NEWS: November 2016 6th Annual Celebrating Achievement Awards Ceremony

Celebrating Learner Success
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The College has hosted its 6th Annual Celebrating Achievements Awards Ceremony and Graduation Event.

The ceremony took place on Thursday 24th November 2016 to celebrate the fantastic work of the College and its learners at the Forum Southend.

16 outstanding learners, staff, employers, partners and community groups were presented with award trophies by The Worshipful the Mayor Cllr Judith McMahon and 26 of the College's high level learners who have achieved qualifications at level 4 and 5 were presented with certificates of achievement.  

Principal Sue Hasty said: “Events like this are an important part of College life; they celebrate success, raise the college’s profile in the local community and show case good practice. Hopefully others will be inspired to take up further learning or training through hearing about the success of the award winners. In these tough economic times it is heartening to see that our learners have not let this get in their way; in fact it has made them more determined to succeed in their chosen courses. They should all be very proud of what they have achieved”.
SACC’s panel of Governors and independent business partners were responsible for the very tough decision of deciding the winners for each category.

The winners are:

Learner of the Year - Learning for Life
Lorraine Malabash
Nominated by Tutor Judith Williams.

Lorraine had been out of education for some time before she joined Judith's Level 1 English class. She quickly developed an interest in English and her enthusiasm motivated the whole class throughout the year. She worked extremely well with all members of the class, contributing a great deal to the friendly atmosphere of the lessons with her pro-active, upbeat attitude. If she didn’t understand, she pondered and questioned and experimented until she did understand: an excellent role model for students.

Taking responsibility for her learning, Lorraine told Judith: “As soon as I get home from college, I get my homework out and I’m on to it!”

Lorraine did not leave her enthusiasm at the college door and told us: “I’m telling all my family to come along to the college”.  Similarly, she often shared stories of how her learning enabled her to support her children in their own studies.

Judith said that as her tutor, it was a pleasure to see Lorraine’s whole-hearted embrace of education as a key factor to self-fulfilment in life and her encouragement of others.

Learner of the Year - Health and Wellbeing
Michael Francis
Nominated by Tutor Karen Hamer.

Karen said that Michael is presently going through a very difficult time due to the rapid decline in his mother’s health; and as such the pottery class, and other classes he attends at the College, are a life-line to him.

Michael has progressed really well in the pottery classes, at first starting out within a Creating with Clay course for learners with learning difficulties and he is now studying a pottery handbuilding and throwing course along with a wide range of other learners. 

He also attended a Raku course in the summer which involved various very physical activities; an achievement for Michael who wears an electronic device to give his leg movement to aid with his walking.  

Michael is a valuable member of the class.  He interacts well with a diverse group of learners and can be quite the joker!  He is so polite and kind, his Mum will be proud!

Learner of the Year - Learning for Work
Billy Joe Shipp
Nominated by Keith Salter Education Care Assistant.

Billy Joe Shipp is a student at Southend Adult Community College’s Westcliff Centre. He has undertaken a year of work experience in the community, at the main college site in Ambleside Drive.  During this time he has carried out tasks such as filling photocopiers, moving big rubbish and recycling bins, sorted shredding, litter picking over the whole site and carried out maintenance tasks in various classrooms.

Over the year Billy Joe's ability to organise himself, carry out the tasks independently, engage with other learners and staff at college has improved amazingly.  He is now confident, outgoing, very independent and is an absolute pleasure to work with.  He is always keen, enthusiastic and always has a smile on his face. 

Keith said "it’s been a humbling experience for me to work with him and I feel very proud of him.”

Learner of the Year with a Learning Disability
Tamara Charlicombe
Nominated by Tutor Patricia North for the work Tamara produced on the Paper, Cloth and Paint course.

Tamara started the course as a reticent learner.  She would normally work with a carer and other members of the home she lives in. 

In the Paper, Cloths and Paint class that she attended Tamara travelled to the centre on her own because she wanted to start the journey to become an independent learner.  Tamara's confidence grew in leaps and bounds, so much so that by the end of the course she had overcome her shyness and was working independently, answering questions and coming to the front to call the register.

Learner of the Year - Westcliff Centre
Jordan Carter
Nominated by staff from the Westcliff Centre Stephanie Monk, Keith Salter and Susan Hudson.

