Hundreds of FE's most committed professionals gathered last week to celebrate the sector's success stories at the TES FE Awards. Prizes were presented in a range of categories at the gala ceremony, which took place alongside the Skills Show at the NEC Birmingham.
The Outstanding Provider of the Year Award went to Exeter College, which bravely put itself forward for one of Ofsted's first no-notice inspections. It went on to be rated "outstanding", and was the first college to receive that grade for teaching and learning in two and a half years.
It was Exeter's second award of the evening: the college also took the prize for outstanding leadership in learning and skills. "This has been a truly outstanding year," said principal Richard Atkins. "These awards really show us that our continued focus on excellent teaching and learning, leading to successful student outcomes, and our partnerships in the city and further afield have now earned the recognition of our education peers."
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Julie Mclean of City College Plymouth. She characterised her teenage self as "challenging", saying her life was turned around by an inspirational vocational teacher who showed her "a different way of learning". She has done the same for tens of thousands of students over the past 30 years. Judges described her as an "ordinary person doing extraordinary things".
"It's an absolute honour to be recognised for doing something that I truly love," said Ms Mclean, City College Plymouth's director of work-based learning and schools partnerships.
BSix Brooke House Sixth Form College in East London, named outstanding provider of the year in 2011, claimed the Outstanding Innovation in Teaching, Training or Learning Provision Award.
TES FE AWARD WINNERS 2012
Outstanding provider of the year Exeter College
Lifetime achievement Julie Mclean, City College Plymouth
Outstanding finance team Peterborough Regional College
Outstanding estates team Coleg Gwent
Outstanding practice in sustainability South Staffordshire College
Outstanding human resources team Pembrokeshire College
Outstanding employer engagement HMP Hewell, Worcestershire
Outstanding contribution to the local community Hackney Community College, East London
Outstanding leadership in learning and skills Exeter College
Outstanding marketingcommunications team Bournville College, Birmingham
Outstanding entrepreneurship in learning and skills
BMET Enterprise Academy, Birmingham Metropolitan College
Outstanding e-learning team Barking and Dagenham College
Outstanding innovation in teaching, training or learning provision BSix Brooke House Sixth Form College, East London.