The further education sector was out in full force to celebrate their best and brightest stars at the Tes FE Awards 2021 this evening.
Although the ceremony took place online for a second year running owing to the Covid pandemic, the sector did not hold back in donning its glad rags and raising a glass (or several) in honour of its winners.
Tim Jackson, former principal of Sparsholt College, was recognised for his dedication to FE with the lifetime achievement award, with several of his former colleagues paying tribute in a moving video.
London South East Colleges was named overall FE provider of the year, having bagged both the contribution to the local community award as well as being named FE college of the year.
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Group principal and chief executive of London South East Colleges Sam Parrett said: “We are all absolutely delighted to win these three awards - especially overall FE provider of the year, which is a huge honour. It’s been an incredibly tough year for staff and students alike, but everyone has gone the extra mile and it’s wonderful to get recognition for such hard work.
“I am extremely proud of our entire college community, particularly the way in which staff throughout the organisation have come together to support one another and ensure that students have been able to achieve, progress and reach their full potential.
“Our college operates as a social enterprise, adding genuine social value to our communities. From our Foodbank Friday campaign to our relationships with employers, local authorities and other education providers – we are working hard in our role as an anchor institution and look forward to developing this further in the coming years."
FE leader of the year Stuart Rimmer, principal of East Coast College, said: "I feel very humbled to receive this award. Achievements are built by some amazing teams and I’m fortunate to lead some of these in my college and in wider groups. So it’s those folks who really deserve awards. This year the sector has seen leadership in abundance at every level and in every college. We should collectively be proud of this. Thank you Tes!"
Gillian Keegan, the minister for apprenticeships and skills, congratulated the award winners. She said: "To win an award is always an honour, but to win one in a year like the one we've just had is truly remarkable. FE will play a key role as we try to recover from the pandemic and I look forward to continuing to work with you on the unprecedented challenges you face every day."
Many thanks 👍 this is testament to our amazing staff, fantastic colleagues @Ayrshire_music, our community partners @ActiveSchoolsEA @VibrantEAC @krisboydcharity @Jai_McDowall. most importantly our inspirational students @mental_united #passingpositivity #connectingcommunities https://t.co/7JoOspA8MS pic.twitter.com/aiAWbLUOw5— j mct (@MctJohn) May 28, 2021
Incredible news @tesfenews!! We’re all feeling a wee bit emotional @LSEColleges and totally lost for words. So proud be part of such an awesome sector @Royal_Greenwich @LBofBexley @LBofBromley #loveFE https://t.co/EbuGQlaW4g— London SE Colleges (@LSEColleges) May 28, 2021
The winners in full
Apprenticeship programme of the year: Gower College Swansea
Support for learners: Cardiff and Vale College
Employer engagement: The Manchester College
Best teaching and learning initiative: Ayrshire College
Contribution to the local community: London South East Colleges
Outstanding GCSE resits provision: Buxton and Leek College
WorldSkills hero: South Eastern Regional College
Lifetime achievement: Tim Jackson
Professional services team of the year: Dundee and Angus College
Teacher of the year: Anthony Gascoigne, North Hertfordshire College
FE leader of the year: Stuart Rimmer, East Coast College
FE college of the year: London South East Colleges
Training provider of the year: ELATT
Adult and community learning provider of the year: Norfolk County Council Adult Learning
Sixth-form college of the year: Rochdale Sixth Form College
Specialist provider of the year: Derwen College
Overall FE provider of the year: London South East Colleges