This category recognises tutors who have made “a major contribution to educational life”. Samantha Jones has not only made a contribution to her students but also to the further education sector as a whole through her FE Research Meet initiative.
Jones is a part-time advanced practitioner in Bedford College’s teacher education and scholarship department. Since she joined, student achievement rates have consistently increased.
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In addition to her teaching duties, Jones is an FE researcher, and recently completed a master’s degree in learning and teaching from the University of Oxford, where she won the International Professional Development Association’s Award for her dissertation on continuing professional development in FE colleges.
Last September, she started a PhD at the University of Cambridge exploring topics surrounding updating vocational knowledge. In 2017, Jones held the UK’s first research summit for FE lecturers. Five pieces of research were shared at the first meeting, with 40 teachers in attendance. The second meeting, a year later, featured discussions on 15 pieces of research by 65 tutors.
Jones helped other teacher-researchers set up their own research meets, with regional events taking place in Bristol and Greater Manchester. To date, six FE research meets across the country are planned for 2019. Jones is also co-convenor of the post-compulsory and lifelong learning special interest group at the British Educational Research Association, and she convenes the Learning and Skills Research Network’s Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire group.
The judges said Samantha’s research work “contributes to the national conversation” with its impact being felt not just in her college but disseminated across the sector.