For a dozen years, Brighton Permaculture Trust's main Permaculture Design Course - formerly called Building Sustainable Communities - has been offering its successful students Open College Network (OCN) accreditation in addition to the Permaculture Association certificate.
This means that we have been 'quality assured' by a leading adult education awarding body, which has helped us to build the course to minimum A level standard.
About 250 Brighton Permaculture Trust students have received academic credits for completing their Permaculture design study with the Trust, and many have gone on to higher level courses with the credits as proof of their ability to learn about ecology, sustainability, and to practise design skills.
This year, the Permaculture Association (of Britain) has itself become an awarding centre for the OCN Yorkshire & Humber Region, which is where the Association's Leeds office is based, as part of its strategy to mainstream Permaculture education.
And the great news is that the programme of units that Brighton Permaculture Trust has been running for their Permaculture Design Course has been made the centrepiece of the accredited provision for all Permaculture courses in the UK.
The Permaculture Association's Education Working Group will soon publish its Core Curriculum for the Permaculture Design Course, and this has been matched to the units for the national programme, which were based on the Brighton Permaculture Trust course from 2008.
One of our Trustees, Jan Mulreany, worked with Joe Atkinson, the Permaculture Association's Learning Coordinator, over the last year to put this into place with OCNYHR. Jan is now the Internal Verifier for the OCN scheme nationally, and will be promoting the use of the four units in the programme to other Permaculture courses.
As an Association member, Brighton Permaculture Trust is now part of the Permaculture Association Distributed College OCN Scheme, and we will be working alongside other Permaculture teachers in England and Wales to maintain the quality of the national Permaculture curriculum.
It also means that many of our leading tutors have gained a new national teaching qualification to run courses in adult and community education, which helps to professionalise our teaching team … more about that soon!
To read more about the Permaculture Association, go to their website www.permaculture.org.uk
To read more about the OCN system of accreditation for courses, go to www.ocnyhr.org.uk