A Queen’s Anniversary Prize – celebrating excellence in higher and further education - has been awarded to London South East Colleges for its pioneering provision of high quality technical and vocational education.

As one of just 22 institutions nationally to be selected for this prestigious royal accolade, London South East Colleges is one of just four FE colleges to have won. These Prizes are the highest national honour that can be awarded to further and higher education institutions, bestowed by the Queen.

The Prize winners were announced last night at St James’ Palace, the first of three exciting events to celebrate them. In February, a glittering reception will be held at Guildhall and the following day, medals will be presented to winning institutions at Buckingham Palace.

London South East Colleges was chosen for this highly-esteemed Prize in recognition of the high quality technical and vocational education it has grown and expanded over many years. In particular, the nomination highlighted the College’s recent work within the construction industry, pioneering a strategic engagement programme - the Construction Skills Generator - to help support housing ambitions in greater London in partnership with many employers and other stakeholders.

The Royal Anniversary Trust has been running since 1994, awarding 253 Prizes to date. Just 45 of these have been given to FE colleges, putting London South East Colleges in a very elite group. The Prizes recognise colleges and universities for pioneering and innovative work across a wide range of areas which offers benefit well beyond the institution – positively affecting the economy and wider society.

Sir Damon Buffini, Chairman of The Royal Anniversary Trust, says: “The Prizes are granted every two years by The Queen and are the most prestigious national honour awarded to UK universities and colleges for their work. Entries in the scheme are invited in any subject area and are subjected to rigorous independent assessment in a process managed by the Royal Anniversary Trust. Recommendations for the Queen’s approval are made on the prime minister’s advice.

“The criteria are demanding and look for outstanding excellence in the chosen field, for innovation and for evidence of real public benefit. Competition is strong and the award is a mark of high quality in education and training which is widely recognised internationally as well as in the UK.”

Past winners of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes have been recognised for work in a wide range of disciplines – science, engineering, arts and the creative industries, education, the humanities, the environment and medicine. Prize-winning work has involved vocational training, research and development, resourcing and new facilities, and new approaches to teaching and learning. Direct benefits have been delivered at local, regional, national and international level.

The scheme is unique in the Honours system in that it provides valuable external recognition to the institution as a whole, irrespective of the particular subject selected for the entry.

Chair of London South East Colleges, Stephen Howlett CBE DL, says: “This is such a great honour for the College and I am hugely appreciative to the Royal Anniversary Trust and indeed Her Majesty The Queen herself for bestowing this honour upon our institution.

“For me, this award reflects the dedication and effort of London South East Colleges as a whole to support local communities with sustainable, high quality education - inspiring people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to achieve their ambitions.

“Our approach supports social mobility, which is key to a region’s current and future economic success. I am proud to be part of this innovative organisation and delighted to see it being awarded such significant royal accolade.”

CEO and Principal of the London South East Colleges, Dr Sam Parrett OBE, says: “We are all absolutely delighted to be awarded with a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize. It is a huge honour and wonderful to have the hard work of our staff, students and employer partners recognised in such a way – and another example of how our college continues to STAND OUT.

“London South East Colleges has a very long history of supporting technical and vocational education and this award is a real celebration of our work, reflecting our well regarded and high performing education group. It’s also fantastic to be representing Further Education, showcasing some of the pioneering and innovative work that is taking place in our incredible, yet often overlooked, sector.”

The Queen’s Anniversary Prize Awards are given out every two years to showcase excellence with the FE and HE sectors. For more information click here


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