Hopwood Hall College and University Centre recognised with highly prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize

Hopwood Hall College and University Centre has been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize – the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a further education college.

The college receives this prestigious accolade in recognition of its groundbreaking trauma-informed approach to widening participation for 16-18 year olds from marginalised communities.

This innovative strengths-based framework – which is grounded in a greater understanding and responsiveness to the effects of trauma through adverse childhood experiences – has had an extremely positive impact on young people across Greater Manchester.

In particular, this approach has contributed to a significant growth in the number of young people entering, staying and thriving in further education in the borough of Rochdale.

The trauma-informed framework is championed across the college’s two campuses in Middleton and Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

It’s also supported by experts and local leaders, including Steve Kay, the Assistant Director of Education and Early Help at Rochdale Borough Council, and Dr Kirsty Hughes and the team at Beyond Psychology.

Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are granted every two years by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister following a rigorous and independent process of review carried out by The Royal Anniversary Trust, an independent charity.

The awards are part of the UK’s national Honours system and recognise outstanding work by UK colleges and universities that demonstrate excellence and innovation and deliver real benefit to the wider world.

Julia Heap, Principal and CEO of Hopwood Hall College and University Centre, said: “We are truly honoured that Hopwood Hall College and University Centre has been announced as a recipient of the coveted Queen’s Anniversary Prize. This is a remarkable achievement and recognises all the hard work and dedication that has gone into embedding our pioneering trauma-informed approach across the whole college.

“We’re so proud of the professionalism of our staff teams in embracing this nurturing framework and the impact it’s had on widening participation for marginalised young people, both across the borough and beyond. It’s testament to what as a collective we can achieve.

“This prestigious award only fuels our determination to keep removing obstacles to accessing education and making sure that all young people – regardless of the social and mental health issues that may have affected their life chances – have the opportunity reach their potential and truly thrive!”

Sir Damon Buffini, Chair of The Royal Anniversary Trust, said: “The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are an integral part of our national Honours system, shining a light on the groundbreaking work taking place in universities and colleges across the UK.

“All 22 Prize-winners demonstrate excellence, innovation and impact, with many tackling some of the toughest problems we as a society face today. They are to be commended for reaching this pinnacle of achievement in the tertiary education sector. Congratulations!”

Steve Kay, Assistant Director of Education and Early Help at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “This is what Rochdale is all about!

“Hopwood Hall College and University Centre is absolutely smashing it – leading the way nationally for their brilliant and pioneering work on trauma-informed approaches to widening participation.

“It’s genuinely inspiring!”

This year’s Queen’s Anniversary Prizes were announced at St James’s Palace on Thursday 16 November, with members of college staff in attendance.

The Prizes will be presented at a formal Honours ceremony in February 2024.

Open to eligible universities and colleges of Further and higher education in the United Kingdom, the Prizes were first awarded in 1994.


Middleton Campus
Rochdale Road, Middleton
Manchester, M24 6XH
0161 643 7560
Rochdale Campus
St. Mary’s Gate
Rochdale, OL12 6RY
01706 345 346