A SPECIALIST college has been nominated for an award in recognition of its efforts in the creative and cultural field.

Ascent Autism Specialist College, Newton-le-Willows, has been shortlisted for a Northern Cultural Education Award.

The awards aim to shine a light on best practice, innovation and activism in creative and cultural education across the north of England. 

Organised by Curious Minds, the Northern Cultural Education Awards celebrate passionate people, teachers, artists and creative practitioners, youth and social workers, health and wellbeing specialists and community volunteers who are working hard to support children and young people. 

The college was named as a finalist in the Innovative and Leadership in Education Award category. 

As part of its entry, the college showcased how arts, creativity and culture are embedded into the curriculum to enable students to build confidence and self-esteem and develop other vital skills such as communication.

The college also shared how access to arts opportunities allows students to explore their self-expression and creativity, whether that be through performance, costume design, makeup or props. 

The college prides itself on its innovative and dynamic approach to the arts. The Circus Arts Instruction (CAI) and collaborative theatre production initiatives help foster development and create a supportive and inclusive learning environment for students to flourish. 

The programmes, developed to motivate and encourage, allow students to explore their abilities in a safe environment that meets their individual needs. 

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Head of adult services at Ascent College, Julliet Doherty, said: “We are delighted to be named finalists in the Northern Cultural Education Awards. 

“Arts is an integral part of our curriculum, and we are constantly seeking new ways to enhance the opportunities available to our students. 

“The impact of our CAI and collaborative theatre initiatives on students, staff and the wider community has been truly transformative. Students have been able to improve their communication and social skills, whilst exploring new forms of self-expression and creativity. 

“For our staff, the programmes have also proven extremely beneficial, resulting in increased job satisfaction and new opportunities for professional development.

“We are looking forward to the ceremony in May.”

The awards ceremony will be hosted at The Edge Arena, Wigan, on Friday, May 24.