National Honours for New College’s Inspirational P.E. Department

New College Pontefract’s PE and Sports Studies department have won the Silver Award as FE Team of the Year from the Pearson National Teaching Awards, following their outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the students they work with every day. 

The award means they go on to a short list of a handful of departments from hundreds of colleges across the country, from whom the final national winner is chosen in a BBC TV programme later in the year.

Tom Shepherd, Director of Sport at New College, said: “It’s a huge honour for us as a team to receive this national recognition. The award itself is perfectly named, as all the work we do is about being part of an outstanding team. Every single member of the department has played their part in ensuring this success, and all of our efforts are about ensuring the best possible outcomes for our young people.”

Vicky Marks, Principal of New College, said: “Tom’s team is made up of a group of men and women who work tirelessly for our young people. They have made a significant positive impact on the culture of the college and the life of students and staff, encouraging us all to engage with sports and physical activity as part of our daily lives, and to use that to shape our future behaviour and success. We’re delighted to see them win this national recognition.”

The team over the last five years has built not only an outstanding track-record of learner outcomes, but also a reputation as the largest provider of extra-curricular activities across the college. Beyond sports teams, the department ran campaigns aimed at getting staff and students physically active in lockdown, as well as supporting their students’ on-going engagement in volunteering and developing their leadership skills.

This year alone, twenty-four NPLQ lifeguard qualifications have been completed, while 80 students are completing the national CSLA and HSLA sports leadership awards. This means that over 100 hours of voluntary sports leadership is taking place in the community every year, led by college students.

Sir Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said: “Today we say thank you to the teachers who have helped our young people navigate these most difficult of times, and who will continue to inspire countless young minds over the coming years.”

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in education, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with. This year marks its 22nd year of celebrating, award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and lecturers across the UK