Enter now

Please select the category you wish to enter below for the Tes FE Awards and Aoc Beacon Awards and click 'Enter now' to continue through to the entry processes.

*Please note: that the two sets of awards have separate application and assessment processes. The AoC Beacon Awards judging process also includes a visit by assessors to colleges included on the shortlist.

Deadline dates

Tes FE Awards - Friday 6 July 2018

AoC Beacon Awards - Friday 20 July 2018

Tes FE Awards

Lifetime achievement

This award will be given to the individual who, in the opinion of the judging panel, deserves to be honoured for his or her contribution to further education above and beyond their own academic interests. Institutions and individuals are welcome to submit nominations for consideration. 

Teacher of the year

This award seeks to reward the individual whose passion, knowledge and skill have inspired students to success and who have made a major contribution to educational life. It is open to all UK further education institutions, including colleges, training providers, employer providers and adult and community learning providers. Up to two members of staff can be nominated from any one institution. 

  • Give evidence of excellent impact on learners’ progress, attainment and growth
  • How has this teacher brought about positive change beyond his/her own learners?
  • How does this teacher demonstrate commitment and achievement in his/her own professional development? 
  • This award is open to anyone working as a teacher, tutor or lecturer in the FE sector
  • Colleague and student testimonials will be welcomed – maximum of four  

Professional services team of the year

This award recognises the administrative and professional services teams working behind the scenes at colleges and FE providers It covers the year 2017-18 and is open to all further education providers in the UK. In your entry: 

  • Explain how a specific team achieved or exceeded its objectives 
  • Include supporting evidence, where available, to demonstrate clearly the contribution of the team in achieving those objectives 
  • Outline how the team supported the wider aims of the organisation, and worked collaboratively with other teams and individuals, inside and outside the organisation
  • Explain how your team's work improves on standard practice in the sector, and enhances the performance of your organisation as a whole
  • Outline how the team supports the organisation’s mission and values by putting learners’ needs at the core of service design and delivery  

FE leader of the year

This award is aimed at recognising exceptional leadership in FE in the UK for the year 2017-18. As previous short-listed candidates demonstrate, leadership includes but is not confined to institutional leadership and extends beyond and below the CEO.

Nominations from staff, boards/trustees and/or stakeholders should make clear what characterises the exceptional achievement with particular emphasis on impact. Judges welcome, in particular, robust independent testimonials in support of the nomination.

Training provider of the year

This will be awarded to the provider that has demonstrated exceptional performance in the past academic year. It covers the year 2017-18 and is open to all independent training providers. High quality teaching and learning, learner achievement and business performance are important factors, the main criterion will be evidence of particular bold, imaginative and innovative initiatives that have advanced your reputation and performance over the last year.    

  • Explain how you evaluate and develop your provider’s professional progress with regard to teaching, learning and assessment.
  • How has your engagement with students impacted positively in and beyond your institution? If applicable explain how it has had an effect beyond your own institution.
  • Judges will be looking for evidence of sustained commitment to advancing and positively influencing the student experience.
  • Testimonials from students and employers will be welcomed    
  • How has your college made a significant and distinctive contribution to your local economy and wider community?

FE college of the year

This award seeks to reward the colleges whose imagination and passion have led to stellar provision in all areas. We are looking for evidence of excellence in providing a high-quality curriculum with excellent student outcomes, reflected in strong recruitment and success rates. It is open to all UK further education colleges, including land-based colleges.

  • Explain how you evaluate and develop your college’s professional progress with regard to teaching, learning and assessment.
  • How has your engagement with students impacted positively in and beyond your institution? If applicable explain how it has had an effect beyond your own institution.
  • Judges will be looking for evidence of sustained commitment to advancing and positively influencing the student experience.
  • Testimonials from students and employers will be welcomed    
  • How has your college made a significant and distinctive contribution to your local economy and wider community?

Apprenticeship programme of the year

This award recognises strategic and innovative approaches to delivering apprenticeships, and the work being done to access new groups of potential apprentices and support them as they start their careers. It covers the year 2017-18 and is open to all apprenticeship providers in the UK including employer providers. In your entry:   


  • Describe any new ways you have developed working with employers or in case of employer providers the main workforce.
  • Provide evidence of how your programme meets the standards and the employers’ requirements. Show how it is responsive to employer and employee needs
  • Explain how you have developed the route into your programme, including how diversity has been addressed.
  • Explain the positive impacts of your provision on the businesses you work with. 

