The Rainbow Flag Award is a national quality assurance framework for all schools and youth-centred organisations, encouraging a whole-organisation approach to LGBT+ inclusion and visibility.
Bolton College is one of only a few colleges in the country to receive the award, after a year-long process of self-assessment, ongoing monitoring and feedback; this culminated in meeting all six quality marks: skilled teacher; inclusive curriculum; effective policies; student voice; pastoral support; and supportive governors and parents.
In recognition of the achievement, the College officially unveiled a Rainbow Flag Award mural, created and donated by the Dulux Academy who work closely with the College’s painting and decorating department. The College’s painting and decorating students then skilfully applied the mural onto the College’s Atrium wall as part of a training session with the Dulux Academy.
The ceremony for the official unveiling was attended by College staff, students, governors and stakeholders, who enjoyed rainbow flag cupcakes, biscuits and fruit kebabs, created by the College’s catering students.
Tom Martin, Head of Foundation Learning at Bolton College, said: "We have always been a very inclusive college, and the Rainbow Flag Award is a testament to this.
“To officially meet the benchmarks for the award, we had to make a few positive changes to our policies, training, and curriculum. However, these were actions our staff were already undertaking, so the flag formalises what we were doing already.
“For many students, Bolton College is not just a place of study but a safe haven where they can authentically be themselves and we will continue to ensure that every learner that studies here feels a sense of belonging.”
Bill Webster, Principal of Bolton College, said: “We are thrilled to receive the award, a recognition of our collective efforts in creating an environment that celebrates diversity.
“I would like to thank all the staff at Bolton College; this award exemplifies the excellent inclusion work everyone completes across the College, for both our learners and our colleagues.
“I’d also like to extend our sincere thanks to the Dulux Academy for their eye-catching mural.”
Mark Rigby, Skills Development Consultant at the Dulux Academy, attended the event and said: "The Dulux Academy is proud to contribute to the creation of the College’s Rainbow Flag Award mural.
“We believe in the power of education to drive positive change, and it's heartening to see the College's dedication to inclusivity."