Stephanie said "Jordan was a pleasure to work with. He developed both socially and academically in so many ways. Our aim with Jordan was to get him ready to transition to a more independent journey in education at the college, so we focussed on behaviours in and around the classroom.  Gradually, Jordan would no longer speak about hobbies and interests unless asked to do so.  He learned to raise his hand if he wished to answer a question.  Jordan also learned that it is ok if you don’t know an answer to a question or that you need to think about it first"

Susan said "Jordan was extremely helpful, collecting dinner money from students, writing the correct amount onto the spreadsheet and adding up the amount collecting and writing it on the same spreadsheet with minimal support"

Keith said "Over the past year, Jordan has been learning Brazilian Portuguese so he can skype his family in Brazil and talk to them in their language, and when he goes to Brazil, he will be able to communicate with other people who live there. Jordan has worked extremely hard over the year to learn the language and he has achieved so much in that time.  His understanding and use of the language is truly remarkable.  He has grown in confidence and his independent learning skills are of a high standard, his concentration and focus are outstanding and it has been an honour to work with him"

Team of the Year
16-18 Team
Nominated by Head of Learning for Work Samantha Sutton and Careers and Education Adviser Jennifer Lees.

Sam said: "I’m incredibly proud of the 16-18 Team at the College and in particular the pastoral care Debbie Angel, the tutors and Support Tutors give our young and often vulnerable learners.  100% of our 16-18 learners said they ‘felt safe’ at the College; this is testament to the safe and nurturing environment that the 16-18 team provides.

The feedback from the study programme learners shows that they enjoyed their time at the college, felt it was worthwhile and helped them to get ready to progress; 100% said they would recommend the College and 92% said they were ready to move onto their next steps in further learning or work.  One learner stated that being on the 16-18 study" programme at the College “has changed my life and I’m now able to enter Higher Education.”

Jennifer said "The team work so incredibly hard to ensure that all of the young people have the opportunity to achieve and move forward with their lives. 

Many of the learners overcome barriers and hit challenges to furthering their education such as caring for relatives, living with a disability or illness and housing problems.  The team understands the importance of demonstrating respect and boundaries and showing that they care and are approachable and flexible.

I'd like to make particular mention of the team leader - Debbie Angel and tutor - Jay Ellis. Not only are they both so approachable and have a great sense of humour, they also have a wealth of knowledge and experience between them. Jay Ellis has gone above and beyond, supporting students over her years at the College, even once going in her own time to the hospital to help a student who was unwell to pass her GCSE in Psychology. She is warm, friendly and helpful to every student that she has tutored"

Staff Innovation and Excellence – Non Teaching
Clare Bellamy
Nominated by Senior English Tutor Angela Reed and Education and Careers Adviser Jennifer Lees, for her work as part of the Family Learning, Learning for Life and Community team.

Angela said "I would like to nominate Clare in recognition of the support she has offered to the Skills for Life team during the last year. She supported me with the introduction of a new Pre-Course Assessment process and as a result the whole process of pre-course assessments has been more prompt and efficient for learners.

Clare displays a consistently motivated attitude, shows initiative and strives to meet requests and deadlines. She has developed confidence in directing and overseeing the work of the Family and Community Learning apprentice, helping to develop their skills whilst ensuring that quality is maintained.

Jennifer said "Since Clare started at the College in March 2015 she has been so conscientious, hardworking and helpful in every project and task she has been given. She manages and oversees many of the college’s initiatives, course programmes and events.

Clare always tries to do the right thing by the students and her colleagues and has become such a great role model for newer members of staff as she is always so professional, honest and helpful. She always has a smile on her face, has a great sense of humour, warmth and is a lovely person making her a great fit for this college and community environment.

Staff Innovation and Excellence – Teaching
Helen Black
Nominated by Tutors Amber Bardell and Jane Ward for her work in introducing a new learning platform called Onefile.

Helen is the ambassador for innovation within the Learning for Work team. She amazes us with her passion for finding new and exciting ways to deliver teaching, learning and assessment. Over two years ago we introduced Onefile;  for most of us we were overwhelmed and challenged by what we saw as a complex system, we saw it as a bit of a nuisance…. whereas Helen took to the system like a duck to water.

Amber said "I spent the last year avoiding Onefile like the plague but Helen constantly challenged me to try the system. She showed me ways to make my working day easier and even created a reward chart to help me reach targets of success …wine being the ultimate reward! 

Jane said: "Helen embraced the change to Onefile and supported the whole vocational team. With Helen nothing is ever too much trouble and she never says no to helping. She is a fantastic support to the whole team and is a respected and loved team member.   Helen’s passion and innovation in embracing the Onefile system and supporting her colleagues in understanding has saved many a personal tutor from throwing their iPad or computer out of the nearest window.

