From education to employment

Celebrating success where it matters

Dr Julie Mills, Principal & Chief Executive, Milton Keynes College

In teaching, success is measured by other people’s achievements; hardly a surprise then that the annual Students of the Year Awards is for me, and for many of my colleagues, the best day of the year – one day like this a year will see me right, (Thank you Elbow for this perfect lyric).

Teaching sometimes feels a bit like being a football manager. When results go well, it’s the players (or students) who get the credit, but if form takes a dip, it’s the manager’s (or teacher’s) head on the block.

We are blessed with wonderful, committed, knowledgeable and caring staff at Milton Keynes College, and I think this celebration of student success is a day when they should all take a bow too. And not just the teachers but all the other staff who make sure our learners are safe at College, that the organisation functions effectively, that everyone has the best environment they can feasibly have in which to learn and grow. There is, quite literally, a cast of thousands and not just made up of people directly employed at or by the College.

Everything we do is work-focused, and much of it relies on the vision, enthusiasm and cooperation of local employers who invest in an apprentice or provide work experience or help to mould the courses we offer. For example, who would have thought that a brand like Holiday Inn would allow students to take over the running of their hotel, as happened earlier this year? Success breeds trust.

This year’s event saw the venue, Woburn Sculpture Gallery, beautifully decorated in green, white and purple (the colours of the suffrage movement) to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of women winning the right to vote.

Those women who fought for the extension of the franchise achieved something which just a few years before seemed impossible. Similarly, quite a few of the young people receiving our accolades would themselves have felt like they were not the kind of people who win academic awards – and when that’s the case, success is all the sweeter for them, for their teachers and for their families.

This day, this event, is one of the main reasons we do what we do. The College-led bid for an Institute of Digital Technology at Bletchley Park has as one of its strap lines, Inspiring the Next Generation of Digital Visionaries.

Inspiration is very much what we’re about, it’s a core value. Inspiring people to learn, having inspirational relationships between staff and learners, inspiring business and other local supporters to get involved, sharing their time and their knowledge.

Our overall winner, the wonderful and thoroughly deserving, Matthew Atkinson, is a source of enormous inspiration all on his own. Apart from being a stunningly hardworking and talented individual, he takes the time to help others, to inspire them in turn. Matthew understands that success has many fathers and mothers (to ‘inclusify-up’ President Kennedy) and that while his name is on the award, prizes are always shared, always the result of effective collaboration.

College successes this year have included our grade two Ofsted (with terrific encouragement from the inspectors to go for outstanding next time), The Brasserie being named Milton Keynes Restaurant of the Year, English and maths results far out-stripping the sector norms, the men’s football team being crowned National College Cup winners – a fabulous list and all of it the result of teamwork at every turn.

All those businesses with which we work deserved to be up on that stage with the prize winners. All the staff, all the parents, all our many supporters in the city, really should have been up there too. Good teachers inspire their students, and at this one very special night of the year, they and everyone else involved with college life get that inspiration given right back to them. It’s a very fair trade.

Dr Julie Mills, Principal & Chief Executive, Milton Keynes College

Copyright © 2018 FE News


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