Bridgwater & Taunton College
Somerset, United Kingdom
About Bridgwater & Taunton College
Bridgwater College is an extremely successful tertiary college based on a modern purpose-built campus and is responsible for the vast majority of post-16 education and training in Bridgwater and the surrounding area.
The College’s Mission Statement seeks to capture as economically as possible Bridgwater College guiding principles.
“We will inspire the people of the local, national and international communities we serve to achieve success by providing:
• The best possible opportunities for learning and skills development
• A creative and exciting partnership with our staff
• A welcoming, safe and supportive environment”
The College’s success in recent years reflected in its Beacon status, and its designation by Ofsted as ‘Outstanding’ is in no small way due to the principles contained in this statement.
We are excited by learning at Bridgwater College and believe that the College exists to provide the members of our community with the benefits that education and training bring. We are proud of the quality of our environment and provision, and our responsiveness to individual needs. Parity of esteem is an important concept for us, assuming as it does that all students regardless of age or levels of ability are equally important.
Our staff espouse this philosophy, and students and visitors to the College frequently comment on the welcoming and friendly atmosphere within the College and on the level of support and encouragement they enjoy.
Bridgwater College serves the following markets:
School Leavers – Some 3600 16-18 year old young people choose to study full-time at the College. As a tertiary college we are very proud of our close relationship with our partner schools in Bridgwater; however we also recruit from some 80 schools outside our immediate town catchment. In addition we recruit some 400 part-time 16-18 year old students and 500apprentices through our own Managing Agency.
Adults and Community Education – In 2009/2010 some 11,500 adult students followed programmes at the College ranging from Skills for Life provision through Access to HE to Professional and Post-graduate programmes. However, changes in Government priorities have led to a reduction in non-qualification and leisure programmes which has in turn led to a reduction in adult student numbers.
Higher Education – The College offers a range of programmes, including honours degrees, foundation degrees, and higher national diplomas funded through HEFCE or in partnership with the other universities including Bournemouth University, Bath Spa University, University of Plymouth, Oxford Brookes University and the University of Central Lancashire. Student numbers on higher education programmes rose to 696 in 2009/10.
Employers – Whilst the College serves a predominantly rural catchment area, Bridgwater itself is increasingly providing an attractive location for businesses and this is reflected in the growing number of businesses relocating to the town’s new business parks, although most employers are still small to medium enterprises. The College engages very closely with a wide range of employers in the private and public sector through the delivery of customised training, often on employers’ premises, and through its work-based learning programmes. A significant development for the College will be the multi-billion pound construction of the first new build nuclear reactors in the UK at Hinkley Point, and the College is working closely with EDF and other partners on the skills strategy to support the project.
In September 2004 Bridgwater College merged with Cannington College, a Land-based specialist college some 4.5 miles west of Bridgwater. In addition to enabling the College to expand its curriculum to encompass land based provision, the new College’s facilities were augmented by an estate of some 500 acres including a 200 hectare commercially operating farm, a 9 hole golf course, and a heritage garden. Since merger much investment has been made in facilities and the curriculum has been redesigned to ensure that it meets the needs of the industry. As a result there has been a 140% increase in recruitment and student success rates now equal to those of other curriculum areas.
Student achievements at the College are extremely high. A Level pass rates in 2009/2010 were 99.5%, with 55.4% at A and B. Vocational results were equally high with an overall pass rate of 98% on BTEC National programmes, 96% on BTEC First programmes and 96% on BTEC Introductory programmes.
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