Young Learner of the Year
Paulina Roj
Nominated by Samantha Sutton Head of Learning for Work for her achievement on the 16-18 childcare study programme.

Paulina moved to England with her family when she was 10 years old without any spoken English skills. At school Paulina struggled with attendance and the only qualification she left school with was her GCSE maths. Sadly this left Paulina with very few options for progression into sixth form. In the summer of 2015 she came for an interview with the team at the College.  Paulina was, at the time, very demotivated and disengaged with learning at this point. At interview though it was clear that Paulina had ambitions for her life and she told us that she wanted to go to university and become a midwife. Our staff could see she had huge potential for learning and she was enrolled on the level 1 Certificate in Childcare level.

During this time Paulina was not only volunteering at the local hospital in the maternity ward but was also studying full time, and supporting her family with her brother who is autistic.  Paulina thrived at college and worked extremely hard and showed that she had real potential. She was producing much higher quality work than expected and because of this Paulina was entered for the level 2 Certificate in Children and Young People instead of the Level 1.

This was a challenge indeed and her tutors were amazed with her response to the new challenge.  Her first assignment was finished in a weekend!  Paulina completed her full time programme; gained a level 1 and level 2 childcare qualification and her functional skills English qualification. In July 2016, Paulina was delighted to inform us that she had been successful in gaining a place on an Access to Higher Education programme which will enable her to fulfil her dream of going to university and becoming a midwife.  Sam said "we are so proud of Paulina; she is a real inspiration to other young people, she never gave up on her dreams and she has shown that learning can transform lives"

Community Partner of the Year
Early Help Team from Southend Borough Council
Nominated by Jessica Russell and Clare Bellamy for their work on Language and Culture Around the Table courses.

Early Help and the College worked together on a number of community-based projects last year to deliver English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) courses at the Storehouse and Trinity Family Centre.

The Storehouse hosted the Language and Culture Around the Table course where adults and children came together to learn about each other’s culture through cooking and sharing a meal whilst practising and sharing language skills.  At Trinity Family Centre learners worked towards employability goals, and both groups have learners that plan to progress onto an accredited course at the College.

In addition last year the Early Help team named the college in a successful Lottery bid to fund some accredited training for a group of their volunteers using the service.

Early Help, and particularly the service manager (Chris Sollis) and community workers (Iwona Kalisz and Matt), have been very committed to partnership working with the college to deliver the best outcomes for their clients. Iwona Kalisz deserves a special mention, she is one of our most caring and passionate community partners, frequently going out of her way to provide opportunities for her learners.  She contacts all learners individually to make sure they get messages.  Her personal approach to promoting the courses has reflected in the amount of learners that turn up to the courses as well as the extremely high retention rate. She also acts as learning support in the class and sits in most lessons to help.  She’s there through every step of the learner’s journey.   

Staff member of the Year (as voted by learners)
Julie Farrell
Nominated by learners:  Karen Penny, Raymond Barnett, Martin Frampton, Mavis Hodson, Kevin Newton and Martin Gibbons for her teaching on French language courses.

Julie's learners said she is a resourceful and engaging French teacher; very skilful in never making students feel as though they have got it wrong; a supportive tutor, taking note of personal requirements and requests; very aware of individual needs and appreciative of pupils’ efforts and attainment and that she pushes you in the right way to make the best of your abilities

Here are some more quotes from her learners:

“Julie has increased my self-confidence so much that I am able to participate well in class and thoroughly enjoy the lessons”.

“I always leave her lesson with a smile because it has always been a most enjoyable and productive experience”.

“She always conducts the class in a positive and uplifting mood”.

“I know I speak for the whole class when I say we are learning very much, and long may it continue”.

"I would encourage anyone to enrol with Julie. She is an excellent ambassador for the college and clearly enjoys her teaching. Julie is inspirational”!!!!

Learner of the Year (as voted by learners)
Annette Stapley
Nominated by her fellow learner Rachel Copeland. Annette attends Level 2 Counselling skills.

Rachel nominated Annette for this category because she thought Annette has diligently continued with her studies despite significant physical and mental health difficulties. She has fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is  a physically and mentally challenging illness which is severely debilitating. 

Annette not only managed to complete her level 2 counselling skills course, but she is now studying at level 3.  Rachel said that Annette is a constant source of support and encouragement to the other members of the group.  I find her courage truly inspiring.

