A lecturer, a creche team and the team responsible for entrepreneurship from South Eastern Regional College (SERC)have been selected from thousands of nominations to each win a Pearson National Teaching Silver Award.
Aine McGreeghan, Engineering lecturer,was honoured with the Silver Award for Further Education Lecturer of the Year; the teamfrom Little SERC, the College’s creche at the Newcastle Campus,was honoured with the Silver Award for Early Years Team of the Year; and the College’s Enterprise, Entrepreneurship and Environment team was also honoured with the Silver Award for Further Education Team of the Year for their Entrepreneurs’ Club. The Awards all recognise outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the young people and children they work with every day.
Aine McGreeghan, from Newtownards, who has been a lecturer with SERC since 2013, was Curriculum Manager before her recent appointment as Deputy Head of School for Engineering and Computing. Aine is one of the many professionals working in Further Education institutions who play a vital role in inspiring and engaging learners preparing them to make successes of their lives, whether that’s via higher education or directly into employment. She has been the driving force behind SERC’s work around equality for Women and Girls in Engineering. She has alsoworked with industry to understand priorities and to reshape the engineering curriculum, to ensure students are ‘work ready’; and has created opportunities for student engineering companies and enterprises to flourish.
Little SERC, the College’s creche, was established at the Newcastle Campus in December 2020, with support from the Coastal Communities Fund. It provides professional care, safe and stimulating play and enjoyable learning for children of adults enrolled on Restart and Access courses at the campus. This access to childcare is crucial in helping parents gain skills and progress to work or onto further and higher education. The Little SERC team has a combined total of 72 years of childcare experience between them, and work collaboratively with the tutors to provide a holistic education and support package to local families. The team also works with outside agencies, such as Home Start and Social Services, to reach people in the area who would benefit from the opportunity to return to education.
SERC’s Enterprise, Entrepreneurship and Environment Team helps to develop students’ enterprise skills, helps individuals put those skills into practice, and identifies and supports entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland. Through their Entrepreneurs’ Club, they help develop work-ready and enterprising students, many of whom leave the College owning thriving businesses – 43 of the Entrepreneurs’ Club projects progressed to become independent businesses, with 281 students involved. The student businesses support economic growth and target Skills Barometer and Local Government Economic Development Plans priority areas.
All three winnersare now shortlisted to win one of just 16 Gold Awards, which will be announced and celebrated at a gala ceremony in London on 25 November and televised on the BBC, with winners showcased on The One Show.
The honours have been announced on National Thank a Teacher Day, an annual event celebrating the role of educators across the UK for the valued role they play in communities and shaping young people.
The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in education run by the Teaching Awards Trust, an independent charity now in its 25th year, that recognises the life-changing work that takes place in education, highlighting the vital role educators play and the work that’s delivered in schools and colleges every day.
Ken Webb, Principal and Chief Executive of SERC said:
“To be honoured with three prestigious Pearson Silver Teaching Awards in the one year is indeed remarkable. All three Pearson National Silver Teaching Awards are testament to the work Aine, our Little SERC team and the Entrepreneurs’ Club do, to give students – regardless of age or attainment when they come to us – the opportunity, the inspiration, and the ambition to succeed, and make SERC – and further education – an integral part of the economy. We are all immensely proud of these three achievements, for the recipients, for the College and wider SERC community.”
Michael Morpurgo, author, former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, says: “
I am inspired by the devotion of teachers and the huge impact they have on the lives of the young people they tutor, support, encourage and motivate day in and day out. The valuable role they play both inside and outside the classroom has inspired generations of young people across the country to achieve their potential. I am delighted to congratulate the winners of the 2023 Awards and thank them all for the amazing contributions they have made to our communities.”
Sharon Hague, Senior Vice President of Schools at Pearson UK, says:
“We would like to congratulate today’s Silver winners on their incredible achievements. We can’t underestimate the huge contribution schools make to our young people’s lives and Aine McGreeghan, the Little SERC team and the College’s Entrepreneur Club team are an inspiring example of the positive impact an individual or team can have on pupils and communities.”