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Nine new Beacon Awards handed out to colleges at the QIA Celebrating Excellence event

Hundreds of people from the world of Further Education gathered for the sector’s own version of the Oscars at the London Marriot Hotel on Wednesday for the “Celebrating Excellence” event.

It was organised by the Quality Improvement Agency for Lifelong Learning (QIA) as a joint celebration marking its first year in operation and the achievements of all the Beacons so far.

Around 100 colleges and learning providers have been awarded Beacon status in recent years for their excellent teaching, marking them out as extra special, and a further nine joined them during the event.

Receiving an award on behalf of Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College, its Chair, Iain Mackinnon commented on the importance of this recognition:

“We join an elite band of just four large colleges in London to be recognised as a Beacon and are invited to share our expertise with others.

“We want to thank our staff for their commitment to our students” success.”

Agreeing with this was Milena Pankievichm who is studying for a BTEC National Certificate in Travel and Tourism who graduates in June. Speaking at the event she said: “For my college to be awarded Beacon status is a great honour and will make our college stand out from the rest. The teachers are so supportive and really motivate you to do your best.”

Paying testament to this is the fact that she won a Gold Scholarship from Westminster University and will receive a very helpful £12,000 bursary over three years.

Presenting the Beacon awards during the event, Bill Rammell, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education had this word of congratulation for the winners:

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“They are examples of all that is vibrant about the Further Education system and their achievements should be an inspiration to others throughout the system.”

The QIA was tasked by the Government to speed improvements within the Further Education sector a year ago. At the forefront of the organisation’s mission is creating an FE system to rival that of any other in the world.

QIA Chief Executive, Andrew Thomson commented that all the Beacons, “¦epitomise what “world-class” means and are in a perfect position to help others in the system understand how to make similar strides and achievements.”

This Year’s Beacons Are:

– Clarkson Evans, Gloucester

– Derwen College, Oswestry

– Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College, London

– Macclesfield College, Macclesfield

– Northern Racing College, Doncaster

– Priestley College, Warrington

– Reaseheath College, Nantwich

– Sak’s Hairdressing, Darlington

– Stockton Riverside College, Stockton-on-Tees

Sereena Assih

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