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College shortlisted for two prestigious sector awards

12th February 2016

Newcastle-under-Lyme College (NULC) is today celebrating after being nominated for two prestigious national awards.

The College has been announced as a finalist in the TES FE Awards for ‘Best Teaching and Learning Initiative’ and NULC Lecturer Verica Travar-Williams has been shortlisted in the ‘Teacher of the Year’ category.

TES, formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement, is a leading world-wide teaching publication which was launched in the UK over 100 years ago.  The annual TES FE Awards celebrate and reward the dedication and expertise of the people and teams who continue to make a significant contribution to improving the skill levels of young people and adult learners.

Newcastle-under-Lyme College’s Quality team has been shortlisted for ‘Best Teaching and Learning Initiative’ award as a result of the development of an in-house solution designed to improve the number of ‘outstanding’ lesson observations.  After reviewing a number of commercial solutions, the team developed a kit which gives practitioners the ability to record their lesson delivery, reflect on and improve their own performance.  The success of the system is evidenced by the improved observation grade profile over a two-year period.

Gavin Barker, Quality Manager at NULC and pioneer of the initiative said: “As part of the overall ambition ‘to be the College of first choice’ we are continually looking for ways to improve our lesson delivery.  Self-reflection is an important tool in helping staff to critique and improve their individual performance and the introduction of this new system has been very well received amongst our teaching staff.  To be shortlisted in these prestigious awards is a great achievement for the College, and as a team we are delighted that the initiative has been recognised for a national award.”

AS and A Level Film Lecturer, Verica Travar-Williams was announced as a finalist in the ‘Teacher of the Year’ category after being recognised for her outstanding contribution and excellent student success rates. 

Mike Kelly, Assistant Head: Graphics, Media & Photography, who nominated Verica for the award, said: “Verica creates an atmosphere for learning which is challenging, collaborative and fun.  Her students are encouraged to debate points and the opinions of others openly, in a deeply supportive and nurturing classroom environment. She wants every one of her students to leave with a top grade, a love of cinema and a great university place. She has taken students who have struggled with the transition from school to college and given them the confidence and self-belief to achieve A grades. Students in recent years have made successful applications to leading Universities, including King’s College, London and Ravensbourne, to study both practical film-making and theory.” 

The TES FE awards are open to all further education providers: colleges, work based learning providers, adult and community learning providers, offender learning establishments and specialist designated institutions.  An independent panel of judges will select the winners who will be announced on 22nd April 2016 at a 600 guest gala dinner in London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

Karen Dobson, NULC Principal and Chief Executive said: ““I am delighted that the College has been shortlisted for not just one but two prestigious TES Awards in recognition of the fantastic work we do. Staff from both departments should be justifiably proud of their nominations.”

For more information call 01782 254254 or email


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