Volunteer of the Year
Adrian Cartwright
Nominated by Tutor Judith Williams for volunteering in level 1 Functional Skills English.

Judith said "Supportive, pro-active and efficient - Adrian is a perfect volunteer. Adrian willingly supports in any role, from photocopying resources and distributing dictionaries to marking technical aspects of English punctuation and discussing misunderstandings with individual learners.  He relates extremely well to the learners, who enjoy working with him. Adrian’s vast range of skills and experience – both academic and administrative - would be impossible to teach a volunteer in the time we have available.

Occasionally, Adrian has volunteered his services above his usual role, preparing additional grammatical exercises specifically for ESOL learners. This enabled these learners to keep up with the class. He even stayed behind after lesson time, at their request, to discuss grammar. Moreover, when the learners requested teaching on Shakespeare, Adrian prepared and delivered a session on Sonnets. His interactive session, delivered after the formal examinations, was extremely well-received by the learners – and the tutor!

Furthermore Judith said "I am in no doubt that my learners benefit enormously from Adrian’s presence in our classroom. He oils the wheels of the lesson plan and enables me, the tutor, to teach the curriculum without wasting time on, for example, who needs a pen, who didn’t hear the question – Adrian fills in those gaps seamlessly, and if/when he leaves our college, his absence will be noticed"

Apprentice of the Year – Winner
Kayleigh Elisha
Nominated by Personal Tutor Kathy White. Kayleigh is a Business Administration Apprentice.

Kayleigh is currently coming to the end of her advanced apprenticeship at Chase High School. She is a valued member of the team who is working as a finance assistant at the school in the front office. She is reliable, dedicated and well thought of.  Her manager Lynn Green says that Kayleigh has been an excellent dependable member of staff who has helped her enormously during the last year.  Kayleigh has been excellent on the reception area and is well regarded by staff and students. Kayleigh also helped the finance department to function effectively during staff sickness periods and this was very much appreciated by the management.

Kathy said: "Kayleigh shared with me how she worked for a retail outlet as a manager after leaving school.  She took the difficult decision to leave a paid role to pursue her goal to work in accountancy and finance. She has self-funded her accountancy courses and has taken a wage drop to complete her advanced apprenticeship.

Kathy said: "I am nominating Kayleigh as I admire her drive and determination to develop her career.  She has been willing to work extra at weekends and evenings to pass her accountancy exams and complete her advanced apprenticeship successfully"

Apprentice of the Year – Runner Up
Amy Shelley
Nominated by Ashley Dalton from Southend Borough Council. Amy is a Business Administration Apprentice.

Ashley said: Amy’s initial role was around technical support and she worked with the communication consultancy company contracted to deliver the Ideas in Motion travel behaviour change campaign. Amy has a passion and a flair for creative writing and has, in the last 12 months, taken on almost all of the communications for the campaign. Amy has gone from posting copy created by our consultants, to coming up with her own ideas for the campaign - researching, drafting and writing website articles and newsletters.  Amy has also taken the campaign forward significantly in terms of social media.  Amy now leads on all of Ideas in Motion social media content and interactions.

Because of the way Amy has built on her skills and taken responsibility for so much of the Ideas in Motion campaign she is now able to keep the campaign running for at least another 12 months, without the budget and resources we had previously, because she has developed the skills to deliver the campaign herself.  Amy has become the very heart of the Council’s award winning Ideas in Motion campaign.

Apprentice of the Year – Highly Commended
Natasha Bradley
Nominated by Nicola Pegg. Natasha completed a Business Administration Apprenticeship.

Natasha was the Personal Assistant Apprentice for the Senior Management Team at the college in 2015-2016 during a time of huge change in the PA’s office.  

Natasha was at the centre of this change – a newly appointed Principal, the unexpected departure of the previous PA and a completely new structure of meetings for the Governing Body.  Natasha held the fort throughout the year, at a level far above what she could have expected when she took on the role. 

Nicola said "She was extremely generous with her time and knowledge to me, when I started, which enabled me to get up to speed with my new role as a result.  She was friendly and professional during my interview process, and again friendly and knowledgeable when I first started.  I was very fortunate to be able to ask her questions about peoples’ roles and college processes and that I was able to have such a detailed handover.   Natasha connected with staff and learners across the college and it was a much quieter place after she’d left!

I could not have done it without Natasha’s generosity of time and welcoming approach and she played a full part in the life of the PA’s office during her PA apprenticeship.