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She's gonna make you a Star award

A mature student from the West Country has been chosen to design the new "Oscars" for FE staff.

Ella Massingberd, 51, from Plymouth college of art and design, submitted her idea in a contest to find a design for the new Star awards trophy.

Her submission, described by competition organisers as striking and original, is circular with a star shape embedded in blown glass.

She will be developing her design over the next few months and working with the Star awards team to produce 13 trophies in time for a glittering ceremony on October 12.

Ella started at Plymouth college five years ago on a national diploma design crafts programme. She has just finished a BA in applied arts, studying ceramics, glass and metals.

In 2001 she won a similar competition to design a trophy for the Association of Colleges' gold award, given to college alumni who have gone on to achieve excellence in their chosen fields. She will be rewarded for her latest win with a one-year membership of the Design museum in London.

This includes a year's free entrance for two to the museum, as well as invitations to supporters' private views.

Ella, an experienced potter, decided to take an arts and design course when her daughter grew up and left home.

She says the HND and degree courses gave her the chance to work with metal and glass for the first time. She is now joining a glass-making co-operative in Exeter.

Commenting on being chosen for the trophy design, she said. "It's brilliant. It was especially good to work in glass. I did the gold award in 2001, but that was in ceramic.

"I have been dabbling in ceramics for years, but during my HND we started working with glass and I was absolutely fascinated by it."

The Star awards were launched last November by Education Secretary Charles Clarke to celebrate the unsung heroes of the learning and skills sector.

The awards, partly sponsored by The TES, are open to everyone including teachers, receptionists, caretakers, cleaners, creche workers, technicians, and librarians.

The nomination period for this year's awards has now closed. Judges short-listed 130 people from more 1,600 nominated by colleagues.

Thirteen winners will be announced at the October awards ceremony and will receive a pound;1,000 cash prize, a trophy and a certificate. Their employer will also receive a certificate to testify that they employ a Star.

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