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On Tuesday, The Brewery on Chiswell Street, London, played host to the national STAR Awards ceremony for the Further Education sector in learning and skills.

The awards, known as the STAR Awards, are the result of the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) "Success for All Strategy - Reforming Further Education and Training" which was announced and published in 2002. In this statement, the DfES pledged to inaugurate an awards system for teachers, educators, lecturers, trainers, managers and support staff who work within the learning and skills sector.

In the first year for the Awards, more than 1,600 individual nominations were received, with 130 nominees going forward for consideration and 13 winning the coveted prize. And this year the field was even more competitive, with a field of more than 3,400 individuals recognised, from which were drawn more than 150 final nominees across sixteen fields, with seventeen winners on the night.

Hosted on the night by the enthusiastic Ben Shephard and Penny Smith, the awards ceremony was also a chance for chief stakeholders in the FE sector to come together and support the success of some of those whose work at the sharp end of matters makes so much of the progress possible. Speaking at the ceremony, Bill Rammell MP, the Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education echoed these sentiments, emphasising that in the vast work that is being done the STAR awards are vital in recognising the individual achievements that are the engine room for so much improvement and innovation.

The Final Winners

The winners, seventeen in sixteen different categories, were announced as follows. The award for Further Education Tutor of the Year, sponsored by Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK), was shared between Sakina Zafar, of Regent College, Leicester and Sally MacGregor, of Runshaw College, Preston, Lancashire. Winner of Basic/Key Skills Tutor of the Year, sponsored by Protocol Training, was Darshan Bajaj, of Telford College of Arts and Technology, Shropshire.

Liz Durham, of Southend Adult Community College, Essex, picked up the award for Adult and Community Learning Tutor of the Year, sponsored by the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE). The Work-Based Learning Tutor of the Year, sponsored by the Association of Learning Providers (ALP) was David Dyble, from Hull College, Humberside. Offender Tutor of the Year, sponsored by the Association of Colleges (AoC) was announced as Steve Brown, from HMP Manchester, Greater Manchester. The E-Learning Tutor of the Year, sponsored by Microsoft, was Neil Mayne, Northern College, Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

The Learning and Skills Subject Learning Coach of the Year, sponsored by a consortium led by the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) was Debbie Wilme of Education and Training Skills, Exeter, Devon. UNISON was proud to support the award of Outstanding Support other than Learning, which went to Kosser Choudry of Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead/Ellington Community Learning Centre, Berkshire. Steve Brown was joined by Yvonne Smith, HMP Leeds, West Yorkshire when she won the Award for Outstanding Learning Support, sponsored by learndirect.

The SKILL Award for Staff Supporting Students with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities, sponsored by Sight&Sound went to Mike Scanlan, from Liverpool Community College, Merseyside. Volunteer efforts were acknowledged in the Award for Outstanding Contribution from a Volunteer, sponsored by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). The winner was Bridget Wright from Farnborough College of Technology, Hampshire. The LSC also sponsored the Award for an Outstanding Team, which went to the Independence Team, Royal National College of the Blind, Hereford.

The Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) also sponsored two awards; the Award for Outstanding Management of Learning, won by Sally Foard, Cornwall College, St Austell, Cornwall, and the Award for Outstanding Leadership, which went to Clive Weston, Accrington and Rossendale College, Lancashire. The last two awards were the Outstanding Achievement: Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by the Institute for Learning and received by Derek Denby, John Leggott College, Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, and the Outstanding Achievement: Innovative Practice and Inspiration Award, given to Simon Couth, The Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education, Humberside.

All of us here at FE News would like to add our congratulations to the winners, the nominees, and everyone associated with the STAR Awards. It is important to recognise achievement, often under difficult conditions, and the accomplishments highlighted by these recipients should serve as an inspiration both within FE and beyond.

Jethro Marsh

Congratulate the STARs in the FE Blog

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