Winners of the WEA 2019 Educational Impact Awards revealed

Eleven national winners were celebrated for their outstanding achievement in adult education at The WEA’s 2019 Educational Impact Awards.

These national awards celebrate students, tutors, volunteers, partners and staff – who have transformed their own lives and the lives of others through lifelong learning and this year take place as part of the WEA’s Adult Education Works campaign.

Among the winners – remarkable students who have overcome significant obstacles and achieved substantial progression. An inspirational group of ten refugees and asylum seekers who won the outstanding student group award through their achievements as part of the Science for ESOL project in Glasgow. The group give inspiration to ESOL students across the country that there are different pathways available. Having fled Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen and Iraq, the group at different stages in the resettlement process completed their course. Seven gained SCQF Level 4 and three gained a certificate of participation.

Hava Cil began learning with the WEA to improve her English language skills after moving to the UK from Turkey and this year has been accepted to study PGCE Maths at the University of Oxford and Sarah Marie Birks, a student who started with the Helping in Schools programme which led to her getting a Teaching Assistant position, is now starting a BA in Education Culture and Childhood in September.

The social impact award went to Adult Signpost Haverhill for their inspiring work with adults who risked becoming marginalised and socially excluded due to mental health conditions.

Jo Cain, Deputy CEO of the WEA, said:

“The WEA Educational Impact Awards are a great way to recognise the impact of adult education. The awards winners are a fantastic example of how adult education benefits individuals, their families and the communities they live in and we will be sharing their stories as part of our Adult Education Works campaign to further prove the value of adult education. My congratulations to all our award winners and nominees this year.”

Frank Ferrie was presented with outstanding tutor for his inspiring work teaching art classes to students with varied needs including students with MS, dementia and with mental health needs. Cathy Kirk was awarded the Olive Cordell foundation tutor award for her work on an intensive WEA ESOL programme through the ambitious Midland’s Engine project.

The Dolphin Women’s Centre won the regional partner award. The centre based in Ward End in Washwood Heath, one of Birmingham’s most deprived wards providing local women with creative courses and training and educational courses to support employment.


Volunteers were also celebrated on the night including those who have gone above and beyond to drive participation including Anne Hollis who won the impact in the local community award for her work. Anne was instrumental in starting Reaching Out art classes widening the reach of the programme. At a time when many classes are no longer running for students with disabilities, the programme has remained full and varied with student success and progress at the centre.

Twelve regional winners also received awards at the event, while NOCN Group Managing Director, Graham Hasting-Evans, Stephen Evans, Chief executive of Learning and Work Institute and Caroline Diehl MBE, Executive Chair and Founder of Together TV, and Founder and Former CEO of the Media Trust were made fellows of the WEA.

This year’s sponsors include Lloyds Banking Group, NOCN Group, Skills & Education Group, Arden University, Ruth Spellman, Olive Cordell and Learning and Work Institute. 

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