From education to employment

Investment in quality staff will always pay dividends

Dr Paul Phillips, CBE, Principal & Chief Executive, Weston College

Everyone can remember their favourite teacher.

It might’ve been someone who helped you get to grips with a subject you struggled with, or a teacher who always found a way to make classes interesting and relevant.

Excellent teachers have an effect that goes beyond classroom learning – often influencing the career you choose and the success you make of it. Not to mention helping shape the person you become.

Data backs up the anecdotal evidence.

An Ofsted study, which focused on a range of ‘outstanding’ providers, shows that “consistently good or better teaching, learning and assessment has never been more significant for learners in further education (FE)”.

The FE and skills sector has a fundamental role in helping learners progress to a rewarding and prosperous career – as well as developing the social skills that will enable them to make a contribution to society.

For many learners, further education is their last chance before they risk dropping out of education and training altogether. Learners, therefore, need the very best teaching to ensure they are on track and take the right next steps to secure a future of sustained employment.

In other words, FE is a watershed moment in many young people’s lives – which highlights the key role that teachers play.

I’ve always said that at Weston College, our teaching staff are our most important resource.

It’s no secret that FE providers across the country are feeling the pinch from repeated and prolonged budget cuts. But, nonetheless, we’re continually investing in our lecturers.

We understand the importance of remunerating staff who perform well, and making them feel valued – or you run the risk of losing them, to the detriment of your learners.

You don’t have to take my word for it. We’ve been awarded the Investors in People (IIP) Gold Standard, which is held by less than 2% of UK businesses and demonstrates our commitment to invest in our staff to improve performance. We’re also an Investors in People ‘Champion’ – a prestigious award given to IIP role models.

And this investment is paying huge dividends.

Over recent years, the College has gone from strength to strength and, in 2014, we were graded ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted – the first college in the South West to earn top marks under the new assessment framework.

This was due, in no small part, to the quality of our teaching staff – which was singled out by Ofsted.

At the end of last year, we won the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. This award recognises excellence, innovation and positive impact on the community, and is seen as one of the most important educational prizes in the country.

It’s fantastic that individual members of staff have also been recognised for their efforts and the quality of their teaching.

The Pearson Teaching Awards are a prestigious national prize, with winners chosen from thousands of nominations. It speaks volumes for our staff that we have won an incredible six since 2014. This year, Travel and Tourism lecturer Charmaine Hale-Lynch and our Welfare and Pastoral Services Team won silver awards.

As you can see, the commitment we make to our staff produces tangible benefits for our learners which, after all, is why we are here. Not only can learners be sure they’ll get the highest quality education with us, staff members understand their efforts will always be rewarded.

Dr Paul Phillips, CBE, Principal & Chief Executive, Weston College

Dr Paul Phillips Newsroom Strap

Related Articles