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Brian May Awards

Brian May Awards


2023 Award winnersThe Brian May Access to Higher Education Learner Awards were launched in 2019 in memory of a dear colleague, Brian, worked for Open College Network West Midlands between 2010 and 2016 firstly as a moderator and centre reviewer before taking up the role of Access Adviser. His main areas of expertise were Humanities, Skills for Learning and Education Studies.
Thoughtful and erudite, Brian brought his substantial knowledge and experience to his work, guiding tutors through the rigours of Access to HE course delivery and helping to improve the content of the Diplomas and, therefore, the learner outcomes.

Following his death in 2018, the Learner Awards were named in his honour.

To date, over 145 learners have received an award. Each year, our centres are invited to nominate learners within two categories: Outstanding Academic Achievement and Outstanding Commitment to Study. Two winners are then selected to represent AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group at the national, Keith Fletcher Awards. 

View the 2023 Winners here

Applications for 2024

March - 31 July 2024: Nominations period

1 August 2024: Judging commences

w/c 2 September 2024: Shortlisted candidates announced

15 October 2024: Winners announced at the AIM Conference and Awards 2024

Invitation to nominate learners 

Nominations can be made by providers delivering AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group Access to HE Diplomas by completing the nomination form and submitting it to AIM by Friday 26th July 2024.

Ten awards of £600 eHouses of Parliament, host to the 2023 prize winners eventach (five for each category) will be awarded to shortlisted outstanding Access to HE learners. 

All shortlisted candidates will be informed w/c 2 September. The two overall winners (one from each category) will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony held during the AIM Conference and Awards 2024 event on Tuesday 15 October at the Eastside Rooms in Birmingham. 

The two winners will automatically go through to the national 2025 Keith Fletcher Awards Prize.

This is an excellent opportunity for AIM centres to reward those students who are outstanding in their studies and committed to their future progress. You can nominate a maximum of three learners per category. Each nomination must be on a separate nomination form. All of the nominees must be notified of their nomination and should also be informed that we may use their learning stories in our marketing publications should consent be given.

Please collaborate with your students to complete nomination forms and submit them using the application form below by 26th July 2024.


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. 

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.

All work submitted should be anonymised – the filename should include the AVA name and/or student 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 nomination form

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 in 2.2 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 his/her 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 nomination form

  • AIM centres are invited to nominate Access to HE students on courses in the current academic year (ie 2023-24).
  • Learners withdrawn from the course will be ineligible for an award.
  • A centre can nominate up to three learners per category.
  • Each nomination must be on a separate nomination form.
  • All nominees must be notified of their nomination. They should also be informed that we may use their learning stories in our marketing publications should consent be given. Where approval has been provided, AIM reserves the right to use the information provided in the nomination form for marketing and publicity purposes.
  • Students plus a guest will be invited to attend the awards ceremony at the AIM Conference on 15 October 2024. If students are unable to attend, centres will be asked to provide a photograph of the student being presented with the cheque for publicity purposes at a later date.
  • The decisions of the panel of judges will be final.