10 reasons to choose B&FC

Published on 22/04/2020 by DTHACK

School Liaison Officer Lily Wearden presents the top 10 reasons for school leavers to choose Blackpool and The Fylde College.

We're in England's top 3% colleges for student achievement

National Achievement Rate Tables (NARTs) data is used to compare performance between all General Further Education colleges (GFEC) in England.

It's published by the Department for Education and in March 2020 ranked B&FC the fifth highest achieving college in ENGLAND!

This is the sixth consecutive year we're up there in that top 3% (of 172 colleges).

So this obviously shows that we've got some really, really brilliant teaching standards, great results, and good facilities. It's a glowing endorsement of everything we offer at B&FC.

We have 100% pass rate across a lot of our subject areas

This is all due to the support we have available - as well as obviously some really, really brilliant teaching facilities.

These actual pass rates speak for themselves. No matter the challenges faced, students are achieving the best results.

We're going to be there to help support and push you to do your absolute best. So B&FC is obviously a great place to come along and study - and hopefully you can then be part of that brilliant success rate, and go on to brilliant careers.

We're an Ofsted Grade 1 Outstanding college

I'm sure all of you have heard of Ofsted.

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for students of all ages. Every week, they carry out hundreds of inspections and regulatory visits throughout England.

In the most recent Ofsted report that we had, we were marked Grade 1 Outstanding. That's the highest you can get.

And it's definitely a reason to be considering us as an option for you as well.

We're TEF Gold

TEF stands for Teaching Excellence Framework. This is a measure of our degree-level course quality.

So as well as doing our Level 3 courses (equivalent to A Levels), we also offer degree-level courses, to which you can progress after completing further education.

And the Teaching Excellence framework has ranked us as gold, which is the highest award you can get in that as well.

So again, this is a recognition of our brilliant teaching standards and facilities.

Guaranteed placements

We really, really care about what you're going to do after your studies. Which is why we make sure you have professional experience as part of your further education course.

All these courses include a guaranteed placement. This is chance to sort of go into the real working world to actually try out those skills that you're learning in a relevant environment - and get practical life experience as well.

  • On our Level 2 and 3 courses you'll have a minimum 20-hour work placement to try out those skills you're learning.
  • With an apprenticeship you'll be going straight into the workplace, working about 80% of the time and earning a wage as well.
  • And then with our T Levels, which I'll tell you a little bit more about later, you'll do a 350-hour placement - that's about 20% of your course in the workplace, and 80% at college. You can think of this as the opposite of an apprenticeship.

For all of our courses, you will go out and work with an employer we work with, or someone that you want to work for.

Career-focused courses

All of our courses are very, very work, job, career-focused. All about what you go on to do afterwards.

We care about you having an amazing time while you're studying with us, but it's also really important that you can go on to do the best that you can possibly achieve.

So our goal is getting students into university - whether with us, or another great provider of degrees, and getting students into the best jobs available.

We also have a lot of extra support in applying for jobs and mock interviews and all that sort of thing to make sure that you are really, really prepared for the real world after college.

Most of our courses as well . Our Level 3 Triple Diplomas and T Levels are equivalent to A Levels and will set you up for university, and higher and degree apprenticeships.

And they can obviously also get you straight into the workplace as well - whatever it is that works for you at that point.

Just as a little side note on that. I'll tell you a little bit more about those T Levels I mentioned earlier.

T Levels are new qualifications. We've been working with employers to make sure they are very employment-focused.

As I mentioned, 20% of the time, you'll be in a work placement.

There are three T Levels starting in September - in Computing, Construction and Education.

You'll be seeing a lot more T Levels offered in coming years, expanding first into Science-related subjects and then many more topics.

We are the only college in the north west launching the first three - which is more recognition of the work we've put in, and the high teaching standards and the great learning facilities you will enjoy.

High-tech facilities

We've got a number of different campuses, and across those, we've got some great facilities.

