Big Creative Academy is an inclusive community where all students are encouraged to be themselves and diversity is championed. In a recent survey of current Academy students, students were overwhelmingly positive about the tolerant atmosphere in the college, and were pleasantly surprised at measures that had been taken to increase the visibility of minority groups at the Academy, such as the Pride Youth Network – a social and support group for LGBTQ + students.
The opinions and ideas of the student body are celebrated at Big Creative Academy. Every year 14 students are nominated from the various curriculum areas to represent their fellow students at Student Forum. This advisory group meets monthly to contribute solutions to issues facing the student body, provide ideas on how to make the college experience better for all students and to represent the college at various events around London. They provide a valuable service for the college and their ideas, thoughts and opinions help shape the decisions of senior managers and governors.
Ensuring the well-being of all students at Big Creative Academy is an important factor in our success as a college and it is for that reason that we work hard to meet the variety of needs our students present with. Part of this is breaking down stigma around issues such as mental health, sexuality, gender identity, disability and poverty. Our Well-Being curriculum covers these topics amongst others, engaging students in thoughtful reflection about their own values and beliefs. Our Youth Development Worker provides one-to-one mentoring for some of our most vulnerable students, as well as providing practical support for students on such topics as health issues, money management, managing workload, housing and career advice.
Big Creative Academy has a dedicated team of professionals to assist students when they need help. The wellbeing of our students is central to the Academy and we are best practice school for LGBT+, recognised by the Department for Education.
Students who want to talk can approach any member of staff, and there is always someone available in Student Services, 9-5pm. Young people might want to seek advice on:
- mental health
For the most serious cases, we also have a counsellor on site for students to access talking therapy.
Students are entitled to a means-tested bursary, paid fortnightly into the student’s bank account. You will be assessed for eligibility at enrolment.
The amount paid for bursaries is dependent on parental income and also the student’s attendance.
Whether or not you face barriers in your life, you are entitled to an education that is designed to maximize your potential in a way that works best for you. Depending on what difficulties you’ve had in the past, this may include working with the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities department or Learner Support. The SEND department can do all of the following:
- assess whether you have an undiagnosed learning need,
- coordinate support for you if you have a diagnosed learning need,
- make referrals to outside agencies for additional assessment and support,
- provide support for social, emotional and mental health issues,
- assess the need for access arrangements during exams (eg. Extra time)
- provide additional support and advice on coursework, study skills, time management and organizational skills
Some useful links
https://www.healthforteens.co.uk/location/ – a wealth of health related information, great for those sensitive topics that students may feel uncomfortable to ask about
https://www.healthforteens.co.uk/sexual-health/ – a section of the above website dedicated specifically to sexual health
https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/feelings-and-symptoms/ – provides useful information regarding mental health from a young person’s perspective
https://www.open.edu/openlearn/money-business/personal-finance/managing-my-money-young-adults/ – this is a free, online course for young adults (appropriate for students studying at college) to prepare them to independently manage their money
https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/lgbtq-student-support/ – links for LGBTQ + students to get information and support.
https://www.runawayhelpline.org.uk/about-us/ – information and support for students at risk of running away from home, becoming homeless or gang involved
https://centrepoint.org.uk/youth-homelessness/get-help-now/ – information and support for students at risk of becoming homeless or currently homeless/sofa surfing
Many schools have student or faculty-led groups that champion and empower the LGBTQ community and align them with straight allies. These groups often promote advocacy and education for the larger student body and provide an outlet for socializing, finding support and encouragement, and talking about the challenges faced on and off campus.