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Quartet of Wins for EKC Group as College Staff Named Best in Kent

EKC Group Staff

Four inspirational members of staff from EKC Group (@EKC__Group) recently received top accolades for their exceptional work, during the twentieth annual Kent Teacher of the Year Awards.

The virtual awards ceremony saw Daryl Ansell, Gareth Oliver and Tim Jackson from the Group’s Broadstairs College and Paul Glidewell from the Group’s Sheppey College formally accept their awards, as colleagues from across EKC Group’s family of Colleges and Business Units tuned in to the ceremony from home.

Described by his team as their ‘unsung hero’, Skills Practitioner for Construction and Building Services, Daryl Ansell, was named ‘Further Education College Academic Support Staff Member of the Year for Thanet’ and overall ‘Kent Further Education College Academic Support Staff Member of the Year’ for his outstanding work to equip students with the skills and experiences needed to achieve their ambitions.

Daryl regularly goes above and beyond to support his students, seeking opportunities for them to showcase their skills through community projects, whilst imparting his comprehensive industry knowledge to inspire the next generation.
“You can’t fault Daryl and his dedication to our students and the department, we would be lost without him,” commented Head of Built Environment at Broadstairs College, Paul Nelson.
He continued: “Daryl doesn’t just support in the class, he often delivers lessons and draws on his vast experience to guide the students. He is always coming up with ideas, ensuring students have what they need and putting himself forward to help meet student needs.”

Hospitality and Catering Lecturer, Gareth Oliver, was declared ‘Further Education Technical/Vocational Teacher of the Year for Thanet’ and overall ‘Kent Further Education Technical/Vocational Teacher of the Year’ for his inspirational teaching and curriculum development work.
Over the past ten years, Gareth has brought innovation and thoughtfulness to the kitchen, developing new approaches to teaching both classic and cutting-edge culinary skills, preparing fledgling chefs to build a successful career in the industry.
Beyond the classroom, Gareth has led the department’s fundraising and social action efforts, organising charity dinners and auction events, as well as community dining experiences, catered for by the College’s students.

Level 3 Professional Cookery student, James Littlejohn, commented:

“When you walk into Chef Oliver’s kitchen you are treated like an equal and a professional. I can’t wait to get my lessons each week, he makes going to class fun and gives balanced feedback to help you develop. He is passionate about cooking and he puts his whole heart into ensuring every student becomes an exceptional chef. It is his passion, energy and respect for every student that makes him stand out from any teacher I have ever had.”

Programme Director for Higher Education Computing, Tim Jackson, took home the award for ‘IT Champion of the Year for Thanet’ and the overall award for ‘Kent IT Champion of the Year’ for his work incorporating new and emerging technologies into the curriculum, and his commitment to supporting students and championing diversity in computing.
As a passionate advocate for putting student experience first, Tim works with colleagues across the College to ensure his students are supported, as well as regularly drawing upon his knowledge and ongoing digital skills development to enrich the curriculum to provide exciting opportunities for students.


Most recently, Tim introduced Virtual Reality (VR) technology into the classroom and has pioneered the implantation of the technology across other curriculum areas. As a member of the ‘Educators in VR’ network, Tim collaborates with educators around the world to develop new techniques and processes for enhancing education experiences for students using VR and other emerging technologies.
“Tim is driven, passionate and forward-thinking. He knows all of his students and takes his time with each and every one, supporting them in matters both academic and pastoral,” noted Head of Computing at the College, Anne Minett.
Anne continued: “He has opened up dialogues internally and externally to ensure progression for Computing students. He is also a staff mentor in terms of supporting new members of the team and extending his years’ of experience. Tim is a shining example for other colleagues and an asset to not just the team, but to the EKC Group as a whole.”

‘Not just a teacher’ is how Programme Director for Building Services, Paul Glidewell, was described when he was announced as the winner of the ‘Higher Education Teacher of the Year for the Swale District’ and overall ‘Kent Higher Education Teacher of the Year’ award.
Paul received the award in recognition of his dedication to his students both inside and outside the classroom. His experiences as a former student of the College, have helped to shape Paul into the supportive and inspiring educator that he is today.

During his pre-recorded acceptance speech, Paul said:

“What an overwhelming sense of accomplishment this is. Thank you guys truly, for these prestigious awards.”
He continued: “It’s been an incredible journey since embarking on a career in teaching. I’ve had the opportunity here to work alongside some truly amazing people here at Sheppey College.
“This isn’t just a win for myself, this is a win for all of us here.”

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