Regional further education official and MP have been meeting Bishop Auckland College students

A regional further education official and County Durham MP have been meeting Bishop Auckland College students and staff as part of a national celebration of FE colleges.

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Chris Nicholls, Area Director for the North East and Yorkshire & Humber for the Association of Colleges, has spent Wednesday 20th October with lecturers and learners trying his hand at a range of activities.

He was invited to don his sports gear and join a sports session, test his culinary skills in a catering class, remove part of an engine block in the motor vehicle workshop and enjoy a relaxing Indian head massage in the college’s complementary therapies salon.

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During his visit Chris has met the student support team to find out more about the range of issues they deal with, including mental health. Principal and Chief Executive Natalie Davison-Terranova recently signed the college up to the AoC’s Mental Health Charter – an 11-point document created in conjunction with mental health experts.

Chris also helped facilitate a group tutorial and was even offered a free haircut and massage.

The regional AoC chief isn’t the only VIP guest as Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison has been taking part in a virtual question and answer session with students and staff on Friday 22nd October.


The theme for this year’s #CollegesWeek is ‘Get in, go further’.

‘Get in’ will focus on showcasing all of the great things that happen in colleges every day including the courses, the staff and the facilities.

‘Go further’ is all about shouting about the journeys that colleges take their students on - the destinations, alumni and other successes.

Colleges Week is an annual campaign run by the Association of Colleges (AoC) in partnership with the unions GMB, NEU, UCU, Unison, the National Union of Students, Association of School and College Leaders and the TUC.

College makes commitment to support students and staff with their mental health and wellbeing

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Bishop Auckland College has reaffirmed its commitment to staff and students by signing up to a brand new national mental health and wellbeing charter.

The 11-point document, created by the Association of Colleges in conjunction with mental health experts, includes commitments to:

Colleges across England teach and train 2.2m people each year - including 685,000 young people. Every year, one in 10 young people experience a mental health problem and one in five young people aged 16 to 24 experience a common mental illness such as anxiety or depression at any one time.

In addition, 75% of adults with a diagnosable mental health problem experience their first symptoms before the age of 24, meaning colleges play a vital role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their students and staff.

Richard Caulfield, Mental Health Lead at the Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day colleges like Bishop Auckland College provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people. This includes providing support for both staff and student wellbeing at the right time, in the right place.

“This charter gives colleges the chance to publicly state their commitment to the mental health agenda.”