinction grade are just two of the recent achievements of our Level 3 music learners.

A talented and highly enthusiastic group of students, they have provided the music at over 20 College events – including the Goldsmiths progression event – while students at other London colleges generally participate in around three to five music performances each year.

Our Level 3 music performers also won a national ‘call out’ by Creative & Cultural Skills for colleges to submit audition pieces for the chance to perform at its Awards Dinner. Judged the winners, our students played live at the glamorous event, which was hosted by MOBO Awards founder Kanya King, as well as claiming £250 prize money and a recording session.

Our music learners have also performed at an exceptionally high level academically. Not only were their final projects selected by the examining body to be used on the UAL website as excellent examples of work, student Amira Haddad also managed to complete her Extended Project to such a high level she was awarded an unprecedented Level 4 Distinction grade (equivalent to a Foundation degree). Joshua Philips, who started at the College as an entry level student over five years ago, proved what can be achieved with hard work and good support when he was awarded a Merit grade in his Extended Diploma in Music Performance & Production.

Course team leader Christopher Baker says, “I think our learners are doing well because there’s a high level of expectancy of them and they’re in an environment where they’re allowed to flourish. In their project work they have the freedom to direct their own learning and access to a wide range of resources, with plenty of support and help from staff to enable them to deliver.”

 

 

Annie Dehaney-Steven, Lecturer in Maths, Functional Skills and GCSE at the College, showed a different side when she and her band Indigo Shades provided the music at a hugely successful ‘Pink Gin’ event held in aid of charity Shelter Box. The event raised £3,000 – three times the original target – which will provide relief for people in the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo.

Singer Annie and her three bandmates played a selection of jazz numbers at the outdoor event on 4 September, organised by Rotary Club Putney. Guests, who paid a door fee, enjoyed an afternoon of great music, delicious Middle Eastern food and, of course, pink gin! The venue, food, drink, music and items for a special auction were donated by local businesses and individuals.

Shelter Box is a British charity that provides boxes of essentials specifically designed to protect a maximum of 16 people against the sudden onset of extreme conditions such as toxic threat and flooding.

Annie says, “The plan was to raise £1,000 – enough to buy one Shelter Box. The event actually raised enough money to buy three! I’m delighted to have been able to contribute to such a great afternoon and support the besieged residents of Aleppo.”

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