Engaging students – Nottingham College

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Nottingham College’s Access to HE Diploma (Criminal Justice and Policing Studies) has been acknowledged for consistently going out of their way to engage their students and immerse them in the real-world application of their studies. These efforts are having a direct impact on students’ retention on the course, their overall grades, and their successful progression to higher education. One way they have engaged their students is with a range of different enrichment opportunities at notable locations such as Nottingham Crown Court, Shrewsbury Prison and Mansfield Police Station. These trips offer a firsthand look at the legal process in action, allowing students to envision a future within the legal landscape. Students have had the opportunity to explore a decommissioned prison as well as a commissioned prison and talk to inmates.

These opportunities are integral components of Nottingham College’s Access to HE Diploma (Criminal Justice and Policing Studies), designed to spark a passion for the field, challenge students’ perspectives, and enhance their understanding of law and criminal justice. By stepping out of the classroom and into environments where law and order are experienced, students gain invaluable insights, fostering an educational journey marked by engagement, inspiration, and distinction-level achievement. These experiences have also altered students' career progression, increasing the amount of students who wish to work in prisons or with the rehabilitation of prisoners.

Another way Nottingham College is engaging students in a unique way is with TikTok. Jayne Harding, the course leader for Criminal Justice and Policing Studies, has set up a successful TikTok account called Judge Jayne - a British version of the popular Judge Judy show in America. She uses her account to create entertaining videos around the content of their course, engaging students so that they remember the information. This approach enriches the learning experience, making complex legal concepts accessible and memorable.

As always, there are challenges with enrichment opportunities and in the current cost of living crisis money is the largest one that Nottingham College faces. Their students must fund these experiences as there are no bursaries available. Students who struggle are often supported by the staff and other students who are happy to contribute a bit more, however it limits the amount of trips they can go on. This increases the relevance of the TikTok videos as these are free and accessible to all students.

Jayne and her department have an ultimate objective, to become the best provider for students aspiring to careers in law and criminal justice in the Midlands. They are constantly finding new ways to support and engage their students whilst they work towards their goal. Thank you to Jayne for taking the time to talk with us and congratulations on the fantastic work you are doing.