Cambridge Regional College has won a prestigious national Times Educational Supplement (Tes) award for its support for students against stiff competition from colleges and training providers across the UK.
The college, which has campuses in Cambridge and Huntingdon, has been recognised for the extensive and innovative support provided to students to address the growing level of mental health issues, a trend seen across the UK, and ensuring support measures are in place to help learners address this potential barrier to learning and personal success
Michelle Dowse, Cambridge Regional College (CRC) Deputy Principal, commented: “We know a quarter of the population will suffer from mental health issues at some point in their lives. Over half of mental ill health starts by age 15 and 75% by age 18.
“Educational bodies therefore play a hugely important part of the UK’s mental health system as they are at the front line in engagement. As a college we have developed accessible services and effective strategies to ensure that students feel secure and supported. The hard work has paid off with CRC students confirming they feel comfortable seeking support and safe.
“The College’s online 24/7 personal support portal has ensured that support is even more accessible and we’ve seen significant numbers of students reach out for help and advice. In turn this has led to more students remaining in education and achieving their qualifications,
“This in itself is the reward, knowing we are helping people through the challenges they face and in achieving their personal goals. This recognition from the Tes Further Education Award is a very special achievement and celebrates the hard work of our staff at CRC. We are very proud of the support we offer our students and this ensured we were in a good place to support our student community remotely as Covid 19 changed everyone’s lives in 2020.”
The judges commended the 24/7 online hub in enabling all students, including apprentices, to access support services and seek the support they require discreetly and at a time that is convenient to them. Additional elements praised were the ‘invitation only’ lunchtime support sessions aimed at developing resilience and peer-to-peer support among vulnerable students and those with Education Health and Care Plans; a mental health wellbeing panel, made up of cross-college staff who meet regularly to discuss and identify appropriate interventions; training staff as mental health champions and developing mutually beneficial partnerships with local and national organisations to positively supplement the support already offered by college staff.
The judging panel commented on the work of CRC, “Good mental health provision isn’t always about making appointment times faster and taking on more staff. Cambridge Regional College has shown that there are other methods of supporting students and has made the most of technology to do so.”