Month July 2016


The NCG Teaching & Learning Excellence Awards 2016

NCG recently held the third annual Teaching and Learning Excellence Awards, celebrating the fantastic work and achievements of our most dedicated staff. We received over 430 nominations in 2016, over double the previous year, and the quality of those nominations was absolutely fantastic, with people going to great lengths to ensure we understood just why they felt their tutor or support worker deserved recognition. From those 430 nominees, our panel of judges had the unenviable task of narrowing the list down to just 70 finalists and then having to select just 22 winners. We want to take the opportunity to recognise every colleague that was nominated for the fantastic job they’ve done all year long, but below you will find the list of winners along with the reasons they were selected.

We also want to say a massive thank you to the fantastic companies who provided sponsorship for the event and we look forward to continuing our close partnerships with them in the coming years.



Category 1 – Learner Advice and Guidance

Winner: Alicia Yates, Rathbone Training

Alicia is based at Rathbone Training in Bury, working closely with learners who do not have positive role models in their lives and frequently turn to Rathbone Training staff for advice and guidance. Together they have recently created a video which explores the dangers of sexploitation.

“Alicia is amazing at helping me out when I have stuff going on, she really calms me down and helps me get on the right path.”

“She is an inspirational member of the team… Her rapport with learners is something I’d relish achieving.”


Category 2 – Most effective use of Technology to support learners

Sponsored by:  GPS Installations

Winner: Anthony Crute, Newcastle Sixth Form College

Anthony has been working for Newcastle Sixth Form College for the last two years. Anthony teaches Psychology and through technology has really raised the expectations of students and colleagues alike. His YouTube sessions have 138 regular subscribers

“… his dedication and selflessness makes me not only passionate about the subject and want to pursue it at university, but makes me have a deep respect for him and want to do well.”


Category 3 – Preparing Learners for Employment

Sponsored by NCFE

Winner: Brian Archibald, Newcastle College

Brian Archibald has been working for Newcastle College for the last 11 years. Brian is a Team Leader who always puts the needs of his staff and learners first. His win is recognition for the relationships he has built with employers and the work he has done to create realistic working environments ensuring that learners are work ready, cutting down on in depth training that the Employer would normally have to undertake on Induction.

“… a name synonymous with quality, he creates excellent real work environments which help make the learners ‘work ready’ for the Automotive industry.”


Category 4 – Inspirational Work-Based Learning

Sponsored by Pearson

Winner: Mike O’Brien, Intraining

Mike O’Brien has been working as a trainer assessor for Intraining, for the last 8 years and won this award for the outstanding support and commitment he has shown to employers and their staff as well as the inspiration he provides for colleagues.

“Passionate about the work he does, he is absolutely dedicated to the learner journey and his customers, ensuring they have quality support, IAG, training and assessment.”


Category 5 – Enriching Learners’ Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare

Winner one: Craig Duggan/ Dave Edwards, Newcastle College

Craig and Dave have been working for The School of Creative Industries for over two years, Craig is the Arts Partnership Coordinator and Dave is an Acting Lecturer. Working with the student ‘Polka-dot Theatre Company’, they have developed plays exploring ‘British Values’ and ‘Internet Safety’. These shows were all student devised and performed, drawing audiences of 18,00 in total from across the student body and receiving great acclaim.

“ …instead of seeing a difficult topic and letting somebody else find a safe solution, they stepped up to the plate and got everybody talking about these tough but important subjects.”

Winner Two: Rachael Little, Newcastle Sixth Form College

Rachael has been working for Newcastle Sixth Form College for the last five years. Rachael teaches Psychology and managed to secure a Big Lottery Grant Fund to help support her learners explore mental health awareness and support young people with these issues. The project has made a big difference to the lives of students who were struggling.  The extensive enrichment program offered included the establishment of ‘Mental Health Ambassadors’.

“Rachael opened up a wonderful opportunity for us to be mental health ambassadors … this was an incredible experience… It allowed us to learn different therapy techniques, improved our teamwork skills and improved our own mental health.”


