Portsmouth College shortlisted for SFCA award after giving teenagers a flying start!


We are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for the Sixth Form Colleges Association Awards 2020. 

Our submission was chosen by the panel of judges as one of the top three in the ‘Community Impact’ category, which focused on our leading input in the Flying Start Portsmouth programme aimed at year 11 students in the City to continue learning amid the coronavirus crisis.

The online resource hub, launched in April, is dedicated to students in their final year of secondary education affected by school closures, who need help to plan and prepare for their next steps.

In conjunction with Portsmouth City Council, Highbury College, Havant & South Downs College and the Southern Universities Network, the website provides impartial information on further education, apprenticeships and future employment options in one place.

Simon Barrable, Principal of Portsmouth College commented;

“I am thrilled that we have been shortlisted for this SFCA Award for the community impact that the Flying Start initiative has had on the City. We built a coalition made up of the local authority, all the city’s secondary schools, other local colleges, 3rd sector organisations and the Southern University Network, to create an accessible online community of resources to help Year 11’s with the transition between school and their next steps which they desperately needed in such an uncertain time for them.”

He continued to extend his appreciation;

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our partners and staff for their hard work which has made this collaborative project a huge success and given confidence to young people in Portsmouth in the imminent stages of their educational journey.”

After such a positive response, the Flying Start concept has now spread well beyond Portsmouth, with sister sites in Dorset and Southampton. Hampshire are also looking into developing their own pages for the site to widen the opportunities for young people in the county.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council welcomed the news;

“Flying Start Portsmouth is a fantastic initiative that truly captures the community spirit in the city. It’s been a team effort all around with the council working with other organisations in the sector to ensure young people have the information they need during uncertain times. The website was put together in a matter of weeks which is an amazing achievement. Well done to all involved!”

The winner will be announced on Thursday 18th June at the SFCA Summer Festival, a digital conference. We have our fingers crossed – but even being shortlisted for this award is a fantastic endorsement of the efforts of our staff and partners in local authorities during difficult times.

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