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Finally, a 'do' to celebrate FE

I write in support of the launch last week of the FE Awards ("Awards give `Cinderella sector' its own ball at last", FE Focus 13 May). I can't tell you how over the moon I was to read about their inception. TES editor Gerard Kelly is right to say the sector is considered the Cinderella of the education world and he is also right to have decided that it now needs its very own Oscars evening.

As someone who worked in the sector for more years than I care to remember (I am long retired), I was always fascinated by the fact that once my children started working in media and publishing they seemed to don evening-wear at the drop of a hat and disappear into some bun-fight in the West End of London. How I enviously looked on at their opportunities for a party.

Then, a couple of years ago I read that The TES had launched a set of gongs and an awards ceremony for the schools sector and my sense of injustice grew further. I thought to myself, why was it that just because my former colleagues were slaving away at the less glamorous end of the chalk face, their work was somehow deemed to be not worth celebrating?

So, it was with excitement that I read last week's story announcing the FE Awards. How motivating it will be for my successors to know that their endeavours might be rewarded with a little slice of the high-life. Just knowing that it is a possibility will make a real difference, I suspect, to the sense of self-worth in the collective FE staffroom.

Well done to The TES and FE Focus. It is excellent news, even if it has taken rather too long to finally see the light of day. Pass the champagne.

Bill Turner, West London.

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