Category 6 – Changing Lives with English ESOL and Maths

Sponsored by City& Guilds

Winner One: Malcolm Leece

Malcolm has been working for Newcastle College for the last 11 years. He is a team leader and Maths teacher, helping young learners to re-engage and gain confidence in learning. This has led to high levels of achievement at foundation level and inspires them to progress onto further vocational qualifications across college.

“Best Maths session he had observed at Newcastle College.”

“Maths is cool with Malcolm and we learn loads.”

Winner Two: The Adult ESOL Team, Newcastle College

The Adult ESOL team, the largest in the North East, are a team of dual-qualified dedicated professionals. They won this award for the work they have done above and beyond the teaching of English to support learners, many of whom are displaced, and help them fit into our community.

“They are professional, patient, they give all equal attention and they are very caring.”

“They teach very well and I can understand what they teach, they deserve to be teachers.”


Category 7 – Supporting Learners with Additional Needs

Winner One: Helen McMahon, Intraining

Helen has been working for Intraining for the last 2.5 years. Helen is an Employability Tutor who supports her learners above and beyond on a daily basis.

“Helen is good at explaining things and is a good listener. She has given me brilliant tips for my interview which made me feel better and gave me more confidence. She is always interested in what people have to say and has time for everyone.”

Winner Two: Anna Brown, Melissa Jones and Billy Auty, Newcastle College

The trio from Newcastle College won this award on account of their exceptional collaborative work, resulting in the best possible learning environment for learners with complex needs. Together they provide an outstanding learning experience.

“Anna, Billy and Melissa communicate well together and with me about my learning, so I know how I’m doing on my course and what I need to do to improve. They celebrated with me when I passed my exam and won student of the month, which made me feel very proud.”


Category 8 – Mentor and Coaching Award

Sponsored by Sir Robert McAlpine

Winner: Sue Whitaker, Rathbone

Sue has been working in the EBT Division for the last six and a half years and in this time has been a Lead Tutor and a Delivery Support Officer. Her constructive advice and guidance, along with the excellent mentoring skills she uses to support her colleagues, secured her this award.

“Sue has helped me to improve my practice to become the tutor I am today. Her guidance and feedback are always constructive – if I have a problem, Sue is always the one I still turn to for advice and support.”


Category 9 – Most effective use of Professional Development

Sponsored by the Society for Education and Training

Winner: Kate Harries

Kate is a new member of the School of Education, having only joined this year, but she has already fully integrated into the team and secured this prize for the way that she embraces CPD opportunities to develop and support the school’s curriculum, whilst also ensuring this learning is passed onto colleagues to help maximise impact.

“Students are enjoying the course, like Kate’s style and feel that they are being provided with an excellent range of resources and approaches that they can apply to their own work situations whether they are currently delivering GCSE or Functional Skills.”


Category 10 – Innovative Ideas – Real Impact on Learner Progress

Winner: Angela Martin, Newcastle Sixth Form College

Angela Martin has been working as an English Literature Lecturer for Newcastle Sixth Form College for the last six years. She provides opportunities for students to embrace and engage in learning beyond the classroom and inspire themselves and their wider community to the potential of young people.

Angela organised an enormously successful Creative Writing project this year as part of her initiative to raise awareness about the importance of literacy skills for A Level students and also to give students the opportunity to explore and develop their own creativity. Over 80 learners have taken part in the variety of activities and many had the opportunity to work with Steve Ronnie, a local poet as part of New Writing North’s Young Writers City Project.


Category 11 – Most inspirational Teacher in each division

Winner, Newcastle School of Education: Leo Morantes Africano

Leonardo has been working for the School of Education for the last three years teaching both undergraduate and post graduate programmes. He won this award for innovative teaching strategies that demand high expectations, enthusiasm and energy from all of the teachers who learn with him.

‘’He is like a bottle of pop, never sits down and a great example to follow.”

Winner, Kidderminster College: Steven Rich

Steve has worked at Kidderminster College for the last 10 years pioneering games design courses and has set up an enterprise unit this year. His ‘Outstanding’ teaching and the way in which he has shared good practice with colleagues secured him this award.