Sixth form college of the year

This is a new award which seeks to recognise sixth form colleges which best epitomise the qualities which make the sector so distinctive. We are looking for evidence of excellence in 16-18 education across the board in terms of the quality of teaching and learning as well as outcomes. We would also want to see evidence of reaching out to other institutions and a commitment to sharing good practice and raising achievement more widely. It is open to all designated sixth form colleges in England. The award is open to both incorporated colleges and former incorporated colleges which have converted, of are in the process of converting to, academy status.

  • Demonstrate consistently strong outcomes: using success rate, progression, value added and other measures
  • Demonstrate teaching and learning practices which are particularly effective and innovative.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to disseminating good practice which has had a positive impact beyond your own institution.
  • Case studies will be welcomed but submissions need to demonstrate that they exemplify qualities which are common rather than exceptional in the college. 

Specialist provider of the year

This award seeks to reward the specialist providers whose imagination and passion have led to stellar provision and support for SEND student and those with specific leaning requirements. We are looking for evidence of excellence in providing a high-quality curriculum with excellent student outcomes, reflected in strong recruitment and success rates. It is open to all specialist colleges and providers, and specialist units housed within colleges and learning centers. 

  • Explain how you evaluate and develop your institution’s professional progress with regard to teaching, learning and assessment.
  • How has your engagement with students and parents impacted positively in and beyond your work? If applicable explain how it has had an effect beyond your own institution.
  • Judges will be looking for evidence of sustained commitment to advancing and positively influencing the student experience.
  • Testimonials from students and employers will be welcomed    
  • How has your provider made a significant and distinctive contribution to your local economy and wider community? 

Adult and community learning provider of the year

This award seeks to reward the adult community learning providers whose imagination and passion have led to responsive provision. We are looking for evidence of excellence in providing a high-quality curriculum with excellent student outcomes, reflected in strong recruitment and success rates. It is open to all ACL providers, including institutes for learning (specialist designated institutions) and adult educational charities.

  • Explain how you work with your community to ensure your offer is relevant and responsive. Give examples
  • How do you evaluate and develop your institution’s professional progress with regard to teaching, learning and assessment.
  • How has your engagement with students impacted positively in and beyond your institution? If applicable explain how it has had an effect beyond your own institution.
  • Judges will be looking for evidence of sustained commitment to advancing and positively influencing the student experience.
  • Testimonials from students, community representatives and employers will be welcomed    
  • How has your provider made a significant and distinctive contribution to your local community?

AoC Beacon Awards

British Council International Award  

This award supported by the British Council recognises, celebrates and promotes excellence in international collaboration. International work comes in many forms, and international experiences are a key mechanism in staff and organisational development and ultimately in improving outcomes for learners. 

Entries are invited from colleges that have improved organisational or staff capacity and/or learner outcomes through international projects.  We are particularly interested in those projects which have contributed to quality improvements at an organisational, staff or learner level and those that offered an international experience to learners, either through mobility or collaborative work in the UK, who may not otherwise have had one. 

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The Careers and Enterprise Company Careers Education and Guidance Award 

This award supported by The Careers and Enterprise Company seeks to celebrate an outstanding example of ‘Careers Education and Guidance’. In a world where enterprise, education and work opportunities are constantly changing, students need easy access to high quality support and information. Learning how to make informed decisions is increasingly critical to a successful life. 

The award is not explicitly targeted at any single group but is likely to celebrate highly effective engagement with schools, employers and other agencies, to provide learners with excellent impartial careers education, advice and guidance. Assessors will be particularly interested to see applications where colleges have supported learners of any age, to research, develop and establish their own enterprises. 

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Edge Award for Excellence in the Practical Delivery of Technical and Professional Learning 

Edge wants to recognise, celebrate and promote examples of excellent practical teaching and learning.  We believe that practical technical and professional learning is vital to young people and to the UK as part of a 21st century global economy.

