Myerscough College’s Merseyside campus at Croxteth Park has been recognised for its work with a nomination at the 2020 Tes FE Awards.
The prestigious awards honour the most outstanding individuals and institutions that the further education sector has to offer, with Myerscough’s Croxteth campus being shortlisted in the Contribution to the local community category. The award recognises the individual, team or FE provider that has made the most impact in supporting the community socially, culturally or economically in the 2018-19 academic year.
Community cohesion has been a key focus at Myerscough’s Croxteth Park centre for many years, but with added focus since the official opening of the campuses multi-million pound refurbishment and extension in January, 2019, receiving significant investment (£3.5 Million) from Liverpool City Region to provide outstanding facilities and specialist equipment those studying at the College, and in doing so, recognising the significant contribution the College makes to the local community.
The centre recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, and from its beginnings in 1999, has provided provide land-based education and training programmes locally to Liverpool residents, delivering traditionally rural programmes in a very deprived urban environment. Over the last twenty years the centre has evolved to become a beacon of good practice in term of social inclusion, community cohesion and providing the opportunity for learners from this very deprived community to achieve qualifications that lead to employment or further study.
The 2018/19 academic year saw the culmination of all the hard work as in excess of 300 students enrolled at the centre, which is based within the grounds of Croxteth Hall and Country Park, using park facilities to deliver land-based programmes whilst improving the environment for the local community. The local authority funding challenges have resulted in significant cuts to the park budget, and so the College is able to support by providing practical help, whilst promoting ownership within the local community. Support includes maintaining the Walled Garden within the park, managing and maintaining sections of the woodland and working with voluntary organisations such as the Friends of Croxteth Hall and Country Park, Croxteth Park Volunteer Group and Mersey Forrest to plant trees, litter pick, and control vegetation.
All of these activities contribute towards every learner’s Study Programme, promote health and well-being, break down generational differences and perceptions, as young adults work with more mature residents, and has a positive impact on the environment.
Liverpool sits in second place in the list of local authority districts with the highest proportion of deprived neighbourhoods in the country, with the Croxteth ward making a considerable contribution towards this statistic, with high child poverty and unemployment, whilst household income and attainment at Key Stage 4 remains low. Despite these challenges, the College continues to be the top performing institution in the area, in terms of 16-18 student achievement, as was reflected in the most recent Government league tables. There are a disproportionately high number of students with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or who are in Local Authority Care (LAC) studying at the Centre, who are supported to achieve.
It is the belief of the team that the College prevents many local young people from becoming NEET (not in education, employment, or training), as they work tirelessly to raise the aspirations of the students and their families to support them in achieving their goals. Many students, some of whom are school refusers, are the first in their families to engage in full time education, with progression into further study or employment exceeding all expectations.
We are committed to continuing this work. The Croxteth Park Centre is recognised as a high-performing centre that makes a significant contribution to the community that it serves, being recognised as such by local community groups, park users, employers, governors, schools, elected members etc.
Tes FE editor, Stephen Exley said: “Excellent practice exists right across the further education sector, and those shortlisted for the Tes FE Awards are the cream of the crop.
‘’Our judges were extremely impressed with the calibre of entries. To be shortlisted is an extraordinary achievement."
Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Congratulations to all of those who have made the shortlist for the Tes FE Awards. The awards are a great opportunity to celebrate and recognise the brilliant work being carried out every day around the country across the sector.
“You should all be very proud of the work you are doing to support people to develop the skills they need to transform their lives.”
The winners will be revealed at a gala awards evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London on Friday 20th March.
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by Dave Salmon