High achieving college students from across South London took a trip to the House of Lords yesterday for a special afternoon tea to celebrate their successes.

The annual South London Learner Awards are presented on behalf of the Committee of South London Principals (COSLP). This year’s event was hosted by Lord Tope and saw 19 students presented with awards.

Proceedings were led by our own Principal, Sam Parrett OBE, who is the Chair of COSLP.

Guest speaker at the event was Chair of the Learning Revolution Trust, Martin Cumella. As one of the country’s leading specialists in programme development and education funding, Martin congratulated the winners and spoke about his organisation’s aim to help more people across the region access FE by removing financial barriers.

Each winner was presented with an award by their own college principal. A range of inspirational stories were heard and the many achievements celebrated.

London South East Colleges’ winners were Nadal Francisco and Skye Shane.

Nadal, an inspirational mature learner within the College’s Nido Volans centre, takes a full part in college life, despite his own physical challenges. As well as producing a regular newsletter, playing football and filming off-site college sporting activities, Nadal has helped the speech and language therapist run a group for other students using electronic communication aids. He has also undertaken paid employment with Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust – and then spoken to students at his old school about his experiences.

Also recognised for her achievements this year is Bexley-based student, Skye Shane. Throughout her Level 2 Childcare course, Skye has always been a conscientious and committed student despite having additional learning needs of her own. Skye is making fantastic progress with her college work, despite having to manage this alongside being a carer for her father and looking after her younger brother. She is supportive to all her classmates, always putting the needs of others before her own.

In addition, two of our outstanding English students, Brooke Mercer and Olawale Eletu attended the event to read our excerpts of poems they have written. The inspiring poetry celebrates British identity in 2017 and highlights the importance and impact that FE has on many people.

In her address to the event, Sam Parrett OBE said:

“What separates FE from schools and other educational institutions is that it offers many people a second chance to achieve their aspirations and career goals, that previously, for whatever reason, they were unable to reach.

“Our focus today is on celebrating the achievements of some very special learners – and the huge importance of lifelong learning. This enables people to develop knowledge and skills at any time in their lives, which is hugely important to them as individuals and to society as a whole.

“We have today heard some inspiring stories about learners who have overcome significant barriers to their learning, made exceptional progress or simply achieved an outstanding level of work in their chosen area of study.

“These powerful stories serve to remind those of us working in the sector what we are really here to do, to create the best possible learning opportunities for them.

“I’d also like to acknowledge and thank all members of teaching and support staff at all the COSLP colleges. You all do an amazing job and make a huge contribution to the success of our learners.”

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