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Staff development scheme wins national Beacon award

A project to develop the skills of teachers and inspire new approaches in the classroom has won a national award.

Pass It On was launched by Reading College in September 2012 to encourage staff to share their own skills, knowledge and techniques for the benefit of other staff and students.

The scheme, which has already attracted the attention of Ofsted and City and Guilds has now clinched the Association of Colleges Beacon Award for innovative staff development.

The awards aim to highlight imaginative and exemplary teaching and learning practice in colleges across the UK. The winners were announced at the national AoC conference today (17 November).

Pass It On brings together activities including an online hub where staff can share tips and resources, as well as special weeks where teachers are invited to try new approaches and welcome other teachers into their classrooms to watch them in action.

Cheryl Pennington, assistant principal at Reading College, said: “Pass It On was borne out of a view that staff need more chance to network, develop and share their skills if we are to keep improving the quality of teaching and learning.

“The scheme has been a huge success. The result is a much more dynamic, motivated and well-connected workforce and a more engaging experience for our students, whose success rates have improved.”

The award win comes after a team of assessors visited Reading College in September to meet staff and students and find out more.

Catherine Bush, Head of Projects at City & Guilds which sponsored the award,  said: “The winner of the staff development award is an inspiring example of a programme that provides a wide range of development opportunities and support for staff in creative and innovative ways.

“The programme reinforces the importance of the capability, motivation and commitment of staff in delivery of high quality teaching and learning.”

Roger Marriott, Chief Assessor for the Beacon Awards, said: “Every year the Beacon Awards receive a large number of excellent submissions and the high standard made it hard for assessors to determine the winning application in each category.

“All the entries demonstrated the commitment of colleges to create the best possible experience for their students. Reading College can be rightly proud to be named as the winner of the category.”

Dame Pat Bacon, Chair of the Beacon Awards, said: “Reading College is an outstanding representative of the excellent work happening in colleges across the country.

“It is a privilege to oversee these awards which allow us to celebrate the exemplary and innovative work colleges are developing to support their students, staff, employers and local communities, as well as helping to support our recovering economy.”

As a Beacon Award winner, the team at Reading College will now share their experience and approaches with other colleges across the UK.