From education to employment

We share the story and legacy of Barbara Crone, who received the posthumous Special Recognition Award at the Aspiration Awards

Colleagues, friends and family of Barbara accepting a special award

An inspiring teacher from Northern Ireland who dedicated over 30 years to further and higher education has been recognised with a national award

Barbara Crone, previously known as Barbara Marshall nee Twaddle, passed away in October 2023 but has left a permanent mark on North West Regional College for her unwavering commitment to her learners and colleagues.  

The education charity and awarding organisation NCFE has presented her colleagues and family with a posthumous Special Recognition Award on her behalf, to honour her outstanding service.  

Carol Thompson, Barbara’s colleague at North West Regional College, said: “We were privileged to have Barbara as part of our team, and we miss her smiling presence. She inspired our students to be exceptional in their chosen fields. The Special Recognition Award honours her exceptional contributions and the lasting impact she made on education and the lives of those she touched.” 

The national accolade has been presented as part of the education charity and leader in vocational and technical learning NCFE’s Aspiration Awards, which honours learners, educators and organisations across the UK. Barbara is the first recipient of this posthumous award, in recognition of her exceptional achievements.  

Throughout her three decades in the teaching profession, Barbara taught qualifications including Higher National Diplomas, Access Foundation Studies, A Levels, and NCFE’s CACHE Level 2 and 3 Diplomas for Children’s Care, Learning and Development (CCLD). She most recently taught at the Limavady Campus of North West Regional College.  

Barbara’s unique skill set, engaging personality, and exemplary pastoral care made her an inspirational lecturer. As the CCLD Coordinator, she ensured that the standards of learning, teaching, and assessment were consistently of high quality, instilling passion and commitment in both her colleagues and learners.  

Her dedication to learner welfare and her relentless motivation helped these learners build confidence and commitment to their courses, which was evidenced by a consistent, outstanding 100% achievement rate for all learners. Beyond her direct teaching responsibilities, Barbara provided invaluable guidance to the teaching team on curriculum delivery and student support.  

In the academic year 2022-23, Barbara faced an incredibly challenging period following a difficult diagnosis. Before she sadly passed away in October last year, Barbara ensured that teaching, learning, and assessment within all courses were in excellent hands. Her legacy lives on through her learners, many of whom have become exceptional classroom assistants, teachers, social workers, and nurses. Barbara’s influence continues to inspire excellence in education. 

Catherine Boyle, a colleague of Barbara’s at North West Regional College, said: “I was fortunate to work with Barbara for seven years, in the Early Years department of the Limavady campus. From the first moment I met Barbara, I was struck by her passion for ensuring the happiness and success of each student.  

“I witnessed firsthand the way she went over and above to support all learners, from being empathetic and understanding to giving them a good ‘push’ when needed. I’ll forever be grateful to Barbara and her beautiful bright smile will forever be engraved in all our hearts.”  

Jamie-Lee Moore, who was previously taught by Barbara at North West Regional College, reflected: “Barbara as a person was extraordinary, she made you feel like you were the only person in the room she was talking to while teaching. She was always on hand to answer any question and never made you feel that your question was silly. She genuinely is one of the best educators I have ever experienced. Barbara taught with such interest and passion, she always went above and beyond with information to help us relate in every aspect.” 

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