As a major institution of both further and higher educational provision in the West Midlands and Warwickshire, our aim at Solihull College & University Centre is simple – to make significant contributions to the local and regional economies and beyond, by providing high quality vocational education and training for individuals, employers and the wider community. As such, our provision is designed to be up to date, flexible, accessible and responsive to all our customers’ needs, serving approximately 11,000 students.
Solihull College & University Centre and Stratford-upon-Avon College merged in February 2018 and the College now operates out of three main campuses: Blossomfield (South Solihull), Woodlands (North Solihull) and Stratford-upon-Avon. We also have provision at several satellite centres throughout Solihull and on work based programmes throughout the region and beyond.
The College has been granted government approval to use the ‘University Centre’ brand due to the high numbers and breadth of our higher education offer and the top marks achieved in a QAA review of our higher education provision. We were also the only college in the region and 5% of colleges nationally to be graded TEF Gold for our HE work prior to our merger.
The college launched a research group and associated journal, SHEAR, which inspired colleagues across the college to consider their own research as practitioners. In the summer of 2019, the college held our first FE research event: a #FEResearchmeet, inviting colleagues to investigate their own practice throughout the further education branch of the college.
The following year was intended to be a ‘launch’ event: a #FEResearchmeet showcasing colleagues’ action research projects, but due to the first Covid-19 lockdown, it took quite a turn. With the rise in use of Zoom and Teams to move real-life events online, the college took the move to host their regional #FEResearchmeet online, supported and attended by colleagues across the sector and the nations. This inspiring event was a wonderful opportunity for colleagues both internally and externally, as it spawned a sister-project in the form of a publication telling the lockdown teaching practice stories of some of the delegates.
More recently, the college has launched its own leadership programme, offering aspiring leaders of the future a supported opportunity to develop a project to improve practice. Colleagues from various teams have also been working within various Education and Training Foundation projects.