Essential Life Skills at OSFC
The trophy relating to our fantastic win at the Educate North Awards has now arrived at OSFC. We were thrilled to receive the Community Engagement Award for our Essential Life Skills Project. OSFC is dedicated to ensuring that its students lead purposeful and successful lives and the Essential Life Skills project has provided a real impetus to help us achieve our mission. It has allowed the College to be outward facing and build strong, sustainable relationships with local and national groups and individuals, enhancing the lives of our students. There has been a very high level of engagement in the project at College and local school children have also been involved, attending talks and events.
The Essential Life Skills project has sought to raise the cultural and political awareness of Oldham Sixth Form College students through a number of high-profile visits, including many politicians and the Poets Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage.
During the December 2019 General Election, we had visits from Conservative Party Co-Chairman, James Cleverly MP and Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour party. Prior to the May council elections, we hosted a ‘Question Time’ event with the leaders of each political party on Oldham Council. Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham visited the College in 2019 and spoke to over 200 students about his work. Angela Rayner MP also visited College and talked to students on International Women’s Day and in January 2020, a group of 15 students represented the College at Manchester Town Hall to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
The College very actively promotes British Science Week with a range of exciting speakers reflecting science in the real world; its impact and related careers. Obviously, the Covid pandemic has made visits from outside speakers unmanageable, but we have continued with virtual events, wherever possible, and we look forward to welcoming more prestigious guests, as restrictions ease.
The College also runs an Equality and Diversity programme for students, with themed sessions on different aspects of inclusion. This has resulted in hundreds of our students achieving an AQA accredited Unit Award in Equality and Diversity.
As part of the ESL project, the College has hosted a number of debates in partnership with Oldham and Tameside’s Healthy Young Minds and the Royal British College of Psychiatry. These have involved eminent academics sharing the stage with OSFC students. The last event pre-pandemic was attended by over 200 students.
Every year, the College hosts a summer ‘Love is Love’ festival to promote LGBT+ awareness in partnership with local LGBT+ groups. Again, this event is always very well attended and results in fantastic feedback form both students and the local community. The support and diversity work provided by our LGBT+ group has continued virtually throughout the pandemic.
The project involves a large amount of fundraising work. Over the last five years, we have supported both the Oldham Foodbank and the ‘Bed Every Night’ campaign for Oldham’s Night Shelter, building very strong relationships with the community groups that run both initiatives, increasing student awareness and raising vital funds.
Rosie McLaren, our Essential life skills Coordinator had this to say about the award:
‘We are thrilled to have won this award and to have our work on the Essential Life Skills project recognised and celebrated. I have absolutely loved being a part of developing this project over the last couple of years and it has been amazing to know that the opportunities we’ve offered have had such a positive impact on our students and the wider community. The project is ongoing, with lots of exciting things lined up for the year ahead!’