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Awards give 'Cinderella sector' its own ball at last

Nominate your stars of FE now to give them a shot at glory

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Nominate your stars of FE now to give them a shot at glory

The TES today launches the FE Awards, our first celebration of the achievements of the wide range of providers working in learning and skills.

As the successor to the Learning and Skills Improvement Service's STAR Awards, the new awards are open to colleges, work-based learning providers, adult and community learning providers, offender learning establishments and specialist designated institutions.

There are awards in 13 categories to recognise achievement by individuals, teams or providers in fields including e-learning, employer engagement, innovation in teaching, entrepreneurship, leadership and lifetime achievement (see box, right).

Gerard Kelly, editor of The TES, said: "We know that the huge range of providers in FE are responsible for some of the best work in British education: from sixth-form colleges with the highest A-level scores in the country, to a vocational skills system admired across the world, to prison educators working hard to rehabilitate offenders. FE is the choice of more than two-thirds of 16-year-olds and tens of thousands of over-60s.

"But there are too few occasions to celebrate its achievements and its unique contribution. FE is called the Cinderella sector often enough - it's about time we put on a ball for it.

"And while the press isn't always too quick to report success in education, with crises and scandals grabbing the headlines more often than not, we hope these awards will go some small way to redressing the balance."

Rob Wye, chief executive of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, which sponsors the awards, said: "We are delighted to support these prestigious annual awards which recognise excellence, dedication and achievement in organisations across the sector.

"They have been a highlight of the learning and skills calendar since their original launch as the STAR Awards in 2003, and we believe that now, as the TES FE Awards, they will continue to thrive as the ultimate accolades for the tremendous work done every year to improve the experience and skills of learners around the country."

The awards are open to all providers funded by either the Young People's Learning Agency or the Skills Funding Agency. Nominations are now open and a shortlist will be published in FE Focus in September. The winners, selected by a panel of distinguished judges, will be announced at a ceremony in London on 11 November.

The deadline for nominations is 8 July. For more information on how to apply, details of the criteria for each of the categories or to buy tickets for the ceremony, visit


  • Outstanding e-learning Team
  • Outstanding Finance Team
  • Outstanding MarketingCommunications Team
  • Outstanding Human Resources Team
  • Outstanding Estates Team
  • Outstanding Innovation in Teaching, Training or Learning Provision
  • Outstanding Practice in Sustainability
  • Outstanding Employer Engagement
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community
  • Outstanding Entrepreneurship in Learning and Skills
  • Outstanding Leadership in Learning and Skills
  • Outstanding Provider of the Year
  • Lifetime Achievement Award.

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