The College returned triumphant on Friday after winning an award for ‘Best Teaching and Learning Initiative’
It was the chance for Hundreds of the UK’s most committed further education professionals to gather to celebrate the sector’s success stories in what many have described as the ‘Oscars of Further Education’.
The awards, which took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane, are the pinnacle of the year for the Further Education sector with thirteen awards covering all aspects of the industry.
Proudly accepting the TES award
For the College, the awards were the fruition of a fantastic year that has seen it awarded Outstanding by Ofsted in all four inspection areas; gain a Worldskills Gold medal for Furniture Making - all whilst celebrating its 50th anniversary.
In all, the College was shortlisted in four categories: Teacher of the Year, Contribution to the Local Economy, Best Teaching and Learning initiative and College of the Year; a symbol of the Colleges’ continued hard work and determination to provide a fantastic learning experience for its learners.
Alongside Chichester were a number of other Colleges and further education providers who have had exceptional years for a number of different reasons – many of them with staff in attendance looking on nervously as the categories were read out to the packed audience.
In all, over 100 FE providers submitted entries for one or more of the 12 categories, which recognise the best individual and team contributions within the sector.
However, it would to prove to be a fantastic night for the College after it was announced that it they who would be taking home the national award for ‘Best Teaching and Learning Initiative’, beating five other Colleges from around the UK in the process.
The strategy, which is a systemic approach to improving the quality of the learning experience, was launched in 2011 to ensure consistency of grading and to refocus on observation as a development opportunity.
The impact was demonstrably far-reaching. One key element was a module on feedback, which encouraged staff to employ a coaching model in which professional dialogue is used to engage and develop teachers. In 2013-14, non-graded lesson observations were piloted in five curriculum areas and this led to a cultural shift within the college.
Teachers began to request observations and would meet with observers beforehand to discuss areas they were keen to develop or strategies they wanted feedback on. The extra support meant they felt free to innovate. In the end-of-year staff survey, 89 per cent of staff agreed that they could take risks, against a national average of 53 per cent.
The college’s students have also benefited from the project, with 95 per cent stating that teaching is good.
The judges said: “It is exciting and heartening to see how enlightened approaches to leadership and management can support teachers to use their skills, professionalism and creativity to improve teaching and enhance learning.”
After learning of the triumph, Sally Challis-Manning Assistant Principal for Quality, said of the award, “Winning this award is a very proud moment for Chichester College. This initiative has raised aspirations, encouraged teachers to take risks, embrace innovation and ultimately improve our student’s experience and success rates. I firmly believe the feedback after a lesson observation is the most powerful professional development a teacher can receive and teachers should be supported by experienced and qualified observers who focus on development. In Mach 2014 the college was graded as overall outstanding by Ofsted and the outstanding teaching and learning was highly praised. Chichester College continues to take the lead on teaching and learning in the sector."
For Chichester College Principal, Shelagh Legrave, the award is justification for the hard work put in by the College over the past year.
She said: “I am so proud as Principal of Chichester College to have received this award from TES. In what has already been an exceptional year for the College it is a true testament to the fantastic staff of the College and a ringing endorsement of their commitment to provide exceptional support to our students in all areas. To be recognised by TES is the icing on the cake for what has been an extraordinary year.
“We were disappointed not to win them all but nevertheless absolutely delighted to be recognised nationally for the best teaching & learning initiative.”
Find out more: TES Awards 2015