You might have had a little look around already. But if you haven't, make sure you get yourself to an open event when the college is back open. Have a proper look at the facilities relevant to your course. We have quite a lot of simulated workplace environments - from a healthcare training room, nursery, and restaurant for our catering students open to members of the public, to a ship's bridge simulator.

We've got industry standard workshops where you'll be using equipment and technology that is exactly the same as the ones you'd be using in the workplace. In our one of our core workshops, we've got the same equipment used by Rolls Royce.

Come and see our state-of-the-art photography studios, the largest construction centre in the north west - absolutely brilliant for developing skills in all different trades - and the Advanced Technology Centre at our Bispham Campus which has got some brilliant resources for engineering and automotive students.

And that's just some small examples of some of the incredible equipment and technology that we've got available.

The FE Plus Award

This is an award that takes into account everything you do at college.

It's not just about the studying and what you do on your course. It's everything that you do on top of that, as well.

The award is great for putting on job and university applications to show you have a lot more going for you on top of your qualifications.

Showing you're an all-rounder is really important. The FE Plus Award includes things like your volunteering, and taking part in clubs and societies with our Students' Union, any part-time work, charity work, getting involved in competitions, all that sort of thing. There are lots of different things you can put towards getting this award.

Student support

There's so much support available for our students. Every one is different and it's important you let us know the support you need and we'll do everything in our power to work that out for you.

We want to break down any barriers in the way of education. Your education is obviously the most important thing to us - so if you need financial support to complete your studies, talk to us and we'll try and work something out. Depending on your situation we may provide things like a free transport pass.

We also have a free bus that comes in from Poulton-le-Fylde to Bispham Campus and takes you back to Poulton at the end of the day.

When it comes to learning support we offer personalised learning so you will get a Progress Tutor who will support your studies. Think of your Progress Tutor a bit like a Form Tutor - someone you can meet regularly and talk with about your progress and wellbeing.

You will have people who know you individually and can really help you fit in. Your wellbeing is a huge priority and we offer support so you not only study well, but feel your best.

We also offer free breakfast to all students. I'm really missing my free breakfast in the mornings at the moment, with the college campuses being closed to most people.

Eligible students will also get a free lunch. So if you're on free school dinners at the moment, you may be able to continue receiving those.

Just let us know your current situation as part of your application and we'll let you know what you can get.

We also offer bursaries and scholarships. Again, they are available depending on the student's circumstances.

We have careers advice, helping you with mock interviews and applications and loads more things. If you need support getting part time jobs or going into employment afterwards, our Careers team are there to help you with that.

We also have very specialised support for young carers, young parents and care leavers. So again, as long as you let us know what support you need, we can do our best to help you with whatever that is.

Future prospects

I've mentioned this a couple of times, but something we really do well is getting our students into the most amazing opportunities.

All of our students hopefully love their time studying with us, but then they'll go on and be really successful when they leave as well.

I've been doing a lot of work with some of our best alumni. And if you keep a little eye on my Twitter feed, you'll be able to see a lot of their stories as well as what they've gone on to do.

For a lot of our students, their next step is to go on to our University Centre and do a degree-level course with us.

If you pass one of our Level 3 courses you're guaranteed a place on a B&FC degree-level course, which is brilliant - and getting a degree issued by a UK Top 10 university (Lancaster University).

Staying in Blackpool makes your degree studies cheaper, too. B&FC degrees are slightly more affordable than the average.

And nine out of 10 B&FC graduates are in work or further study within six months of graduating as well.

We work closely with employers, and we work really closely with you as an individual to help you be as prepared as you can be for the real world, and for doing applications, doing interviews, all that sort of thing. It's all about helping you to be as successful as you possibly can be, which is obviously what we're all aiming to achieve in life.

The most important thing is ask questions.

But as I say, do your research, ask your questions and make sure that you make the most informed decision that you can for yourself.

We can't wait to see you at B&FC!

For more from Lily and the School Liaison Team, follow @B_FCSchools on Twitter.