“He consistently achieves Grade 1 in lesson observations and he shares his good practice across the teaching team. He has also led sessions on Staff Development days, introducing and explaining specific examples of successful activities to bring the very best out of all his learners.”

Winner, West Lancashire College: Catherine Shiel

Catherine has been working as a Business tutor for West Lancashire College for over three years. Her learners are full of praise for the range of industry guest speakers and the variety of educational visits and trips. These, combined with the a number of employer-related projects, provide the students with lots of opportunities.

“Catherine works very hard to ensure her students benefit from well-developed experiential learning which prepares them for work and further study.”

Winner, Rathbone Training: Emma Smith

Emma has been working for Rathbone Training at the Rochdale centre for the last four years. Emma is our functional skills Maths Tutor and Senior Tutor for the Rochdale/Bury area. After achieving a grade 1 in each of her last 6 observations she is the very definition of an ‘Outstanding’ teacher and has won this prize for the impact she has had on learner success rates.

“The Rochdale centre finished top of the leader board in the 14/15 academic year with a success rate of 88% and achievement rate of 96%.  These results are testament to Emma’s dedication and ‘never give up’ attitude!”

Winner, Intraining: Joe Swanson

Joe has been working for Intraining Hull for the last five years  as a Traineeship Tutor who has really had an impact on learners and staff alike. He brings out the best in learners and inspires them to be the best they can be.

“John understands exactly where you are coming from, empathises with you… makes me want to come in and learn.”

Winner, Newcastle Sixth Form: Bethany Junkin

Beth has been working for Newcastle Sixth Form College for the last two years. Beth teaches Psychology and has passed on her passion for her subject which will inspire students in their pursuit of lifelong learning.

“Beth is one of the most upbeat and wonderful teachers I have ever had the pleasure of being taught by. She is always positive and always happy and enthusiastic about her subject which in turn makes others in the class enthusiastic. I have never yet had a day where I haven’t wanted to go to psychology.”

Winner: Newcastle College: Rachel Ross

Rachel has been working for the Learning Support Service for the last 10 years. Rachel is a British Sign Language Tutor who works tirelessly to help her learners reach their full potential. The award is recognition of the work she does over and above her normal job, providing opportunities for learners to engage with the college outside of term time, creating bespoke activities that enhance the learner experience.

“Studying with Rachel as my tutor has been excellent, she develops really engaging additional resources over and beyond requirements which totally help us in succeeding on our course.”

“Her Wider engagement and understanding of the deaf community really brings a holistic approach to the course she teaches.”


Category 12 – Lifetime Achievement Awards

Winner one: Alan Clarke, Kidderminster College

Alan has been central to the success of Creative Industries at Kidderminster College for over 12 years. As the lead theatre technician he has helped to ensure that every single performance in that time has been a roaring success.

“Nothing is ever too much trouble and he will put in extra hours without being asked to ensure that our learners get the very best experience that they can. A true professional that we are proud and lucky to have.”

Winner two: Kevyn Gammond, Kidderminster College

Kevyn has worked in Kidderminster for 26 years. Kevyn is an entrepreneurial musician who founded MAS Records with Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame as a patron.

“Without Kevyn MAS records would not exist and we would like to recognise the substantial contribution he has made to transforming the lives of so many students over the last 25 years!”

“Kevyn is a legend in his own right and is incredibly passionate about the work he does and of the wider college and surrounding community.”

read more

NCG welcomes potential Ofsted changes

An article in the TES FE claims that Ofsted is considering changes to its grading system, examining College’s at a campus level rather than just corporation level.

This is something NCG has been passionately calling for and our CEO, Joe Docherty, is featured in the story sharing his view on the current system and what a potential change would mean for NCG and all its colleges.

“Ofsted finds it practically impossible to inspect NCG and understand its constituent parts,” said Chief Executive Joe Docherty.

“It does not discriminate between performance in West Lancashire College, Kidderminster College or Newcastle College, and is therefore not serving the interests of learners, businesses or any other critical stakeholders of any of the colleges. We Welcome the consultation and will be delighted to take part.”

You can read the full story in the TES FE by following this link, it is a truly interesting read for anyone involved in FE.

read more