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Downing Street Reception for Welsh FE College Staff

If Mohammed cannot come to the mountain, then the mountain must go to Mohammed. In this case, the mountain was represented by selected staff from Welsh FE colleges, who were recently welcomed into Number 10 Downing Street for a special reception.

Welsh FE enjoyed an exceptionally successful 2005, with some 20% of Beacon Awards for FE College Excellence won by Wales as announced at the Association of Colleges (AoC) Conference in November 2005. In recognition of this, the Prime Minister Tony Blair congratulated exceptional staff from the exceptional sector at the reception at the heart of London.

The Visit

Thirteen members of the Welsh FE field selected for the visit. These were Sian ONeill (Swansea College); Jacqui Weatherburn (Coleg Ceredigion); Barry Liles (Coleg Sir Gâr); David Jones (Deeside College); Adele Ottilie-Jones (Neath Port Talbot College); Tony Leahy (Yale College Wrexham); Anthony Pickering (Coleg Llandrillo Cymru); Malcolm Charnley (Coleg Glan Hafren); Annie Williams (Coleg Harlech/WEA); Gwyneth Jones (Bridgend College); Beti Jones (Coleg Llysfasi); Paul Halstead (Barry College); and Dave Adams (Coleg Gwent).

They were recognised as part of a general ceremony designed to honour the many individual achievements in the post-16 education and training sector professionals across the UK. The importance of staff excellence in education and training is obvious regardless of the particular sector or subject involved.

Response to the Visit

One of the guests to meet the Prime Minister, Coleg Ceredigion Vice Principal Jacqui Weatherburn. She expressed her delight at being part of the visit, saying: “I was delighted to be invited and to have the opportunity to share the experience with colleagues from FE colleges across the UK. Making a difference for learners, and enhancing the contribution those learners are then able to make to their communities and the economy, is at the very heart of the education sector. It’s a pleasure to see that unique contribution being made across FE colleges throughout the UK recognised and rewarded.”

The Chief Executive of fforwm, John Graystone, said of the excellent health of Welsh FE that lead to the visit: “Thanks to the commitment of their staff, colleges in Wales are performing extremely strongly at the UK level and delivering a high quality service for learners. I”m delighted and proud that the exceptional contribution of these thirteen individuals has been recognised by the Prime Minister.”

Jethro Marsh

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