Bishop Burton College wins prestigious National Award

15th February 2013

Bishop Burton College has been awarded a prestigious Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award for Practical Teaching and Practical Learning with an on-site farm and access to farming professionals.

The college was announced as winner of the award, sponsored by Edge, by Lord Willis of Knaresborough, President of AoC Charitable Trust at the presentation ceremony in Westminster on Wednesday 6 February.

Bishop Burton College was chosen as winner of this award for the way it has brought together the needs of the regional agriculture industry with providing its learners with employability and enterprise skills to meet those needs.

The on-site college farm provides top quality practical learning opportunities for learners who work alongside experienced teachers and industry professionals.  Students can work in dairy, beef, sheep, pig and cropping enterprises on the college farm and develop a clear understanding of the relevance of their studies both to the real commercial environment of the farm as well as the application of the skills learnt to the wider farming sector.

The award assessors felt that this submission represents an outstanding example of how industry and college can work in harmony together to develop a very high-quality training programme which could be a model for other colleges.

Jan Hodges, Chief Executive at Edge and sponsor of the Award, said:

"The Edge Foundation has sponsored an AoC Beacon Award for several years. Edge is dedicated to raising the status of technical, practical and vocational learning and is proud to be associated with an award that recognises excellence in practical teaching and learning.

"The Bishop Burton College initiative provides an excellent example of how practical teaching and learning can be embedded across all programme levels.  The use of the college estate and commercial farm enable students to experience a real work environment. By carrying out farm duties alongside professional farm staff, as well as working on the financial aspects of business, they gain a valuable insight into the reality of a career in agriculture and related industries. 

"I congratulate them on their Award and hope they continue to be a beacon for land- based and general FE Colleges across the UK."

Chair of the AoC Beacon Awards, Dame Pat Bacon, said:

"As the new Chair of the National Steering Group, it has been a really interesting and exciting experience being involved in the selection of the AoC Beacon Award winners for the first time.

"The quality of the winning submissions is truly outstanding and is evidence of how colleges are identifying the challenges that face us all in these tough economic times and are rising to overcome them through creative and sustainable approaches which are underpinned by a culture of support from the senior management within them.

"I congratulate all of this year's winning colleges and encourage them to make the most of this opportunity to showcase their exemplary teaching and learning practices over the coming year to stimulate curriculum development across the sector."

Roger Marriott, AoC Beacon Awards Chief Assessor, said:

"I have been greatly impressed by the innovative and excellent initiatives which have been identified through the assessment process of the AoC Beacon Awards this year.

"Colleges are using imaginative and creative approaches to respond to the needs of their students, communities and local businesses.  The dedication and passion shown by these winning colleges to ensure that individuals are given the opportunity to realise their full potential is inspirational and I hope that the wider sector will benefit as a result of celebrating their achievements."

The AoC Beacon Awards are now in their 19th year and are awarded each year to UK colleges who capture and celebrate the positive impact they have on their students, staff and communities. 


For more information about the AoC Beacon Awards, please contact Louise Duffy or 020 7034 9978 AoC Charitable Trust and Communications Office.

 Notes to Editors:

  1. Insert a footnote about the college.


  1. The  AoC Beacon Awards highlight the breadth and quality of education in Colleges throughout the UK and increase understanding of Colleges' contribution to UK educational skills policy and economic and social development.


  1. The Awards are administered by the  AoC Charitable Trust which was established to advance the education of members of the public over the age of 16 years.
  1. The Edge Foundation is an independent education charity. It is dedicated to raising the status of technical, practical and vocational learning.  All young people should have the opportunity to achieve their potential and the UK's future workforce needs to be equipped with the skills to be successful in the modern, global economy.  Edge believes that "learning by doing" should be valued equally with academic learning and that all learners should experience a mix of both.  There are many paths to success.  To find out more, visit or please contact Nicole Gross, Press Officer, on 020 7960 1546, e-mail:


The award-winning Colleges in 2012/13:

1st4sport Qualifications and sports coach UK Award for Sport in the Curriculum
Award winner:South Devon College

AoC Charitable Trust Award for Innovation in FE
Award winner:Chesterfield College

Association of Colleges Award for College Engagement with Employers
Award winner:Bridgwater College

AQA Award for College/School Partnerships
Award winner:Coleg Menai

City & Guilds Award for Staff Development in Further Education
Award winner:Weston College

Edge Award for Practical Teaching and Practical Learning
Award winner:Bishop Burton College

JLT Benefit Solutions Award for Health and Community Care
Award winner:Xaverian Sixth Form College

LSIS Award for Efficiency through the Effective Use of Technology in FE and Skills
Award winner: South Devon College

LSIS Award for Outstanding Leadership of Improvement
Award winner:Harlow College

Microlink and National Grid Inclusive Learning Award for Students with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities
Award winner:Hackney Community College

Pearson Award for Widening Participation to Lifelong Learning
Award winner:Trafford College

University of Southampton Award for 14-19 Widening Participation
Award winner:City College Plymouth

Welsh Government Award for Engaging Learners who are not in Education, Employment or Training
Award winner:Neath Port Talbot College

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