Empowering Achievement: RSBC’s 2023 AQA Awards Ceremony

A group of blind and partially sighted children and young people and their families gathered in the RSBC LWLC Atrium holding AQA certificated. They are accompanied with RSBC volunteers, staff and trustees. They are all looking up at the amera.

On Saturday 28th October 2023, RSBC held its annual AQA  (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) Awards Ceremony at the Life Without Limits Centre (LWLC) in London. Blind and partially sighted children and young people, accompanied by their families and friends, as well as our dedicated volunteers, committed trustees, and devoted staff members gathered with pride to celebrate children and young people’s accomplishments.

Celebrating youth achievements and learning diversity

The annual AQA awards ceremony is always a time of the year that we really look forward to here at RSBC. It provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate young people’s achievements and recognise how much they have learnt.

This year, RSBC celebrated a remarkable total of 654 AQA awards earned by 103 young people across a vast array of learning areas. These ranged from horse riding to playing a percussion instrument, and from rock climbing to setting up a small business, with some brand-new awards introduced this year to mark special celebrations like the Kings Coronation.

Many of the children and young people achieved their awards through participation in RSBC’s in-person and online activities, as well as through their studies at RSBC Dorton College, specialist further education college.

A young person playing saxophone in front of a group of people sat in a room.

AQA qualifications: empowering blind and partially sighted children and young people to grow skills and independence

These qualifications are designed to suit a range of abilities, and AQA are also an assessment agency for GCSEs, AS, A-levels, and more. RSBC, as a recognised awarding body, has the authority to grant AQA awards either as individual units contributing to a larger qualification or as standalone qualification.

AQA awards aren’t standard awards as they are shaped to suit everyone’s interests and strengths, enabling blind and partially sighted children and young people to showcase their full potential.

The Pamela Wright Award and inspirational performances

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the Pamela Wright Award for special achievement. Callum Russell, RSBC Trustee and Chair of Governors at Dorton College was delighted to present the award to its well-deserving recipient, a very special young person called Arun Karunakaran. Arun was nominated because of his sheer resilience along his own personal journey towards employment. We were delighted to learn that he secured a permanent job three months ago, that he really enjoys. Congratulations on an amazing achievement Arun!

A young man sat at a table, smiling and showing a certificate

Arun Karunakaran

The Life Without Limits Centre was further filled with joy and fun thanks to fantastic performances by young people who showcased their musical and poetic talents. The heartwarming song “Perfect,” performed by one of the gifted young talents, truly encapsulated the spirit of the occasion. Patrick Plant, RSBC’s Chair of Trustees and our new CEO, Julie Davis, were there to celebrate the day with children, young people and their families. His impromptu speech highlighted the significance of acknowledging the remarkable achievements of children and young people’s achievements.

A man with white hair standing up in front of a micro inside a room with people sat on chairs clapping.

Carla Rose-Hardman, Services Director said:

“Today’s AQA awards ceremony reminds us that blind and partially sighted children and young people really can achieve their own personal goals and exceed them in many cases, and we are here to celebrate that. We look forward to seeing what comes next for them all. I am delighted for Arun who embodies the characteristics we aim here at RSBC to instil in the young people.”

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Interested in gaining an AQA certificate at RSBC?

If you are blind or partially sighted and would like to join us and gain an AQA certificate, please contact us via email: connections@rsbc.org.uk  or by phone:020 3198 0225.

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