We invite entries for this award from colleges which have developed practical teaching and learning approaches that enable students to have experiences that are:

Real: with opportunities for students to tackle real life problems by learning from and working with employers and social enterprises, using the tools, skills and equipment that the sector uses
Meaningful: the students themselves can explain why they are working on a particular task and the benefits to themselves and others of completing the task well
Challenging: students have opportunities to work alongside experts in their field and are challenged to perform at new levels of skill
Stretching: the students themselves can describe their new skills and insights, and demonstrate the distance they have travelled in their education 
Life-changing: the college can demonstrate that new opportunities are now open to students and how their experience at college has made a substantive difference to their future life chances.

This award is focused on curriculum development, perhaps innovative practice that might be new to the college or to the sector. It could involve new kinds of opportunities and courses, or new ways of learning. Applications which show how colleges can successfully reach new learners in the workplace, through distance or open learning, or in partnership with schools, universities or employers, are welcome.  Of importance will be the sustainability of such innovation, and recognition by peers in the sector that this way of developing the curriculum is new, dynamic and effective.

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Skills and Education Group Award for Social Mobility and Widening Participation

This award supported by the Skills and Education group seeks to celebrate an outstanding example of a college’s ability to reach out and widen participation. The winner will have well established and exceptional strategies to target underrepresented groups and/or provide transformational educational opportunities targeted at ‘non-traditional’ FE college students. Assessors will look for effective and imaginative approaches undertaken to attract and motivate learners. Outcomes will be measured in the successful acquisition of skills, knowledge or qualifications and clear progression routes to further learning or employment. It is likely that the target group will be adults and local, but they could also be located regionally or nationally. 

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AoC mental health and wellbeing award 

This award is supported by AoC and will celebrate the important work colleges are doing to support the mental health and wellbeing of their learners and staff. The rise in ill health amongst learners and the greater public is of great concern and is attracting heightened attention nationally. Project proposals might include innovative ways of supporting learners at risk of leaving courses; effective and comprehensive staff wellbeing programmes; dynamic approaches to the education of staff and learners about mental health and wellbeing.  

Applications will be welcome from colleges which show how they have successfully supported people in their local communities, existing learners or teaching and support staff will be welcome. Of importance will be the sustainability of such innovation, and some recognition by those outside the college that this work has longer term benefit and is sustained over time.

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Effective use of technology in Further Education 

This award supported by Jisc seeks to celebrate an outstanding example of the ‘Use of Technology’ carefully designed to improve the student experience - in a digital age. Underpinning the project is likely to be enhancements to teaching, learning and assessment and/or the creation of business efficiencies. In every case, changes made will be valued by learners and easily evidenced. The innovative use of technology might be applied across specific provision or support a college wide approach. 

The project will be above and beyond what is the ‘norm’ and applications are not restricted to a specific type of courses, for example ‘Information Technology’. Outstanding use of technology might be targeted at specific age groups or more generally those who study for all their time at a main campus or remotely. 

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College engagement with employers Award 

This award supported by City and Guilds seeks to recognise exemplary practice in the delivery of provision: responsive to the needs of employers. The winner will need to demonstrate an outstanding ability to work with and provide a direct service to employers. In particular, the winning college will be highly effective in meeting employers’ skills needs and/or apprenticeship requirements. In addition, it is likely that there will be excellent examples of the College engaging with employers - to support the development of employability skills within the curriculum. The award is not targeted at a specific group, but applications should demonstrate a clear, long-term vision of partnership and working with employers. The provision offered should enable the development of a skilled workforce and contribute to local and regional economic development. The successful project is also likely to be very responsive to identified skills priorities and levels of unemployment. 

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Support for learners Award 

This award is supported by RCU and AoC seeks to celebrate outstanding examples of learner support provided by a College for a significant group of learners, across a whole provision or college wide approach. This award might cover both learner and learning support. The provision will be above and beyond what is the ‘norm’ and applications are not restricted to a specific type of course or programme. For example, applications would be welcome from colleges describing their bespoke provision for learners with autistic spectrum disorders, or an outstanding example of information, advice and guidance, or excellent learner or learning support for adults returning to learn.

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ABOUT

Giving FE's finest the recognition they deserve.

GALLERY

Photos from the 2018 Tes FE Awards.

AWARDS NIGHT

The winners were revealed on Friday 22 February 2019 at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

TESTIMONIALS

See why the Tes FE Awards are valued by the sector.

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