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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Blackpool and The Fylde College gets gold gong for teaching standards and student experience

Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC) has been awarded an overall Gold rating for the standard of its higher education – including providing outstanding rates of progression for students.

B&FC – which operates from five campuses and four specialist centres, employing 1,000 people – has received Teaching Excellence Framework Gold, the highest possible award in the revamped ratings by higher education regulatory body the Office for Students.

It is also the only institution in Lancashire and one of only two HE providers in the North West to achieve this significant accolade.

It is also one of only three further education colleges in England to receive Gold for all three elements out of a total of 228 HE providers.

The college works extensively with more than 1,800 local, national and international employers.

The award provides an overall rating made up of two individual assessments relating to student experience and student outcomes.


Collaborations with organisations like Vodafone, Blackpool Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust and BAE Systems have played a significant role in ensuring that degree provision delivered at B&FC remains relevant and cutting edge.

Course content has been co-created to ensure that students and apprentices develop the critical knowledge, skills and behaviours that are highly sought-after by employers and which will fill the skills gap in regional and national economies. This is complemented by industry-expert teaching staff who regularly update their own skills and knowledge through industry experience days.

Gold ratings

The Gold ratings, which last for four years, indicate that the student experience and outcomes on B&FC’s undergraduate courses, including higher and degree apprenticeships, are typically outstanding.

This achievement is even more remarkable given that this is not the first time the College has been awarded TEF Gold. It originally achieved this accolade in 2017 before a new framework was developed. Both awards were based on submissions from the college and from students and apprentices.

B&FC, which has indefinite foundation degree and time-limited degree awarding powers, as well as offering degree courses accredited by Lancaster University, was assessed on its provision for both undergraduates and higher and degree apprentices, which currently total more than 2,500.

Principal Alun Francis OBE said it was an even greater achievement due to the geographical nature of the college and the diverse make-up of its students and apprentices.

Diverse courses

He said: “Unlike more traditional universities, B&FC delivers over 50 diverse professional and technical HE courses, including higher and degree apprenticeships and operates over a broad church, with students coming from a mix of backgrounds – from those coming straight from further education at age 18 to students coming back into education later in life, those studying alongside employment and others who may be the first in their family to go on to higher education.

“Our student-centred approach and smaller class sizes ensure our learners succeed in their course and progress to highly skilled employment through a bespoke offering that caters for their needs throughout their time with us.

“This Gold rating is evidence that our extensive efforts for every student and apprentice, and recognition that our personalised approaches with wraparound support, are working. It is particularly rewarding that so many students – from our University Centre close to the centre of Blackpool to Fleetwood Nautical College, where our seafaring students study – got involved in feeding back to the Office for Students about their positive experiences.”

Flexible approach

Appreciating that not all students can commit to a three-year programme from the outset, B&FC offers the option of taking degree-level study one year at a time with students being able to sign up for one-year programmes like Higher National Certificates and Certificates of Higher Education initially before moving on to further study.

This flexible approach benefits employers, who can upskill or reskill existing employees with a widely recognised qualification in less than a year.

B&FC is developing a number of Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs), which are designed by businesses and employers.

It is also the lead college of the new Lancashire and Cumbria Institute of Technology (L&C IoT), created to deliver a highly skilled workforce for the region.

Immensely proud

Carrie Lee, Students’ Union sabbatical officer, who, led the student submission said: “As a former B&FC student now responsible for leading the Students’ Union, it makes me immensely proud to know that the college has been awarded TEF Gold.

“This achievement is testament to the continuous and dedicated collective hard work of B&FC staff, students and apprentices and the businesses which support us. It’s a recognition of the high standards that B&FC set, and are held accountable for, and a celebration of our core values, which sets students and apprentices at the heart of what we do.”



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