Life at Henshaws College: Student Liaison Officer

In this blog, we meet Beth, our wonderful Student Liaison Officer at Henshaws College. Find out more about her role below.


I’m Beth, Student Liaison Offer here at Henshaws College. It’s my job to help ensure that every student’s time at college is meaningful, enriching and positive. This involves wellbeing sessions, helping students to make their voice heard and coordinating lots of fun events and activities.

Communication at the heart

I started in this role about a year and a half ago, although my time at Henshaws began before that. In 2015, I joined as a Communications Technician where I worked really closely with our Speech and Language Therapy Team to create resources for students and staff. I was trained in all different communication methods used by our students – PECS, Makaton, BSL and more.

It was the perfect preparation for the role I’m in now. I learnt so much about how important it is to help our students have a voice. Even in small things that we take for granted, such as feeling able to say no to something. It also really helped that when I became Student Liaison Officer, I already had relationships with the students. It meant that they felt more comfortable with me from the start.

Looking to the future from the very beginning

It may seem quite strange, but from a student’s first day, we will already be thinking about when they leave. Not because we don’t love having them here of course! But because we want to explore every single opportunity that helps them get to where they want to be. And that is so important. At Henshaws, it is not about what we think a student should achieve, it is all about their goals and aspirations.

I work really closely with students on this to ensure that their voice is heard across College. To get them as involved as possible in shaping their time with us. This may be attending curriculum reviews, planning events and social activities or a smaller goal that is individual to that student. I also work with our student parliament who are voted in by the student body to represent student views.

Endless opportunities for learning new skills

5 Students dressed up in a variety of fancy dress for World Book Day

Certainly one thing that I have learnt in the time doing this role is how much students learn not only from taking part in events and activities, but from helping with the planning and coordinating. They can develop their social skills, organisation, communication, and much more. And it is part of my job to help them find these opportunities.

For example, our students have really enjoyed giving tours to visitors of the college. Rather than giving them a set of instructions as to how to complete the tour – we let them take the lead. They choose the time, where they want to go and what resources they might need. They also help with everything when it comes to our college events, such as our annual talent show which is so much fun!

Creating a safe space

Another essential part of my role is student wellbeing. Students are able to come to me to discuss any worries or questions they have. It’s so important that they have this safe space to discuss sensitive topics that may be hard for them to open up about. And that they understand it’s ok to feel sad, angry or frustrated. The wellbeing sessions we offer are judgement free. It is the greatest compliment when our students come to me to ask for help.

No day is the same

To say my role at college is varied is a bit of an understatement! I remember one day when within about 10 minutes I’d been asked to guess the weight of a pumpkin, be sold some brownies and been given the chance to have my nails painted. All before I’d even started work.

Annabel in a wheelchair smiling in the sun

Honestly, our students really do amaze me every single day. I love it when they come to me with ideas of things they want to achieve. Recently, two of our visually impaired told me they wanted to create their own Braille awareness course for staff in college. Which was just fantastic. They wrote, designed and developed the course and are preparing to give their first session in just a few weeks’ time.

Our students have taught me more than I will ever teach them

Without a doubt, the best thing about my job is the students. And I think most of the staff who work here would say the same. It makes it a really special place to work because we are all working towards the same goal, to get the best for the students. Seeing them flourish is such a huge joy!

Henshaws graphic with pink and purple shapes

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