`Inspiring' award winners are the pride of FE

7th March 2014 at 00:00
Very best of the sector honoured in the TES FE Awards 2014

Hundreds of the UK's most committed further education professionals gathered last week to celebrate the sector's success stories at the TES FE Awards 2014.

A total of 13 prizes were handed out at the event, celebrating the innovation and achievements of this year's outstanding colleges, training providers and individuals.

The flagship FE Provider of the Year Award went to Walsall College in the West Midlands, which last year became the first FE college in England to be graded outstanding by schools inspectorate Ofsted under its new framework.

After a remarkable transformation, Walsall had become a "fantastic" college that epitomised the strengths of FE, the judges agreed.

Principal Jat Sharma said the college was "absolutely thrilled" to claim the gong. "Our journey to Ofsted `outstanding' has involved the support, hard work and commitment of our students, staff, governors and local partners," he said.

"Every aspect of college life is truly focused on ensuring that students enter employment or higher levels of education, and we remain committed to them, together with adding prosperity to our local businesses and communities.

"We are deeply proud for Walsall and wish to convey our thanks to everyone who has helped us on our journey so far."

Ros Morpeth, chief executive of the National Extension College (NEC), was named FE leader of the year for her "tenacity and inspirational leadership".

Eight years after retiring from the pioneering distance learning institution, Ms Morpeth returned to save it after it went into administration. She was hailed as a "miracle worker" by the judges.

"I just feel total disbelief," Ms Morpeth said. "I was just pleased to be nominated. I'm still pinching myself. On Monday, I called all the staff together and showed them my award. It's really only because of all their hard work and the sacrifices they've made that there is still an NEC here to lead at all."

Jayne Walker, director of student support at East Kent College, received the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her contribution to FE over the past four decades. The judges described her as an "unsung hero".

TES editor Ann Mroz said the award winners were "a roll call of the most imaginative, innovative and inspiring professionals and institutions to be found in this impressive sector".

For more information, see www.tesfeawards.co.uk

Just deserts: the winners in full

FE provider of the year Walsall College, West Midlands

Most innovative teacher of the year Richard Reid, Forth Valley College, Scotland

FE leader of the year Ros Morpeth, National Extension College

Teaching and learning initiative Pembrokeshire College, Wales

Employer engagement Bridgwater College, Somerset

Outstanding use of technology in FE Hull College, Yorkshire

Support for students Barking and Dagenham College, London

University HE access widening participation Edinburgh College, Scotland

Marketingcommunications campaign of the year Blackburn College, Lancashire

Contribution to the local community Bournville College, Birmingham, West Midlands

Initiative for lifelong learning widening participation Adult, Family and Community Learning, Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Sporting initiative Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College

Lifetime achievement Jayne Walker, East Kent College

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