AIM Qualifications
Access to HE

Celebrating Learner Success


We are pleased to invite nominations for the AIM Access to Higher Education Virtual Learner Awards. We are looking for learners who have excelled in their Access to HE course during the academic year 2022-23. Winners will be presented with their awards at a virtual ceremony on Tuesday 20 June 2023.

Learners can be nominated by their tutors for one of two categories:
1.    Outstanding Academic Achievement (see below for more information)
2.    Outstanding Commitment to Study (see below for more information)


Successful nominations will be awarded £600 to support their career progression and will receive automatic entry into this year’s national, Keith Fletcher Memorial Prize awards.


Nominated learners must be currently registered on a course leading to an AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group validated Access to HE Diploma and will need to have finished the course, or still be a registered learner by 13th May 2023.

Application form: Outstanding Academic Achievement
Application form: Outstanding Commitment to Study
Deadline for entries: Friday 26 May
Winners informed: w/c 29 May 
Applications to be sent to:

Winners and their tutors will be filmed pre-event and the recordings streamed live at the virtual celebration event.

AIM Access to Higher Education Virtual Learner Awards Celebration
Tuesday 20 June 2023


4.00pm   Welcome
Val Taylor, AIM Group Chief Operating Officer (Support Services)

4.10pm   Guest Speaker
Jo Fletcher Saxon, Assistant Principal at Ashton Sixth Form College
'Witches and Black Holes' 
Jo Fletcher-Saxon has worked in further and college higher education since 1996. She is an Assistant Principal for Adult and Higher Education and Practitioner Research Lead.  Jo's directorate in college includes a thriving Access programme. Jo graduated from her own Access programme back in 2002 after which she studied for a BA (Hons) Womens Studies.  Jo has built her career in education, working in roles that enable her and the team to bring the same transformational opportunities she experienced as an Access student, to others. 
Jo leads professional development programmes and is active within both formal and informal spaces that champion teacher-research and its use to improve outcomes for learners. She is a convenor for the Learning and Skills Research Network, supporting educators to engage with research to inform their practice. Jo’s work promoting FE research has been recognised with an ‘Excellence in Research’ award by the Edufuturists in 2020 and this year, JISC have awarded her with a Community Champion Award for her work in this field. Jo produces an education podcast in order to share knowledge of enquiry based professional development and teaching and learning. Jo writes for education press and has contributed to academic journals and books about post 16 education.
Jo is currently a PhD candidate with the University of Sunderland (SUNCETT).  Her research centres on professional learning for teachers in sixth form colleges and she is using podcasting as method within her study. In her spare time and on social media she can be found tending her flock of sheep!

4.20pm  Outstanding Academic Achievement Winner 
Fabienne Bailey AIM Group Interim Director for Business Growth and Transformation
               Introduction from the tutor 
               Acceptance speech from the winning learner
 Congratulations and presentation of award by Val Taylor

4.35pm Outstanding Commitment to Study Winner
Fabienne Bailey AIM Group Interim Director for Business Growth and Transformation
               Introduction from the tutor 
               Acceptance speech from the winning learner
 Congratulations and presentation of award by Val Taylor

4.50pm Closing remarks, Fabienne Bailey

This event will be streamed live on Microsoft Teams.

<<<Click here to join the meeting>>>

Having problems accessing the event, please call 0844 225 3377
Download a copy of the programme


1.    Outstanding Academic Achievement

Students proposed in this category should have excelled in their academic study by producing assessed work of a consistently outstanding quality whilst on their Access courses. 

In this category one example (copies are acceptable or photographs for artwork) of any individual piece of work which could illustrate this achievement, or statement containing sufficient detail about the range and type of work submitted by the student and their performance. 

Supporting Statement

For ‘Outstanding academic achievement’ the statement should contain enough commentary and detail about the range and type of work submitted by the student and their performance. Where possible this could include statements made by tutors in their feedback on the work. 

Supporting evidence 

For ‘Outstanding academic achievement’ it is expected that close reference is made to one or more (up to a maximum of three) pieces of assessed work in the supporting statement and that a copy of that work be submitted in an electronic format. Scanned copies of hand written work or of word-processed work with handwritten tutor comments are required. No paper copies will be accepted. 

PLEASE NOTE– all work submitted should be anonymised – the filename should include the AVA name and/or learner name for matching documents to nominations but submitted work must have all identifying marks removed, including logos, student, tutor, provider and AVA names, etc. All nominations and pieces of work are anonymised for the judging process and if there are logos and/or other identifying marks remaining on feedback sheets, assignment briefs, etc, these may be excluded from the information supplied to the judges. Word documents of original student work and tutor feedback can be submitted.

Examples of work submitted as evidence might include copies of essays, projects, research, reports, artefacts produced by the student as recorded in photographs, video clips etc, recordings of student performance, personal writing (poems, stories, other texts).

Download the application form here

2. Outstanding Commitment to Study

Learners in this category should have shown outstanding commitment to their Access studies, perhaps in the face of difficult and challenging personal circumstances. 

Students in this category should have shown evidence of some or all the following:

  • Outstanding commitment to their Access studies, perhaps in the face of difficult and challenging personal circumstances

  • Having made an inspirational journey which demonstrates the life transforming power of learning

  • Individual achievement beyond standard expectations

  • Clear evidence of extra effort above and beyond that which would normally be required of a student

Supporting Statement

The statement should be a detailed explanation of how the nominee meets the criteria above. It should give an indication of the types of barriers that the student overcame. It would also be helpful to identify any skills that the student displayed in pursuing their studies. Whilst the privacy of the student should be respected, it will help the panel of judges to assess the nomination, if some detail regarding the challenges facing the student and the way in which they met these challenges, is provided. For nominations in this category to be taken forward there must be a Personal Statement from the student themselves included with the nomination.

Download the application form here
Supporting evidence is not required for this category.

The Keith Fletcher Prize

The Keith Fletcher Prize is a group of awards given to Access to HE learners for the incredible achievements to their studies and education.

The Keith Fletcher Memorial Presentation was created in memory of Keith Fletcher, who was a committed member of the Access to HE industry and worked for several years for AVAs in the Southwest of England. In an effort to honour Keith Fletcher and his dedication to Access to HE, the Keith Fletcher Awards were created in which Access to HE students celebrated for their own dedication to their Access to HE course and their education. This tradition has now grown and is supported by all AVAs across England and Wales.

Previous Nominations

Stacey Gentry
Diploma title: Social Science
Course Leader: Cheryl Huter
Burton and South Derbyshire College

“Stacey is basically the kind of adult learner Access was made for!  She continually amazed us with her determination and consistently high grades. She was also a great support for other learners; taking time to help other members of the group both academically and emotionally.
Stacey embraced the whole ethos of Access, growing both as a person and as a scholar.  Her independent research and commitment to the course were astounding.”
 Cheryl Huter


Marijan Van Den Bergh
Diploma title: Law
Course Director: Sharon Sugden
Aspire Access Courses

"..She has consistently worked hard to gain high grades and one of her assessors even said that a psychology unit of hers was the best submission he had ever seen..
Marijan has demonstrated her determination her dedication to completing the Access to Higher Education Law Diploma so that she could pursuit her ambition of a career in the Law sector.  She accepted a place at the University of Belfast and was due to start her law degree undergraduate programme in September 2021.”
 Sharon Sugden