New College Pontefract has won the country’s highest award for its sector, claiming the title of Sixth Form College of the Year and Overall FE Provider of the Year, at the TES FE Awards this month.
Shortlisted for Sixth Form College of the Year earlier in 2020, the college had to wait eight months to discover that it had beaten five other shortlisted colleges from around the country to win the title. Although it was shortlisted by the TES FE Awards in 2015, this is the first time it has won that award.
So impressed were the judges by New College Pontefract, though, that they awarded the college the additional “best of the best” prize of Overall FE Provider of the Year, a title competed for by the winners of every sector in the competition.
Not only does this mean that New College Pontefract is now recognised as the best post-16 FE provider in the country, it is also the first time in the history of the TES FE Awards that a sixth form college has ever won the Overall Provider of the Year title.
“This is a huge honour,” said Vicky Marks, New College’s principal. “I am genuinely running out of superlatives to describe the significance to us of this award. To be identified as the best of the best from the hundreds of providers, across so many different sectors in post-16 education, is the greatest award that the college has ever received.”
“The award reflects the immense hard work of every single person in the college,” said Richard Fletcher, CEO of the college’s parent trust, the New Collaborative Learning Trust. “Every staff member, teaching or non-teaching, has played a key role in getting the college to where we are today. The support of our Board of Directors, our parents and the wider community has also been key in helping us become the leaders in our sector we are today. I also want to pay tribute to my predecessor, Pauline Hagen OBE, who played a pivotal role in establishing the Trust and securing its future.”
The TES judges were full of praise for the work New College Pontefract has achieved over the last five years since they were last shortlisted, including the creation of New College Doncaster and New College Bradford.
“The college is making a real difference to young people across three communities both in and outside of the classroom. It has a broad intake of students, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds, and is showing others what it means to be a sixth form in modern times.”
They went on to say: “New College Pontefract is taking on a system leadership role within its sector and is a shining example of what every college should be aiming to achieve.”
The TES FE Awards are competed for by different providers of education and training, including sixth form colleges, FE colleges, specialist adult education providers, local authorities and national training services. Applicants for the awards come from all four nations of the United Kingdom.
Applications are now being accepted for study in September 2021. Visit www.ncpontefract.ac.uk/apply to start your application.