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Our School Story:
Bridgend College

At Bridgend, they have been on an amazing journey transforming things at the college. The college has always had a good heart, with staff meaning well, but not always working as smartly as they could. A cultural change was needed and the college has really worked hard to really wrap support around their learners and become the inspirational place that it is today. Relationships are front and centre of the college now, with open communication and honest dialogue, where everyone wants the best for students, but with a recognition of staff wellbeing too.


The first steps the college took were around behaviour management. They rightly recognised that it needed to be a whole-college approach. The massive scale of the college meant that they needed to involve truly everyone- senior leaders, middle management, teachers, technicians and even catering staff. All needed to be brought on board with the changes. Whole staff training days were utilised to do this, with part-time staff paid to come in if it wasn’t their day. Online portal learning was also used and digital solutions such as streaming and recording were utilised where possible. The relational approach is now incorporated in the induction for new starters. People have bought into the idea of ‘if you wear the blue lanyard you are responsible for advocating the approach’.


The college takes a tailored restorative approach, with positivity and empathy at its heart. They recognise that they serve a deprived area, with low levels of literacy amongst many of the learners and, as such, need to do things differently to better support them. They have introduced wellbeing centres and drop-in spaces for pupils to go and regulate and they use targeted interventions and additional support and tailored action plans where needed.


Positive noticing has been an important consistency for the college to establish. Initially, it was difficult for some staff to get on board with being openly positive, even with each other, but they worked hard at it. They have embedded the phrase ‘say it when you see it’ and have used it so much that it has become everyday language. The success of ‘collectivism’ has had a big impact on the college too. The idea is that things can be solved together as a group. Once things started to be achieved and this was visible, like dealing with a problem smoking location, there has been the confidence to do more.


Bridgend College is doing great things and is continuing to weave new ways of doing it. You can hear more details in Paul’s interview with Viv Buckley, Deputy Principal in the video on the right.

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