From computing to construction, the leaders of the future often acquire their skills, not at school, but in a further education college.
And now the principal of a group of leading Kent colleges is throwing the spotlight onto these crucial places of learning – by encouraging nominations for further education teachers in the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards.
Kent Further Education, which represents seven colleges in Kent and Medway, is supporting the awards and Graham Razey, group principal for the EKC Group, says he’d particularly love staff to nominate each other.
“We’re delighted and proud to be supporting the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards,” he said. “We are looking for you – leaders, middle, and senior – to nominate your peers. Take pride in what is done in further education.”
Further education colleges tend to offer a much wider range of courses for 16 to 18-year-olds than school sixth forms, in particular technical and vocational courses.
Simon Dolby, chief executive of the KM Charity Team, which organises the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards, said: “Vocational education is so important. Some of the most crucial and complicated work in this country is done by people with highly-developed technical and practical skills, like engineers and electricians.
“Further education is usually a more flexible and informal environment than school – as well as young people who’ve just done their GCSEs, the colleges cater for adults who are returning to study or retraining, and part-time students who are working at the same time. So a teacher needs to be able to engage a class with a wide range of ages, backgrounds, ambitions, and abilities – and that’s not an easy job.”
The Kent Teacher of the Year Awards are open to anyone who does paid or unpaid work in a school or further education college in Kent, Bromley, or Bexley – including teachers, volunteers, governors, and non-teaching staff.
The deadline for nominations is Thursday, March 1. The winners will be invited to a prestigious awards dinner in May at the Mercure Great Danes Hotel in Maidstone.
The awards are organised by the KM Charity Team and supported by Kent County Council, the University of Kent, Kent Sport, Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Greenwich, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, MY Trust, Social Enterprise Kent, Beanstalk, the Mercure Great Danes Hotel, CXK, Salus, LoopCR, Kreston Reeves, and Diggerland.
For more information or to make a nomination, visit www.kentteacheroftheyear.co.uk