Portsmouth College recognised by Sixth Form Colleges Association for giving students a flying start

A CITY college has won a national award for continuing to ensure teenagers have the careers guidance they need during lockdown.
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As well as being unable to sit their GCSE exams, Year 11 students have faced a void of career guidance as they looked to make the transition from school to college education and apprenticeships.

Portsmouth College, in conjunction with other colleges and Portsmouth City Council, set up the Flying Start initiative – an interactive online community learning programme which helps students make the right choices for the next stage of their education.

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Portsmouth College principal, Simon Barrable, said it was a 'true honour' to receive the award.

Picture: Habibur RahmanPortsmouth College principal, Simon Barrable, said it was a 'true honour' to receive the award.

Picture: Habibur Rahman
Portsmouth College principal, Simon Barrable, said it was a 'true honour' to receive the award. Picture: Habibur Rahman
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The college has now received the Community Impact award at the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) Annual Awards Ceremony for its leading role in the project.

Portsmouth College principal, Simon Barrable, said: ‘We were delighted to hear we’d been shortlisted for this SFCA award but to win for the community impact that the Flying Start initiative has had on the city, is a true honour.

‘We knew we had to reach out to those students who were in the transition of progressing from school to college, apprenticeships or employment.

‘I want to express my sincere thanks to staff and partners for all the outstanding work which has made this collaboration a real success and not only given vital support to young people in the city, but also greater confidence in us as providers of further education and for many of them, the next step in their journey.’

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With many youngsters facing heightened anxiety after seeing their schooling cut short, the website also offers support for children who may be struggling with their mental health.

After being launched in April, the initiative has now been adopted by Southampton and Dorset councils.

City council cabinet member for education, Councillor Suzy Horton, said: ‘Winning the SFCA Award illustrates all the hard work that everyone has put in, but more importantly reaffirms the continued need to support those moving into further education at this time.

‘A huge congratulations to all involved.’

Building on the success of the website, the college will be launching virtual introduction days for Year 11 pupils from July 6 and virtual taster days for Year 10 students.

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