Winners attended a black-tie event at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, hosted by the comic and actor Alan Davies, where more than 800 attendees celebrated and showcased the most exciting ideas, the best practice and the most inspiring teaching and leadership to be found in the further education sector.
This was the first time that the winners of the five institutional categories – FE college, training provider, sixth-form college, as well as the inaugural specialist provider and adult and community learning provider awards – have gone head-to-head for the right to be named overall provider of the year. And the judging panel was unanimous in its decision that it was Foxes Academy – the first specialist provider of the year – which should also claim the flagship title.
As a specialist provider and training hotel that aims to give young adults with learning disabilities the skills, knowledge and confidence to shape their own futures our mission is to change the way society perceives people with learning disabilities.
Striving for excellence, our staff continually reflect, review and make changes to meet a variety of needs – a process that starts with the learner in regular one-to-one tutorials.
The employment rate for our learners has consistently been over 85 per cent, year after year, with a sustained employment rate of 77 per cent since 2015 – figures that many general FE colleges, let alone specialist providers, would be envious of. In contrast the proportion of people in England who have learning disabilities and are in paid employment fell from 7.1 per cent in 2012 to just 6 per cent in 2015.
The judges said that the academy’s engagement with local employers was exceptional, offering real pathways for their learners, as were its 100 per cent pass rates in all formal examinations and assessments in 2016-17. They added: “Foxes particularly stood out for its strong mission and vision, innovative working and the strength of the learner voice.”
Tracey Clare- Gray, Principal said: “This award reflects the contribution young people with learning disabilities can make to our society and workforce when they are given an inclusive learning culture where they can thrive and succeed. There are enormous business benefits to employing people with a disability, currently an untapped talent pool of 11.5 million across the UK. We are grateful to our dedicated staff who see the potential in our students and to our hospitality partners such as Hilton Hotels who employ Foxes’ graduates.”